If you want to see everything you can in your short stay in San Diego, traveling by car is definitely your best option. If this isn't feasible for you, San Diego does also offer an effective public transportation system, The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SDMTS).
San Diego conveniently hosts an abundance of rental car companies. Check out the list of car rental companies frequently used by travelers landing at the SDIA.
Most rental car companies will offer complimentary maps of the city. Hotels also usually provide maps of the downtown area and popular tourist destinations. Fortunately, San Diego's streets are relatively easy to navigate; most streets run one-way in a grid pattern.
The SDMTS runs a light rail service (called the Trolley) consisting of three lines, as well as 89 fixed bus routes. As a visitor, you'll probably spend most of your travel time on the trolley, particularly on the blue line which runs from the Mexican Border north through downtown and Old Town. Additionally, the orange line runs from downtown east through Lemon Grove and El Cajon, and the Green Line runs from Old Town through Mission Valley, San Diego State University, and finally Santee.
Tickets for the trolley cost a flat rate of $2.50 for travel between any two stations, and they can be bought before boarding from self-service machines in the stations. You can also choose to buy a $5 day pass if you know you'll be using the Trolley quite a bit. The lines run roughly every 15 minutes during the weekdays from 4:45 AM until midnight; however, some of the trolleys only run every half hour on weekends, so it's a good idea to look at the schedule before you plan your trip.
San Diego is the ideal location for transportation by bike if you're the active type. Many roads have designated bike lanes, and bikes can be rented in most areas of the county. For a comprehensive map of the county, and more information about bicycling in San Diego, visit website of the San Diego Country Bicycle Coalition (www.sdcbc.org).
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