E.g., 04/11/2020
E.g., 04/11/2020

GALA 2020 Starter Kit

By: Miguel Sevener, Account Manager Europe - BeatBabel

28 January 2020

BeatBabel published this "GALA 2020 Starter Kit" on their website and we so liked it, that we decided to republish it on the GALA blog. Whether or not you have been to San Diego before, read what the insider team at BeatBabel recommends you do while attending GALA 2020, that is except for participating in the excellent sessions that the GALA 2020 program committee has curated for you. From bars to beaches, they cover it all. Welcome to San Diego, GALA delegates!


By: Miguel Sevener (Account Manager) and João Antunes (Project Coordinator)

It was about time GALA’s yearly spring conference landed here in sunny San Diego! BeatBabel started here 11 years ago and we simply never left, because…well, why would we? Marie and Burckhardt realized that it was extremely easy to keep Project Managers happy with the right mix of sun, sea, tacos and beer, all of which are plentiful on our little paradise bay just north of the Mexican border.

We are thrilled to have a whole contingent of localization professionals arriving to our shores in March, so our team tailor-made this starter kit for those of you visiting America’s Finest City for the first time. And if you have not already registered for the conference, you can still grab your early bird ticket here.

How Do I Get There?

Flying into San Diego

San Diego International Airport is the busiest single-runway airport in the United States, and it is smack in the middle of the city at a laughable 2 miles from downtown. If you’re flying into this airport, you will experience one of the most fun landings in aviation, flying right between the skyscrapers downtown. The Uber ride to most hotels in downtown is $15 and you will likely drive by the emblematic Star of India sail boat.

Flying into Los Angeles

LAX has many more connections with international airline hubs, but you will also have to endure the ‘infamous’ LA traffic on your way down to SD. Here are some ideas to make your connection to SD better:
  • Make it fun: If you’re going to be stuck in traffic, you might as well be in a luxury electric car. Rent a Tesla for just $49 through Tesloop!
  • Make it scenic: The stretch of coast between LA and SD is beautiful and best experienced from the second floor of the Pacific Surfliner, travelling right alongside the sand. This is a train ride you won’t forget. One-way LA-SD for approx. $35.

Flying into Tijuana

This last one is a little secret amongst the more astute San Diegans, but we can share it with you if you promise not to tell. Flights to Tijuana can be a lot cheaper, especially if you’re flying in from Spain and Latin America. The new border crossing integrated into the airport works great and the Uber ride to downtown San Diego will be approximately $35. Check if you need a visa!

Where Do I Stay?

The Manchester Grand Hyatt, where GALA 2020 will be held, is an excellent location by Seaport Village with stunning bay views, tons of things to do and restaurants around and the best prices in the Marina. You guessed it, it is the place to be. With the GALA discount, it will be one of your cheapest options downtown, so hurry up before all the rooms are gone. GALA delegates get a special, discounted rate. Did we mention the famous Top Gun Bar across the street? You might not bump into Tom Cruise at the pool but you won’t regret it!
With the ever-increasing waves of tourism we receive, hotels in San Diego sprouted like mushrooms in the forests of Oregon, and there are alternative options if the hotel sells out. Here are some of our favorites:
  • Horton Grand: Rediscover the timeless Victorian charm with this downtown location that will allow you to walk to the conference (13 minute walk). At the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, you will be surrounded by restaurants and bars. This hotel was part of a building boom following the opening of San Diego’s transcontinental railroad in 1885 and is one of the oldest hotels in San Diego. And you might actually be able to stay in a room where the (in)famous Wyatt Earp lived…
  • Andaz San Diego: a beautiful brick building with the most stunning rooftop bar and pool in a central downtown location close to the conference (15 minute walk). During Comic-Con, this sophisticated and trendy hotel hosted the cast party for The Walking Dead.
  • The U.S. Grant Hotel: It doesn’t get more historical than this downtown luxury 5 star hotel listed on the US Register of Historic Places. The hotel was built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr., son of the 18th president and is another one of San Diego’s iconic places. Plan for a 20 minute walk to the conference.
After the conference, here are some options if you want to change scenery from your downtown experience:
  • La Valencia Hotel: This hotel is by no means close to downtown or the conference, but it is so iconic it had to go on our list. This beautiful, huge pink hotel in the middle of La Jolla, San Diego’s fanciest coast town, seems straight out of a Wes Anderson film. It has one of the most stunning dining terraces and bars on this coast and you can overlook seal beach and all the trees that inspired Dr. Seuss.
  • 1906 Lodge: This historic B&B is on Coronado Island, across the bay from downtown and walking-distance from the beach. A great option if you like starting your day with a coast walk!
  • The Lafayette Hotel: This had to make our list because we are huge fans of the 1940s Hollywood aesthetic and the fact that this was the set for some of the scenes in Top Gun! You won’t be able to walk to the conference from here, but you will be close to the exciting neighborhoods of North Park and University Heights.

What Do I Wear?

We know that, after Munich, everybody is excited about visiting warmer latitudes, but don’t get carried away with the flip-flops and Hawaiian print shirts just yet. March is a comfortable month in San Diego with average temperatures of 66°F (19°C). However, early mornings and nights get quite chilly, you won’t want to be wearing shorts and a t-shirt when that happens.
It is also still the “rainy” season in Southern California (the word “rainy” for San Diego will make most people scoff, but we do get showers here!), so make sure to pack layers and at least one decent spring/fall jacket.
Dear Germans: you won’t need your coat!
Last but not least, DO bring a bathing suit. The Pacific is cold, but if the sun is putting in the effort you can certainly go for a swim in March. Our favorite swimming spots are:
  • La Jolla Shores: This beautiful mile-long beach offers the gentlest seas for swimming, expansive views highlighted by cliffs south and north. In the summer it is very common to see harmless leopard sharks hanging out by the sea floor.
  • Sunset Cliffs: For the adventurers in the group, this cliff-surrounded beach is only accessible after a steep downclimb. We recommend you come visit the cliff but stay on top and go swim elsewhere! (If you do make it down though, you will feel like you are the first person to set foot on this coast).
  • Mission Beach: This is the beach to visit if you are looking for the authentic 1950s USA beach town experience. Complete with boardwalk attractions, roller coaster and roller-skating next to the beach, this swim will have you humming Beach Boys songs all day.

What Do I Eat?

San Diego is home to so many different nationalities and cultures that one can easily find examples of genuine local cuisine from any corner of the planet. However, there is one particular type of food you will have trouble finding the same quality of anywhere else (besides the country of origin itself) … Mexican food!

There is so much to choose from it can be daunting, but don’t worry, the BeatBabel team has done the research for you, taking on the heavy burden of personally taste-testing all of these spots and hand-picking our top 3 for you:
  • El Puesto: With so many hole-in-the-wall taco shops and grab-and-go options, it seems strange actually sitting down to have a meal. But this Mexican restaurant in Seaport Village, minutes away from the GALA 2020 venue is well worth it thanks to their award-winning tacos and Margaritas.
  • ¡Salud!: People come to Salud from all over San Diego drawn by the atmosphere as much as the tacos. This taco shop in Barrio Logan, the Brooklyn of SD, will not disappoint those of you who want to have a delicious local craft beer with your taco while you listen to great music and take in the art that the neighborhood has to offer.    
  • Tacos Libertad: Lastly, for a less authentic, but equally delicious option, is Tacos Libertad, which put a new twist on their taco offerings with creations such as the “Duck Confit” taco. Located in Hillcrest, you will have endless entertainment and nightlife options in the neighborhood after dinner. And 100% of their profit goes to a different charity every month. Ask them about their speakeasy for a surprising after-hour evening…

What Do I Do?

The list is so long. From Seaport Village and the USS Midway to Balboa Park, there are so many opportunities around downtown and the Conference hotel. Stay tuned, because we will soon be releasing a series of local tips and suggestions from our very own BeatBabel team! In this series, individual team members will share some of their favorite spots and activities in sunny San Diego, so don’t miss out on the scoop and get ahead of the “average” tourists!

Miguel Sevener

Biology graduate turned translator, Miguel decided he would rather be a translator with research skills than a scientist with language skills. With both Spanish and English as his mother tongues, and a bicultural upbringing between Spain and the U.S., Miguel took the leap to translation through the Master's Degree in Intercultural Communication, Translation and Interpreting for the Public Services, where he was granted the Extraordinary Award for academic achievements.

He first met the BeatBabel team at the 2014 GALA conference in Istanbul, which he was invited to attend as the winner of the EMT Stars contest for young translators, and he joined the San Diego office later that year. His early focus was on English to Spanish translation, editing and quality assurance, where his scientific and technical accuracy came into play to ensure the utmost quality.

During the past two and a half years, he has incorporated more and more management responsibilities into his work. Today, he is BeatBabel's main liaison in Europe, managing clients and vendor teams on the old continent.