Traffic & Transportation
Parking and Traffic 2013
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 11:30am 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: Parking is only $3 - $5 per vehicle and there are more than 2,000 parking spaces in this area. 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" Street: Parking is free. 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.
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 $20/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 public lots around the Park.
- Significant traffic delays are expected on Park Boulevard going southbound into Balboa Park. Due to construction activities associated with the Mid-City Rapid Bus Project, one lane in each direction is closed on Park Boulevard between University and Polk avenues.