North America

San Diego, CA

San Diego is a runner’s paradise. The combination of great weather, beautifully laid out harbor, beaches, and lovely running trails — all fairly accessible — makes San Diego one of my top running cities. What’s especially nice is that travelers staying near downtown/airport/convention center have access to some great routes. Some of the best places to run in San Diego, California include numerous options around the harbor, Mission Beach, Balboa Park, and Sunset Cliffs. There are also some areas worth a special trip, such as La Jolla and Torrey Pines. There are also great opportunities for challenging trail running in the mountains to the east.

  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Balboa Park

San Diego, CA

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such as the Zoo, and several museums. Many options for running, from trails by the sites to more wooded routes.
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Mission Bay

San Diego, CA

A 46,000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on well-marked off-road paths, with water views, lovely parks, beaches, bridges, and an island.
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Ocean beach/Sunset Cliffs

San Diego, CA

Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach is a great place to run in San Diego, staying high on windy cliffs with great views. A real treat at sunset. At the end of the road, hike down the cliffs onto the beach.
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La Jolla

San Diego, CA

A beautiful and affluent seaside community 13 miles north of San Diego. Wonderful oceanside roads and trails, and a hilly residential community with gorgeous homes and views.
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Torrey Pines

San Diego, CA

A beautiful State Preserve of 2,000 acres, 5 miles north of San Diego, incorporating the rare Torrey pine. Run-nable hillside hiking trails with great ocean views. Also great running on the beach here.
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Mission Trails Regional Park

San Diego, CA

5,800-acre regional park located in La Mesa, 12 miles northeast of San Diego. More than 30 miles of trail running. Everything from the flat 1.2-mile Grassland Loop to more challenging trail runs, including 3 miles to the top of Cowles Mountain.
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Balboa Park

San Diego, CA

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such as the Zoo, and several museums. Many options for running, from trails by the sites to more wooded routes.
Explore

Mission Bay

San Diego, CA

A 46,000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on well-marked off-road paths, with water views, lovely parks, beaches, bridges, and an island.
Explore

Central San Diego is quite compact. Stay near the airport, convention center, and downtown/gaslamp area provides good access to waterfront running. Balboa Park is 1–2 miles west of downtown/Gaslamp district. Mission Bay is 5–6 miles from downtown and there is a good selection of hotels there, and also near Pacific Beach. There aren’t many hotels right near or in Balboa Park. There are also a few hotels in La Jolla & Torrey Pines.

sandiegostay

There don’t seem to be as many local running stores as some other cities, but there are several that have a great reputation.

Pacific Beach

Movin Shoes: Also in Encinitas and La Mesa. This longtime local favorite was recently purchased by Olympians Bob Kennedy and Meb Keflezighi. Super helpful folks. Group runs Mondays 6pm. Other store runs here.

Balboa Park area

Milestone Running Club. Group Runs Wednesday 6pm.

Scripps Ranch (near Mission Hills area)

Laces Running Company Group runs twice a week.

Miramar

Road Runner Sports

San Diego Track Club. Group runs: Tuesday 6pm track workouts Balboa Park. Free for visitors.

Run San Diego.

Calendar of running events, courtesy of the San Diego Track Club

Carlsbad Marathon – January. Well, how many North American cities can have a marathon in January? This is 30 minutes north of San Diego

Rock ‘N Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. June

Electric Run: (November) A run that celebrates the night life, this race happens from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and has neon lights, glowing tunnels and club music as you run. Sign up: electricrun.com

La Jolla Half Marathon. June. Vert pictureque area

San Diego Half Marathon. March

Silver Strand Half Marathon & 5K: (November) A race from Coronado to Imperial Beach that welcomes runners, walkers, wheelchair athletes and even in-line skaters. New this year is a 10-mile race for those not quite ready to conquer the half’s 13.1 mile route.

Father Joe’s Thanksgiving 5K: One of the city’s most popular 5Ks attracts thousands of people each Thanksgiving in a race that benefits San Diego’s homeless population. Sign up: thanksgivingrun.org.

America’s Finest City Half Marathon. August. Starts at the Cabrillo Monument on Point Loma