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San Diego Traffic Overview
San Diego is a relatively modern city. Most of the area’s development took place after the interstate highway system was built. As a result, the width of highway construction was not constrained by earlier development, allowing the system to include at least 4 to 5 lanes going in each direction. Combined with the state highway system, most of San Diego can be reached in a short driving time from anywhere else in San Diego. If you ask someone how long it will take to get from point A to point B, the typical response will be 10 – 20 minutes. With the following exceptions and notes about common traffic choke points, that response should be quite accurate.
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 the museums at Balboa Park and through Downtown as you come in for landing. Within 10 minute you can reach the main transit center (Santa Fe Depot) or go right through the center of downtown San Diego along Broadway Avenue by using Bus #992 from each terminal at the San Diego Airport. This makes it very convenient and quick for you to get started on enjoying your vacation in San Diego. So, the question is, where else can you go on public transit and what is it like to ride transit in San Diego.
(click for insider tips about this San Diego activity)
San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is the most tourist friendly airport in the country. The San Diego airport ranks #2 in the United States for customer service and is conveniently located adjacent to the tourist attractions in downtown San Diego. Flying non-stop to San Diego is a convenient option for most visitors, including those coming from Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, and Maui.
San Diego offers a number of airports for private plane travel. Below, you will find general location information, Google Maps, and web site links for each of the airports.
AMTRAK offers four train stations in San Diego County. All are located near the coastline and major tourist attractions. They all provide service for AMTRAK’s Pacific Surfliner. Details on the AMTRAK Stations, including Google Maps, and what to expect on the beautiful ride to San Diego are noted below.
Greyhound offers five full service stations throughout San Diego County, including access to the beaches, international border, and major tourist attractions. Details on the Greyhound Stations, including Google Maps, other transit services, and nearby attractions are noted below.
Yellow Cab of San Diego – 1-619-234-6161 – Picks up in the City of San Diego, La Jolla, El Cajon, and nearby areas, but not Coronado.
Yellow Cab of North County – 1-760-722-4214 – Picks up in the North County area of San Diego including Oceanside, Carlsbad and Escondido.
Yellow Cab of Coronado – 1-619-542-1926 – Picks up on Coronado.
Orange Cab of San Diego – 1-619-223-5555 – Picks up in the City of San Diego, El Cajon, and other nearby areas, but not Coronado.
The Coronado Ferry is a great way to visit Coronado while enjoying San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline views. The Ferry is operated by Flagship Cruises (formerly San Diego Harbor Excursions) and runs hourly from the Broadway Pier and generally every two hours from the Fifth Avenue Landing behind the Convention Center to the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace. It takes only 15 minutes to cross the bay. The Hotel del Coronado is 1.5 miles from the Coronado Ferry Landing and can be reached by foot, bus, pedicab, or taxi.
A pedicab is a three or four wheeled bicycle carriage usually powered by a college student, many of whom are visiting from overseas. The pedicabs can generally carry two to four guests. They are a great option for getting around the crowded Gaslamp Quarter and East Village streets on weekend evenings. They are also a good choice to take to the San Diego Padres baseball games at Petco Park. You will see them around the downtown area and at major events. Cost depends on the number of passengers and generally ranges from $15 – $30 for a mile ride. You can also call one of the pedicab companies listed below to arrange for a tour.
Zipcar provides cars that can be rented by the hour or by the day. They have two locations in San Diego – the UCSD campus, which is near La Jolla Shores, Torrey Pines, and University City and the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, just a few miles north of downtown San Diego. Check for new San Diego locations on the Zipcar web site. You must apply to be a Zipcar member in advance. Learn more about Zipcar. If you are looking for Flex Car, the company was acquired by Zipcar.