Running through downtown San Diego, Linear Park is a vibrant, palm-lined ribbon that parallels an active trolley line along Harbor Drive. The trail provides direct access to many of the city's highlights, and its rich supply of public art, grassy areas, water fountains and people-watching opportunities makes the promenade a San Diego highlight in itself.
You'll want to start on the northern end of the trail, where there is ample parking in a lot on West Broadway across the street from the Santa Fe Depot (Union Station). Built in 1915 in the classic Spanish mission and Colonial Revival style, the depot is a terminus of the popular Coaster commuter route. Once at risk of being torn down and now widely celebrated, the historic depot is worth a visit before heading out on the trail. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the depot also houses the library of the San Diego Railroad Museum.
The trail begins just west of the active railroad tracks. Head south for an eighth of a mile, and follow the trail as it becomes a wide path weaving between two apartment buildings. After passing the buildings, turn left onto G Street, cross Kettner Boulevard and reconnect with the off-street path on the south side of the street. The wide variety of sights to take in along the trail makes it ideal for a leisurely bike ride or stroll.
Just past Kettner Boulevard, a stand of San Diego's tall towers flanks the north side of the trail, opposite the San Diego Convention Center. At the 5th Avenue intersection, make a left to the entrance to the Gaslamp Quarter, with its seemingly endless offering of restaurants, shops, bars and historical charm. The Gaslamp, which contains more than 90 Victorian-era historic buildings, was revitalized in the 1980s and 1990s. Today it is a major San Diego destination for tourists and locals alike.
Also nearby is Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. The trail ends at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Harbor Drive. Cross the train tracks at 5th Avenue to check out the Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade, which links a number of other sights in this part of San Diego on the north side of the railroad corridor.
To reach the northern trailhead in downtown San Diego, from Harbor Drive, head east on West Broadway Avenue to the intersection with Pacific Highway. The Santa Fe Depot is located on West Broadway between Pacific Highway and Kettner Boulevard. The trailhead is across West Broadway from the depot, just west of the railroad tracks. Park in the lot next to the trailhead.