About San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Address: 3355 Admiral Boland Way, San Diego, 92101 , Ca, Ca

  Getting around

San Diego International Airport (SAN) has the distinction of being 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of downtown San Diego, ranked second in the U.S. in terms of travel time from the airport to the city center — clocking in under 10 minutes. Likewise, air travelers to this idyllic seaside city will find a range of major airport car rental providers located in the Consolidated Rental Car Center, just a quick 2-minute shuttle ride from the exits.

Depending upon whom you ask, driving in San Diego is either very easy or a difficult challenge. Erring on the side of caution, getting around San Diego is a far more seamless experience than Los Angeles or San Francisco. As far as major cities in California go, driving in San Diego is a piece of cake. There’s congestion in the central districts during rush hours, but otherwise, you’ll find a lot of open road and abundant sunshine.

If you’re not familiar with the area, either ask for GPS or get a really good map, because even though landmarks and freeway signs are clearly marked, it’s easy to get lost in San Diego, particularly around freeway interchanges. Even locals find themselves getting turned around at the Interstate 5 and I-11 interchange.

  Choosing your car

Choosing the right car the make-or-break decision of your trip to San Diego. Fortunately, you’re spoiled for choice with (SAN) airport car rental options. If you’re traveling with a large group, rent a roomy 7-9 seater Dodge minivan from Thrifty. With fewer passengers but still a lot of gear, rent a full-size Nissan four-door sedan from Enterprise. Single travelers and smaller families may want to rent a compact Ford car for zipping around town.

  Tips and advice for renting a car at San Diego Airport


Downtown San Diego streets have a fairly simple alphabetized naming system from north to south. So you’ll find B Street and Broadway in the north half of town, and K Street at Petco Park Stadium, in the southern quadrant.


Traveling west to east — away from the ocean — the numbered streets get higher as your travel further from the coast. So if you’re at 30th Street, you know you’re pretty far from downtown San Diego — but still in the city.


Generally speaking, freeways in the U.S. follow a basic numbering system. Odd-numbered highways run north-south, while even numbered routes go north-south. Remember that if you’re trying figure out which way you’re headed.


Take that collision damage protection regardless of having your own insurance and/or coverage from your credit card issuer. San Diego drivers are infamous for speeding and unannounced multiple-lane changes. Stay vigilant and drive defensively.


Tijuana, Mexico is 20 miles (32 km) south of San Diego and the busiest border crossing in the U.S. Many visitors to San Diego take advantage of its proximity to the Mexican border for day trip opportunities. If you’re planning a trip “south of the border” check with your airport car rental agencies about their foreign travel policy.


The Interstate 5 freeway — which runs through the heart of San Diego — originates at Mexican border and ends at the border in Vancouver, Canada. Hence, it’s a major shipping route, which means trucks — lots of trucks. Be extra cautious when traveling in the near vicinity of these semi-trailers, avoiding them as much as possible.