San Diego

National Parks

San Diego, California - Transportation

12th Street Trolley Station © Joanne DiBona San Diego CVB
The San Diego Trolley covers over 50 miles, including historic Old Town, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, the Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field and the Mexico border.

Getting There

San Diego Airports

San Diego International Airport (also known as Lindbergh Field) is a large airport located only a few minutes from downtown San Diego and twenty minutes from Tijuana, Mexico. There are three terminals: Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and the Commuter Terminal.

The San Diego Airport provides complementary service between the airport terminals through the Red Bus, which runs about every 10 minutes.

Ground Transportation in San Diego

The Metropolitan Transit System bus, the Flyer Route No. 992, travels between the Airport and downtown San Diego for $2.25. The route connects with the Coaster and Amtrak stations and the Trolley.

Several car rental agencies have offices near the airport. Courtesy phones are available to request shuttle transportation from the airport to the car rental offices. Car rental shuttles operate from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Many shuttle companies provide service from the airport throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas. The average rate for a ride downtown is $9. Taxicabs are also available. A ride downtown costs about $10.

Train Services in San Diego

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner travels along the coast between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. The Metrolink commuter train has connections with Surfliner and takes passengers all through out the Los Angels area.

The Coaster train links North County and San Diego. The train travels to Oceanside with six stops in-between. The Coaster runs Monday - Saturday and is closed Sundays and major holidays. The cost is $4.00 - $5.50 for a one-way fare.

The Surfliner and Coaster all depart from Amtrak's Santa Fe Depot located in downtown San Diego.

Interstate Buses and Shuttles in San Diego

The Greyhound Bus Station is located only a few blocks from the Santa Fe Depot. Greyhound has three bus routes in and out of San Diego that offer connections to other U.S. towns and major cites.

The Anaheim shuttle offers service between all hotels in Old Town, Mission Bay, Downtown and Hotel Circle to the Los Angeles and Anaheim area. One way to Los Angeles is $59 per adult and $52 per child.

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Driving to San Diego

San Diego is serviced by four major interstate freeways. Interstate-8 (I-8) runs east-west from Arizona. Interstate-5 (I-5) runs north-south through San Diego's east side up through Los Angeles. Interstate-805 (I-85) runs north-south on San Diego's west side. Interstate 15 (I-15) runs northeast-southwest. San Diego also has six state highways that serve the city.

San Diego Water Transportation

San Diego is a homeport to several cruise lines. There are many marinas in San Diego Bay and the Mission Bay area for private boat owners.

Getting around

San Diego is quite easy to get around but a car is a necessity unless you plan to stay near the Trolley route (see below). Amtrak's Santa Fe Depot in downtown offers convenient connections for bus and rail riders.

City Bus Service in San Diego

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is San Diego's city bus system. The newest bus lines that run to Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and SeaWorld.

Driving around San Diego

San Diego's street system is well-developed and the freeways are comparably less congested than other California cities. There are currently plans for expansion and improvements over the next several years. The Bay Bridge connects San Diego with Coronado Island.

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Cinderella Carriage offers horse drawn carriage rides from Seaport Village with 10-60 minute rides.

Bike San Diego

San Diego is a bicycle friendly city with a wonderful bike-path system. Nearly all of the public transportation options offer bike racks. There are many stores that offer daily and multi-day bike rentals.

Motorized transportation such as motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters are available for rent throughout the city.


Pedicabs, the human-powered taxi (also known as a rickshaw), are found all around the Harbor Drive area. Many will take passengers all throughout the downtown area or just for a quick ride down the street.

View from San Diego Convention Center © Joanne DiBona San Diego CVB
A view from the San Diego Convention Center


The San Diego Trolley covers over 50 miles, including historic Old Town, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, the Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field and the Mexico border. The trolley fares are determined by the rider's distance. The starting fare is $1.50 and goes up to $6.00.

Old Town Trolleys offers a 2 hour fully narrated tour of San Diego covering more than 100 points of interest. Visitors can get off and on the trolleys to explore the areas.

San Diego Water Taxi

The San Diego Bay Water Taxi provides on-call transportation between Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Downtown, and Coronado. The fee is $7 per-person, one way.

The San Diego Bay Ferry runs between the Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego (9am to 9pm) and The Ferry Landing Marketplace on Coronado (9:30am to 9:30pm). Round trip is $6 ($7 if you have a bike).

Port of San Diego offers boaters twelve "Dock and Dine" facilities all around the San Diego Bay.

Handicapped Access

All of San Diego's public transportation options offer some form of handicapped access and assistance.

Written by: Elizabeth Blair
Top Photo Credit: © Joanne DiBona - San Diego CVB
Photo Description: San Diego International Airport