Little Italy San Diego

The Calm Before the BOOM!

Say it with me STAYCATION: the art of living it up in your home city and having a great time! Over the Fourth of July, I got to hang out in Little Italy at the Hilton Bayside Campus. The San Diego Hilton Bayside Campus is a campus hotel because it houses two of Hilton’s branded hotels including Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn. I’ve never been able to really take in the fireworks for the Big Bay Boom because I’m not into crowds or being on the road during big drinking holidays with all the crazies, so having a room with a view was super exciting for me!

I clearly wasn’t the only one that had the idea to do a holiday staycation, because this hotel was poppin’! I love that my suite had a large refrigerator; it’s tough to squeeze to-go boxes into a mini-fridge, so this was a welcome sight. In fact, my Homewood Suites room had a full kitchen with a microwave, dishwasher, glassware, utensils, and all that jazz! As an extra bonus, my suite had two flat-screen tvs, one in the living room space and one by the bed. 


The location of this hotel is cool because I had a great view of the harbor, Little Italy, and airplanes taking off and landing at the airport. So after settling into my room, I checked out the pool but it was packed! So I stayed for a minute and then got ready for dinner.

Bayside Kitchen and Bar

Bayside Kitchen and Bar is the Hilton’s on-site restaurant. The restaurant’s interior is modern with a rustic design. There are cozy lounge areas with big chairs and coffee tables great for tabletop games and a casual vibe. In the words of Brian Sheerin, the Food and Beverage Director, “you’ll feel like you’re sitting in someone’s living room.” Their patios feature extended fire tables and games like foosball and cornhole. 

A little bird told me ahead of time to order the Kung Pao Cauliflower, and she was NOT wrong! I didn’t intend to eat all of the cauliflower, but before I knew it, they were gone, but that’s ok because it’s a vegetable, am I right?! Anyway, I also tried the Poké Tosatadas, a new menu item, and the Yes Way Rosé Sangria. I pretty much HAD to order the following because of its name, Happiness Steak & Thai Noodle Salad. Who wouldn’t want a happy salad? Hehe! After dinner, I (im)patiently waited for the show to start.

This hotel, for me, was a great choice to be able to see the Big Bay Boom for the Fourth of July without having to fight the traffic and crowds. From my fifth floor room, I could see five sources of fireworks. This, my friends, is where I shamefully admit my failure in producing any firework coverage.

I did an Instagram live video of the fireworks; the video didn’t save. I was bummed out, but we’re all human and this just means I’ll have to do it again next year! During the fireworks display, there was a super colorful firework that I particularly loved. I didn’t capture it, but my friend caught the same rainbow firework in a different display (read: inserting plug for his photography skills!), so I’m really glad that I can share his impressive photo.

After a good night’s sleep, I feel almost nostalgic when I wake up and can brew a pot of coffee! As a Nespresso machine owner, I don’t have a regular coffee pot anymore so I have this strange adoration about brewing a fresh pot of coffee. It was fun to sit by my window watching the planes take off and land as the sun slowly came out to play while sipping some coffee. 

Every good morning after (a holiday) requires brunch! I packed up and headed down to Bayside Kitchen and Bar again for some grub! First things first, a Bloody Mary is required and of course some carbs. Bring on the French Toast and a very pretty Yogurt Parfait. You know, gotta get that daily dose of fruits and veggies, haha!

Holiday or not, staycations are always a good idea! It’s a great excuse to play tourist in your own city, lounge around watching cable tv (ya feel me?!), enjoy some poolside tanning, and stay out late without having to worry about driving home. From this hotel, it’s easy to bounce around Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter, and downtown. If you don’t feel like walking, check out Circuit which provides free rides in those areas. 

If you find yourself in the area and you’re hungry, pull up a chair at Bayside Kitchen and Bar and see if you can have more self-control than me and not eat the whole bowl of Kung Pao Cauliflower! I dare you! Also, if you’re coming by for a bite, valet parking at the hotel is only $5 for three hours! 

Until next time, happy eating and staycationing!

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