Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2014

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B M & T ••• November/December 2014 ••• 42 AREA GUIDES S O U T H E R N C A L I F O R N I A MEETING IN SOCAL IS AFFORDABLE & FUN! BY DON LITTLETON Southern California is a megapolitan region occupying the southern portion of the state of California. The region is bor- dered to the east by Nevada and Arizona, to the south by the international border with Mexico, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. The region's largest metropolitan area is Los Angeles, the nation's second largest metro area. Other metro areas include San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, and the lightly popu- lated El Centro. Southern California also includes several offshore islands such as the Channel Islands, deserts such as the Mojave and Colorado, and the largest lake in California, the very salty Salton Sea. Southern California creates amazing memories for conference attendees that are forever lasting. With the great weath- er and the wide assortment of meeting venues this region of the country definite- ly provides planners with optimum hospi- tality and many options. It's a win-win sit- uation for the planner and the client. Not to mention the plethora of entertainment possibilities both business travelers and leisure travelers alike can appreciate. ••• SAN DIEGO ••• This visitor-friendly city with a centrally located airport makes meeting here prac- tically effortless. Planners have many options — from the eclectic downtown Gaslamp district to luxurious North County resorts; relaxing seaside hotels to value-minded Mission Valley, Mission Bay, and University Town Center (UTC). San Diego is home to exciting venues to fit the mood and objective of any meeting, and any budget. When it comes to planning a major conference, it's hard to beat the world- class San Diego Convention Center. The 2.6 million-sq. ft. facility is located down- town along the sparkling waterfront and has plenty of flexible exhibit and meeting space for groups of any size. It's close to everything you need – 11,000 first-class hotel rooms, the best restaurants, excit- ing entertainment, shopping, and an air- port that's just three miles away. Downtown is the vibrant center of it all, and is home to live theatre, more than 150 restaurants, a pulsing music scene, nightclubs, art galleries and shopping. The district consists of eight distinct neighborhoods; most notable is the his- toric Gaslamp Quarter, a 16 ½-block din- ing and nightlife scene. The Embarcadero along San Diego Bay features the Maritime Museum, USS Midway Museum, and Seaport Village. Little Italy is a quaint and lively neighborhood of patio cafes, Italian restaurants, pubs, art galleries, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy la vita bella. East Village is a rapidly evolving neighborhood of hip boutiques and trendy eateries sprouting around the neighborhoods biggest attraction - PETCO Park, home to the San Diego Padres. Conveniently located just 10 minutes from downtown San Diego and serviced by 22 major and commuter airlines, San Diego International Airport receives more than 16 million passengers a year. ••• LOS ANGELES ••• Los Angeles is as much a fantasy as it is a physical city. A mecca for film noir, shopping starlets, beach bodies, and mind-numbing traffic, it sprawls across 467 square miles; add in the surrounding five-county metropolitan area, and you've got an area of more than 34,000 square miles. Meeting Planners can never go wrong booking a conference in LA. With the city's many different cultures and themed venues it's no surprise everyone wants to hold their event in The City Of Angeles. LA's event venues sit among the back- drop of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic Hollywood sign that create a glitzy and entertaining setting for events both large • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina 1,053 The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter 450 Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina 430 Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa 311 EXHIBITION FACILITIES San Diego Convention Center Total Exhibit Space 615,701 sq. ft. Meeting Rooms 72 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The San Diego Tourism Authority (619) 232-3101 Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce (858) 939-1849 San Diego Downtown Marina Photo Credit: San Diego CVB

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