San Diego w/o car, suggestions please


Mar 16th, 2004, 01:43 PM
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San Diego w/o car, suggestions please

On a lark my boyfriend and I are coming to San Diego the last weekend in March. Since this trip is very short (flying in friday night, leaving sunday night) we're hoping to keep costs down by not renting a car. So:

1- What area should we plan to stay in that will make it the easiest to get around by public transportation? Any hotel suggestions? I'm thinking of doing the Priceline route -- what segments of the city should I check-off?
2- Any activities suggestions? We'll probably do the Zoo for a day (though it is pricey!), but what to do the other day?

Thanks so much for your help!
DNY is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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These two sites will offer more info than you can imagine. The Gaslamp district downtown would be very convenient for you without a car.
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Mar 16th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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We stayed at the Embassy Suites near Seaport Village which is also near a trolly stop. We had no car so we either took the trolly (to old town) or walked (Horton Plaza and Gaslamp). We had a wonderful trip as we didn't feel like we needed to do everything because we had to take the slower route without a car. It was great.
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Mar 16th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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Keep in mind that if you use Priceline, when you select "downtown," Harbor Island is included in that same category. There is not much within walking distance from hotels on Harbor Island.
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Mar 16th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Before you commit to priceline, I'd try a few of the direct hotel web sites for hotels in the area you want to stay. They may have some great weekend rates and, as another poster said, with priceline, you might not get a convenient area.

The areas I'd pick to stay, all convenient to the light rail line for ease of getting around, are the Gaslamp District, the Seaport Village/Convention Center area, the Bayfront (but only on Harbor Drive, not on PCH), or Old Town. All of those areas have nice hotels and are in the heart of it all. Just a block or two off of Harbor Drive, the hotels/motels are cheaper but you'll get what you pay for. I'd also avoid Harbor Island/Shelter Island unless you have a car. There are some nice places to stay there but they are not convenient to anything except the airport without a car.
dwooddon is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2004, 04:20 PM
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Here are 2 previous threads with good info for you

Activities depend on what you like. I spent an entire day at Balboa Park at the various museums & the botanic garden without ever getting to the zoo. There's a sightseeing tram ($24/person) that goes all around SD-Coronado Island, La Jolla, Balboa Park, Gaslight district etc. Its' a hop on/off thing so you could use it for transport if your hotel was near one of the stops. You'll love SD.
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Mar 16th, 2004, 09:33 PM
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the sightseeing tram mentioned above is called the old town trolley tour (a tour operator that operates sightseeing tours in a half dozen cities around te country) not to be confused with the san diego trolley which is public transit light rail. either way, neither of them go to la jolla.
malvado is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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My daughter and I went to San Diego without a car. We found it very convenient to stay at the Howard Johnson on Rosecrans. This has very convenient, inexpensive food options as well, and it's very central for public transit options (which we used throughout our stay). In addition, HoJo has a shuttle to SeaWorld, and a shuttle to the zoo. It's not the most gorgeous area, but it's so easy to get places from it.

Our first night, I had booked using Priceline and we stayed at the Hilton Harbor Island. No regrets about that, as our plane got in around 11 PM, and this was very convenient to the airport. The hotel shuttle bus driver then drove us to HoJo the next morning. But I would have found it inconvenient to stay at the Hilton Harbor Island for the full stay.

If you do want to use Priceline, I'd suggest the Old Town - Sports Arena zone. Then take a look at and read the reviews of the hotels that have come up. Old Town has a very central public transit loop. Still, I think I preferred where we stayed. I normally use Priceline if I possibly can, but it just wouldn't have worked for our full stay.
WillTravel is online now  
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Mar 16th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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My daughter and/or me visited the following during our two full days there:

Various museums at Balboa Park
Gaslamp District
La Jolla Cove (see the seals)
Hard Rock Cafe in Gaslamp and La Jolla
Old Town

We skipped the zoo, which many consider sacrilege. But my daughter spent a lot of time at the origami exhibit, which she has a special interest in. I found some Renaissance Italian art and I took the park shuttle bus around to look at different areas. We just didn't feel like spending our time looking at animals in the zoo, even if it's fabulous. (I had been there before, and although I recognize it's a great zoo, it's still just a zoo.)
WillTravel is online now  
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Mar 23rd, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Reporting in: SD is totally doable without a car between the good public transportation, the ferry and the Old Town Trolley. The only thing we didn't attempt was Seaworld -- my son decided to rent a bike and "do" the city instead!

We became particularly enamoured of the Old Town Trolley as a way to get to Balboa Park, Old Town and the waterfront. Plan your day right and it's as convenient as a taxi and much cheaper
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