Depending where you are coming from, flying might be your best option, and the San Diego International Airport (SAN) is only about 3 miles northwest of downtown. Also, be aware that the airport is commonly referred to as Lindbergh Field. Another option is flying into the McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) in the nearby city of Carlsbad, just north of the city. And although it will involve long wait times by vehicle to cross into the U.S., you can also use the Gen. Abelardo L. Rodriguez International Airport (TIJ) just over the border in Tijuana. This option is popular with travelers whose flights originate in Mexico, as well as with visitors from the Pacific Rim.

If you'd prefer a method of travel a bit closer to the ground, consider Amtrak; which operates in San Diego from the historic Santa Fe Depot right downtown. This is the southernmost stop on the route, which runs north into Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. From the downtown depot, you can easily walk to numerous downtown hotels. Another rail option is COASTER, a commuter train running north from downtown up through the northern reaches of the county and on to Oceanside, where it connects with other regional rail service. And the Blue Line is a light rail system which runs between Downtown and San Ysidro, right on the Mexican border.

Of course, travel by car is always popular, and San Diego has three major interstate roads: I-5, I-8, and I-15. I-5 begins south of the city in San Ysidro at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing and runs northward up the coast. I-8 begins right near the west coast near the Old Town San Diego neighborhood and runs eastward through the eastern part of the city on to Arizona. I-15 begins just south of  downtown at the I-8 and CA Hwy. 15 junction and continues northward  through the state's desert areas. There are many other freeways which make travel quite easy; however, as a major urban hub, traffic can be heavy at peak times.

Unfortunately, San Diego has no bus terminal, so we do not recommend any of the major bus lines as an option. However, there are terminals in some surrounding cities, both in the U.S. and on the Mexican side.

Public transportation options include the San Diego Trolley, which operates several lines connecting many areas of the region.

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Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick & Michele Lopez
Published/Updated on: 12-20-2018

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