Kaaboo is a bit tricky on picking your accommodations. Kaaboo takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which are about 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego, CA. Thus, the festival is somewhat centrally and conveniently located, but the lack of a shuttle option and public transportation makes things a bit difficult. You could find a place in Del Mar, but it is going to cost you – it’s one of the more expensive areas in San Diego. This article will go over the different areas of San Diego, CA you should look into if you are coming in for Kaaboo. I will go over the popular options in San Diego and weigh in on their pros and cons in terms of your Kaaboo trip.
Pros: Obviously the easiest area to stay in for Kaaboo would be to stay in Del Mar, where the festival takes place each year. Staying in Del Mar for Kaaboo will allow you to avoid the disaster that is San Diego public transportation and simply walk to the festival, or at worst take a short bike or Uber ride. Del Mar is also just a really nice area of San Diego; it’s where the rich people live. It is essentially an affluent town on the beach with plenty of fine dining and nice bars. If you are looking for a classy experience Del Mar is the way go to.
Cons: The major cons to Del Mar are it’s expensive, there are limited accommodations, and there aren’t many places right by the fairgrounds (where Kaaboo takes place). There are only a handful of hotels in the Del Mar area, and none of those are within walking distances to the fairgrounds. Additionally, the average price for hotels in the area is over $300 a night. If you have the money for it then Del Mar is great but for many this will be unaffordable. There will be more options if you look into AirBNB but those are also fairly expensive.
Pros: The biggest reasons to stay in Downtown San Diego is it gives you one of the few access points to useful public transportation and there is a ton to do when you aren’t at Kaaboo. First, downtown let’s you take advantage of the San Diego Coaster, which is a train that runs along the coast of San Diego. You pick up the train at Santa Fe Depot, which is located downtown. The third stop of the Coaster is Solana Beach, which is about 5 minutes north of where Kaaboo takes place: you actually can see Kaaboo from the train as it goes by. Kaaboo provides a shuttle that will take you from Solana Beach to the festival. This is one of the few ways to use public transportation for Kaaboo. The other main pro of downtown is there is just a tons to do – whether you want fantastic restaurants, fun bars, fine dining or tourist attractions, downtown will have it.
Cons: Expensive and it is far from Del Mar. The train ride still takes about 45 minutes to get to Kaaboo. Also, the Coaster runs fairly infrequently, so it’s not a perfect system for getting to Kaaboo. If you drive from downtown to Kaaboo it will be about 20 minutes if you go super early to avoid traffic, or it can be over an hour if you go in prime time. Hotels downtown are also some of the most expensive in the city.
Pros: The Pacific and Mission beach areas are often what people think of when they think San Diego. The areas are younger, have tons of bars, miles of beaches, burrito shops, surfing, tattoo parlors, and every other California stereotype. It is one of the more touristy areas of San Diego, and it’s a great place to set up camp for the weekend. You will have tons to do whether you want to hangout at the beach or go get some cheap adult beverages. There aren’t many hotels in the area but the AirBNB / House Rental options should be plentiful. If you are a younger crowd looking for a fun weekend then look into these areas.
Cons: First, there is no public transportation going into or out of the beach areas – you are going to need a car. There’s not even a reasonably close train station to Uber to and catch the train from. If you stay in one of these beach areas you are going to have to drive to Kaaboo. Also, you will likely need to rent a house. There are some hotels, but there are limited options in the beach areas. They tend to keep big businesses out.
Pros: La Jolla is very similar to Del Mar: it is an upscale beach area with a ton of nice restaurants and touristy San Diego-y things to do. La Jolla is annually voted San Diego’s top beach and one of the best beaches in the country. This is where you can see both ritzy homes and seals laying out at the beach. There is also nightlife if you want to keep it going after you get home from Kaaboo. Finally, it’s also closer to Del Mar than the other beaches and is only about 10 minutes south of Kaaboo. There are more hotel options here and plenty of house rentals.
Cons: La Jolla is one of the more expensive areas of San Diego so expect to pay a premium whether you rent a house or stay at a hotel. There is no public transportation to the festival from La Jolla so you will need to go by car. You could drive or an Uber is a possibility – just expect high surcharges on your way home. On a normal day it is about a $15/$20 Uber each way so it’s not terrible, but it does add up over time.
Pros: Carlsbad is a cheaper beach alternative than Del Mar or La Jolla and is still beautiful. Carlsbad is actually my second favorite beach in San Diego so you still get an awesome beach experience at a slightly cheaper price. Carlsbad is also great if you are looking for a bit of an older crowd: PB / Mission Beach is going to be a younger 20s crowd while Carlsbad will be late 20s / early 30s, which fits with Kaaboo better. Carlsbad also has two Coaster stations for heading down to Kaaboo – you can get on at either Carlsbad Village or Poinsettia station and take the Coaster south to Solana Beach. At Solana Beach you can hop on the shuttle that heads to Kaaboo.
Cons: Carlsbad is about 20 minutes north of Kaaboo so it will take you some time to drive down to Kaaboo or you will be a slave to the Coaster’s aforementioned limited schedule. Carlsbad is also fairly far from the airport and Downtown San Diego (35 minutes north) so you will likely want a rental car for getting around San Diego and seeing the sights.
Pros: Mission Valley is probably the cheapest option for Kaaboo accommodations. There are plenty of hotel options throughout the area and it is fairly centrally located – Mission Valley is about 3 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. From Mission Valley you can also take the trolley (local train) to a coaster station in Old Town. From there you hop on the Coaster and take it to Solana Beach where you can easily access Kaaboo.
Cons: Mission Valley has an approximate walk score of -32. Seriously though there is nothing to do in the area – only stay here if you only want a bed to sleep in at night and plan to visit other areas for your entertainment.
There are a ton of different areas you could stay at for Kaaboo. San Diego is a very spread out city with a ton of different areas with hotels and things to do – it really comes down to your budget and the type of trip you are looking to have. If you have any questions on San Diego accommodations I am more than willing to give my locals opinion, just reach out to me at Shawn@EventTrk.com.