When you live in San Diego, you simply have to master how to navigate the city via the trolley. It’s one of the best ways to get around! It’s also one of the oldest of its kind in the country and, with three lines and 53 stations, an efficient way to get from Point A to Point B.
If you’re planning a whole-day excursion exploring San Diego’s attractions or you’re prepping for life in San Diego, this guide to the city’s trolley system will help you reach your destination quickly and efficiently.
Quick facts about San Diego Trolley
- It’s been operational since 1981 and managed by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which is even older (it dates back to the 1880s).
- It covers a total of 53.5 miles of track, running from the east to the south counties.
- There are three main lines (Green, Orange, and Blue) and a supplementary line (Silver), which travels around Downtown San Diego and is only operational on certain days.
The main lines of San Diego Trolley
Sycuan Green Line
The Green Line is one of the newer lines, with 27 stations running from 12th and Imperial Transit Center in Downtown San Diego, past Mission Valley, travelling all the way to Santee.
You can connect to both the Blue and Orange lines from the stations at 12th and Imperial Transit Center and Santa Fe Depot, while the four stations from Grossmont Transit Center and Arnele Avenue are all connected to the Orange Line.
Points of interest you can find along the Green Line include:
- The SDSU Transit Center, a subterranean station built right underneath the San Diego State University. It’s a must-see for architecture and design enthusiasts.
- The SDCCU Stadium, where you can watch the San Diego Fleet and the San Diego State Aztecs train and play. Get off at Stadium Station to get here.
- Fashion Valley and a myriad other shopping destinations in San Diego are accessible via the Fashion Valley Station.
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, where you can find some of the city’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 1820s. To get here, all you need to do is hop off the trolley at Old Town Station.
UC San Diego Blue Line
The Blue Line is the oldest line in the San Diego Trolley system and also has the highest ridership among the four lines. It traverses a total length of 15.4 miles, from Downtown San Diego (American Plaza Station) to San Ysidro, located right along the Mexico-US Border.
The stations Civic Center to 12th and Imperial have connections to the Orange Line, while you can transfer to the Green Line at American Plaza and 12th and Imperial.
You’ll find the following attractions along the Blue Line:
- The San Ysidro Port of Entry down at the southern terminus if you’re traveling across the border and into the town of Tijuana. This is point right here is the easiest way to get to the beaches of Baja California.
- The Living Coast Discovery Center, which is part of the larger San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge is easily accessible from the E Street Station at Chula Vista.
- Petco Park if you want to watch a baseball match the San Diego Padres are playing or a concert headlined by your favorite artist or band. Just get off 12th and Imperial Station.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art can be easily reached from American Plaza Station (it is literally right across the tracks). From here, you can also walk to Embarcadero.
The Orange Line is the second oldest of the San Diego Trolley lines, having been operational since 1986. It’s also the second longest (after the Green Line), running a total length of 18 miles from Courthouse Station in Downtown San Diego to El Cajon.
This line also has the most connections (five with the Blue Line and four with the Green Line). Despite this, it has relatively low ridership compared to its sisters. Along the way, you’ll find:
- The San Diego Convention Center in the Marina District. From here, you can also visit the Gaslamp Quarter.
- The San Diego Civic Theater from the Civic Center Station. This is the best place to watch performing arts productions and more in the city.
- Both the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park are a stone’s throw away from City College Station, where you can hop on a bus heading to these attractions.
- Gillespie Field, where you can find the Gillespie Field Annex to admire a collection of vintage and modern aircrafts.
Browse my website today to find more fun things to do and places to visit in San Diego.