San Diego International Airport

Visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo, or SeaWorld? San Diego International Airport (SAN) is your destination airport. It’s near Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Whether you want tourist activities, are visiting for a convention or quick family getaway, SAN will put you directly in the middle of it all!
San Diego International Airport
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San Diego International Airport
Balboa Park

Fly into San Diego International Airport

Terminal 2 Food Court at San Diego International AirportAirplane Landing in the Sunset at San Diego International Airport

Also known as Lindbergh Field, San Diego International Airport is the main travel hub in San Diego. This popular airport serves over 20 million passengers every year, making it one of the largest single-runway airports in the United States. At the same time, it has a more relaxed feel than the huge crowds of Los Angeles’s LAX airport.

If you’re planning on taking a trip to San Diego or nearby beaches, San Diego International Airport is usually your best choice. That way you don’t have to fight with the over 80 million passengers who fly through LAX, and you don’t have to worry about the traffic in Los Angeles. There are many international flights that go directly to San Diego, including flights from Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The airport code for San Diego International Airport is SAN. This comfortable airport is located in a prime position for travelers to San Diego, as it’s only 2 miles from the Santa Fe Depot, the main train station in downtown San Diego. This is useful for tourists looking to visit the city’s hippest hot spots and business travelers who need to take care of meetings.

Many popular tourist destinations are only 10–20 minutes from SAN. Here are the distances to some must-visit places in San Diego for adventurers, foodies, newlyweds and families:

  • Balboa Park: 1.8 miles
  • San Diego Zoo: 4.5 miles
  • Sunset Cliffs: 2.8 miles
  • Mission Bay: 4.6 miles
  • Gaslamp Quarter: 3.2 miles
  • Seaport Village: 2.3 miles
  • SeaWorld San Diego: 4.5 miles
  • Coronado Island: 7.6 miles

With so many awesome places to visit so close, it’s easy to get from the airport to your favorite hotel. Instead of wasting time traveling, you get to spend every second of your dream vacation at the destinations you want to visit. Beaches, entertainment, nightlife, family fun, restaurants — they’re all within easy reach of the San Diego International Airport.

Business travelers who fly through SAN are close to the city’s most important corporate hubs. Downtown San Diego’s skyscrapers are only about 2 miles away. The San Diego Convention Center is just over 3 miles away, and there are numerous luxury hotels nearby the San Diego airport. That way you can rest well before attending trade shows, business conferences, corporate seminars or other important events.

San Diego International Airport
Why you'll love San Diego International Airport
Fly into SAN for access to Balboa Park & the Gaslamp Quarter. Visit the San Diego Zoo, Convention Center, SeaWorld, USS Midway, surrounding museums & more!

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SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Check out SeaWorld San Diego for exciting rides, marine animal interactions and shows! Admission is included as part of the All-Inclusive Go Pass. Save even more when you bundle with other top attractions like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps!
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Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go 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! No code needed - simply follow our link above to purchase your pass and begin savin

Things to Do

Getting to & Navigating the San Diego International Airport

Getting to and from (SAN)

Curbside drop-off and pickup are permitted at the San Diego Airport, so it’s easy for friends or business contacts to pick you up from the airport. Rideshare companies also take advantage of this flexibility. Many travelers rely on the airport’s taxis or shuttles to take them to a local destination, and luxury hotels in San Diego often provide transportation services as well.

To rent a car for added flexibility, you can visit the Consolidated Rental Car Center near the airport. There are also several parking lots with hourly and daily rates available for frequent business travelers.

If you’re driving to the airport after a relaxing and refreshing vacation in San Diego, make sure to leave early so you get to your flight on time. SAN is right next to San Diego Freeway, or Interstate 5. Whether you’re heading north or south on I-5, look for the exit to North Harbor Drive and San Diego International Airport.

Local Tips
Did you know?
Upon approach to landing at the San Diego International Airport your airplane will fly directly over Balboa Park and you can see how big this park really is.

San Diego International Airport has two airport terminals arranged next to each other. Reaching your flight is fairly simple thanks to the streamlined layout by the Airport Authority of San Diego. Terminal 1 is located on the east side of the airport and the first terminal that you see while driving to drop off or pick up a passenger. While Terminal 2 is located on the west side of the airport. The terminals are fairly close to each other and walking from one terminal to another is possible via a pedestrian walkway.

Terminal 1 at SAN

In Terminal 1, you can take direct flights to cities around the U.S., from Chicago to Miami. Business travelers can return home quickly after a week of meetings, and vacation travelers can enjoy San Diego to the fullest before arriving home right on time for Monday morning at the office. Terminal 1 features carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country and Allegiant Air.

Terminal 2 at SAN

Terminal 2 is the main terminal for international flights. Here in terminal 2 you can find carriers such as American Airlines, Alaska, Delta, United, Hawaiian Airlines, Air Canada, Edelweiss, British Airways, Lufthansa, WestJet and Japan Airlines. SAN lets you fly nonstop from San Diego to Tokyo, Toronto, Honolulu, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, London, Frankfurt, Zurich and other locations. All in all, you can travel directly to 60 national and international destinations.

Food & Entertainment at the San Diego International Airport

Finding the Best Food at SAN

SAN has many mainstay restaurants and cafes for people who enjoy bagels, sandwiches and burgers. However, what makes this airport’s dining scene special are the numerous restaurants that are extensions of San Diego favorites. Some of these include Stone Brewing, Phil’s B.B.Q., Bankers Hill Bar & Market, Prado at the airport and Pannikin Coffee & Tea.

Feast on fresh ingredients for awesome SoCal flair. Relax while waiting for a flight with tasty craft beers, irresistible tacos, delicious wines, handmade pizzas, mouthwatering barbecue and hip espresso. If you don’t feel like searching around the airport for great food, there are even apps available to deliver meals directly to your gate.

The Airport Authority has even installed filtered water fill up stations in both terminals to fill up your empty water bottles after you have gone through the security checkpoints. So there is no need to buy expensive bottles of water anymore inside the terminal if you plan ahead.

Staying Entertained at SAN

Even though San Diego International Airport isn’t a huge place, it provides a surprising number of ways to stay entertained. As you may expect in such an important hub of art and culture such as San Diego, SAN organizes many art expositions and live music performances.

With a full spa available, you can unwind in comfort before or after a long flight. If you have time, you can take in breathtaking San Diego Bay views from the nearby Spanish Landing Park just across the street from the airport. Breath in San Diego’s refreshing ocean air one last time before going home.

Another incredible way to spend happy moments at the airport is with the Ready, Pet, Go program. This phenomenal program allows travelers to interact with volunteers and dogs. This is designed to reduce stress and make everybody happy.

Few things have a better effect on your time at the airport than playing with a friendly canine. Feel free to pet the golden retrievers, beagles, terriers, collies, pugs and other therapy dogs participating in the program. Large and small pups love getting scratched behind the ears and receiving some affection.

Featured Activity

Front of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Located in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum provides history of aircraft built in California. The museum includes over 60 exhibits with restored aircraft and tours of the carrier.
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Staying Near & Visiting San Diego’s Best Places Near the Airport

There are plenty of ways to spend an incredible getaway in San Diego close to the airport. Whether you’re looking for food, dancing, beaches, amusement parks, museums, art galleries or scenery, you’re always only a few miles away:

Staying at a Great Hotel Near the Airport

In reality, the close proximity of San Diego International to Downtown San Diego makes it easy to stay at the hotel of your choosing. There are private resorts with lush gardens, rooftop lofts with views of Old Town San Diego, hip studio accommodations in Gaslamp Quarter, relaxing spas at La Jolla and luxury hotels right on the Mission Bay waterfront.

Most of these hotels offer airport shuttle service and some will offer you free shuttle service, make sure you inquire at your hotel. San Diego hotels have tons of personality, so wherever you stay, you’re in for an amazing experience.

If you want to be as close to the airport as possible, there are many incredible options available. Luxury hotels on Harbor Island — directly across from the airport — provide fantastic vistas of San Diego Bay. In addition to elegant amenities such as open-air dining and private balconies, these hotels give you instant access to breathtaking beaches.

Travelers are close to San Diego’s most charming inns. Little Italy is filled with iconic lodging for couples looking for something quiet and romantic. For families with kids, it’s easy to find spacious suites in the area near Little Italy and Waterfront Park in the Harborview neighborhood.

Visiting Balboa Park

You can’t visit San Diego without taking a trip to this gigantic park. Miles of trails for hiking, biking, skateboarding and walking await. Visit legendary gardens, photograph Spanish architecture or tour one of Balboa Park’s 17 museums. Balboa Park is even home to the San Diego Zoo.

Experience the San Diego Zoo

A bucket-list destination, the San Diego Zoo is home to countless endangered and rare species. Watch your kids giggle happily with elephants, lions, tigers, koalas and other exotic creatures.

You can also save on top attractions and activities including the San Diego Zoo by purchasing a Go San Diego Card. This card will help you save up to 55% off regular admission costs. You can even get an additional discount if you purchase the Go San Diego Card through our website.

Shopping & Nightlife at the Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s urban playground that offers cool shopping during the day and hot nightlife when the sun goes down. Check out unique craft breweries, high-profile restaurants and the best signature cocktails around, into addition to live music and dancing.

Checking out Seaport Village

When you’re in the mood to stroll aimlessly along the San Diego Bay in the Embarcadero at Seaport Village, this is the place to be for kids and adults alike. Expect gorgeous views, romantic sunsets and mouth watering seafood.

Don’t Miss out on Mission Bay Park

The largest man-made water park in the world, Mission Bay Park gives you access to countless water sports and beach activities. Go sailing, paddle boarding, kiteboarding, swimming, jet skiing and more.

The list of popular San Diego destinations within biking and driving distance is too large to count. You can easily reach many of the most popular beaches in San Diego in half an hour or less. Go surfing at Pacific Beach, sail around Coronado Island or watch the sun go down at Sunset Cliffs National Park.

Featured Hotel
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Exterior view of Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Near Beach
Near Beach
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Stay in comfort and tranquility right by the water at Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. You can dine on property, go sightseeing, or just relax in your room.
Prices Starting at $109
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San Diego International Airport
is Famous For:
Balboa Park
Balboa Park
Gaslamp Quarter
Gaslamp Quarter
Known For:
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Convention Center
Convention Center
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego
USS Midway
USS Midway
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