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San Diego Layover

| December 17, 2013

Stuck on a San Diego layover at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) in southern California? Located roughly three miles from downtown San Diego, the city is an accessible destination for those stuck on long layovers. If you’re trying to determine whether you can leave the airport during your San Diego layover, click here for useful tips.San Diego layover stopover

If you’re stuck inside the San Diego airport during your layover, you can take advantage of the passenger services available including a variety of restaurants and eateries, and local and national brand shops – a directory of the shops and restaurants can be found here. In addition, new dining and shopping options will be available at the airport at the end of 2012. The airport also hosts rotating art exhibits, and free Tarmac Tours of the airport and airfield (sign up for a tour online).

There are a number of lounges available at the San Diego International Airport including the American Airlines Admirals Club in Terminal 2 inside security (800.237.7971), the Delta Crown Room in Terminal 2 between gates 37 and 38 (800.221.1212), the United Red Carpet Room in Terminal 1, Mezzanine Level (619.231.5692), and the Neil Ash USO Center on the ground level of Terminal 1.

For great parking deals at SAN, CLICK HERE!

If you have time to leave the San Diego airport during your layover, there are a number of transportation options including car rental and taxis. There are a few public transportation options including Amtrak and Coaster, Metro Bus, and Trolley service.

If you have an overnight layover in San Diego and are looking for a place to spend the night, click here for a comprehensive list of nearby hotels at varying price points.

Layover Guide’s Suggestions Of Things To Do In San Diego:

Gaslamp Quarter

This 16 block historic district of San Diego has something for everyone.  With a ton of shops and restaurants, historic sites, clubs and bars, this area is a great place to stop off in between flights!

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is much more than your average zoo. With the bus trips, Safari Park, rare animal breeding centers, and impressive exhibits, it is a zoo experience unlike any other.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is a taste of California beaches at its best. Here you can take a dip, watch the surfers, stroll along the beach, grab a coffee, roller skate, or just catch some rays.

Cabrillo Tide Pools

This beachside mile long hike offers a chance to take a look in a series of tidepools and see some fun marine life including sea anemones, crabs, and tons more.

For tons more ideas of things to do during your San Diego layover, click here!

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Category: layover, North America, stopover, things to do

Comments (2)

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  1. Todd says:

    The airport is ridiculously close to downtown (by the way, get a window seat on the left side of the plane for a beautiful landing view), and the airport is small for the most part, but realize that it can get busy at peak times. Unlike most major airports, the security gates only allow you access to a small part of each terminal. For example, if you’re flying Southwest you only have ONE security gate because you will only have access to the 10 or so gates that Southwest operates so the security line can get LONG. I’d recommend asking an agent at the airport what time you should return because sometimes the line is non-existent (5 minutes) and sometimes it’s out the door (~45 minutes+).

    Also, Balboa Park is not listed on this list, but it’s a great place to walk around for an hour or two and has a lot of museums (only one or two would be worth the $ for out of towners). Taxi ride would be roughly $15 one way.

    Public transportation options are limited and if you can spare the extra $10 on a cab, just do it. It’s so much easier and everything is close.

    You can also see the Star of India or the USS Midway which offers cheap tours which are about 3 miles from the airport.

    If you have just an hour, you can walk out the airport about half a mile to the San Diego where you can get one of the best views of downtown San Diego and the Naval Base on Coronado. The best viewing is at the airport employee parking lot so just ask any airport employee how to get there. When I worked at the airport I always took arriving guests to see this view upon arrival.

    Bottom line: there is NOTHING TO DO in this airport. The city is SO CLOSE – get out and go see it, even if just for a few hours.