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Know Before You Go
- With over 70 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of beaches to discover in San Diego. One of the best ways to experience the city's natural beauty is to take the Mission Beach Tour. The shuttle makes a continuous loop past some of the most popular beach spots in Southern California.
- If you want to learn more about the city's heritage, spend a day exploring the San Diego History Center. It's located inside Balboa Park and is filled with exhibitions detailing the city's history as well as an extensive research library.
- Buy the San Diego Pass. You can visit multiple attractions around the city for USD 89. There's also a build-your-own itinerary option where you can build a pass tailored to your interests.
- If you are an architecture nerd, head to the Salk Institute. It's a functioning research facility in the city and is home to some of its best architecture.
- With some of the best weather in the country, San Diego is the ultimate outdoor activity destination. Take advantage by hiking the popular Cowles Mountain or get off the beaten track and try the Los Penasquitos Canyon.
Getting Around San Diego
Once you are in a neighbourhood, San Diego is easy to explore on foot. But with the city so spread out, you will need to rely on public transportation or a hired car to get around.
- The best way to explore San Diego is by car. With most of the most popular attractions not in a central location, hiring a car is the fastest way to see as much of the city as possible. San Diego is also laid out on a grid making it easy to navigate, and signage for the main sites are clear. Keep in mind that you will need to pay for parking on the street, so keep some loose change in your wallet.
- San Diego's public transportation is great for quick trips but is not that well-connected compared to other cities. The buses and trolleys go to most of the city's biggest attractions but not all the neighbourhoods. Fares are calculated according to the route and cost between USD 2.25 to USD 5 one way.
- If you want to take a ferry from downtown to Coronado, it will cost you USD 4.75 one way. The boat leaves every hour, and the ride takes about 15 minutes.
- Taxis are easy to find in San Diego but can end up being expensive as rates are based on mileage. Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft also operate in the city and are slightly cheaper.
When is The Best Time to Visit San Diego?
One of the best times to visit San Diego is during spring. From March to May the temperatures are mild, and the city is still quiet. While it does rain often in May, the deals you'll find during this low season will make up for the occasional downpour.
June to August is the city's high season. San Diego's warm summer weather and festivals attract domestic and international travellers to its shores. The seasonal influx means that room rates will spike especially around big events like Comic-Con. If you are travelling in July, book your accommodation a few months in advance to avoid disappointment or wait until August when the summer visitors start to trickle off.
Another shoulder season to consider is from September to November. As the crowds begin to disappear, room rates will start to drop making it one of the best times to visit if you are on a budget. Foodies will also love this time of year as many of the city's top culinary events take place.
If you are after a beach holiday, December to February would be the worst time to visit. While the temperatures are just below 20°C, the water temperatures are much lower, and rain showers are frequent.
Airports in San Diego
San Diego International Airport
San Diego's international airport is 5 km from the city centre. It has non-stop flights to major international destinations and is a focus city for Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. It's the busiest runway in the United States and ranks number three in the world behind Mumbai and London Gatwick.
Getting To and From San Diego International Airport
The cheapest way to get from the airport to San Diego is on the city bus. Route 992 stops at both terminals and runs every day from 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tickets cost USD 2.25, and the line connects passengers to the Trolley, COASTER and Amtrak stations.
If you want to take the trolley into town, use the free Terminal to Trolley shuttle. It runs every 10 to 15 minutes and drops passengers one block away from the Middletown Station. Tickets for the trolley into town cost USD 2.50 one way.
For passengers that want to take a taxi, follow the signs leading to the Transportation Plazas. Taxi fares from the airport fluctuate depending on traffic but cost around USD 12 to USD 18 one way.
Alternatively, you can also use one of the ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. There will be a USD 2.76 airport surcharge, and passengers are fetched outside Terminals 1 and 2.