One of the best ways to do so is to purchase a ticket for the San Diego Old Town Trolley Tour. The sightseeing tour highlights the best of San Diego while allowing you to explore at your own pace. With the option to hop on and off at 11 different spots, you can create a day all your own.
You can board one of the trolleys at any stop location. I choose to start my tour at their headquarters in Old Town, as I planned to cover all of the stops. When you first board, you’re given a sticker to wear. This is essentially your boarding pass to hop on and off at the various stops, so don’t forget to stick it to your shirt or pant leg. After taking the full tour myself, I can tell you how to make the most of your one-day trolley ticket.
Every stop has a rolling schedule, with pick up times every 30 minutes. This means you can take a quick look at some of the sights and stay longer at others – the choice is yours. I do recommend starting your trolley tour early in the day to make the most of your ticket as the trolley runs during the day only.
Some of the points of interest I think deserve your time is USS Midway. A tour is available at ship’s Aircraft Carrier Museum, where you can learn about the Navy’s longest serving carrier. Seaport Village is a quaint bay front complex with cobblestone streets and charming views of San Diego Bay. Grab a bit to eat at one of the local cafes, before hopping back on the trolley. Gaslamp Quarter is a Victorian-themed district worth a quick stop. But, save this destination for after dark as that’s when you can really experience the excellent cuisine and nightlife available. Take in soaring views as you drive over the famous Coronado Bridge, then get off the trolley at the Coronado Ferry Landing stop. The highlight here are the views of San Diego Bay. You can also pick up a sweet treat for later at shops like at ChocoAmore or a souvenir at La Camisa.
After this quick stop, the official Coronado stop is next. For me, this spot is ideal for two reasons – views of the famous Hotel Del Coronado and the beach! Spend some time with your toes in the sand, snapping photos and enjoying the ocean breeze.
Balboa Park, a city park and cultural attraction all in one, is another must stop. You won’t be able to see all of this sprawling 1,200 acre gem, but you can experience some its finest features. Stroll through the long promenade of El Prado and then admire the grand design of the Casa de Balboa. Experience some of the many gardens, like the one blooming at the Botanical Building. Explore the California Bell Tower, and visit one of the many museums on site like the San Diego Museum of Art. The San Diego Zoo is located here too, but save it for another day as you’ll need more time for that attraction.
You can see the best of San Diego with the Old Town Trolley Tour. It’s a convenient way to acclimate yourself to the city. Make it one of the first things you do when you arrive. You’ll get a good perspective of your vacation destination and discover places you have to visit more than once.