Article by Sofie
Old Town Trolley Tours was founded by three friends in Key West Florida in the early 1970’s. They wanted to preserve historic Old Town Key West by introducing visitors to it and raise awareness. Their business took off and is now based in six cities, among which is San Diego.
Old Town Trolley Tours works with a hop-on/hop-off system. You buy a ticket once and with that ticket you can hop on and off the trolleys driving through San Diego for an entire day (or two, if you get the two-day tour.
Of course, you can’t get on/off just anywhere. You have to use the trolley stops located throughout San Diego and Coronado Island.
Decided which stop to mount the trolley at. The drivers are great storytellers, and they are continually sharing interesting and fun facts with vistors, both about important historical events and about everyday life.
Crossing the San Diego / Coronado Bay Bridge you will get some great views over Seaport Village and Coronado Island. It’s actually a bit scary driving over this bridge as the side edge to keep you from falling is only like 20 cm high and there’s no glass in the windows of the trolleys.
Coronado Island isn’t part of San Diego. It’s a separate city and one that upholds strict rules for those living there. McDonald’s and other chains aren’t allowed, as the island wants to preserve it’s ‘authentic’ feel.
There was nothing on Coronado when Elisha Babcock and Hampton decided to buy it for $110,000 (price then) in 1886 and turn it into a resort community. They constructed roads, built a water and power system and attracted buyers for the lots they’d laid out.
The Crown on top of their work was and still is the Hotel Del Coronado , built in just one year for $1 million dollars (price then).
BALBOA PARK, SAN DIEGO
After having seen the Hotel del Coronado you will drive back over the bridge, this time getting a view on the Naval Station, toward Balboa Park.
Balboa Park is huge. There are 15 museums, among which the Air And Space Museum, The San Diego Museum Of Art, performing arts venues, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. The park even has its own free tram service to take you around.
But even by tram you will not have time to explore the full 1,200 acres in one day. Choice between visiting a Museum or two and wandering around to see more of the park.
A one-day ticket for the trolleys costs $32 for adults and $16 for children aged 4-12. Children younger than 4 get to ride for free.
Old Town Trolley Tours also offers a 2-day tour, a San Diego Beach Tour and a Seal Tour. Check out their website for more information.