California’s second largest city, San Diego, is nestled between the Pacific Ocean, the Laguna Mountains and the Mexican border. While lacking the A-list cultural recognition enjoyed by neighbouring Los Angeles and San Francisco, this sophisticated southern city has been quietly and deservedly rivalling its larger cousins in terms of attractions for many years. For one, the city offers over 70 miles of golden beaches, which locals and visitors enjoy all year round thanks to the region’s eternally vernal climate. Temperatures rarely drop below 18 degrees Celsius, and some researchers have even concluded that San Diego residents will grow up as more conscientious and friendly as a result. Indeed, San Diego is a welcoming place.
It’s comprised of several distinctive neighbourhoods that combine their personalities into a charming, vibrant patchwork. Old Town is the historic downtown area that frames the harbour and nearby Coronado Island – in fact, it’s the birthplace of California. This history is readily experienced, thanks to frequent living history programmes that bring the early Mexican-American period of the 1800s to life. Ocean Beach is a colourful and bohemian district that carries the Land of Milk and Honey’s hippie legacy into the present day. Ocean Beach itself is perennially populated with surfers, swimmers and sunbathers, who bring a calm, easy-going vibe. Uptown is a buzzing haven of independent shops, trendy bars, hip cuisine and diverse nightlife. In particular the Hillcrest and North Park neighbourhoods are blossoming into a hive of cultural activity, with Hillcrest as the hub of the city’s LGBTQ community. Perhaps the city’s most famous attraction, San Diego Zoo is the world’s best zoo, as voted by visitors. Practically a small country of its own, albeit inside the city limits, the zoo houses over 650 species of animal across 100 acres, including pandas. Nature lovers can easily spend several days in the zoo without exhausting their choice of exhibits. As one would expect, the city’s proximity to Mexico is keenly felt – head to Barrio Logan to fully immerse yourself in Mexican food and culture. Once a place of refuge for Mexicans during the violent revolution at the turn of the 19th century, Barrio Logan is now a lively Hispanic hotspot. In recent years, it has become the birthplace of a cultural renaissance for many young artists and creatives.
San Diego County includes many beautiful towns, like Oceanside and Del Mar, which are well worth a visit. It also boasts unforgettable hiking spots, such as the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. These are easily reached by picking up a car hire in San Diego. For those looking for a taste of adventure, San Diego is also an excellent jumping off point for one of the world’s greatest road trips – the Pacific Coast Highway. Highway 5 snakes up the coast to Los Angeles before jumping onto Highway 101 all the way to San Francisco. Car hire is a popular choice – book now with Auto Europe to take advantage of our incredibly low prices and experience as the longest running car rental brokers in the market – since 1954!
Due to its geographical location at the southwest corner of North America, lots of main highways through the States lead to San Diego. As such, the city contains roughly 3000 miles of street, which in the past have been subject to criticism regarding quality. Thanks to large investments in the city’s street network over recent years, the roads are now in good condition, making car rental in San Diego a popular choice. As with the other large Californian cities, rush hour traffic can be slow, so try to avoid travelling during rush hour when possible. Downtown, parking meters are enforced between 8am and 6pm and cost around $1/hour, however parking is free outside of these hours and on Sundays.
For tips on driving in the United States, visit our USA driving information page.
San Diego is located 30km north of the US-Mexican border, between the Pacific Ocean and the Laguna Mountain Range. San Diego Bay is guarded by a large spit of land that takes in Silver Strand State Beach and the Coronado district. The Mexican city of Tijuana lies immediately to the south, while Los Angeles is 200km to the north.
San Diego International Airport, formerly called Lindheberg Field, lies 3 miles north-west of San Diego’s downtown area. Non-stop flights are available to destinations across North America, Canada, Mexico and Hawaii. Inter-continental non-stop destinations include Zurich in Europe and Tokyo in Asia.
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Address: 3225 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Website: San Diego Airport
Telephone: +1 (619) 400-2404
Public transport links in San Diego are strong and vast, with ‘trolleys’ (electric buses), trains and buses all active within the city. Trolleys are most frequent in the downtown area, while buses serve all outlying neighbourhoods. A Big Bay Shuttle service runs along the Embercadero coastline during peak season, from Memorial to Labour Day, accessible with an all-day pass. Due to the size of San Diego, some visitors choose taxis and car hire. Taxis in San Diego can be pricey, but lift-sharing options are also widely used in the area and generally cost less. Car rental offers the most convenient way to explore the city, although leave time to look for parking spaces downtown and budget for parking meter charges. Read more at the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s official site.
Auto Europe is one of the top providers of car hire in San Diego and other destinations in the USA. We have a strong relationship with the best car hire companies around the world, giving you the benefit of the best options. You can book a car hire in the USA online today, or for more information contact our fully trained car hire staff on the Auto Europe free phone number: 0800 358 1229.