San Diego summer getaway

What to do, where to stay, and where to eat in the city's three best neighborhoods for summer fun

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WHAT TO DO

Balboa Park. With its concentration of museums specializing in everything from photography to model trains, it has been dubbed "the Smithsonian of the West." Even excluding the San Diego Zoo, you could easily spend a couple of days here. A variety of tours are offered, and if you plan on hitting a number of museums, consider purchasing a Passport to Balboa Park ($30, $55 with San Diego Zoo admission), which covers admission to 13 attractions. For more park information, stop in at the visitor center (9:30-4:30 daily; 1549 El Prado). www.balboapark.org or 619/239-0512.

The Old Globe. One of the country's top regional theaters, it has three stages in Balboa Park. In Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way; From $19. www.theoldglobe.org or 619/234-5623.

Petco Park. The new ballpark has transformed downtown, and it's well worth combining a game with dinner in the Gas-lamp. 100 Park Blvd.; www.padres.com or 619/795-5000.
 
 

San Diego Zoo. Rare creatures, including giant pandas, and sensitively designed habitats such as the Monkey Trails environment make this a must-see. $22. In Balboa Park at 2920 Zoo Dr.; www.sandiegozoo.org or 619/234-3153.

OTHER CLASSICS

Coronado. Drive across the landmark San Diego-Coronado Bridge or hop a ferry from downtown to visit this island, which is a world apart. Ferry $3 one way; departs from 1050 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego; www.sdhe.com or 619/234-4111.

Maritime Museum of San Diego. Vessels include the 1863 sailing ship the Star of India and a Soviet sub-marine. $12. 1492 N. Harbor Dr.; www.sdmaritime.org or 619/234-9153.

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. San Diego has a long naval history, and here you can tour the massive USS Midway. $15. 910 N. Harbor Dr.; www.midway.org or 619/544-9600.

SeaWorld. The marine park debuts a new Shamu show this summer. From $54. 500 Sea World Dr.; www.seaworld.com or 800/257-4268.

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