Free Things to Do in San Diego
And the best part: Many of the city's greatest assets are free to enjoy. Here are just a few of the activities that will have you enjoying America's Finest City without ever opening your wallet.
One of the best — and most famous — beaches in the country, Coronado’s southern stretch is clean and wide and calm. The beach is great for families, and the dog-friendly north end has waves that make surfers happy.
Coronado's beach, stretching out in front of the Hotel Del Coronado, was most famously featured in the film “Some Like It Hot.”
With more than 85 activities inside this 1,200-acre park, there’s no shortage of things to do: from lawn bowling to riding a miniature railroad to visiting one of 17 museums to enjoying a concert to exploring the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
While entrance to the park is free, some activities — like the zoo — charge an admission fee.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
A recreation of 19th-century life in early San Diego under both Mexican and American rule, complete with original adobe buildings as well as a schoolhouse, stable, newspaper office, and blacksmith shop.
Torrey Pines State Beach and Park
There are eight miles of beautiful trails through this gorgeous state park, which includes sandy beaches as well as bluffs that rise 300 feet above the water.
Originally set aside for children in 1931 after a local philanthropist built a protective seawall, this area is now dominated by seals on sand and in the water. While the battle over the seals continues, the area — in La Jolla — is great dining, shopping, and leisurely walks (especially around sunset).
San Diego Embarcadero
Miles long, this waterfront welcomes both giant cruise ships as well as historic vessels like the U.S.S. Midway.
In the summer, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra plays its pops series in the Embarcadero Park South.
Salsa Under the Stars
Dance to the Manny Cepeda Orchestra on select Fridays at The Headquarters and Seaport Village. You don't need experience, or even a partner.
Timken Museum of Art
Located inside Balboa Park, the Timken is the only of its 17 museums to always offer free admission. A small but superb collection of European art awaits.
There are also Free Tuesdays for local residents and military, with a rotating schedule of many Balboa Park museums offering free admission.