Hotel and travel information for San Diego

Providing the most up-to-date information to make your travel and onsite experience the best possible
San Diego skyline at SPIE Optics + Photonics

Welcome to beautiful San Diego

Come enjoy one of the West Coast's favorite oceanside cities, San Diego. With 70 miles of beautiful beaches, near-perfect weather year-round, and a variety of magnificent settings countywide, San Diego offers a fun and inexpensive getaway, for kids and adults. You will find tips for traveling to and around the city, as well as the many hotel options available to conference attendees.

The Marriott Marquis Hotel

The headquarters hotel for SPIE Optics + Photonics is adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and right on the waterfront. It offers a great location within easy walking distance to downtown, great food, and many popular tourist attractions.

Don't forget to secure your visa

Be sure to plan ahead and apply to get a visa if it is needed.

Family care while attending the meeting

SPIE believes that individuals with significant caregiving responsibilities should have an equal opportunity to share their research and participate in conferences and symposia.

SPIE Family Care Grants are designed to supplement caregiving costs incurred by SPIE Members who are registered to attend an SPIE meeting, either in person or virtually. See hotel details in the reservation system to find hotels that offer onsite childcare. 

Find information and apply for an SPIE Family Care Grant

Travel to San Diego

Enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery of San Diego, the perfect home for a summer meeting. Further details to be provided for:

  • airport information
  • shuttle service
  • public transit services
  • driving directions and parking
  • local attractions
San Diego Travel Guide

Visa information

Transportation information

Airport information

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is conveniently located three miles northwest of downtown San Diego.

Transportation from the airport 

  • Taxi service from the San Diego Airport to the downtown hotels is approximately $15 - 25 depending on traffic.
  • Uber or Lyft from the San Diego Airport to the downtown hotels is approximately $6 - 8 (shared ride) or $12 - 17.

Shuttles and public transportation

Getting around San Diego 
San Diego offers many modes of public transportation, providing travelers with economical and eco-friendly options to explore the region. Check out all of the options available.

And - there's a whole new way to get everywhere you need to go: The PRONTO card and app. PRONTO (which replaces the old Compass Card system) lets you get a move on faster and easier anytime you want to ride the San Diego Trolley, a bus or the Coaster train.

Trolley cars are red and travel above ground on light rail lines every 15 minutes. If guests purchase Day Tripper Passes from the Transit e-store (on-line), before their arrival date, they can then use Bus 992 from the airport to the America Plaza Trolley Station to your hotel and to and from the convention center for unlimited rides at that one flat rate. Or you can purchase a day pass for $5 (subject to change) when you board the 992 bus at the airport from any terminal. Get off at Broadway & Kettner Blvd. and walk to the America Plaza Trolley Station. From there, take the Orange Line with signage 'Downtown/Convention Center' to your hotel or to the convention center.

Hertz Car Rental

To receive 20% off the retail rate, enter “CDP 2188961” under the ‘add a discount code’ section when making an online reservation.

Driving directions and parking 

Things to do  

No stay in San Diego is complete without a trip to the waterfront. San Diego Bay is bustling with activity and a long maritime and military history. The city is also home to the largest urban cultural park in the United States, Balboa Park is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West.” Its 1,200 lush acres are home to 85 cultural attractions, including 15 museums, eight gardens and the San Diego Zoo. There is always somewhere worth exploring in this seaside city and surrounding area — whether driving, biking, boating, or walking.

  • Explore Coronado Island
  • Visit the many beaches
  • Cruise the harbor
  • Visit the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or Sea World
  • Visit the many museums
  • Ride the trolley to Old Town
  • Find fun at Belmont Park

It's even easier with a digital pass; combine favorite attractions and save money.
Visit GO San Diego website