I moved to San Diego in 1996. Thirteen years without going inside the Hotel Del Coronado. I find this way too long. I finally went to the “Hotel Del” or “The Del” yesterday for the very first time. The first time means going inside and outside the building. I did park in front of it last Summer to pick-up a friend from a photography shoot, but I don’t believe staying in the car and waiting counts. Anyways, Going into “The Del” was like experiencing a piece of history. The wooden structure looks huge on the outside but the interior is quaint and dark on the inside. A huge tree was decorated in the middle of the lobby, the tree had to be about fifty feet tall. Parking was pretty easy. There is a self-parking lot at the hotel and yet it is a bit pricey if you don’t try to get your ticket validated. Cost is $15 for two-hrs and $10 each additional hr. Seems steep, yet the views are breathtaking and easy access to the beach makes it all worth it. The reason I went to “The Del” was because I promised E I would take her to go ice skating. From November to beginning of Jan, they build a temporary ice skating rink near the beach area and with admission (some of the proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of San Diego) E and I got to skate for a couple of hours. E was out there making friends chatting away about her earmuffs. The weather had to be about 60-65 degrees. I ended up taking off my jacket and tying it around my waist. The line was about a 15 min wait but as soon as we paid, everything went smoothly. The ice was pretty hard and smooth when we got there but about an hour on the rink, the ice started melting and one fall meant getting wet. E was drenched from her hour of skating. I lasted about 15 min. and I didn’t fall so I was safe. My ankles aren’t what they used to be, so quitting seemed the best thing to save my feet. I watched E from the sidelines. E is still young and she kept going and going and falling and falling. Luckily, we had a change of clothes for her in the car (Tip- bring change of clothes). We went to the bathroom and got her dry then went and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon at the hotel. After skating, E and I wandered around the shops. It is a mini-shopping area down the stairs of the main lobby. The items are pretty unique and many are sea themed, a lot of nice high-end merchandise. By wandering through the shops I found out that there is validation available for the self-parking- 3 hrs free parking if you spend $50 (that is what the sign says) or $10 if you buy a hot dog at the Sea Side Grill like E and I did. A foot-long hot dog, a side of pickles and a bag of chips $10, a glorious view of the ocean and free parking that would of cost me $15 otherwise (Score). The ice skating goes until Jan. 3, but the Del will always be there. One of my New Year’s resolutions- explore San Diego more.