With agreeable year-round weather, the beach vibes and the energetic lifestyle, San Diego has long been a premier destination for corporate conferences, conventions and meetings. Planning a destination corporate gathering requires the right balance of structured meetings, development sessions and/or extended learning workshops paired with opportunities to invigorate company culture through destination experiences.
The best planners think out of the box when conceptualizing leisure activations to build out the itinerary. Let us transport you to some of our favorite experiences that allow your company to engage its stakeholders in one-of-a-kind events that are authentically San Diego.
An urban block party
After a full day of seminars, you meet up with a few colleague friends in your hotel lobby and hop on the shuttle that drops you off just before the Gaslamp Quarter iconic arch. Your badge grants you admission to this over-the-top block party, and you’re instantly met with surprises as a team of pogo stilt jumpers perform gravity-defying acrobatics. You join the crowd of cheers until you catch a whiff of something delicious. You follow the scent trail down the block, stopping at one of several craft cocktail bars for a signature creation full of tricks and flips from the expert bartender. You snatch up a plate of lobster raviolis and pop into the vintage VW photo booth for a group session then follow the bass to the first stage with an iconic 80s cover band. After a few dances and a stop at the Craft Beer Station where you found a build-your-own slider bar, your group gets in a little friendly competition at the Carnival booth games. You follow a gaggle of abstract, bird-like stilt walkers as they hover over the crowds to the next stage of throwback DJ beats. You spend the night, alternating between dancing, eating, lounging and watching the spectacles of pop up entertainment.
A seated affair atop a US Military landmark
An aficionado of military history, and after a productive day of leadership workshops, your energy is high for this evening’s itinerary aboard the USS Midway Museum, a historical naval aircraft carrier museum located in downtown San Diego. As the United States' longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, now stationed with expansive views of the San Diego Harbor, this is an experience you cannot get back home in Michigan. As you board the ship, you can’t help but feel that you’re getting access to a truly special experience. You travel through the internal archives of flight equipment and tour the engine room. When you breach the flight deck you are blown away by the elegant specialty décor in contrast to the industrial beast of the historic vessel. Overhead twinkle lights bring ambiance and intimacy to the attendance of thousands who take up only a portion of the vessel. Beautiful linens and floral arrangements exude elegance aside vintage jet fighters. After a welcome cocktail hour of tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and a signature Top Gun cocktail, you’re seated for dinner. As you feast on a 5-star 3-course meal, a program acknowledges your companies successes and future goals and honors outstanding performers. After dessert, an 8-piece jazz band gets the group onto their feet for boogie-woogie and extensive conga lines. Never one to leave a party early, you take over the dance floor for the after-party DJ and get to enjoy the surprise late-night snack.
A day at the ballpark
When designing your Convention schedule you made sure to leave Sunday open for a truly iconic afternoon. You toss on your ball cap and sneakers and walk from your hotel to the legendary Petco Park. You can taste the cracker jacks from blocks away! You find a group of colleagues along the way and learn that a ballpark restaurant has been reserved for your company. You head that way to pre-game with some complimentary snacks and a San Diego craft beer. Some of your friends don Padres gear and some chose to support their home team, but you’re just happy to feel at home amongst the foam fingers and cracker jacks. Eager to find your home base, you head towards your company designated section along the first baseline to locate your seat, of course stopping along the way to snatch up a hot dog and beer refill. You arrive in time for the first pitch and stay to cheer on the sport from inning 1 to inning 9.
A sunset concert along the sea
As your final sales seminar concludes, you swap out your business attire for beachwear and head towards Embarcadero Marina Park, a vibrant waterfront park offering pristine views of the city skyline and twinkling marina yachts. Your 3-day conference concludes with a concert from Michael Franti next to the blue serenity of the Pacific Ocean. The grass-covered setting invites you to kick out of your flip-flops and let the good times roll like the ocean waves. As upbeat reggae vibes fill the air, you tag onto a game of corn hole before you find the street taco variety tents next to the craft cocktail bar featuring over 50 tequilas. As the headliner takes the stage, the sun aligns with the Ocean’s horizon and you catch a glimpse of the covetable green flash. This moment provides a grand finale to your San Diego adventure.
A dining experience with no end
Just like every moment of your conference where you have been impressed by the excellence and merit, as you arrive to the Longest Table evening event you are instantly overcome by the boldness of the experience you see coming your way. Situated down the center of Little Italy streets is an expertly designed all-white tablescape that extends beyond eyesight. Luxurious textured white linens topped with towering freefall arrangement of florals in shades of white pop luxuriously against the urban setting of boutique shops and patisseries. As you find your seat to the tune of lively flamenco music, you get a sense that this will be a full sensory experience. Expert service presents course after course of Italian favorites created by a team of San Diego’s top chefs. Each plate is paired expertly with regional wines and a colorful emcee partners with chefs and sommeliers to present a fully guided affair. As the live music transitions, you rise from your chair to take a peak down the street. It is then that you realize each block features its own music, food and beverage theme, making your groups meal entirely unique and designed just for your experience.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson
Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!