It’s nearly June and summer in San Diego is just around the corner. One of our favorite things to do when we have a weekend together is to spend it enjoying our city. That usually involves being outside: going on a hike, walking through the farmer’s market, exploring Balboa Park, et cetera. One of our more memorable weekend excursions included a lot of eating, a lot of walking, and a little ferry ride.
I think the Coronado Ferry is one of those things that San Diego has to offer that is significantly underrated. For less than $5, you can get from Coronado to either the Broadway Pier or the Convention Center in about 15 minutes. Bonus points: If you live in Coronado and work downtown, you can ride the ferry FOR FREE between 5:40 am and 8:50 am… and they’ll even give you a return ticket to go back at the end of your work day!
So, the next time you have the better part of a day to do nothing but enjoy San Diego, try taking a leisurely ride across the bay.
Departing from Coronado…
- If you like hassle-free parking, depart from Coronado. The ferry landing has a parking lot, but if it looks crowded, just find a spot along 1st Street. There’s usually plenty of street parking.
- Walk over to the pier to purchase a round-trip ticket from the yellow ticket machine. Once the ferry arrives, double check where it’s going before jumping on board. There are separate schedules for the Convention Center and Broadway Pier.
- The Convention Center ferry runs every 30 minutes. The first departure from Coronado is at 9:10 am, and the last is at 9:40 pm. On Fridays + Saturdays, the ferry runs for an extra hour, making the last departure at 10:40 pm. The ferry drops you off right in front of the Convention Center, so you’re a short walk from the Gaslamp, Petco Park, and more.
- The Broadway Pier ferry runs every hour. The first departure from Coronado is at 9:30 am, and the last is at 9:30 pm. On Fridays + Saturdays, the ferry runs for an extra hour, making the last departure at 10:30 pm. The ferry drops you off at Broadway Pier (right by the USS Midway and Seaport Village).
Departing from the Convention Center…
- You can hunt around for street parking on one of the side streets off of East Harbor Drive. Or, you can pay $15-35 to park at the Convention Center.
- The pier for the ferry is behind the Convention Center, adjacent to Embarcadero Marina Park South. You’ll find a yellow ticket machine by the entrance gate. Buy your round trip tickets here and then grab a spot in line.
- The Convention Center ferry runs every 30 minutes. The first departure is at 9:25 am, and the last is at 9:55 pm.
- On Fridays + Saturdays, the ferry runs for an extra hour, making the last departure at 10:55 pm.
Departing from Broadway Pier…
- If you are having a lucky day, or if you get off to an early start and beat the crowds, you may be fortunate enough to find a metered parking spot directly along the bay on North Harbor Drive. Otherwise, there are plenty of lots nearby for $20 and under. And, as always with downtown, you can try your luck at street parking.
- You’ll see a large, blue Flagship ticket booth in front of the pier. Purchase your round trip tickets there and hop in line to wait for the ferry.
- The Broadway Pier ferry runs every hour. The first departure is at 9:00 am, and the last is at 9:00 pm.
- On Fridays + Saturdays, the ferry runs for an extra hour, making the last departure at 10:00 pm.
Arriving at Coronado…
- If you are hungry by the time you dock at Coronado, grab breakfast or lunch across the street from the landing at Tartine. Tip: They have great coffee; order an iced latte with whole milk + cinnamon on top.
- You can rent bikes at one of the landing shops to get around the island. Bonus points: Ride over to Boney’s Bayside Market and grab sandwiches from the deli. Then ride to the beach for a little seaside picnic.
- Stop along Orange Avenue for some snacking + shopping. Grab a juice at Juice Crafters to sip on while you check out some of the local shops. Make your way down Orange Avenue until you get to the Del.
- Park your bikes and venture through the famous Hotel Del. Grab an ice cream at MooTime or a drink at 1500 Ocean.
- Hop on your bikes and start heading back to the other end of the island. If you haven’t had any ice cream by now, you absolutely need to stop at Clayton’s Coffee Shop. Go to the walk-up order window along 10th Street and get a soft-serve vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. You’re welcome.
- If you feel like a movie, stop at the Village Theater to see what’s playing.
- Finish riding back to the landing, return your bikes, and grab a sunset dinner at Candelas before grabbing your ferry.
Arriving at the Convention Center…
- Climb the famous Convention Center stairs and make your way towards the Gaslamp.
- If you’re in the mood for beer + baseball, ask Siri if there’s a game going on at Petco Park.
- Craving mexican food? Check out Lolita’s on Park Blvd. It’s one of six locations of what I consider to be the best taco shop in San Diego.
- Grab a rooftop lunch at Rustic Root on 5th Avenue. Or push it off until dinner and take advantage of their happy hour menu from 4-6pm (Monday through Friday only).
Arriving at Broadway Pier…
- If you’ve never been, check out the USS Midway. Ticket prices vary (discounted rates for students, seniors, retired military, and kids; free admission for kids 5 & under, active-duty military, law enforcement, and firefighters).
- If you feel like continuing with museum day, visit the Star of India.
- Walk over to The Headquarters at Seaport Village to enjoy lunch.
- After lunch, explore the shops before walking over to Seaport Village.
- Enjoy an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s as you walk through Seaport Village and along the bay.