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Rail Travel in and Around California by Wizzle - San Diego Station
San Diego Station (SAN)

The San Diego station is just about everything an Amtrak station ought to be.  It's good looking, is in a nice part of town, has complete services and is a stop for local  public transportation, notably the trolley lines. There is plenty to do right within walking distance of the station too.
The station, built for Santa Fe, is in the same Spanish colonial style as buildings you can see within Balboa Park, nearby. There are two sets of outdoor platforms between the rails with plenty of covered seating and since the Bay is only blocks away there is a cooling breeze on most days. You can just see the Blue Line Trolley coming around the corner of the station.  This photo looks south toward Broadway (which runs east and west).  The station is at the corner of Broadway and Kettner. As you get off the train, the Bay is either south or west (to the right) as it takes a bend nearby.  Since there is considerable Trolley traffic, it would be wise to go through the station before heading along either street. 
Now we are looking north from approximately the same vantage point. Tickets for the trolley and the Coaster are available at vending machines on the platform where I am taking pictures. The large arch across the tracks is the main entrance to the station. The trolley you see is the one heading north (board from the station side) toward Old Town, Fashion Valley, Qualcom Stadium and terminating at San Diego Mission. 
This southbound Blue Line Trolley (board from the platform side) goes to Civic Center, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and terminates at San Ysidro at the Mexican Boarder where can walk over to Tiajuana. The Orange Line is reached by going through the station and heading toward the corner of Broadway and Kettner (see map below or go to my maps and links page for more maps of the area). I believe the most expensive fare was below $1.50 one way. Trolleys seemed to be coming by about every 20 minutes or so. 
You really don't need to take the trolley at all to find oodles to do.  Just walk out these doors (past the snack stand) which face south onto Broadway and you can either keep going straight along Kettner or take a right on Broadway.  Both ways will take you to San Diego Bay and Harbor Boulevard which runs along the water.  Cross Harbor to find pedestrian ways right along the Bay and its sights. I particularly like the walk along the Marina which is at the end of Kettner. If you want to go down to the Marina, turn left to stroll past it, then return and walk along the Bay to the Maritime Museum, I would allow a full 5-6 hours between trains. To visit Old Town and the Mission in addition, an overnight stay is probably in order. 

Besides seating, there is a ticket counter, snack shop, information center, rest rooms and a counter for tours of the area within the station. 

I snapped this close up of the lovely old tiles which decorate this clean and tidy station.  You can just see one of the doorways which lead back to the tracks in this picture. 

A note to those unfamiliar with our coastline....  the ocean is lovely but COLD....all year around. If your family includes little ones, your best bet is to stay in one of the hotels around Mission Bay where there is no surf and the water is shallow and warm.  A rental car would be much more convenient if you are staying in Mission Bay. 

1050 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101

Walking either south along Kettner or west along Broadway will bring you to San Diego Bay in a few blocks. If you follow Kettner, you will arrive in the neighborhood of the Convention Center which features several elegant hotels and a very nice marina.  Taking Broadway, you arrive at Harbor Blvd. where a right turn will get you to the Maritime Museum.  Along the way are the refreshing sights of the bay and plenty of restaurants.

Please see my maps and links for more information about this great destination! If you fall in love with this route (and I know you will), you can find much much more by checking

Happy traveling!

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Updated: Saturday, August 22, 1998