Races downtown San Diego
The 2022 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Photo credit: Ryan Ward Bethke/RWB Multimedia

Runners will pack San Diego streets fanning out from Balboa Park Sunday as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon returns for 2023, and it’s a milestone year – the race’s 25th anniversary.

But the race isn’t just for competitors. Root for your favorites or or head out to see the to-do, which includes lots of entertainment along the route and a festival at the finish line.

Motorists and pedestrians, though, will have to make way for quite a few closures and detours. Here’s the basics:


Runners and spectators can count on sunny and mild conditions, with highs expected to reach the mid-to-high 60s Saturday and Sunday.

5K – A Day Early

First up, there’s the 5K at Balboa Park, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday at Inspiration Point, off President’s Way and Park Boulevard, heading north to Laurel Street to cut west through the park. Runners and walkers move on to Sixth Avenue before reaching the finish line on Balboa Drive.

Marathon Courses

On Sunday, runners in both the full and half marathons kick off the day near the northwest side of Balboa Park at 6:15 a.m. The route is open to spectators – cheering is free! – but road detours continue from early morning until mid-afternoon.

Race routes extend from the park through Hillcrest and east to Normal Heights to start, before runners on the shorter route shift south, through North Park and along Pershing Drive to the finish line on Union Street.

Marathon runners will double back through North Park, on to University Avenue and all the way west to Mission Bay, before heading through Linda Vista and University Heights on the way back south past the park to the downtown finish line.


Many road closures and detours – including parts of state Route 163 and Interstate 5 – will be in effect from 5 a.m to 3 p.m., and some for shorter periods. Police and volunteers will supervise barriers along the entire route.

A few of the major affected streets include University, Adams Avenue, 30th Street, Pershing Street, Sea World Drive, Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and North Harbor Drive.

In addition, Sixth Avenue and other streets near Balboa Park will close earlier, at 2 a.m., but re-open by 10 a.m.

Parking will be blocked off in some cases too. Streets will reopen on a rolling basis once the last participant has passed and volunteers have removed all marathon signage.


The Metropolitan Transit System has recommended routes for the marathon, starting at 4:30 a.m., including the Green, Blue and Orange trolley lines. The Green Line in particular has a stop, at County Center/Little Italy, within a few blocks of the finish.

The Green Line also stops at Old Town, Morena/Linda Vista and Fashion Valley, which offer prime viewing spots, and time to jump back aboard the Trolley to head south to the finish line.

Nearly 20 bus lines, though, must make detours or temporarily discontinue stops due to street closures. For a list of additional Sunday service and detours, see the MTS marathon page.


Enjoy performances throughout the route, from a variety of bands and DJ’s. See the marathon list for which mile marker to choose. And there’s more! Head to Waterfront Park for the Finish Line Festival, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with shows by the Red Not Chili Peppers at 9 a.m. and Saved by the ’90s at 11 a.m.