Hop aboard an old-fashioned trolley for a tour of San Diego with Old Town Trolley Tours. Your ticket price includes FREE admission to ten museums that celebrate the history and culture of America’s Finest City. From point to point along the 25-mile route, you’ll hear historical trivia and humorous anecdotes from the trolley’s team of conductors. Unlimited hop-on, hop-off access lets you see the city your way.
If you’re starting your day at the one of the hotels in the marina, head to Seaport Village for breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House. Tasty breakfast dishes are served daily beginning at 6:30 a.m.
After a hearty breakfast, board the trolley at Stop C next to the Bay Company on the east side of Seaport Village.
After a brief stop to let passengers on and off at Stop D — the Marriott Marquis and Marina — the tour continues to Horton Plaza Park (Stop E), an urban oasis in the center of downtown San Diego. Depending on the day, you might be treated to a free outdoor concert or yoga class.
The next stop (Stop F) is in the Gaslamp Quarter, where you’ll find the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. The mission of this state-of-the-art museum is to share Chinese art, history, and culture with its visitors.
The Gaslamp Quarter is a perfect place to pause for a cup of coffee before hopping back on the trolley to see the home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park. Stop G is right across the street from the stadium. Daily guided tours of the park are available.
In addition to historic buildings, world-class beaches, and a stunning view of the San Diego skyline, the island of Coronado has plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. The next stop on the tour (Stop H) is in front of McP’s Irish Pub, a family-friendly establishment owned by a former Navy SEAL. Stop by McP’s for a pint before or after your complimentary visit to the Coronado Museum of History and Art.
Back across the bay, Stop I is close to two more free museums for Trolley ticket holders — the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park and the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Military history buffs are sure to be interested in the exhibits at the Veterans Museum. They cover everything from local military history to U.S. involvement in international conflicts. The museum is located on Chapel Road at the site of the former Naval Hospital.
The Timken Museum can also be found in Balboa Park on El Prado. The Timken might be small, but it houses an awe-inspiring collection of fine art, and has, in fact, been dubbed “San Diego’s jewel box of fine art.”
Balboa Park has a number of other well-known attractions including the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the Spanish Village Art Center, the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, and the Balboa Park Carousel.
Stop J is in Little Italy next to Buon Appetito at the corner of India and Cedar Streets. If you’ve worked up a hunger, this cozy Italian eatery makes a great dinner destination. Just down the block is the San Diego Firehouse Museum. Antique fire trucks and firefighting equipment and memorabilia are displayed in San Diego’s oldest firehouse. Admission is complimentary for all trolley passengers. This is a kids’ favorite.
After stopping in Little Italy, the trolley circles back around to Stop A where the remainder of the museums offering FREE admission are located. After disembarking at the entrance to the Old Town Market, passengers can choose to visit the William B. Kolender Sheriff’s Museum, Casa de Aquirre, the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, the Old Town Model Railroad Depot, and the African Museum.
The Sheriff’s Museum is an interactive, family-friendly attraction. Kids can check out a police cruiser, practice using radio codes, and see what it feels like to be behind bars. The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is also family-friendly. Kids will love seeing the trains travel through city and countryside and model railroad enthusiasts will love the attention to detail in this 2,500 square-foot layout.
Casa de Aguirre is a local history museum and the Mormon Battalion Historic Site documents the journey of the Mormon Battalion from Iowa to California. The African Museum displays cultural artifacts that celebrate African heritage in countries around the world.
If you boarded at Stop C in Seaport Village, your next-to-last destination will be the Embarcadero Marina (Stop B) near the USS Midway Museum. Trolley riders with a Go San Diego Card can get discounts and front-of-the-line privileges here.
Single-day tickets for a seat on one of the Old Town Trolley Tours are available from Go San Diego at the discounted price of $21.75 for children (4-12) and $37.90 for adults (13+).
If you want to take more time at the museums and other attractions along the way, two-day tickets are available starting at $48.00. In addition to FREE admission to the museums listed below, ticket holders receive discounts on some of San Diego’s most popular sites and attractions, as well as coupons for restaurants near the trolley stops.
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (472 Third Avenue)
Coronado Museum of History and Art (1100 Orange Avenue)
Veterans Museum at Balboa Park (Chapel Road)
Timken Museum of Art (1500 El Prado)
San Diego Firehouse Museum (1572 Columbia Street)
William B. Kolender Sheriff’s Museum (2384 San Diego Avenue)
Casa de Aquirre (4010 Twiggs Street)
Mormon Battalion Historic Site (2510 Juan Street)
Old Town Model Railroad Depot (2415 San Diego Avenue)
African Museum (2471 Congress Street)
As an alternative to the Free Entry to 10 Museums Trolley Tour, if you happen to have a 3-, 5-, or 7-day Go San Diego Card, you’ll get a 3-day pass on the Old Town Trolley. You could then spend one of those days at Balboa Park taking in all the discounted museums also available on the Go San Diego Card.