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A Whale of Time In and Around San Diego

Updated December 22, 2003 - America's seventh largest city still maintains a small town, friendly vibe. Now's the time to start planning a trip to the west coast with the help of the San Diego Visitors Bureau and its free vacation planning kit.

The current issue lists offers and discounts at 40 accommodations and for multiple activities, attractions and restaurants. In addition to the discounts, there is a list of 25 free activities, ranging from afternoon concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the world's largest outdoor pipe organ, in Balboa Park to a leisurely study of the tide pools in Point Loma.

Stand out discounts include a Super Saver Rate of $139 at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort; a rate of $79.97 at the Ramada Inn Suites-Gaslamp/Convention Center for Sunday through Thursday nights; a $125 rate per room at the Woodfin Suite Hotel; $159 oceanview rooms at the Hotel La Jolla; and a double room at the Westin Horton Plaza for $175, including full breakfast for two persons.

At the very fancy Hotel del Coronado, rates are lowered to $270 per night, but with that you get two passes to the world-class San Diego Zoo. The Westgate Hotel, considered the best known of hotels in the city catering to business travelers, offers rooms at $165 plus tax that they say is 50% off their regular rates.

You can also get $10 off a one-day admission to Legoland, a two-for-one tour of the harbor or 25% off a dinner cruise with Hornblower CruisesSample activity and restaurant discounts include Legoland, a $10 discount on one-day admission; a 10% discount on an Enterprise rental car; and $5 off admission to the zoo.

Dining disounts include free appetizers at any number of restaurants; $5 off any two Seasonal Catch items at Anthony's Fish Grotto; $10 off on meals at the Corvette Diner with minimum purchase of $40; and another $5 off your ticket to the Mystery Café.

The brochure also lists a few special events, such as whale watching, which is at its best from January 15 through March 15, 2004, when you can watch the annual migration of the California gray whales to the warm breeding grounds off the cost of Baja California. You can see them from shore at the Cabrillo National Monument or on special whale watching cruises.

Get your copy of the brochure by going to the bureau's website,, or by phoning the Information Center at 619/236-1212 and requesting the Vacation Planning Kit.

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