#Flashback Friday: Travel Then and Now | The Hopper

The Hopper will be temporarily closed effective Monday, October 15th, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience.

#Flashback Friday: Travel Then and Now

The Hopper is thrilled to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week! This year’s theme is “Travel Then and Now.”

San Diego has been a popular travel destination since the 1880s, when the city got a railroad connection from the East Coast. Victorian-era Americans flocked to the city to enjoy its pristine beaches and beautiful weather.

But the American Old West could be an inhospitable place for tourists. The “Stingaree District” (now known as the Gaslamp Quarter) was home to hundreds of gambling halls, saloons, and “houses of ill repute.” While these rowdy attractions were alluring to some visitors, they also presented risks for travellers unacquainted with Old Western grit.

Civic leaders developed lavish hotels that could offer travellers ritzy amenities and entertainment, while also shielding them from the rougher parts of the western experience.

Book your stay at the historic Hotel Del Coronado!

The Hotel del Coronado, completed in 1888, was by far the most famous hotel developed in San Diego during the period. It was built upon Coronado Island’s white beaches, and it provided a quiet respite from the Stingaree with unspoiled views of the Pacific Ocean. The Del also boasted a pool, tennis courts, billiards, bowling alleys, a tea garden, a yacht club, electrical lighting, and daily social events.

A lively “tent city” was developed in the 1900s for tourists seeking more affordable accommodations. The Tent City was a grid-like campground with hundreds of tents that could be rented out by travelers. Cheaper tents were unfurnished, while the more expensive tents were furnished with beds, rocking chairs, a lamp, a washstand, and toiletries. The furnished tents could be rented out for $6 per week!

Coronado Ferry tickets included with Hopper Plus!

So far as transportation was concerned, many tourists relied on stagecoaches and horse-drawn streetcars to get around. But in the 1890s, businessman John D. Spreckels built the San Diego Electric Railway. It was the first rapid transit system in San Diego!

In 2018, San Diego has a new transportation and tourism innovation with The Hopper. It has never been easier to hop around San Diego’s most exciting neighborhoods! Our comfortable buses feature on-board WiFi, air conditioning, restrooms, table seating, AV capabilities, skylights, and on-board Tour Concierges.


Our Tour Concierges inform passengers about San Diego’s various neighborhoods and businesses, while our buses transport them right to the doorstep of those great attractions. We’re primed to generate tremendous local revenue for San Diego.

The Hopper buses are also well-equipped to bring in tourists from markets outside of San Diego – a two-hour drive from Los Angeles isn’t so bad with our fantastic on-board amenities! And we do have a five-year plan to bring in 500,000 tourists from the LA/Anaheim markets.

Visitors spend nearly $10.8 billion annually in San Diego, and this creates more than $778 million in state and local tax revenue. The Hopper is excited to contribute to San Diego’s tourism economy and serve as an ambassador for our city’s wonderful culture.

And one more thing! In recent years, climate change has posed a threat to San Diego’s inviting weather – the same weather that first brought out tourists in the 1880s. Given The Hopper’s high seating capacity (72), we estimate that our buses could eliminate almost 115 cars per day. That wouldn’t have a bad effect on traffic, either!

Book your San Diego adventure today!