You don’t need to have a pocket full of cash to have a great time in San Diego. In fact, many of the most fun things to do in the city, don’t cost anything at all – you just have to know where these fun times can be had, and where the activities are being held. The next time you’re in San Diego, be sure to have the list of things below right with you when you go, and you will undoubtedly have a great time while spending very little money.
1. Visit the Gaslamp Quarter. – There are more than 16 blocks of Victorian architecture here, all renovated to retain their original style and beauty.
2. Hike Mission Trails Regional Park. – The park has more than 40 miles of hiking trails and undeveloped areas, available for all to enjoy the splendor of nature.
3. Sit in on a beach bonfire. – Many wonderful beaches await you in San Diego, including Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Moonlight Beach, and La Jolla Shores.
4. Explore La Jolla Cove. – Snorkeling and scuba diving are very popular in the beautiful, pristine waters which surround La Jolla Cove.
5. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. – There are two locations for this museum, at La Jolla and Downtown, and on the third Thursday of each month, admission is free.
6. Go to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. – A magnificent desert landscape can be explored at this state park, and it provides some fantastic photo opportunities.
7. Climb the Sunset Cliffs. – From the Sunset Cliffs, you’ll be able to observe some of the most gorgeous beaches in the area.
8. Visit San Diego Waterfront Park. – While you’re working on your tan, your kids can have a ball with the interactive water fountains.
9. Drop-in at the Chula Vista Training Center. – At one time, this facility served as a training center for Olympic athletes, and it is still used by aspiring athletes to achieve and maintain an elite level of fitness.
10. Walkthrough Chicano Park. – The culture of Barrio Logan is on full display as you stroll through this park, observing the numerous murals and diverse street art.
11. Visit the Children’s Pool. – Seals and sea lions are the big attraction at the Children’s Pool, and your kids will be fascinated by them.
12. Stroll through Old Town. – Historical landmarks abound in Old Town, including the El Campo Santo Cemetery, and the old Whaley House.
13. Hike at the Torrey Pines Reserve. – If you like views of the ocean, you’ll love hiking through Torrey Pines Reserve, where a number of spectacular views can be enjoyed.
14. Go shopping at a Farmer’s Market. – There are several Farmer’s Markets in session at most times of the year, and you’ll be able to take in live performances as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, and arts and crafts.
15. Take in a concert at Spreckels Organ Pavilion. – At 2:00 p.m. on Sundays, you can listen to one of the world’s largest pipe organs, situated in Balboa Park.
16. Stroll the Embarcadero. – When you stroll down this walkway, you’ll be able to watch the activities out in San Diego Bay, while you’re enjoying some shopping and entertainment.
17. Visit a historic gold mining town. – Julian is an old and historic gold mining town, located in the Cuyamaca Mountains, and you can literally take a step back in time here.
18. Take a scenic drive to Mt. Laguna. – There’s beautiful scenery all along the route to this invigorating mountain view of the area.
19. Walk along the Wonderfront. – San Diego’s biggest attraction, The Wonderfront features rides, parks, marinas, restaurants, promenades, and bikeways, along a 27-mile stretch.
20. Drive up to Mt. Soledad. – From the top of Mt. Soledad, you can have a complete view of San Diego, with Mission Bay and the La Jolla coastline prominently displayed.
21. Visit the Flying Leatherneck Museum. – There are 31 historical aircraft to be seen here, and your kids can talk to pilots and climb into the cockpits at special times.
22. Take the 59-Mile Scenic Drive. – This famous drive along the coastline features some gorgeous views of the Pacific, as well as the natural life along the shore.
23. Hang out at San Diego Bay. – You could spend a whole day relaxing in the grass at San Diego Bay, watching all the ships and yachts enter and leave the area.
24. Spend a day at the beach. – San Diego’s many beaches are regularly ranked among the best in the nation, and you can enjoy swimming, surfing, or just being lazy at any of them.
25. Walk across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. – Dating back to 1812 when the nation was still young, this suspension bridge provides some stunning views of the city and is located in Bankers Hill, where everyone can walk across it for free.
Photos by: Calder Pearce – Golden Lens Media