How walkable is San Diego in terms of finding things to do?

I will be going out there Fri June 29th – Tuesday July 1st…I will be staying in downtown…I’m wondering, is the zoo, Petco Park (baseball stadium), shopping, and other things in walkable distance like San Francisco? I don’t mind walking, as long as it’s pretty scenery and of course safe….

Also, are the beaches far from downtown? Can somebody please provide some imagery of San Diego for a tourist without a vehicle? Thanks 🙂

Of course, a lot depends on what you mean by a walk.

It’s been a while since I’ve done it, but my guess is that the zoo and Balboa Park is a good four to five miles from the general downtown area.

You can walk up Fifth Avenue, away from the downtown area, to Laurel, turn right, and head into Balboa Park which, in addition to the Zoo, features several interesting museums, and the Prado, not a bad place to have lunch/dinner.

Depending on where your hotel room is located, it should be a nice easy walk to the Gaslamp, with interesting antique and other stores and many restaurants/bars/clubs, and to Petco Park.

Also, if you head out of your hotel towards Harbor Drive, it should be a nice easy walk to Seaport Village, a small collection of shops, nice touristy feeling.

Once you are in Seaport Village, if you look to your left, while facing the water, you will see the Hyatt Hotel. You have to try the top of the Hyatt, for great views of San Diego and reasonably priced drinks and appetizers.

There is a walkway between Seaport Village and the water. If you head to the right (while facing the water) and walk a mile or so, you will be around the Broadway Pier.

There, you can catch a boat to Coronado Island, which lands at a small, but interesting shopping center. There is a pathway around there which when taken in one direction leads to a nice park. From the shopping center, you can go in the other direction to Orange Avenue and head away from the water. In about two miles or so, you will come to the Hotel Del Coronado and a great, long, wide sandy beach.

Now, back to Broadway. If you continue walking in the same direction for another three miles or so, you will come to a place clearly marked when you can take a two and a half mile detour around Harbor Island. Nice view, but mostly hotels and restaurants.

But go straight another two miles or so, turn left on Scott Street and walk a half mile to Point Loma Seafood, great spot, known mostly to locals. Continue on Scott to Shelter Island Drive and turn left to take a walking tour of about two and a half miles round trip around Shelter Island…nice views, mostly hotels and restaurants and boat yards.

Standing on Harbor Drive, before you turn left on Scott, you are still a good three miles away from Ocean Beach, and probably five to six miles away from Mission Beach.

I’m not familiar with buses in San Diego, but you should be easily able to catch a bus from downtown to, say, Belmont Park.

Once you are there, there is great walking on the "board walk"…to your left, down to the breakwater, about a mile, and to your right a good two miles to Crystal Pier, and another mile or so to the end of the board walk.

This is a great area, one of my favorites to walk, good scenery, good places to stop and have a drink, choices between selecting crowded beach with good people watching, and more isolated spaces.

I don’t know if this helps.

But good luck.

4 Comments

  • David M

    Of course, a lot depends on what you mean by a walk.

    It’s been a while since I’ve done it, but my guess is that the zoo and Balboa Park is a good four to five miles from the general downtown area.

    You can walk up Fifth Avenue, away from the downtown area, to Laurel, turn right, and head into Balboa Park which, in addition to the Zoo, features several interesting museums, and the Prado, not a bad place to have lunch/dinner.

    Depending on where your hotel room is located, it should be a nice easy walk to the Gaslamp, with interesting antique and other stores and many restaurants/bars/clubs, and to Petco Park.

    Also, if you head out of your hotel towards Harbor Drive, it should be a nice easy walk to Seaport Village, a small collection of shops, nice touristy feeling.

    Once you are in Seaport Village, if you look to your left, while facing the water, you will see the Hyatt Hotel. You have to try the top of the Hyatt, for great views of San Diego and reasonably priced drinks and appetizers.

    There is a walkway between Seaport Village and the water. If you head to the right (while facing the water) and walk a mile or so, you will be around the Broadway Pier.

    There, you can catch a boat to Coronado Island, which lands at a small, but interesting shopping center. There is a pathway around there which when taken in one direction leads to a nice park. From the shopping center, you can go in the other direction to Orange Avenue and head away from the water. In about two miles or so, you will come to the Hotel Del Coronado and a great, long, wide sandy beach.

    Now, back to Broadway. If you continue walking in the same direction for another three miles or so, you will come to a place clearly marked when you can take a two and a half mile detour around Harbor Island. Nice view, but mostly hotels and restaurants.

    But go straight another two miles or so, turn left on Scott Street and walk a half mile to Point Loma Seafood, great spot, known mostly to locals. Continue on Scott to Shelter Island Drive and turn left to take a walking tour of about two and a half miles round trip around Shelter Island…nice views, mostly hotels and restaurants and boat yards.

    Standing on Harbor Drive, before you turn left on Scott, you are still a good three miles away from Ocean Beach, and probably five to six miles away from Mission Beach.

    I’m not familiar with buses in San Diego, but you should be easily able to catch a bus from downtown to, say, Belmont Park.

    Once you are there, there is great walking on the "board walk"…to your left, down to the breakwater, about a mile, and to your right a good two miles to Crystal Pier, and another mile or so to the end of the board walk.

    This is a great area, one of my favorites to walk, good scenery, good places to stop and have a drink, choices between selecting crowded beach with good people watching, and more isolated spaces.

    I don’t know if this helps.

    But good luck.
    References :

  • Kathy H

    San Diego is a large city that is very spread out into different communities. It’s part of the charm, I think, because it doesn’t seem like such a large city. However, it does make seeing the area on foot very difficult.

    From downtown you will be able to walk to Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter (see http://www.sandiego-romantics.com/Gaslamp-Quarter.html for info on things to do in this downtown neighborhood)

    I would recommend that you consider paying for a ticket on the Old Town Trolley Tours. The trolley bus makes stops throughout San Diego. Passengers can hop off and back on for one set price to visit areas of interest at their own pace. Stops include Old Town, Seaport Village, San Diego Harbor, Horton Plaza, Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and Coronado Island. Tours depart from the various boarding locations approximately every 30 minutes. Reservations are not required. This is a great way to see the city. Learn more about this tour company at: http://www.trolleytours.com/San-Diego/

    If you’d like recommendations on restaurants and things to do in San Diego be sure to visit http://www.sandiego-romantics.com.
    References :

  • Larry T

    You can walk from downtown to the zoo. I have done it. However, it is a couple of miles – and then you will want to do a lot of walking while at the zoo. It’s probably better to catch the #7 bus up to the zoo entrance. I think the bus costs like $2.50 each way, or you can buy day passes at the transit station downtown.

    Getting to the beach is from downtown is harder. You can catch the ferry to Coronado, and then walk across the island to the beach on the other side. It’s probably at least a mile, but a nice walk.

    To see a lot of San Diego in one day the Old Town Trolley Tour, as someone else suggested, is probably the best way to do it. The trolley stops at the Zoo, the Coronado Beach, and Old Town (among other places).
    References :
    http://www.trolleytours.com/

  • sunny side up

    The zoo isnt walkable….and i dont think Petco park is either but if you go down to Seaport Village there is so much to see and do. There are old ships, one is the Star of India which you can go on and its a lot of fun, there is an old air craft carrier from WW2 you can go on, then there is OLd Town where you can catch a bus to tour the haunted spots or shop and eat…it is definitly safe and the scenery is nice and ocean breezes…there are trains and smaller railways that will get you all around. What I like is that its very OPEN feeling, airy and people always seem happy.
    References :

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