10 Hidden Gems Along Rapid 215 in San Diego

Rapid 215 rides along El Cajon Boulevard

Forget the usual tourist hot spots - San Diego is brimming with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered! This summer, leave the car at home, grab your PRONTO card or app, and embrace the ease of public transit. Join us for a journey along Rapid 215 as we unveil 10 unique destinations for your next adventure.

The Ride:

Rapid 215 offers limited stop service (including its own bus lane) between downtown San Diego and San Diego State University, through one of the region’s most popular neighborhoods. Service runs every 15 minutes or better, and from before 5 a.m. until after midnight, seven days a week. So no matter when you plan to travel, you’ll have convenient access on Rapid.

Want to view places by stop?

Spots near the Boulevard (Park Blvd & Howard Ave)

J.A. Cooley Museum

J.A. Cooley Museum

  • Daily: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • $10 for adults and $2 for children
  • 4233 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104

This little museum offers a slew of cool things to explore and look at. It’s a great museum for history buffs (especially if you’re into old cars) or for anyone who just really wants to see a Delorean in person (we see you, Back to the Future fans). If you enjoy seeing things from years past, then this is the museum for you. Right next door, check out Frank the Train Man, a hobby shop specializing in vintage model train sets.

Classic CHicken Pot Pie - Pop Pie Co.

Classic Chicken Pot Pie with a side of mashed potatoes & gravy

Pop Pie Co.

  • Sunday-Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • 4404 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104

Looking for a breakfast or lunch spot that won’t break the bank? Check out the Pop Pie Co. They offer a variety of baked pies (plus vegetarian & vegan friendly options) like the classic chicken pot pie, plus slices of pie for dessert (or check out Stella Jean’s next door for some killer ice cream).

Mama's Bakery and Deli

Mama’s Bakery & Deli

  • Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • 4237 Alabama St, San Diego, CA 92104

We’re all about cheap eats over here (who isn’t these days?) and Mama’s Bakery & Deli is a great spot for a unique bite to eat.

Garlic Chicken Wrap from Mama's Bakery

Mama’s Bakery has several Lebanese dishes to choose from, such as the Garlic Chicken Wrap (featured above), which is chock full of white meat chicken and a savory garlic paste. Mama’s Bakery has been operating here since 1988 with plans to move in the next few months (but just a spot about a block away, so you can still get there via Rapid).

The Boulevard Sign at Night by Joe Wilcox

Friday Night Neon by Joe Wilcox

The Boulevard Sign

  • 1901 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

El Cajon Boulevard was initially “El Cajon Avenue” in the 1900s and was the main road out to East County. In 1937 the name was changed to El Cajon Boulevard to highlight its significance as a major thoroughfare in San Diego after it joined Interstate Highway 80 (which was replaced when I-8 was built). This neon sign was put up in 1989 as a major landmark to help promote The Boulevard. It’s one of many historical neighborhood markers in San Diego.

El Cajon Blvd & Texas St

Lou Lou's Jungle Room

Lou Lou’s Jungle Room

  • Thurs-Sat: 6:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
  • 2225 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104

If you’ve seen our other blog posts, hopping on Rapid 215 can help you complete the tour o Top Gun Filming Locations since there’s a filming spot at the renovated Lafayette Hotel. Specifically, in Lou Lou’s Jungle Room (which is just to the right of the hotel) they restored the circular bar where Maverick and Goose serenade Charlie with “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” Goose hates it when that happens.



  • Daily: 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
  • 2223 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104

The Lafayette Hotel overall is a great place to check out and another stand out is Quixote – an Oaxacan-inspired spot that was pieced together from the remnants of a decommissioned Catholic church in Mexico. Their menu offers a variety of inspiring dishes from the Oaxacan Fondue with truffle to the Crab Corn Doughnut made with blue crab and caviar.

El Cajon Blvd & 30th St

Greeting from San Diego Mural

El Cajon Boulevard Mural Tour

Into art? Be sure to check out the Mural Tour along El Cajon Boulevard.

Murals in North Park

You can find the most murals at El Cajon & 30th Street (there are 10 in this area!) with a few others scattered across the length of the boulevard.

There are even MORE murals throughout North Park if you want to take a stroll through this vibrant neighborhood.

Coffee Cup

Coffee & Tea Collective

  • Daily: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • 2911 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104

Refuel on your adventure with a cup of joe or some refreshing tea at Coffee & Tea Collective, a charming neighborhood spot that’s been around since 2010. They serve up all your traditional espresso-based drinks along with seasonal items like the Banana Mocha.

El Cajon Blvd & College Ave

San Diego Police Museum

San Diego Police Museum

  • Wednesday-Friday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Closed Sunday-Tuesday
  • Admission: $3 for adults; Under 18 is free
  • 4710 College Avenue, San Diego, CA 92115

The San Diego Police Museum showcases the history of the police department starting back in 1889 through the present day. There’s a variety of things to see such as old jails and motorcycle vehicles, vintage photos, uniforms, and equipment, medals and patches, and everything related to law enforcement in San Diego.

Ultreya Coffee

Ultreya Coffee & Tea

  • Daily: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • 4653 College Avenue, San Diego, CA 92115

Every third Sunday at Ultreya Coffee, they host a pop-up market. On a recent visit, the market included plants, artwork, crocheted vegetables, candles, car diffusers, aromatherapy goods, and herbal medicines. The coffee shop also sells local artist goods inside the shop as well as sandwiches, toast, acai bowls, coffee, and tea.

There you have it, 10 hidden gems waiting to be explored along Rapid 215! From museums to murals and good places to eat, San Diego's diverse offerings are just a bus ride away. Ditch the car this summer, grab your PRONTO card, and embark on your own adventure – you might just discover your new favorite San Diego spot!

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