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Travel to San Diego

Flying to San Diego

British Airways operates direct flights to San Diego from the UK. All the major US airlines fly to San Diego from other destinations within the USA. The cheapest fares are available if you travel outside busy periods such as school summer holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Flight times

From London - 11 hours 20 minutes; New York - 6 hours; Los Angeles - 50 minutes; Toronto - 5 hours 20 minutes; Sydney  - 17 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Traffic drives on the right. The minimum driving age is 16, with restrictions.

Southern California has an excellent network of interstate and state highways. Interstates are designated by an 'I' and a corresponding number. Speed limits on interstate highways vary from 96kph (60mph) to 112kph (70mph). Urban speed limits are generally 40-48kph (25-30mph). U-turns are legal in California, unless posted otherwise, as is turning right at stoplights. Children under the age of six years or less than 22kg (60lb) must be carried in a child restraint seat.

California does not require International Driving Permits. It accepts all foreign driving licences. Car insurance is mandatory.

The AAA (tel: +1 800 222 1134; can provide information on driving routes and online maps, and may offer reciprocal benefits to members of automobile clubs in other countries.

Emergency breakdown services

AAA (+1 800 222 4357).


San Diego is California's most southern coastal metropolis. It is the hub of three major interstate highway systems: I-5 (running north-south from the US-Canada border to the US-Mexico border); I-15, which begins in San Diego and runs northeast to Las Vegas, Nevada; and I-8 East, which also begins in San Diego and connects with I-10 outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

San Diego also has an east-west corridor, which was designed to accommodate the increased rush-hour traffic to suburban areas east of San Diego. The four-lane State Route 56 (SR 56) highway, also called the Ted Williams Parkway, has helped ease much of the congestion on San Diego's main easterly corridor, the I-15.

The I-5 is the connecting artery for most of California's large cities. Los Angeles and San Francisco are both directly north of San Diego via I-5.


Greyhound (tel: +1 800 231 2222; operates buses to other US cities from its terminal at 1313 National Avenue.

Time to city

From Los Angeles - 2 hours 15 minutes; Las Vegas - 5 hours; San Francisco - 7 hours 30 minutes; Tijuana, Mexico - 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail


San Diego's railway station is Santa Fe Station, 1050 Kettner Boulevard, corner of Broadway. Facilities are limited, but the architecture (in Spanish Mission style) is magnificent.

Amtrak operates the Pacific Surfliner train service stopping at multiple stations along California's scenic west coast and offering multiple daily round-trip journeys between San Diego and Los Angeles, continuing to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.


Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; is the USA's national rail operator.

Journey times

Los Angeles - 2 hours 45 minutes; San Luis Obispo - 8 hours 25 minutes.

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Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels


Sofia Hotel

One of the oldest hotels in San Diego's Downtown has been transformed into a chic boutique inn with 212 rooms that have the feel of urban studios with efficient Wi-Fi and access to Currant, one of lower downtown's most happening cafes. Some rooms are dark and noisy - ask to see a few before unpacking.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Set smack at the foot of Fifth Avenue, across the street from the San Diego Convention Center at the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, the 12-story Hard Rock attracts awe-struck sightseers ogling The Rock Shop (collectable Hard Rock gear), Nobu (chef Nobu Matsuhisa's entree into the SoCal dining scene), Maryjane's diner-style coffee shop and the Sweetwater Saloon - a sidewalk bar by day and happening dance club at night. Guests in the 420 rooms and suites are greeted with their choice of music drifting from speakers on the flat screen HDTVs. Red leather chairs and low white couches, swirly patterned rugs and square showerheads in the ceilings set a fun-loving mood, enhanced by Sleep Like a Rock beds.

Tower 23

Named for the lifeguard tower it faces, this ultra-hip Pacific Beach hotel has 44 slick rooms with rain showers, Egyptian cotton bedding, LCD screen TVs and H2O toiletries. Some suites overlook the boardwalk and beach and have private balconies. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property - checking your e-mail from a cafe table by the sand is just about as SoCal techie as you can get. The hotel's JRDN restaurant serves the freshest regional seafood and produce in a casual setting.

Town and Country Resort

The resort features 1,000 guestrooms, four swimming pools and whirlpool, five restaurants and three lounges, in addition to 16 hectares (40 acres) of beautifully landscaped grounds. There is also a spa, salon and fitness centre. The 27-hole Riverwalk Golf Club and Mission Valley Regional Conference Center are adjacent. Premier shopping is also available nearby.

Inn at the Park

This historic hotel in San Diego, formerly the Park Manor Suites Hotel, occupies a gorgeous seven-storey Italian Renaissance style building in the heart of Balboa Park, adjacent to the Hillcrest neighbourhood. The structure was built in 1926 and designated a historical site by the City of San Diego in 1991. It is situated on the west edge of Balboa Park and offers sweeping views of San Diego Bay, Downtown and Hillcrest. All suites come with full kitchens and dinettes. Deluxe continental breakfast is on offer every morning.

Omni San Diego

A sky bridge connects the tasteful Omni with Petco Park's baseball stadium and a nearby pedestrian crossing makes the walk from the hotel to the Convention Center easy. Baseball memorabilia fills display cases in public spaces. Corner rooms on the east side have a spot-on view of the ballpark; others overlook the Convention Center and bay. The 511 rooms are sensibly and comfortably designed and the outdoor pool with fireplace is the favourite hangout. A McCormick & Schmick's restaurant serves decent seafood.