How to get around in San Diego?

How To Get Around In San Diego?

What are the best ways to get around in San Diego?

How to get around in San Diego? One of the most common question when traveling to a new city. Figuring out how to get around efficiently and cost effectively is important when traveling to a new city. Visiting a new city can be a ton of fun, but pricey if you don't know your way around. We have created a list of some of the most popular transportation options available in San Diego during your sports trip. Plan the ultimate trip with the help of our travel experts and don't get caught unprepared when traveling to a new city!

How to get around in San Diego

Although using a car would be a great option in San Diego to access its beaches and attractions just outside the city center, public transit would do just fine if you’re a tourist looking to save a little money. If you’re only looking to see just the top tourist attractions of San Diego, the Old Town Trolley is an excellent option.

How to get around in San Diego?

# of Major San Diego Airports: 1


  1. San Diego International Airport (SAN)


How to get to and from SAN

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is an international airport under 3 miles northwest of Downtown San Diego, California. Although an international airport, the majority of passengers passing through SAN were from domestic flights. Of the 25 million passengers processed at SAN in 2019 only slightly more than one million were international passengers. 


Located under a 10 minute drive from Downtown San Diego, it is quite easy to get to and from SAN. If you are flying in for a San Diego Padres game be sure to give yourself some added time before first pitch, traffic around any major airport can be unpredictable and you don’t want to risk being late to the game! 


Below are your best available options for how to get to downtown San Diego from SAN so you can start your sports getaway!


  • Public Transit: Public City Bus transit is between SAN and downtown San Diego on the Metropolitan Transit System's Route 992. Route 992 stops at Terminals 1 and 2 and operates between 5:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., running every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays. This bus service connects with Trolley, COASTER and Amtrak stations. A one way adult fare is $2.50 USD.


  • Amtrak and COASTER Trains: Amtrak Intercity and COASTER commuter trains link SAN with downtown San Diego with stops in Old Town, Sorrento Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. These trains even extend to communities as far away as Los Angeles and Orange County. Travelers from SAN can connect with Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and the COASTER at Amtrak's Santa Fe Depot train station downtown by using Metropolitan Transit System Route 992. Route 992 operates between 5:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. and runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays. Tickets may be purchased at ticket vending machines on the Santa Fe Depot station platform, online or via the COASTER Mobile App. An adult day pass only costs $6 USD.


  • Trolley: The Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS') San Diego Trolley is a rail transit network with three lines that serve many popular areas and attractions in San Diego such as Downtown. There are two ways to reach the Trolley from Terminals 1 and 2. You can either take City Bus Route 992 to the Broadway and Kettner Blvd bus stop in downtown or you can access the Sycuan Green Trolley Line by taking the Rental Car Shuttles at the transit islands at Terminals 1 and 2. The shuttle drops passengers off on the north end of the airport, just one block from the Middletown Station and you can then proceed by crossing Pacific Highway and walking one block to the station on the left. Rental Car Shuttles stop there regularly, typically less than 10 minutes apart. A one way adult fare is $2.50 USD.


  • Taxi: Many taxi companies service SAN. If you need a taxi simply follow the signs leading to the Transportation Plazas across from Terminals 1 and 2. From there, a Customer Service Representative will place you with the first available taxi. This ten minute drive should only cost you $20 USD. 


  • Sedan Service/Limo: There are a few limousine/luxury sedan companies that provide pick-up services from SAN. The cost of such a service does vary based on your provider and level of vehicle, but it typically costs between $60 USD and $90 USD. Before confirming your pick-up location with your driver!


  • Rental Car: Car rental pick-ups at SAN take place at the Consolidated Rental Car Center. There are free dedicated shuttle busses that run constantly between the airport terminals and the Rental Car Center. The cost of your rental car will vary based on a number of factors, but ask your Elite Sports Tours representative for a quote!


  • Ride Sharing: Lyft and Uber offer rideshare services at SAN. SAN offers designated rideshare passenger pick up locations clearly marked by signage. At Terminal 1 exit baggage claim via the escalators, walk across the Sky Bridge toward Ground Transportation and the parking lot, then exit down the escalators toward the parking lot, and turn right to the Transportation Plaza. At Terminal 2 use the main crosswalk after exiting baggage claim to get to Transportation Plaza. The cost of your trip will vary based on a number of factors, so although using a ride sharing app is convenient we always recommend checking the price before confirming a pick-up!


  • Airport Shuttles: Remember to ask your Elite Sports Tours representative to see if your hotel offers an airport shuttle! Airport shuttles can be coordinated by providing your hotel with your flight information. Shuttle service is available at the Transportation Plazas across from Terminals 1 and 2.


  • Walking: You can even walk to downtown San Diego from SAN! Pedestrian walkways make the commute possible and taking just under an hour and being just under a 3 mile walk, this may be a great option for you to stretch your legs after your flight – especially if you just have a carry on. 


Walking could just be your best bet to get to Downtown San Diego from SAN. If you only have a carry-on and the weather is nice, which it usually is in San Diego, this hour long walk could be a great way to stretch out and start your trip. Beyond walking, just take a cab or a ride sharing service for convenience. The price isn’t bad to begin with and if you are splitting the cost among other travellers it will be extremely comparable to a much more time consuming, but less expensive, public transit option.

Airport (SAN) to Downtown San Diego

Here is a list of options on how to get around in San Diego:


  • Light Rail - Inexpensive and kids under 5 ride free. These will connect you to the many coastal communities in the region
    • Coaster
      • Connects downtown San Diego and Old Town with car-free access to some of the most beautiful beach communities in the region
      • The entire route takes about an hour and offers beautiful coastal scenery
    • Sprinter
      • Runs east to west along the Highway 78 corridor
      • Serves 15 stations
      • Runs every 30 minutes

  • Trolley
    • Red Trolley - 4 lines that service the Downtown San Diego neighborhoods passing though many key locations
      • UC San Diego Blue Line
      • Orange Line
      • Sycuan Green Line
      • SDG&E Silver Line
    • Old Town Trolley
      • Great way to see the main tourist areas of San Diego.
      • Stops at 11 places. Feel free to ride the full two-hour narrated historic tour or just hop on and off at different stops through the day.

  • Bike
    • San Diego is a very bike-friendly city with many roads having designated bike lanes throughout.
    • It’s perfect for exploring the waterfront area and taking in the breathtaking views.
    • Many bike rentals everywhere in the city

  • Pedicabs & Carriages
    • These are readily available on the waterfront and are great fun for tourists.

  • San Diego Water Taxi
    • offers on-call transportation services in San Diego Bay Friday through Sunday. Service runs between Downtown and Coronado, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery and beautiful downtown skylines from the water.

  • Rideshare
    • Uber
    • Lyft

  • Car Rental
    • Elite Sports Tours can assist you with a car rental reservation during your trip.

  • Taxis
    • Can be difficult to hail on the street, best to get one at a hotel.

These are some of the best transportation options when trying to figure out how to get around in San Diego.

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