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Free Rides for Locals on the Old Town Trolley Tours in San Diego



San Diego Locals…here’s how you can ride the Old Town Trolley Tours FOR FREE!! 🚋🙌 January, October, November and year round with an out of town guest. Read below for details.


See below for where to hop off with kids & tips. 🤸🏻‍♂️


Swipe photo gallery for maps & logistics. 🅿️🚻👍


Contents:

🚋 What Is It

🕰️ Hours

👶🏻 Kids Tips

👋 Contact Info

🅿️ Parking


 

🆓🪪 WHEN LOCALS ARE FREE to ride the Old Town Trolley Tours


Early January / Locals ride for free

January 3-14, 2024

(generally the first two weeks of January after the new year)


This offer is valid for 1 per household max. of 4 people for only one ride during these dates. You must reserve your spot online. These go fast so grab your spot now! They usually fill up before these dates. reserve here


October / Kids are free all month

One child can ride free per paid adult. details


Veteran's Day / Military & 1st Responders are free

(generally for two days around Veteran's Day)


This offer is for Veteran's, active military and first responders can get free admission for Old Town Trolley Tours, SEAL Tours and Whaley House Museum Daytime Self-Guided Tour. details


Year-round/Hometown Pass

1 local can ride for free with a paid out of town adult guest fare. Valid for Old Town Trolley, San Diego SEAL Tour, and the Whaley House Day Tour. Buy in-person from ticket booth only. details


 

🚋 WHAT IS IT

Hop on and off all over San Diego with fun narrated tour giving fun facts and funny stories along the way. Explore each stop on your own time. Trolleys pick up from each stop every 20 minutes and even goes over the Coronado Bridge!



 

🛑 WHERE IT STOPS



(* these stops are fun for kids)


*OLD TOWN

Stop A: 4010 Twiggs Street


Bathroom nearby inside La Paloma Gifts right as you get on/off the trolley. This is a fun place to walk around with lots of kid-friendly Mexican restaurants (kids 10 & under eat free everyday at nearby Barra Barra) and outdoor museums and exhibits to see how the early settlers lived.


 

*MARITIME MUSEUM

Stop B: N. Harbor Drive and Ash Street


Walk across the street to the Waterfront Park with playground, snack shack, bathrooms and wading pools/fountains for kids to splash in. Get tickets to the Maritime Museum to explore different types of boating vessels or hop on board the Star of India sailing ship. Eat at nearby Portside Pier (it's the dome-looking restaurant) that has Portside Coffee & Gelato, Miguel's Cocina (good Mexican food), Topsail for seafood with a view!, and the Brigantine for high-end seafood.


 

*EMBARCADERO/BROADWAY PIER

Stop C: 1004 North Harbor Drive and Broadway Avenue


This stop is closest to the USS Midway. Eat at nearby Carnitas' Snack Shack for tacos & beer.




 

*THE HEADQUARTERS

Stop D: 789 West Harbor Dr.


There are bathrooms nearby here, across from Puesto (really good tacos!) and next to the old jail cells (hence why this is called "The Headquarters"); which are free and open during business hours to explore. This is an eye-opening activity for kids that's for sure. There are old photos of past inmates on the walls and their mugshots and charges. Grab coffee from Starbucks, popcorn from Seaport Village Popcorn Co. Eat at Puesto for the best tacos you've ever had and a good kids menu. The other kid-friendly restaurant here is the Cheesecake Factory. Most of the other restaurants are a bit higher-end like Eddie V's, Galpao Gaucho Steakhouse.


 

*SEAPORT VILLAGE

Stop E: 825 West Harbor Dr.


Bathrooms are nearby the trolley stop. Walk through this cute seaside "village" of shops and restaurants to find the perfect San Diego souvenir and eat some great food. Look for fish, turtles & ducks in the cute duck ponds. Buy a kite from Kite Flite (he'll even put it together for you!) and go fly it out on the grassy area at Embarcadero Marina Park North, just across from the kite shop - he'll point the way. Find Spill The Beans for coffee and bagels, San Pasqual Winery for wine slushies (because you're not driving ;), Malibu Farm for a nice healthy restaurant with views, also San Diego Burger Co., Tuk Tuk Eatery, Margarita's Cantina, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and more.




 

CONVENTION CENTER at The Marriott

Stop F: 333 West Harbor Drive


There's not too much to see and do here with kids. There's a lot of walking to get behind the Convention Center to walk along the boardwalk, this same one connects up to Seaport Village as well.


 

*GASLAMP

Stop G: 4th Ave. and Island Ave., 480 Fourth Ave.


There are lots of fine restaurants and clubs here. It's not a place that I walk around with my kids personally. There is an Old Spaghetti Factory nearby that's fun to eat at with kids.


You can walk 4 blocks west to The New Children's Museum; which is super fun and they have a great selection of healthy kids meals in their on-site cafe. I believe they still require advanced reservations for either their morning or afternoon sessions. Across the street is the brand new (December 2023) Children's Playground that's become very popular for parents and kids to play at. There are bathrooms here.



 

EAST CONVENTION CENTER at Hilton Bayside (across from Petco Park)

Stop H: East Harbor Dr., under the pedestrian bridge.


There's not much to do here with kids either. To get to Petco Park from this stop, you'll have to take the bridge and walk over the road and trolley tracks. It's kind of fun to stop on this bridge and watch the trolleys come and go from their main hub so it's pretty entertaining for trolley-loving kiddos.


 

BARRIO LOGAN

Stop I: Cesar Chavez Pkwy. and National Ave.


Chicano Park is nearby with a playground, but it's a bit of a walk for kiddos. Nearby are some good coffee shops (Ryan Bros.), Mexican and pizza shops if you want to get out for a bite to eat.




 

*CORONADO

Stop J: 1107 Orange Avenue, between C and B Avenues


This stop is 2 blocks from the Hotel Del Coronado & Coronado Beach; which is awesome to walk around with kids. There's an ice cream/gelato shop, pizza for takeout that you can eat in the nearby grassy courtyard or take it to the beach. This is a beautiful old historic hotel that's a San Diego icon where some movies were made and celebrities and royalty have stayed. The Hotel Del often has fun seasonal events for kids so check their website to see what's happening before you go.


Along the streets nearby are cute shops and restaurants that you can easily walk to. The stop is at McP's English Pub for good burgers, around the corner to the right/south is Miguel's Cocina (good Mexican restaurant), and towards the left/north is Dinky's Donuts that closes when they sell out.


The nearest bathrooms would be inside a nearby restaurant or over at the Hotel Del a couple blocks away.




 

*BALBOA PARK

Stop K: 2185 President’s Way


If you can time your visit for a Tuesday, museums here rotate free admission for locals so you could score a free trolley ride and a museum!


This stop is closest to the San Diego Auto Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum and Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater (it's kind of hard to find but it's up around to the right of the Auto Museum and cute, short and cheap puppet plays for kids). These are all south of the trolley stop. If you walk up north you'll be nearby the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (free outdoor concerts every Sunday at 2pm), Bathrooms are across from the Organ Pavilion. Nearby is the Japanese Friendship Garden and Tea House; which has over 50 teas and good hot/cold foods like teriyaki salmon, udon noodles and mochi ice cream. The garden is really fun for kids to run round and skip over the stepping stones across the streams; ages 6 and under are free here.




 

🕰️ HOURS

Daily, 9-5

Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas


Last tour departs at 3pm from Old Town (this last tour of the day is NOT a hop on/off because there is no follow up trolley to pick you up)



 

👶🏻 KIDS TIPS

Make sure they use the bathroom before boarding and in between various stops. At Old Town, bathrooms are upstairs inside the La Posas gift shop right in front of the tours.


Food & Drinks are allowed on board. Bring them. Santos Café is right in front of the tours for quick drinks, coffee, churros & snacks.


I’m not sure if strollers are allowed. My guess is no because there’s no extra room or storage on board. Best to baby wear.



 

👋 CONTACT INFO

Old Town Trolley Tours

4010 Twigg St., Old Town

1-866-754-0866


 

🅿️ Parking


You'll want to get there early to make sure you can find a parking spot because it generally fills up quickly unless you can snag a space as someone is leaving. Plan on driving around the nearby streets or waiting inside one of the parking lots for someone to leave.


There is FREE parking in the lot directly across the street from the Old Town Trolley Tours ticket booth (swipe on the gallery photo above for a map). If that lot is full, you might find free parking on the nearby streets. You could also drive further west and find another free parking lot for Old Town visitors (these are generally full after around 10am).


 

HAVE FUN!

 

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