California is an amazing state with a long pacific seashore, mountains, and desert. I have already shared the California bucket list and things to do in Los Angeles. San Diego is “America’s Finest City” and close to the Mexico Border. There are loads of activities in San Diego that don’t cost a dime. The city is known as “America’s Finest City,” not just because of its picturesque waterfront views, but because there are many opportunities for residents and visitors to explore their quirky culture, support local businesses, and get involved with the community at no cost. From exploring historical landmarks or gardens to checking out excellent libraries and museums, here are ten free things to do in San Diego any day of the week.
10 Free things to do in San Diego
Choose to run or walk along the San Diego harbor.
The San Diego Bay is a scenic spot to enjoy a free workout. There are many ways to visit the bay, including by going to Seaport Village and across the Coronado Bay Bridge. Once there, you can walk, run, or bike along the Embarcadero. If you want to see more of the water, head to Harbor Drive, which has several paths that sit right along the water. If you go during low tide, you can also check out the tide pools and experience some marine life up close.
Visit San Diego Zoo to feed the sea lions.
If you’re visiting the San Diego Zoo, there are many free and fun things to do. One of them is to feed the sea lions. The sea lion feeding area is open daily, allowing visitors to get close to the sea lions. If you stick with the fish provided, you’ll have a great time. Although you can’t pet the animals, you can try to get a high-five from one of the largest sea mammals in the world. Want to learn more about the animals? You can try out the Behind the Scenes tour at no cost. You can also see the gardens, check out the gift shop, or visit the animals at the other locations within the zoo.
Check out the murals in East Village.
You can find a combination of art, people, and culture in the East Village Art District. The area is a collection of murals of works by local artists. The pieces change over time, and new ones are constantly discovered. Look out for the murals on the side of the buildings, and find a new appreciation for the art that makes San Diego unique. If you feel hungry, you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the many nearby restaurants. If you want some shopping, there is a boutique area next to the murals called Santee Alley with a wide selection of fashion shops.
Visit Balboa Park and see the museums for free.
Balboa Park is full of museums, gardens, and activities that are free to the public. You can visit the parks’ museums, including the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Man, and the Natural History Museum. If you want to see them all, it’s best to start at 9 a.m. when they open. Admission is free, and I recommend you check out the gift shop. If you want to see the art at the San Diego Museum of Art, you can get a guided tour for $10.
You can also visit the gardens, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Botanical Building, and the Flower Garden. You can also check out Balboa Park’s free programming if you want to explore Balboa Park on a budget. This includes concerts, lectures, and other special events.
Stroll through Spanish culture at Mercado de Artesanias
The Mercado de Artesanias is a Spanish marketplace that has been around since the 1930s. You can buy souvenirs, gifts, and locally made crafts at the market. You can also find fresh produce, Mexican food, and other items. The market is an exciting walk through Spanish culture and a great place to explore for free. You can also try out some Spanish food at one of the many restaurants at the market. You can also visit the museum at the market to learn more about the people and history of the area.
Discover the history of San Diego at the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a great place to visit if you’re interested in art and culture. The museum has a variety of exhibitions and hosts artists from around the world. You can also learn more about the history of San Diego through its permanent exhibitions. The museum opens Tuesday through Sunday, with admission costing $10. If you want to see more of the city’s art, you can also go to the Balboa Park Art Hop. This hop takes you to different museums, gardens, and art spaces to explore the art in the park.
Hike in the craggy hills of Balboa Park
Balboa Park’s craggy hills are a great place to explore nature. You can hike around the hills, including up to Inspiration Point and Balboa Tower. You can walk around the roof at Balboa Tower and see a panoramic view of San Diego. Balboa Park and its hills are great for a free hike and a different way to explore the city. If you’re looking for more scenery, you can also go to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, about 45 minutes from downtown San Diego. The park has trees, a marsh, and lots of wildlife.
Enjoy a performance at the San Diego Music Society’s library.
The San Diego Music Society has been around since 1950, and they have a great library of sheet music that you can explore for free. If you’re a musician or love music, this library is a great place to learn more about the history of music. The library opens Monday through Saturday, and admission is free. If you visit the library and are interested in playing the instruments, you can also take music lessons for free at the San Diego Music Society. There are many different instruments, including piano, guitar, and even ukulele.
Grab Free food and Drinks at a Sports Bar while watching Big Game
If you’re a sports fan, you can watch the Big Game and eat free at many bars around San Diego. Some free food and drinks places include Ballast Point Brewing Company, Barrio Café, and Carnitas’ Snack Shack. You can also check out the events at the Gaslamp Quarter, where bars and clubs host viewing parties for the game. You can check the events calendar at the Gaslamp Quarter and see what’s going on while you’re in the city.
Go to a Free Concert at the San Diego Music Foundation Showcase
The annual San Diego Music Foundation Showcase is a free concert event that brings together local musicians. The event is a great place to enjoy local music, support the community, and have a free night out in San Diego. The event happens in October, and you can find the dates on their website.
There are tons of ways to enjoy San Diego for free! Whether local or visiting, you can explore the city, support local businesses, and get involved in the community without spending a dime.