Traffic & Transportation
Balboa Park December Nights, the nation’s premier holiday festival, will take place for the 36th consecutive year on Friday, Dec. 5, 3-11pm, and Saturday, Dec. 6, noon-11pm. As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Parking and Traffic 2014
With more than 350,000 people attending December Nights and extremely limited parking at Balboa Park, we encourage visitors to use the FREE off-site shuttles or take public transportation. Avoid the 163 southbound during the hours of 5-8pm, as this highway will be very congested. Use alternate routes to get to the Park and the shuttle stops.
FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE
The December Nights Shuttles at PETCO Park and City College run on Friday from 3:00-midnight and on Saturday from 11:30 until midnight in all locations. The last shuttle leaves all sites at 8:00pm so plan to arrive at shuttle location BEFORE 7pm! The last shuttle from the park is at 11:45pm.
- PETCO Park Shuttle at Park Blvd. and Imperial Ave: There are more than 2,000 parking spaces in this area. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Shuttle takes less than 10 minutes and drops off at 6th & Laurel Streets. To get to PETCO use I-5 and exit at Imperial Ave.
- City College Lots between 16th and "B and C" Streets: Parking is free and there are more than 1,000 parking spaces. This year a SECOND lot has been added. Shuttle drops off at 6th & Laurel Streets. The Park is approximately 1/4 mile from City College, so walking is an option. To get to the City College lots use I-5 and exit at "B" Street.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Balboa Park is accessible from most San Diego neighborhoods—as well as cities in East County, North County, and South Bay— by bus, trolley, or train. By taking the bus or trolley you not only avoid traffic, but you help the environment, and it’s economical.
To create your personal trip plan, visit www.sdmts.com or call 511 to speak to one of the Transit Information Operators.
MTS Trolley & Bus
- From the South or East, take the trolley to the City College Station in downtown San Diego and transfer to the MTS Route 7 (on 11th Avenue) to Park Boulevard.
- From Hillcrest, Uptown, Mid-City, Normal Heights, City Heights, and North Park communities take any bus to University Avenue and Park Blvd and transfer to a special Route 7 shuttle heading to Park Blvd.
- See all MTS Trolley and Bus schedules and route maps.
Ride your bike! Bicycle corrals can be found at Balboa Dr. & Laurel on the west side (Near Kate Sessions statue) and also in the Casacades, adjacent to Park Blvd and the footbridge.
Loading Zones can be found on Parks and Presidents - and on the west side of 6th and Laurel. Taxis, ride-sharing, or other vehicles can utilizes these 3 minute loading areas for pick-up and drop-off.
DRIVING TO THE PARK
Parking at for the public Balboa Park is extremely limited. There is some free parking, free disabled parking, and $20 per vehicle parking. All other areas require a permit.
- Free Parking: The San Diego Zoo lot is the only free, non-permited lot at the Park. It fills very quickly. Arrive early to park there.
- Free disabled parking: The Fleet Science Center lot (156 spaces) is available for persons with a valid disabled placard or license plate. This lot is located on Park Blvd. and Space Theater Way. The Federal lot at Park Blvd and Presidents Way has 33 disabled spaces.
- Paid Parking: Optional preferred parking for $25/vehicle at the Natural History Museum parking lot and the South Carousel lot (both accessible from Park Blvd. and Village Place); and at the Inspiration Point parking lot for $20/vehicle (accessible from Park Blvd and Presidents Way).
These are the closest lots to the park. Cash and/or credit cards are accepted.
- On the west side of the Park at 2550 5th Ave. park in the Mr. A’s lot for $25. Click on this link to reserve your space: https://space.aceparking.com/events/index