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Take In The Sights Of San Diego's 59-Mile Scenic Drive

Looking for a driving tour that hits up many of San Diego’s great landmarks while providing a fine introduction to the area’s scenery and cultural vibe?

Well, good news: You’ve got just the thing in San Diego’s official “auto safari,” the 59-Mile Drive! From the heart of downtown to gorgeous coastline caressed by Pacific sea breezes, this easy-to-follow itinerary is a showstopper at every curve.

And even better news: The circuit passes right near the Sofia Hotel!


The head of the 59-Mile Drive is downtown San Diego—specifically the vicinity of the Embarcadero, our postcard-perfect waterfront. With views encompassing the core of the city and the ship-laced bay, it’s the ideal place to start your explorations of this stunning beautiful meeting place of land and ocean. The Visitor Information Center has all the maps and orientation tips you need to get the most out of the journey. (Blue-and-yellow signs marked with a seagull, by the way, stud every quarter-mile of the route.)

Among the many highlights of the Drive are Spanish Landing and Shelter Island, where you can enjoy views of the homegrown fishing fleet and the Yokohama Friendship Bell, symbolizing San Diego’s “sisterhood” with Yokohama, Japan; the whale-watching and tidepool hub of Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma; splendid seaside stops such as La Jolla Cove Park and Mission Beach; and the birthplace of modern San Diego in Old Town State Historic Park and Presidio Park. In the closing miles of the scenic drive, check out Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and the colorfully historic Gaslamp Quarter—a stone’s throw from the Sofia.

Enjoying the Open Road

While you can complete the 59-Mile Drive in three hours or so, it’s all the more enjoyable to give yourself an entire day to appreciate it—and to allow for park picnics, seaside strolls, and other idylls along the way.

Mere blocks from the Embarcadero, the Sofia Hotel gives you just about the perfect jumping-off point for the 59-Mile Drive. Why not round out a day packed to the gills with San Diego sightseeing at the Currant American Brasserie?

The 59-Mile Drive’s a one-of-a-kind means of sampling San Diego’s geography and its magic. And summer’s the ideal time to hit the road!