I was born and raised in San Diego, California, but a recent trip was the first time I explored this city without a car. The birthplace of California, and the second largest city spreads out quite a bit —to over 72 square miles. With a less than perfect bus system, it was almost necessary to have a car in order to get around. But finally, there’s a better way to explore this beautiful coastal city. It’s not perfect, but the San Diego Trolley covers a lot of important sites. Here’s how you can visit San Diego without being stuck (too much) on the freeway.
Pick a hotel near a trolley line. Our favorite area is called Little Italy, which is not far from the airport and downtown. It’s in a fun neighborhood full of Italian restaurants, pubs and shops—all within walking distance of the trolley. Other areas to consider are Downtown, Old Town, Seaside Village or the Convention Center area.
You can use the trolley to get to:
The fun Gaslamp Quarter
Downtown San Diego
The new downtown library
Petco Park: for Padres Baseball
Qualcom Stadium: for Chargers Football
Old Town—where San Diego began
Washington Street–walk 2 blocks for El Indio, with the best taquitos in town
Mission Valley for shopping malls and more hotels
The Amtrak Train Station-Santa Fe Depot and San Diego State University
One of the best sites in town is Balboa Park, with 17 museums, a botanical garden, ornate historic buildings, the Old Globe Theatre and the famous San Diego Zoo. Although the trolley doesn’t go that direction, it’s possible to use the Old Town Trolley Tours for your transportation. Similar to the hop on/hop off busses in Europe, use this service to visit get an overview of San Diego, and then return to Balboa Park for the day. You won’t cover it all, but you’ll have a great time. http://www.trolleytours.com
You may need a car to visit these places: The Wild Animal Park
Sea World and Mission Bay
Coronado Island and beaches
(although, you can catch a ferry from Seaport Village)
La Jolla and beaches
The Pt. Loma Lighthouse & Ocean Beach
When it’s time to rent a car, you can take the trolley to the Washington Street or Middleton stops and walk to one of the car rental companies close by. Most of the car rental companies are located in this area.
By car or trolley, San Diego requires at least a week to experience the amazing San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, the beaches, downtown, Sea World and more.
For more info, try these sites:
San Diego Tourism Bureau : http://www.sandiego.org
Little Italy: http://dguides.com/sandiego/features/spend-a-day-at-san-diegos-little-italy/
S an Diego Trolley
This is news I could use, Martie! I’m going to be in SD this fall, and visit from time to time. Thanks for the post!
Glad you enjoyed it. Fall is a great time to visit.