Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own town. That was how the idea of taking the San Diego Trolley tour started. It would be a fun day to explore the city I live in with some friends, but I had another idea. What if we bar hopped using the trolley as our mode of transportation! Learn a little more about America’s finest city and check out some new bars and restaurants along the way!
With 11 stops you can pick and choose where you jump on and off and in between locations you’ll hear fascinating San Diego history, stories and facts. Did you know that San Diego is America’s 8th largest city? Okay, enough of that.
Starting Point (Stop A):
We began our pub crawl in Old Town. I suggest you start with a hearty breakfast at one of the many Mexican food restaurants near the trolley such as the Old Town Mexican Cafe and jump on the 10am trolley. You’ll want a fairly early start because the trolleys only run until about 5pm. Check out the schedule here: http://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego/tour-schedules.asp
Jump off at San Diego Harbor (Stop B):
It’s always fun to see the Star of India and the Maritime Museum up close and personal. Parking here is tough, so it’s a great way to see this part of the harbor. Take your time and snap a few photos of the really cool ships because Anthony’s Fish Grotto doesn’t open until 11am. Anthony’s has been around since 1946 and is known to make a mean Mai Tai, so grab a seat at the bar, order your tropical cocktail and enjoy the view of the bay. Don’t forget to show them your trolley bus sticker for 15% off your order.
Skip Stops C, D, E
Seaport Village (stop C) Overpriced and too touristy.
Marriott (stop D) Unless you are staying there, why?
Horton Plaza (stop E) This isn’t a day focused on shopping.
Jump off at Gaslamp Quarter (Stop F)
Exit the trolley and head right one and a half blocks past the many tempting bar choices on 4th Avenue to one of the newer spots in town—Werewolf and get ready to get high. Well, at least that is the name of my favorite drink on the menu; an absolute hibiscus cocktail with lime juice, simple syrup and soda water and garnished with a flower. By this point it would be a great idea to have a bit of food. Werewolf is known for their papas balls (Mashed potatoes with bacon, scallion, cilantro and cotija cheese and served with secret sauce) and their grilled garlic ginger chicken wings with dojo sauce. If your Sunday funday happens to be on a Saturday you’ll have the extra treat of live music.
Skip Stops G, H
Hilton (stop G) See stop D notes.
Coronado Ferry Landing See stop C notes.
Jump off in Coronado (Stop I)
There are many spots in Coronado that would fulfil the goal of the day, but if you want a true staycation experience you must head directly to the Sun Deck Bar & Grill at the Del Coronado Hotel. Head to the bar and order their signature bloody Mary (with extra horseradish & worstershire and light on the hot sauce) for a perfect cocktail. The view of the expansive white sand beach in front of The Del can’t be beat. Kick up your feet and pretend to be on vacation for the next hour!
Skip Stop J
Balboa Park (stop J) Too much too see in too short a time and not many options for cocktails.
Jump off in Little Italy (Stop K)
There are a plethora of choices in Little Italy, but for me the perfect way to end a day of bar hopping is at San Diego’s oldest tavern, The Waterfront. From the trolley stop head west on Cedar Street 1 block to Kettner Blvd. and make a right and walk about five minutes. At this point it’s probably best to switch to beer—and luckily they have 14 beers on tap. Try one of the many local brews such as Ballast Point Sculpin and head to the back for a game of pool.
You’ll most likely have missed the last trolley back to Old Town, but chances are you’ll be much better off taking a taxi home.
What & Where:
Old Town Trolley Tour (www.trolleytours.com/san-diego/day-tour)
Anthony’s Fish Grotto (1360 N Harbor Dr; 619-232-5103; www.gofishanthonys.com/)
Werewolf (627 4th Ave; 619-234-0094; http://www.thewerewolf.net/)
Del Coronado Hotel (1500 Orange Ave; 619-435-6611; http://hoteldel.com/)
The Waterfront (2044 Kettner Blvd; 619-232-9656; www.waterfrontbarandgrill.com/)