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Join CAF as we explore San Diego's rich architecture from Spanish Colonial and Victorian buildings to Modern masterpieces such as the Salk Institute. The Pacific coast is calling you!

$1,550 per member (based on double occupancy)
$2,045 per member (single occupancy)
San Diego, California

Trip Overview

Located on the Pacific coast in southern California, San Diego is famous for its miles of white-sand beaches and amazing weather. The city offers charismatic neighborhoods and communities, such as Coronado, the Gaslamp Quarter and La Jolla. As a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, San Diego County became part of the U.S. and was named “the birthplace of California” as California achieved statehood in 1850. Originally, San Diego was located at the foot of Presidio Hill in the Old Town district. But by the late 1860s, the waterfront "New Town"—present-day downtown—eclipsed Old Town as the center of the city.

Note: There is extensive walking during this trip as we will go on many different tours. Walking tours offer little to no time for sitting. Tours go rain or shine. Please remember to bring comfortable walking shoes and pack accordingly for the weather.

Cancellation and Refund Policy (to be made in writing)
In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your participation for the trip, the following terms will apply: Reservations cancelled up to and including 60 days prior to departure will incur a $50 administrative fee. Later cancellations will be subject to the following charges: 30 to 59 days before scheduled departure: 50% of tour cost. 7 to 29 days prior to departure: the total cost of the trip, less any recoverable sums from independent providers or services, accommodations and the like. Six days or less, including no-shows or early returns from the trip, will result in forfeiture of 100% of the trip cost.


Day 1

Your experience begins with a welcome reception at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado. Once you’ve had a chance to meet your fellow CAF travelers, we’ll learn about our historic accommodations on the Hotel del Coronado walking tour.

The hotel’s founders, Elisha Babcock and Hampton Story Jr. along with San Diego developer Alonzo Horton, surveyed Coronado beach in 1886. Although neither Babcock nor Story had experience in the hotel business, they were so inspired by the natural beauty of Coronado that they decided to buy the island and build a magnificent hotel, one that would be “the talk of the western world.” The Hotel del Coronado’s official debut was celebrated on February 19, 1888. Room rates—including three meals a day—started at about $2.50 per day. The hotel was built at a cost of $600,000 and furnished for $400,000. Famous guests include L. Frank Baum, W.C. Fields, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Lindbergh and five U.S. Presidents. The film Some Like it Hot used the exterior of the hotel as a location and stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon were hotel guests.

After the hotel tour, we’ll continue our exploration of Coronado Island, its famous residents and historic buildings on the Coronado Heritage Walking Tour.

For dinner, you may choose among Coronado Island’s restaurants or return to the hotel.

Meals included: welcome reception (light refreshments)

Day 2

Start your morning with a visit to Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban cultural park. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, gardens and walking paths, it contains museums, theaters and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Enjoy a walking tour of the Spanish Colonial architecture found in the heart of the park including San Diego’s Museum of Art, Botanical Building, Old Globe Theatre, Museum of Man and the National History Museum.

After our tour, we’ll enjoy lunch at the Prado restaurant in Balboa Park.

In the afternoon we’ll explore architectural work by Bakewell and Brown, Rob Wellington Quigley, William Templeton Johnson and Helmut Jahn on a bus tour provided by Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) docents. Discover San Diego’s rich architecture from Spanish Colonial and Victorian buildings such as the Santa Fe Depot to Postmodern works including the San Diego Convention Center designed by Arthur Erickson.

After the tour, you can choose to remain in downtown San Diego to enjoy the sites and restaurants or return to the hotel to further explore Coronado Island.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Day 3

Let’s spend the day at the beautiful seaside community of La Jolla! Located in the northern part of San Diego, La Jolla occupies seven miles of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

First we’ll visit the works of Irving Gill on a walking tour beginning with the Wisteria Cottage, now home to the La Jolla Historical Society. An unidentified architect built the cottage in 1904, then Irving Gill was commissioned to remodel it in 1909. His drawings were instrumental during a 2014 renovation of the cottage. Next we’ll head over to the La Jolla Women’s Club built in 1913-1914, the La Jolla Recreation Center completed in 1915 and the Museum of Contemporary Art which was originally a residential property built in 1916.

After our tour, you’ll have time for self-guided exploration of La Jolla and to find a lunch spot.

In the afternoon, we’ll board a bus for the Salk Institute, designed by Louis Kahn. Founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an independent, nonprofit scientific research institution.

Architecture critic Vincent Scully once praised the 'primitive' force of Kahn's architecture, and at the Salk Institute that characteristic is matched by a blend of rigor and serenity ideally suited to scientific research. Tod Williams, who designed the nearby Neurosciences Institute with his partner and wife, Billie Tsien, calls the La Jolla landmark 'timeless,' adding, ‘it’s a powerful and gracious place of discourse, reflection and discovery.'" –Karen Stein, Architectural Digest

After our tour of the Salk Institute, we’ll drive over to the University of California, San Diego campus to visit the Geisel Library. The library opened in 1970 and was designed by William Pereira. It’s the main library building of the UC San Diego. It was renovated in 1993 and renamed Geisel Library in 1995. The building is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The building's distinctive Brutalist architecture has resulted in its being featured in the UC San Diego logo and becoming the most recognizable building on campus.

In the evening, we will enjoy dinner overlooking the ocean at the Hotel del Coronado.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner

Day 4

The last day of the trip there are no group activities planned. Enjoy breakfast at your convenience. We recommend you visit any sites you may have missed in San Diego on your own before heading home. Please note that the hotel requires us to check out of our rooms by 12pm.

Meals included: breakfast

Happy and safe travels, everyone!

Please review the latest COVID-19 Safety Policies.