Downtown San Diego - FRED Shuttle

If you’re looking for an easy, eco-friendly, safe & cost efficient way to get around Downtown San Diego, the FRED electric shuttle program is your answer!
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Downtown San Diego - FRED Shuttle
Connecting Downtown
Where Can You Go
Explore & Save
What To Expect
Best Time to Use FRED
How Much Does FRED Cost?
Know Before You Ride
Stay Nearby

Highlights

Where You Can Go
Best Time to Use
Cost
Tips
Where You Can Go
Best Time to Use
Cost
Tips

The Free Shuttle That Will Connect You to San Diego’s Most Iconic Locations

Downtown San Diego Fred Electric ShuttleNighttime in the Gaslamp Quarter

Looking for the best way to make the most out of your San Diego visit? Say Hello to FRED!

FRED shepherds visitors to iconic locations in the Downtown area as well as San Diego’s transportation hubs that will get you the rest of the way.

Request a ride at Petco Park and visit the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the scenic Embarcadero, or the culinary favorite Little Italy.

San Diego’s downtown neighborhoods are the place to be while visiting or relaxing after a long week at work. It’s a brilliant mix of galleries, bars, and restaurants that combine to create the best nightlife on the west coast. Downtown also offers colorful murals, museums, and plenty of waterfront views.

Hard Rock Hotel with the Gaslamp Quarter Entrance Sign
Hard Rock Hotel with the Gaslamp Quarter Entrance Sign

My Personal Experience Riding the FRED

The thing I really like about the FRED electric shuttles is that they cover a lot of area. When you drive to Downtown, parking can be tough to find and even when you do find a place to park, it’s often quite expensive.

So to me, that’s where the FRED comes in. It takes the hassle out of my trips to Downtown and it’s completely free (more on that below). I love it and I think it’s a great tool that you’ll love riding too.

Yes, It’s Absolutely Free!

FRED stands for Free Ride Everywhere Downtown - and yup - it really is free.

Not only does the City of San Diego subsidize these eco-friendly shuttles, but they use advertising revenue from both name brands and small businesses to keep FRED free.

Inside Back of the Circuit Electric Shuttles
Inside Back of the Circuit Electric Shuttles

How Many People Can Ride in FRED?

These shuttles can fit up to five guests as you head to some of downtown’s best boutiques, theaters, and other attractions.

Who Can Ride FRED?

FRED is ideal for a Padres game outing or a fun night out but just be aware, FRED is only for guests 21+.

Popular Hotels
Popular Hotels
Price
TownePlace Suites Downtown
$164
Learn More
Pendry San Diego
$850
Learn More
SpringHill Suites by Marriott San Diego Oceanside
$184
Learn More

Where Can You Go With FRED?

Metro Station next to the Convention Center in the Gaslamp Quarter San Diego
Metro Station next to the Convention Center in the Gaslamp Quarter San Diego

FRED shepherds guests across the downtown area as well as connects riders to other transportation options.

Riders can connect to the:

Please note, if you are visiting the San Diego area for the first time, the COASTER, Amtrak, and the Trolley are not the same. They are separate services and are not affiliated with FRED.

Whether you’re headed to PETCO Park or Seaport Village - FRED will be there to pick you up!

Grab a Drink at the Salt and Whiskey Bar in the Gaslamp
Grab a Drink at the Salt and Whiskey Bar in the Gaslamp

The Gaslamp Quarter

Historic Gaslamp offers galleries, nightclubs, and fine dining all in one place.

The heart of San Diego’s nightlife will have you singing, dancing, and enjoying a craft cocktail or two.

San Diego Padres Playing at Petco Park
San Diego Padres Playing at Petco Park

East Village

Enjoy a picnic at the beautiful Petco Park, as you catch a San Diego Padres Game. Or head to a brewery and raise your glass in a toast.

Cortez Hill

Head to the hills to visit one of San Diego’s oldest neighborhoods. You’ll also find yourself at the very edge of the famous Balboa Park.

Santa Fe Train Depot on Broadway in San Diego
Santa Fe Train Depot on Broadway in San Diego

Core-Columbia

Is culture calling your name? Visit the Civic Theater or Historic Copley Symphony Hall.

Bar at Ironside Fish and Oyster in Little Italy
Bar at Ironside Fish and Oyster in Little Italy

Little Italy San Diego

Home to several vibrant festivals, Little Italy invites visitors to soak in a little “Dolce far niente” - the sweetness of doing nothing.

Whether you’re coming for the food or shopping, be sure to visit the Piazza della Famiglia to sit and relax before your next stop.

View of Downtown San Diego from Waterfront Park in Harborview
View of Downtown San Diego from Waterfront Park in Harborview

Harborview

Want to spend time on the waterfront? Visit the Broadway Pier or a personal favorite, the USS Midway Museum.

The Unconditional Surrender Statue at USS Midway
The Unconditional Surrender Statue at USS Midway

The USS Midway Museum

Visit the historic USS Midway aircraft carrier and explore over 60+ exhibits, including an immersive movie about the Battle of Midway and over 30 restored aircraft that span the decades from 1942 to today.

Visiting the USS Midway is easy too with a Go City San Diego pass. With a Go City San Diego pass, you’ll receive discount admission prices to the USS Midway plus several of my personal favorite San Diego attractions.

You won’t have to wait in line, and there are no extra fees, just the confidence in knowing your tickets to USS Midway are taken care of. Use our discount code GVSD5OFF for even more savings!

A Nice Sunny Day at the Embarcadero
A Nice Sunny Day at the Embarcadero

The Marina District

From the Convention Center to the San Diego Bayfront Park, there are endless options for dining, shopping, and sight-seeing in the Downtown area.

Enjoy leisurely walks down the South Embarcadero Esplanade or relax in Pantoja Park, the oldest park in San Diego, built in 1850.

Visit PETCO with Go City Pass!
PETCO Park Tour
Experience PETCO Park Tour
Whether you are a die hard, or a casual baseball fan, the PETCO Park tour has something for you. With your Go City Pass, you can visit all the restricted areas of the ballpark. The interactive tour takes you through press row, the dugout and much more.
Buy Now
Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go City San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go City San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

Combine Go Visit San Diego's exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego pass' already great deals and save big! To get our exclusive discount click on the "Buy Now" link and use the code GVSD5OFF to start staving.

What To Expect When Riding FRED?

FRED will shuttle riders from Little Italy to East Village and more - but how do you request a ride?

A Gaslamp Favorite Richard Walkers Pancake House
A Gaslamp Favorite Richard Walkers Pancake House

How to Hail FRED

Requesting a pick up from FRED is easy! Download the Ride Circuit app on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Or flag down a shuttle as you see it.

Be aware that drivers can only pick up riders where it is safe and legal to do so. Drivers also are required to give app requests priority, including any rider requests to not pick up additional passengers.

Can You Schedule a FRED Ride?

No, sadly, FRED is an on-demand service. Riders can’t book rides in advance.

Is it safe to Ride FRED?

Absolutely! Riders can expect drivers that are friendly and engaging, with insider tips on the best places to visit and restaurants to try.

Depending on the day and time you’re requesting a ride, you may have to wait longer than promised eight minutes for a ride. But, considering the cost and safety, I find they’re well worth the wait.

FRED Perks

  • An eco-friendly electric vehicle
  • Access to other transportation options - Hop on a bus, trolley, ferry, or the light rail.
  • Accessibility for all
  • See the city without worrying about parking or traffic
  • Free travel across Downtown

Say Cheese!

FRED offers guests a chance to document their journey with a free in-shuttle photo booth.

What is the Best Time to Use FRED?

Many Kinds of Restaurants to Try in the Gaslamp Quarter
Many Kinds of Restaurants to Try in the Gaslamp Quarter

There is no best or worst time to ride with FRED, but there are a few things to keep in mind when requesting a ride.

FRED allows riders to get around Downtown San Diego without a car, which makes it ideal for commuters into the city.

Avoid ride requests during rush hour to minimize wait times. While unlikely, if all drivers are busy, your request might be denied until the commuter rush is over.

Personally, I find FRED works best when used in place of other ride share services or the trolley for going out with friends, a family get together, or date night. It gets me where I need to go safely so I can have a few drinks and not worry about getting safely around Downtown.

Featured Hotel
Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton
Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown
Boutique
Boutique
Conventions
Conventions
Families
Families
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
The Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton has elevated the hotel stay, offering guests unparalleled luxury with a central SD location.
Prices Starting at $162
Check Availability

How Much Does FRED Cost?

One of the Many Beautiful Streets in the Gaslamp Quarter San Diego
One of the Many Beautiful Streets in the Gaslamp Quarter San Diego

Again, FRED is free, but I recommend carrying small bills for tipping the driver.

Tipping isn’t mandatory, but I think it goes a long way if you enjoyed your ride.

The team behind Circuit, the creators of FRED, work with both the City of San Diego and businesses to ensure FRED remains free for the time being. Beyond tips for drivers, Circuit also encourages riders to show appreciation to the sponsors via social media.

Know Before You Ride

No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Food Allowed
No Food Allowed
No Smoking
No Smoking
Public Transportation
Public Transportation

The Wheelchair Accessible  Electric Shuttle
The Wheelchair Accessible Electric Shuttle

The FRED fleet has both open-air shuttles and windowed shuttles, but don’t worry, all vehicles have a roof.

The FRED Schedule

While FRED doesn’t run 24/7, it has a set schedule, so you know when shuttles are available.

FRED runs:

  • Monday - Thursday: 7AM–9PM
  • Friday: 7AM–10PM
  • Saturday: 8AM–10PM
  • Sunday: 9AM–9PM

Beautiful Day at the Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown
Beautiful Day at the Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown

Where to Stay Downtown to Take Advantage of FRED

There are dozens of wonderful hotels downtown, but the Carté Hotel San Diego Downtown is one of my personal favorites!

Carté Hotel San Diego Downtown

This brand new hotel is just steps away from Little Italy and perfectly placed so you can make the most of San Diego’s downtown.

It combines California’s classic elegance with rooms that feature bay or city views plus corner rooms with stunning panoramic views due to their floor to ceiling windows.

Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Oct
61°F / 81°F
Sunny in October

Stay Nearby

TownePlace Suites Downtown
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
TownePlace Suites Downtown
from $164 / night
View Hotel
Pendry San Diego
Luxury Hotel
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
Pendry San Diego
from $850 / night
View Hotel
SpringHill Suites by Marriott San Diego Oceanside
Near Camp Pendelton
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
SpringHill Suites by Marriott San Diego Oceanside
from $184 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>
Tours & Adventures
San Diego Harbor Cruise
San Diego Harbor Cruise
$36 per person
Buy Now
Balboa Park Walking Tour with Guide
Balboa Park Walking Tour with Guide
$45 per person
Buy Now
Looking for Something Different?
More Electric Shuttles in San Diego