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Fun on a Budget: Free Things to Do in San Diego, California

Fun on a Budget Free Things to Do in San Diego, California

Holidays mean budgeting. Whilst some of us may stay at luxury Bueno Park hotels and other 5-star California accommodation, most of us have to make do with strict budgets. Whether you’re on the lookout for a day trip in the city or you’re staying for a prolonged period of time, San Diego is well known for its wide array of free events and activities. 

With nearby nature reserves, cultural attractions and beautiful museums, holiday budgeting’s surprisingly easy when visiting San Diego. We’ve compiled some of the best free things to do in and around the Mexico bordering city so that you only have to spend your money on the essentials. 

San Diego Embarcadero

The perfect way to get your bearings in San Diego, the Embarcadero is a beachside promenade bustling with shops, cafes and the beautiful San Diego Bay. Watch ships and yachts sail away and into the harbor at the “landing place” of San Diego. With lots of green space, playgrounds and water fountains for the kids, this is perfect for warm day walks. The Embarcadero really gives you a chance to soak in the city (literally sometimes!) and all for no money at all.

San Diego Historic Park

Get to know the history of the area in San Diego’s “Old Town”. With picturesque adobes harking back to the 19th century, there’s a wealth of treasures and trinkets to explore here, the site once home to extensive archaeological digs. With an authentic Mexican vibe, the area is chockablock with bars and restaurants and gives visitors from Good Nite hotels a taste of what pre-colonial life was like for San Diegans. 

Balboa Park

The most famous park in San Diego, Balboa attracts everyone from San Diego locals to Camarillo Hotel guests. With a wide variety of gardens, iconic San Diego buildings and green parkland, Balboa Park is the crown jewel of the city and completely free to visit. With the nearby zoo, Old Globe Theatre and many other attractions, the park brings in a lot of tourism to the city.

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

A Balboa Park must-visit, Spreckels Organ Pavilion is one of the best spots in San Diego for historic sightseeing. With the antique organ standing since 1914, this pavilion was built for the Panama-California Exposition with a stadium designed to house music performances for up to 2500 seated guests. At night and on special occasions, you’ll find the Pavilion lit up, adding even more allure to Harrison Albright’s design. 

The Wonderfront

The Wonderfront is the name given to the 27 miles of promenade and coastline across the San Diego bay. Consisting of attractions like the Embarcadero, there’s plenty more to explore as you cycle, swim and sail along the shorelines of the legendary city.

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park is another open green space that consistently draws in tourists. With free to use bike lanes, volleyball courts and wildlife reserves, sports enthusiasts, birdwatchers and hikers are constantly drawn to the parks versatile 4200 acres. With camping available as well as the nearby SeaWorld, the world is your oyster at Mission Bay Park.