Everyone is so helpful on this forum so I thought this small report could assist someone out there.
Primary reason for the trip was to see a basketball game at U.S.D.
That's why we stayed in Old Town, a 5-minute bus ride to Jenny Craig Arena. 2nd reason was to pick up and relocate a dog in Carlsbad(that's why the car).
Obtained the room through Hotwire. Ended up with the La Quinta Inn. Total for 2 nights, $130 w/taxes and fees, very reasonable. I always use Hotwire or Priceline, it's easy and saves you money. If you're fussy, go get a $300 per night room, not for me, I'd rather spend the extra on activities. La Quinta was fine, clean, quiet, free breakfast, nice people. Dog friendly too.
After check-in on Friday, drove to Balboa Park. Plenty of free parking there, not to worry. Only about a 7-minute drive from Old Town. Went to the Natural History Museum. It was terrific. There are several good museums in the park, we only had time for one on this trip. I could spend 2 or 3 days just in Balboa Park.
Drove back to the hotel and parked for the night. Took the #10 bus from Old Town to Hillcrest for dinner. Ate at Ristorante Arrivaderci, highly touted on T.R. Wasn't disappointed, meal was great, reasonably priced. They are open for lunch, then close until 5:00 for dinner. We got there a little early so found a neighborhood bar for a couple of cocktails. Wow, bartender had a heavy hand.
Returned to Old Town, same bus, only about a 10 minute ride, much easier than driving and parking, especia;;y after those two wallops.
Sat. A.M. Walked to Old Town Mining Company (Congress St) for breakfast. Eggs, sausage, and potatoes, $3.00. And it was good. Best deal in Old Town.
Hadn't seen Mission Beach for many years so we drove
over there to kill the morning. About a 10 minute drive, including getting lost. Plenty of free parking right next to the beach and Belmont Park. Roller coaster right there, plenty of rides and food stands if you have kids. There's lots of things to keep them busy.
Back to Old Town, plenty to see there also. Interesting and educational. Lots of tourists, plus a Harley-Davidson meet there Sat. A.M. Must have been 200 of them, great for business, but a little noisy..
Had a couple of Margarita's at a place called Miguel's. Free chips and salsa. Had to get in the mood for the 4:00 P.M. basketball game.
Took the #44 bus to U.S.D. Only a 5 minute ride. Parking can be difficult for those games, so the bus was a no-brainer. My school (Gonzaga) tried to lose, but finally pulled it off with about 3 minutes left in the game. Typical for Gonzaga, they've been bitten playing that cat & mouse game many times.
Back to Old Town, wasn't starving so we split a pizza and salad at Pizza Bella. Very satisfactory. Next trip I'm for sure going to have dinner at Berta's. This is Latin America/South American food. Some of my favorite and rather unique. Don't confuse with Mexican food, it's not the same.
Sun. A.M. Breakfast again at Old Town Mining Company. Easy check-out, and off to Carlsbad and points North.
Happy ending. Picked up a Yorky terrier in Carlsbad whose owner had passed away. I knew this dog really well, that's how I got involved. Found a terrier rescue site on the internet. He got adopted by a nice family within 1 hour, In fact, there were 4 families fighting over him. He's a doll. Mission accomplished.
Hope this little report can be of help to someone.