San Diego Photography Tours

Location: Gaslamp/Downtown San Diego, Coronado, La Jolla, Point Loma, Balboa Park, Embarcadero/Waterfront, Old Town, various coastal locations, and many other locations throughout San Diego county.

Schedule: Daily and by Reservation

Cost: $85 and Up

Features: Guided, hands-on Photography Tours by a professional photographer guide featuring San Diego’s most beautiful locations with historical narration. Tours by foot or by van.

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Information for Visitors to Qualcomm Stadium San Diego

Location: Mission Valley (7 Miles / 15 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Game Times:

NFL Football: Fall Sundays at 1:25PM:
College Football: Saturday, August 30; Time TBD: Northern Arizona vs. San Diego State University

Cost: Varies.

Features: Learn what to expect, see, and do in and around Qualcomm Stadium San Diego.

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Historic San Diego Food Tours with So Diego Tours

Locations: Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town

Tour Schedule: 2.5 hour tours for Lunch & Dinner, Wednesdays through Saturdays

Cost: $45, includes food tastings

Features: Themed Walking Tours combining local Food and History

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San Diego Rental Car Advice for Tourists

San Diego is one of the easiest cities to visit in the world. Why? The San Diego Airport is only one mile away from the hotels and attractions in Downtown San Diego.

Yes, you fly right over Balboa Park and through Downtown as you come in for landing. This makes it very convenient and quick for you to get started on enjoying your vacation in San Diego.

Do You Need a Rental Car in San Diego?

The answer to whether you need a car rental in San Diego depends on where your hotel is located and what attractions you want to see.

San Diego Hotels

If you are staying in Downtown San Diego, San Diego Hotelsincluding the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and the hotels surrounding the Convention Center, or in the areas of Old Town, Hotel Circle, or Mission Valley, you can easily visit most of San Diego’s top attractions without renting a car in San Diego. You will start with Bus #992, which takes airport visitors to the trolley station a mile away and makes stops near downtown hotels on Broadway. All of these areas are served by the San Diego Trolley with the exception of some hotels in Hotel Circle, where guests will want to take a short ride on Bus #88 to reach a nearby trolley station. A public transit Day Pass for using buses and trolleys only costs $5. All of these areas are also served by the Old Town Trolley hop-on and hop-off tour.

If you are staying at hotels on Shelter Island, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, or father north along the beaches of San Diego, you will want to consider getting a rental car to more readily get around to the attractions in San Diego. However, one alternative to a car rental if staying in these areas is using Gray Line Tours, which provides hotel pick-up to give you access to their city tours, tours to Mexico, and transportation to main attractions including the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND.

For more information on the different areas where you will find hotels in San Diego and the public transit options for each, read this introduction to San Diego hotels.

San Diego Attractions

Most attractions in San Diego Panda at the San Diego Zooare served by some form of transit. (If you use this online travel guide by TourGuideTim, you will find the descriptions provided for over 200 attractions includes the transit options that are available at each destination.)

However, it can be appreciated most tourists shy away from transit, especially if it is not easy to use or takes too long to reach an attraction. To make it simple, if you are staying at a hotel that is readily accessible to the San Diego Trolley as described above, you can avoid using a car rental in San Diego to see the major attractions unless you plan to visit SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (this is different from the San Diego Zoo), and LEGOLAND. You can get transportation to these attractions from your hotel using Gray Line Tours but if you want a flexible schedule, it is best to get a rental car for these visits.

In addition, if you want to visit the San Diego Zoo or the Hotel del Coronado, both require short rides on a city bus. However, a good alternative is to sign up for Old Town Trolley Tours mentioned earlier, which has stops within short walks of both attractions. Also, if you want to visit La Jolla, I’d recommend my highly rated tour which takes guests from downtown San Diego to all of the top sites in La Jolla and Torrey Pines, most of which are not accessible by transit and which almost all visitors and many locals do not find on their own.

Advice for those who get a Car Rental in San Diego

Here are some things to keep in mind if you get a rental car:

  • Downtown San Diego has numerous one-way streets.
  • Many local streets north of downtown San Diego start and stop several times because San Diego is full of hills and valleys (called mesas and canyons by the locals). These streets do not have bridges to connect you from one side of a canyon to the other so you end up at dead ends and have to figure out what streets will get you to the other side.
  • Motorcyclists are allowed to pass in between cars so be careful when you go to change lanes during a traffic jam, which is when motorcyclists take advantage of the opportunity to squeeze between cars.
  • Bicyclists are allowed on to the interstate highways on some stretches, especially in the La Jolla area, so keep an eye out for them as well.
  • Check to see how much your hotel charges for overnight parking.

Advice for those not getting a Rental Car in San Diego

Here are some resources to help you visit San Diego without a car rental: San Diego Trolley

  • San Diego’s transit system earns many awards for its innovation. It’s latest endeavor to stay at the forefront of technology is a collaboration with Google Maps, which will show you on your computer, smartphone, or via text message real-time data on when the next bus will arrive at your stop. You can learn more about this service, try out the transit planner that provides information on what transit can be used to get from point A to point B, and access San Diego public transit maps on TourGuideTim’s page about San Diego Transit Information for Tourists.
  • San Diego’s tour companies provide an excellent alternative to renting a car in San Diego. Not only do you get to avoid the hassles of driving around a new (and challenging) area on your vacation but you will also learn a lot of fascinating history about the area. You can learn more about the Old Town Trolley, Gray Line Tours, and my own La Jolla Tours on TourGuideTim’s page about San Diego Tours.

Summary of the Best Tours in San Diego

TourGuideTim® tours offer the most in-depth, interactive bus and walking tours in San Diego. However, there are many types of tours in San Diego and we are happy to help promote other San Diego tours so you can find the ones that best match your interests. Our goal is to help you make the most of your vacation in San Diego.

Here’s a brief summary of our tours and others with a good reputation among tourists, concierges and locals and where to get more information.

San Diego City Tour with TourGuideTim

Comfortable mid-sized coach buses used for our City and Coast Tours

Comfortable mid-sized coach buses for the City & Coast Tours that come with both driver and guide

Join our San Diego City Attractions and History Tour to learn the local history and get the best overview of San Diego attractions in and around downtown San Diego, including San Diego harbor, Old Town, San Diego Zoo, Coronado, and the Gaslamp Quarter. This 2.5-hour morning tour includes a Pacific Ocean photo stop at Sunset Cliffs and an optional walking tour past the museums at Balboa Park. Our tours provide more information and interaction than any other bus tour because we have two people running our tours. While the driver focuses on getting us where we need to go, our expert guide can provide you 100% of their attention and answer questions so you can make the most of your vacation in San Diego. Learn more about the San Diego City Tour.

San Diego Coast Tour to La Jolla & Torrey Pines with TourGuideTim

Guests listening to tour guide while looking out at La Jolla Cove

Guests learning about sea lions at La Jolla Cove on the Coastal San Diego Tour

Join us to see some of the most beautiful coastline found anywhere in the world. This 5-hour afternoon tour includes four extended stops ranging from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours where you can join your guide for a walking tour or explore on your own. Our stops include a hilltop overlooking the entire San Diego area and Pacific Ocean, the Torrey Pines Golf Course where our guests receive an exclusive discount on souvenirs, the Torrey Pines Gliderport on the cliffs above Black’s Beach, and the Village of La Jolla, where we’ll see sea lions and seals at La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool. Since our tours include both a driver and a guide, we provide a lot of flexibility and can accommodate guests who have difficulty walking. Learn more about the San Diego Coastal Tour.

San Diego Ghost Tours with Haunted San Diego

Purple Ghost Bus with Guide in CostumeJoin this combination bus and walking tour to learn the haunted tales of the West Coast’s oldest settlement. This 2-hour evening tour starts in Old Town, the Birthplace of California and takes guests to some of the oldest homes and buildings in San Diego. The tour includes exclusive access into the oldest surviving structure in downtown San Diego and a walk through San Diego’s second oldest cemetery. Like our TourGuideTim tours, Haunted San Diego is locally owned and operated and provides both a driver and a guide so visitors can get the best experience possible. Learn more about the San Diego Ghost Tours.

San Diego Hop-on & Hop-off Tours with the Old Town Trolley

Old Town Trolley Tour bus The Old Town Trolley provides convenience for those who want to explore on their own. Their two-hour sightseeing loop includes nearly 12 stops at popular attractions such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Old Town, San Diego Harbor, and Seaport Village. Guests can stay on-board for the full two hours but most will ‘hop-off’ at the various stops to explore the attractions and then ‘hop-on’ another Trolley, which generally pass by each stop every 30 minutes. The drivers are known as ‘Conductors’ and will share the history of San Diego as you travel between stops. Learn more about the Old Town Trolley.

SEAL Tours with the Old Town Trolley (Duck Tours)

amphibious-tourSEAL Tours, better known by many as Duck Tours, is a sea and land tour, that provides a look at the attractions in and around San Diego harbor. It is a 1.5-hour tour on an amphibious boat. The boat captain spends about a half-hour driving alongside the harbor in downtown San Diego and then enters into the water in an area known as America’s Cup Harbor for about an hour loop between North Island Naval Air Station and Cabrillo National Monument. A tour guide will share the history of the harbor and talk about local attractions like the Maritime and USS Midway museums, the military’s influence on San Diego, and local marine biology research as you enjoy watching a variety of ships traveling in and out of the harbor and Pacific Ocean and sea lions hanging out on buoys. Learn more about the SEAL tours.

San Diego Harbor Tours with Flagship Cruises

harbor-cruiseStep-aboard a yacht for a narrated cruise of San Diego harbor. Tours start in downtown San Diego and take you either north towards America’s Cup Harbor for a good look at nuclear aircraft carriers if they are in port, a submarine base, and Cabrillo National Monument where the first Spanish Conquistadors arrived in 1542 or south under the Coronado Bay Bridge to see the shipyards and Naval Base San Diego, home port to the largest concentration of ships. Both the ‘north loop’ and the ‘south loop’ each take 1 hour to travel about 12 miles. You can also enjoy both loops in one 2-hour tour. This locally owned and operated company also provides dinner cruises and a local ferry service between downtown San Diego and Coronado. Learn more about Flagship Cruises.

San Diego Sailing Tours

San Diego Sailing Tour boat on San Diego HarborSan Diego is sailing paradise with good weather and gentle breezes throughout the year. It hosted the America’s Cup Sailing Races in 1988, 1992 and 1995, with the famous Dennis Conner, a local San Diegan leading the way. The BMW-Oracle team, which brought back the America’s Cup to the U.S. in 2010 after an 18 year absence did their training in San Diego. The scenery around San Diego harbor is beautiful and the history is plentiful. Come experience it with San Diego Sailing Tours, which offers 2-hour tours during the day and during the evening sunset. Tours are limited to six guests and include both a captain and a first mate to ensure you have an enjoyable sailing experience while learning about San Diego. Learn more about San Diego Sailing Tours.

San Diego Segway Tours with We Love Tourists

segway-tourIf you enjoy riding these motorized transporters or have always wanted to try one out, take a Segway tour. There’s the 2.5-hour City Loop that includes the harborfront, Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park and the 2-hour La Jolla Tour to go up and down the hills in the beautiful coastal community in La Jolla. Tours include training on how to use a Segway and narration from your guide on the places you’ll see. This locally owned and operated company also provides personal walking tours of SeaWorld and Legoland. Learn more about We Love Tourists.

San Diego Electric Bike Tours with San Diego Fly Rides

Electric bike tour guests on hilltop overlooking Pacific OceanIf you love to ride bicycles but are traveling with someone who’s not as confident in their ability, trying an electric bike tour is the way to go. These motorized bikes look like regular bicycles and are just a little heavier than a normal bicycle. You can peddle as much or as little as you want as you explore San Diego on a tour. Tours are offered for the areas in and around Balboa Park, Cabrillo National Monument, and La Jolla and generally last 2 to 2.5 hours. Bike helmets are provided. If you end up loving your electric bike, you can also check out the bikes San Diego Fly Rides has for sale and have them shipped to your home. Learn more about San Diego Fly Rides.

San Diego Kayak Tours with Hike Bike Kayak

Go out on the water with a naturalist to explore the natural beauty of San Diego. Hike Bike Kayak is a locally owned and operated company that offers small group kayak tours of San Diego Bay, Mission Bay, and La Jolla Cove. Learn about the local sea life such as sea lions, seals, dolphins, and sea turtles. In La Jolla, you might even get to enter a sea cave. Tours last upwards of 2 hours. Wet suites are available if desired. Whale watching tours are available during the winter and tours to see the evening fireworks at SeaWorld are available during the summer. Learn more about Hike Bike Kayak.

San Diego Microbrewery Tours with Brewery Tours of San Diego

San Diego has become the mecca for fans of microbreweries. San Diego breweries have accumulated more medals at national and international beer festivals than any other region. The Brewery Tours of San Diego takes you to these award winning breweries on both afternoon and evening tours lasting from 4 to 5 hours. They have multiple pick-up points so you don’t have to drive and they visit different breweries on different days so you have the chance to try a wide variety of beers. You will also get to enjoy a behind the scenes tour at most of those breweries. Learn more about the Brewery Tours of San Diego.

Temecula Wine Tours with Destination Temecula

Wine tour Mercedes Sprinter busSouthern California’s wine country is in Temecula, an hour’s drive north of downtown San Diego. Destination Temecula picks up guests at their San Diego hotels and takes them on a full day narrated tour to visit three wineries, including a stop for a gourmet lunch, and provides time for guests to look through the shops and galleries in Old Town Temecula. The tour takes roads less traveled as you enter wine country so you can enjoy the beauty of this wine making region. Learn more about Destination Temecula.

San Diego Beer & Wine Tours by Train with Shira

Travel San Diego’s coastline by train to visit boutique breweries or wineries. These 5-hour afternoon tours start in San Diego and travel north on the regional Coaster train. The tours include a behind the scenes look at some of the stops, short walking tours, education on the local wines or brews, games and prizes. Drinking is allowed on the train. Lunch is included. Learn more about San Diego Beer & Wine Tours.

San Diego Food Tours with So Diego Tours

Guests enjoying the historic Old Town Food TourEnjoy food and drink tastings at local restaurants during a walking tour of Old Town or the historic Gaslamp Quarter. The 2.5 hour tours are offered for both lunch and dinner. You’ll enjoy colorful stories of local history as you walk from restaurant to restaurant on the Gaslamp Brothels, Bites & Booze tour and Old Town’s Tequila, Tacos & Tombstones tour. There will be enough food more most people to consider it a full meal. Learn more about So Diego Tours.

Photo tours with San Diego Photography Tours

San Diego Photo Tour in downtown San DiegoSan Diego is one of the most beautiful places in the world. After a San Diego vacation, visitor’s cameras are full of captured memories. If you want to learn new tricks on taking the perfect photograph, join a sightseeing tour where you will not only learn how to better use your personal camera but also learn the history of the areas you visit. Public tours generally last upwards of 4 hours. Both walking and vehicle led tours are available, covering different areas of San Diego, including downtown San Diego and the adjoining harborfront, Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town, Balboa Park, and La Jolla. Private tours are also available. Learn more about San Diego Photography Tours.

Coronado Walking Tours

Coronado is located just across the harbor from downtown San Diego and is considered one of the more idyllic communities in America. It is home to retired Admirals, Navy SEALs, tree-lined streets where no two adjacent homes are the same, and a history covering everything from a tent city to the oldest hotel in California. Take a walking tour around this idyllic town, past the mansions, and the historic Hotel del Coronado while learning about the area’s storied history. It’s a town where 11 U.S. Presidents and many world leaders have vacationed while in office. Guides Nancy and Gerry have been running the tours since 1980. The 1.5-hour walking tour starts at the Glorietta Bay Inn, across the street from the Hotel Del, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 11AM. Learn more about Coronado Walking Tours.

More San Diego Tours

If you are looking for Grayline bus tours, the local operator closed its office in 2012. They were very helpful to TourGuideTim tours when we launched our business in 2010 focusing on a more in-depth, interactive experience and we look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

Scroll down a list of San Diego tours to find more suggestions of tours that might interest you. You will also see various attractions including Balboa Park and Old Town State Historic Park offer periodic walking tours on some select days of the month. Enjoy!

Sail San Diego Harbor in an America’s Cup Yacht

Location: Downtown San Diego

Schedule: Summers at 11:30AM and 5:30PM; Public and Private Charters

Cost: $40 – $100 for Adults (Discounts for Kids)

Features: Sail on an America’s Cup Yacht in the Beautiful San Diego Bay.

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Find a Personal Guide from the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association

Travelers are blown away by how much there is to see and do in San Diego. They come with the expectation to see SeaWorld, the Zoo, local beaches, and the Gaslamp Quarter, only to find out there is so much more they are missing.

Because there is so much to know about San Diego, it helps to hire a local to take you on the tour of the area, provide an insider’s perspective on where to experience the activities you will remember for a lifetime, and make sure your visit goes smoothly as planned.

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La Jolla Sightseeing Tours

Location: Downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Torrey Pines

Tour Schedule: Starts at 12PM most days except Sundays

Cost: $68

Departs: Santa Fe Train Depot in Downtown San Diego, which serves AMTRAK, regional Coaster train, and city Trolley service. It is located two blocks from the Visitor Information Center, Cruise Ship Terminal, and Harbor Attractions.

Features: Half-Day, Expert-Guided Tour from San Diego to La Jolla and Torrey Pines. Amazing views; Fascinating Trivia; Includes free time.

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Explore the Unbelievable Beauty of La Jolla, California

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Find Great San Diego Attractions that are Not Well Known.

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San Diego County, California can probably claim it has more tourist attractions than any other area in the country. As a result, many great attractions are often overlooked. The pictures above represent a sampling of attractions that deserve more attention. If you are looking for something new to see, select one of the picture tabs above or start exploring the attractions by the locations or themes listed in the sidebar to the right and find yourself a new adventure. Enjoy your travels!

Why San Diego Performing Arts are a Step Above the Rest

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Actor Gregory Peck started the original La Jolla Playhouse in 1947, bringing with him the likes of Ginger Rogers and Charlton Heston to San Diego.

Peck originally desired to bring the experience of theatre from Broadway to Hollywood but he could never find enough support for theatre among the residents of Los Angeles. However, he found plenty of support for theatre in his native San Diego.

Since then, San Diego has not only produced many of Hollywood’s most famous stars – Cliff Robertson, Raquel Welch, Dennis Hopper, Whoopi Goldberg, Kelsey Grammar, and Robin Wright – but also dozens of Tony Award winning Broadway Productions, including the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical – Memphis.

You see, San Diego provides a nice lifestyle for actors, a quiet place for producers to perfect their works outside of the limelight, and great community support for the performing arts.

But, theatre is not the only place where San Diego excels. Consider the San Diego Symphony, which is one of the few symphonies in the world to own its performance hall. (It is an original Fox Theatre where Walt Disney would premier his movies.) Today, it offers over 100 performances a year with the help of a $120 million gift.

San Diego also has a vibrant opera company, a number of ballet companies, and several visiting artists series that attract the top jazz musicians and classical performers in the world.

Start learning more about the upcoming performances in San Diego by selecting each of the pictured venues above to learn more.

Take an Adventure Vacation in San Diego

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The first American to fly was John J. Montgomery off a San Diego hilltop in 1883. Nearly 50 years later, Charles Lindbergh set the distance record for motorless flight when he flew over the cliffs at Torrey Pines. Today, visitors come from around the world to fly off the ocean cliffs without the use of a plane. It’s just them and the quiet ocean breezes.

North Island, just across the harbor from the San Diego Airport saw the world’s first seaplane flight and first parachute jump. The Navy SEALS special forces now use the area for their training.

In 2009, the America’s Cup Challenger and eventual champion, BMW-Oracle, spent several months sailing in San Diego waters as they prepared to win back the Cup for America.

San Diego has always been and will always be a destination for those who thrive on adventure. Whether you want to SCUBA dive into the deep recesses of a submarine canyon, hike down steep mountain cliffs, or explore desert mud caves, you can experience all of that and much more in San Diego.

Start your adventure by selecting each of the picture tabs above to find what will get you to explore your wild side.