Historic Trolley Tour
Many people come to the city to enjoy SeaWorld’s exhibits and shows or the world famous San Diego Zoo, but there is much more to explore around town.
You can spend days visiting the museums at Balboa Park, take a sunset dinner cruise in the harbor or climb aboard an Aircraft Carrier.
One of the best ways to explore the city of San Diego is by taking the historic old town trolley. You can jump on and off the trolley at any of the 10 stops throughout the day.
You can start your tour at any of the 10 stops along the route, but Tthe main starting point is at Old Town San Diego.
This State Park is a collection of protected historic buildings that were turned into a living museum of San Diego life in 1800’s.
While in old town you can enjoy visits to Spanish Adobe style homes, buy souvenirs from stores or dine at one of the unique restaurants. Casa de Estudillo is especially interesting with its unique style and interior courtyard.
Tip: Many hotels have shuttles to Old Town. Ask your concierge for schedules and make sure you can get back to old town before the last one. You can also find a list here.
The second stop is at the Embarcadero where you can find attractions like the USS Midway, Harbor Cruises and Whale watching excursions. From here you can walk to the next stop or you can hop back on the trolley.
Interesting Facts: In San Diego, it’s illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar. I wonder why they had to make this law.
Stop number three is at Seaport Village where you can spend time shopping, dining or enjoying the street artists. Seaport village is also home to some interesting art galleries and a candle shop.
The fourth stop is at the Marriott – close to the convention center. The marina right at the Marriott is an interesting destination by itself. But from there you can take the little ones to the Children’s Museum for some hands-on fun.
The next stop is at the Horton plaza and Gaslamp Quarter. Spend some time at the mall or walk around the quarter for some unique shops and dining experiences. Also in the area you can find a movie theater, House of Blues and Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts.
Tip: When you board the trolley for the first time, you will get a sticker to place on your clothes. This is your ticket to hop on and off the trolley. The stickers do not stick to some material. You can place the sticker on any piece of paper or on a credit card to avoid losing it.
Stop six is also at the Gaslamp Quarter closer to the waterfront. This side has destinations like the historic district, Chinese historic district and Altitude Sky Lounge at the Marriott. The lounge is a good place to dine, dance and enjoy the views.
Stop seven gets you to the Hilton Bayfront which is at the south end of the convention center. From this stop you can walk to Petco Park baseball stadium and the Ferry to Coronado Island.
Interesting Facts: The first driver across the Coronado Bridge when it first opened was Ronald Reagan in 1969.
The ride from stop 7 to stop 8 takes you over the Coronado bridge with amazing views of the bay, downtown San Diego and the island. The bridge connects San Diego downtown to Coronado island and crosses over the SD bay.
Interesting Facts: The Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure.
The last stop is at the Little Italy neighborhood. This area has a lot of history and full of boutique shops and Italian restaurant.
Interesting Facts: From the early 1930s to the late 1970s, San Diego was the tuna capital of the world.
While here you can visit the Piazza Basilone Memorial – a tribute to the neighborhood’s soldiers who died during the Korean war. The Piazza has tables, benches and water fountains. You can relax and have a picnic.
If you happen to be here on Saturdays, you can enjoy the farmers market.
At the end of your epic tour of San Diego, jump back on the trolley and head back to old town to complete the circle.
Tip: The best way to enjoy San Diego attractions is by getting a Go City Card. You pay one price and get all the attractions you want. Go San Diego Card
I loved this tour and would recommend it to everyone exploring San Diego. Just leave your car behind and enjoy the sights. Most major hotels offer shuttle service to Old Town or are a few steps away from a trolley stop.
Historic Trolley Tours offer another tour to the beaches and La Jolla. I did not try it, but planning on it during my next trip to San Diego.