How to Get Around in San Diego
San Diego may be a large city, but it’s easy to get around–even if you don’t have a car. In fact, there are so many alternative options, the hardest part is deciding which to choose.
To get to and from the airport, shuttle service is a great option. It’s generally cheaper than a taxi and easy to use. In addition to airport pick-up and drop-off services, there are shuttles that will take you to and from the cruise ship terminal as well as the convention center.
San Diego Metropolitan Bus System
Both the bus and trolley system are part of the city’s light rail transit network. The trolley offers three lines that serve many popular areas and attractions like Old Town, downtown San Diego, the Convention Center, San Diego State University and the Mexican border.
The bus system is reliable and easy to use. It will take you to just about anywhere you want to go in San Diego, and beyond, that the trolley doesn’t service. It’s also available to take you to the downtown area from the airport, and vice versa, between 5 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., seven days a week.
The SDMTS website offers bus route maps, schedules and trip planning resources. By entering your starting address and desired destination, along with the date and time you’d like to go, it will determine the exact routes you’ll need to take.
Old Town Trolley
If your goal is to experience San Diego’s most popular sights, you might want to take an Old Town Trolley Tour. You can take the full two-hour narrated tour, or just use it for transportation service, hopping on and off at different stops throughout the day. It stops at 11 places around the area, including Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, Old Town, Coronado, Balboa Park and Little Italy.
Visit website: http://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego/
If you want to explore areas outside of San Diego, head to the Santa Fe Depot, the main hub for Amtrak. For coastal views, hop aboard the Pacific Surfliner train which travels along the Pacific, serving cities to the north like Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, with multiple stops at places in between. Heading east? Take the Sprinter inland rail which travels out to Esccondido.
The San Diego Water Taxi will take you across San Diego Bay, between downtown and Coronado Friday through Sunday. Even if you don’t plan to visit Coronado, it’s enjoyable to ride just take in the scenery and capture that postcard-perfect picture of the downtown skyline from the water.
Both Uber and Lyft are available in San Diego. Uber is more widely available, generally quicker than getting a cab, and it can be cheaper too, depending on the route. Just keep in mind that if you need a ride during high-demand times, like rush hour or New Year’s, prices can double. While Lyft doesn’t have as many drivers, as of yet, it doesn’t hike the price during busier periods. The drivers tend to be friendlier and more generous too, offering things like water bottles, though they also expect a tip, which is encouraged.
For either service, downloading the app is free and easy to use. As you can find out the fare before calling a ride, if price is a concern you might want to compare the cost to taxi service first.