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Here's What's Open On Christmas And Christmas Eve In San Diego County

A nativity scene is displayed at a home in the San Carlos neighborhood, Dec. 14, 2020.
KPBS Staff
A nativity scene is displayed at a home in the San Carlos neighborhood, Dec. 14, 2020.

With one of the largest holidays of the year just a day away, getting around and conducting business before and on the holiday can be tricky to navigate with what is closed and open.

The North County Transit District will have a normal service schedule for Christmas Eve. However, the Amtrak R2R partnership with NCTD — which allows Coaster customers to travel on Amtrak trains in the San Diego area — will be blacked out through Monday. During this time, all Amtrak Pacific Surfliner customers will be required to show a valid Amtrak fare and no COASTER passes will be accepted.

NCTD schedules will be reduced to a Sunday service schedule on Christmas.


The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will run a similar schedule, with normal weekday hours Christmas Eve on all Trolley lines and MTS local, urban, Express, Rapid and Rapid Express bus routes.

Christmas is more complicated. All Trolley lines except the Silver Line will operate on a half-hour frequency on Christmas Day. Rapid, urban, and local bus routes will operate on a Sunday schedule.

No service will be provided on Rapid Express routes 280 or 290, Rapid routes 204, 237 and Express routes 50, 60, 110, 150, Sorrento Valley Coaster Connection and most express bus routes. MTS Access subscriptions are cancelled. Subscription passengers who still want service must call ahead of time to arrange their transportation.

Finally, several rural routes have been rescheduled. There will be no service on rural route 892 on Friday. Rural route 888 will operate Thursday instead of Friday, while rural route 891 will be pushed back to Monday instead of its normal Friday schedule.

MTS Information and Trip Planning, the Transit Store, Compass Service Center and customer service offices will close at 5 p.m on Thursday and be closed Dec. 25. Customers who need MTS information on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, can visit the MTS website or download the mobile app OneBusAway for real-time information.


On Saturday and Sunday, MTS allows up to two children 12 and under to ride free with a fare-paying adult on all MTS routes. On Christmas Day, MTS allows a friend to ride free with a fare-paying customer on all MTS routes.

All county COVID-19 testing sites will remain open Christmas Eve, but they will close at 4 p.m. On Christmas, three sites — University of San Diego, San Marcos and Southeastern San Diego — will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Walk-in testing sites do not require appointments. However, as of Dec. 20, nearly all drive-up COVID-19 testing sites have become appointment-only locations. This change is in response to safety concerns caused by traffic backups. Appointments are accepted up to three days in advance with new appointments becoming available each day about noon.

The exception to the appointment-only drive-up testing will be sites operated by the San Diego County Fire Protection District. While appointments are highly recommended, and those with them are given preference, people without appointments will be tested as capacity permits.

"With vaccine distribution in its very earliest stage, COVID-19 testing remains extremely important to protect the public's health," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer. "People experiencing any symptoms, or who feel they have been exposed, are encouraged to get promptly tested. Those with symptoms should isolate until getting results, while others should adhere to the best practices of wearing a mask, social distance, and good hygiene."

The San Diego Food Bank will be closed for the upcoming holidays on Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.

For details on testing locations or in need of food assistance, visit or call 2-1-1.

All San Diego administrative offices will be closed on Christmas holiday.

Curbside trash, recyclables and yard waste will not be collected on Friday for customers served by the Environmental Services Department. The normally scheduled collection for those Fridays will occur on Saturday. Residents in other cities should check with their waste hauler for holiday service schedules.

San Diego's Miramar Landfill will be closed on Friday.

Torrey Pines, Mission Bay and Balboa Park golf courses will be open until 3 p.m. Holiday rates will apply. All city skate parks will be open.

All public buildings in Balboa Park will be closed, including the Balboa Park Activity Center, Botanical Building, Casa del Prado, Municipal Gym and War Memorial Building.

All city reservoirs will be closed. Chollas Lake will also be closed.

Parking meters, time restrictions for parking on streets and yellow zones within the City of San Diego will not be enforced. Red, white and blue zones are still enforced every day. Parking rules on Port of San Diego property and in different cities may vary, please read posted signage.

Also closed in San Diego are all libraries and book pickup service, city pools, the city's refuse/recyclables container sales office on Miramar Place, Open Space and Maintenance Assessment District offices, the Testing, Employment Information Center and Background/Fingerprinting offices within the Personnel Department and The Family Justice Center.

Individuals needing help related to domestic violence should call 9-1- 1 and/or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-385-4657.