Plan your meeting break time!

While the science presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting is bigger and better than ever, there is always down time. And part of the fun of a conference is traveling and checking out a new city. So why not take a break and explore San Diego?
Whether you’re looking for family-friendly spots or places where you can let loose, San Diego offers plenty of options. Here are some places and events to check out:

Are you traveling with family and children?

The famous San Diego Zoo boasts animals ranging from condors to giant pandas to wombats. A one-day pass for an adult is $46 and for a child (aged 3 to 11) is $36 and includes a guided bus tour, access to the circulating Kangaroo Express bus, access to the Skyfari aerial tram and the entry fees for any ongoing shows.
Other family-friendly venues include famous Sea World ($84 for adults and $78 for children) and Legoland ($83 for adults and $73 for children).

Looking for a good time out?

The Gaslamp Quarter is the place to go out for dinner and drinks – and dancing and shows. And it is just a few steps away from the famous San Diego Convention Center, where the meeting will be held.
The weather is bound to be gorgeous, so check out a rooftop bar. Get a fantastic view at the ALTITUDE Sky Lounge.
Not into rooftops? How about an underground bar with no cover and a good dance scene like The Red C Lounge.
If a pub is more your style, try The Field.
And if none of these sounds like your scene, that’s OK. There are plenty of other bars just around the corner.

Tired of the food at the convention center?

The restaurant Searsucker gets top billing on Yelp and features main courses from the ocean, farm and ranch. The French Café Chloe provides a more intimate space. For those of you on a budget, San Diego is known for its fish tacos. Be sure to ask around for the best. You’re bound to get several suggestions.
Finally, for vegetarians, try out an ethnic option like Pokez Mexican Restaurant or Royal India. (These offer lots of meat options as well.)

Want to check out the Pacific shore?

San Diego is known for its beautiful beaches. The water probably will not be warm enough to swim in, but lying in the sand and checking out the gorgeous waves will be well worth it. If you’re lucky, you may spot some ocean wildlife – seals, dolphins and maybe even a whale!
Below are just a few in a long list nearby beaches. Be sure to ask locals for their favorite spots.

  • Mission Beach: The most well-known beach in San Diego, Mission has a famous boardwalk and is attached to Belmont Park, where the Giant Dipper roller-coaster resides.
  • Coronado Beach: This beach is loved by the locals and by tourists for its vast beauty. Year after year, this beach receives many votes for the best beach.
  • Tourmaline: Always wanted to try to surf? This break has a calmer wave, making it a good spot for beginners. This will require renting a board and wetsuit, and an instructor will make a huge difference, especially if this is your first time out. Also, be sure to check when the surf is good, because no waves means no surfing.

Those who want to watch surfers, rather than doing the surfing, and those more experienced surfers should check out Oceanside and Ocean Beach. Both have piers with good views. And those looking for more advanced adventures can take the long walk from the Torrey Pines area to discover Black’s Beach.

Want a special event never to forget?

In addition to the relationships you build and the science you learn at the conference, you can make lifelong memories by attending a local event. It is even better if you attend with new friends you meet at the conference!
The Adams Avenue Unplugged Festival takes place once a year on Adams Avenue in the Normal Heights neighborhood. The music festival hosts more than 100 acts in local establishments. The neighborhood also offers an array of restaurant, bars, coffee shops, art galleries and antique shops. This year the festival will be Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27.
 Shaila KotadiaShaila Kotadia ( is an ASBMB science policy fellow.