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Traffic & Transportation

Thanks to all who made 2016 Balboa Park December Nights so memorable!

 The City of San Diego and the Balboa Park Conservancy, co-producers of this classic San Diego celebration, would like to thank our generous sponsors. We could not have welcomed 360,000 visitors to the Park over the two-day event without the support of these wonderful organizations.

We would also like to thank the entertainment groups, the Park museums and cultural organizations and the many Balboa Park and community volunteers who made this festival so special.

We’re hoping to spend the first Friday and Saturday of December (December 1 and 2, 2017) with you next year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of San Diego’s premiere holiday event.


Take a look at some of the highlights from Balboa Park December Nights 2016!



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. 

Download a printable event and parking map HERE


The December Nights Shuttles run on Friday from 3:00-midnight and on Saturday from 11:30 until midnight in all locations. The last shuttles depart for the Park at 8:30pm so plan to arrive at shuttle location BEFORE 7pm!  The last shuttle from the park is at 11:45pm.

  1.  City College Lots between 16th and "B and C" Streets: Parking is free and there are more than 1,500 parking spaces.  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. 
  2. Downtown San Diego on Ash St between 5th and 6th Ave. Numerous parking lots in this area at $5, or free street parking after 6pm. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel. 
  3. ***NOTE***
    There will be NO Shuttle from Petco Park again this year! 

Download a printable shuttle map HERE


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.comor call 511 to speak to one of the Transit Information Operators. 

MTS Trolley & Bus

  • 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 December Nights Shuttle to Park Blvd

  • Or from the South or East, take the Orange or UCSD Blue Line trolley to the 5th Ave Station in Downtown and walk 2 blocks north for the FREE shuttle

  • From Hillcrest, Uptown, Mid-City, Normal Heights, City Heights, and North Park communities take the MTS Route 7 or 215 to Smart Corner Downtown and transfer to the MTS December Nights Shuttle to Park Blvd. There will be NO SOUTHBOUND SERVICE on Park Blvd. during the December Nights detour from 4pm-11pm Friday (12/2) and 1pm-11pm Saturday (12/3).

  • 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 Cascades, at Village Place, near the Morton Bay Fig.

Walk to the Park!  City College, Smart Corner (11th Ave & C St.) and many of the $5.00 Ace Parking lots in Cortez Hill (north downtown SD) are less than a 20 minute walk to the park.

Passenger Loading Zonescan be found on Park Blvd and Presidents Way, Park Blvd and Zoo Place - and on the west side of 6th and Laurel. Taxis, ride-sharing, or other vehicles can utilize these 3 minute loading areas for pick-up and drop-off.

LYFT is the official ride-share sponsor for Balboa Park December Nights - enjoy these ride-sharing discounts! 

BPDN2016: available to all users! Valid for 20% off rides, up to 2 rides, with up to $5 off per ride. Rides must be to and from Balboa Park. Valid Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, 2016 only.  

BPDN50: new user code $5 off the first 10 rides.



Parking for the public Balboa Park during December Nights is extremely limited. There is some free parking, free ADA parking, and paid vehicle parking. All other areas require a permit. 

  • Free Parking: The San Diego Zoo lot is the only free, non-permitted 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 ADA 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.