The cost to live in San Diego may be astronomical compared to most cities, but not everything in the city is crazy-expensive. In fact, there is an ample amount of free things to do any given day. If you are already paying a pretty penny on a plane ticket or in gas money (but not on a room since you’re booking a cheap San Diego Airport Hotel) check out these 15 fun free things to do in San Diego.
1. A Day at the Beach
The beaches in San Diego can provide hours of free fun just about any time of the year due to the city’s generally pleasant climate. Kids can build sandcastles while the entire family can do a little swimming or pack a picnic lunch and take in the view.
2. Take a Scenic Drive
Take a trip to the International Visitor Information Center and get all the maps and brochures you need (or download the free Discovery Map app for your iPhone). You’ll be all set to take a free scenic driving tour throughout the area. Need a suggestion? Consider a drive through Point Loma, a hilly peninsula offering breathtaking sea views.
3. Listen to a Free Concert
From late June to mid-August you can sample some great music around San Diego at a number of free concerts. You can hear good jazz during the annual Carlsbad TGIF Jazz in the Parks series, take a short drive across the Coronado Bridge to Spreckels Park on Coronado Island for free music under the stars, or head to Point Loma Park for free summer concerts on Fridays.
4. Visit the Gaslamp Quarter
This 16 1/2-block area of San Diego contains beautiful architecture and an assortment of art galleries, shops, and charming boutiques that welcome visitors who wish to do a little browsing. For added convenience, consider staying in one of the affordable Gaslamp Quarter hotels.
5. Fly a Kite
Covering roughly 4200-square miles, Mission Bay Park offers plenty of space free of obstructions such as trees and utility lines where you can spend the afternoon flying a kite.
6. Watch the Hang Gliders Do Their Thing
On most warm days, usually during the summer, you can find some hang gliders putting on a free show along the coastline cliffs for anybody who happens to be at Torrey Pines State Beach.
7. Have a Sunset On the House
The spectacular sunset is worth the trip to La Jolla Cove alone. Nestled between sandstone cliffs, this small beach is also a prime spot for snorkeling and diving since the waters here are typically calm.
8. Olympic Training Center Tour
The U.S. Olympic Training Center, located 15 minutes from San Diego in Chula Vista, offers free facility tours on Saturdays (from the Copley Visitor Center) and free self-guided tours daily.
9. Hike Mt. Laguna
Nestled about an hour east of San Diego, you can go for a hike or just walk around and enjoy the pristine surroundings and gorgeous pine trees – all free of charge.
10. Explore an Old Gold Mining Town
Explore the region’s rich history with a trip to Julian in the Cuyamaca Mountains about an hour east of San Diego. You can take a free self-guided tour of the mining town after picking up a free map from the local Chamber of Commerce.
11. Gaze at the Stars
Gaze at the stars for free just outside of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up a large telescope for free viewing on the first Wednesday of every month.
12. Scenic Walk at Big Bay
Considered San Diego’s “largest free attraction,” The Big Bay is a 27-mile stretch of waterfront with parks perfect for picnics, marinas, and miles of biking trails and walkways.
13. Seaport Village Stroll
If you’re going to go for a casual walk in San Diego, you definitely want to make your way to Seaport Village located behind a few San Diego Convention Center hotels. Get your camera ready and snap some free pics of historic Victorian, Mexican and New England architecture.
14. Art Nights
During Little Italy’s Kettner Art Nights, you can view works on display in various galleries and studios while sampling some free hors d’oeuvres. Art nights tends to take place on Friday evenings. Check the website for exact dates.
15. Train Rides
Take the family on a free train ride through Rohr Park on Sweetwater Road in nearby Bonita (about 15 minutes from Downtown San Diego). Free rides are courtesy of Chula Vista Live Steamers throughout the summer on weekends from noon to 3pm.
Remember that affordable hotel we talked about earlier? Book a room at the Pacific Inn Hotel & Suites in San Diego and put the money you save towards fun activities or good eats during your trip. Booking with us is quick and easy, there is no booking fee, and we have a best rate guarantee we stand behind. Call 1-800-571-2933 to speak with a Reservation Manager today.