Free or Cheap Things to Do in San Diego

The tourists have come and gone, but apparently the weather didn’t get the memo. Now you can enjoy some of San Diego’s best attractions on the cheap (or for free) without the crowds.

Day of Exotic Paradise for $38

If you can’t afford an exotic vacation but need to get away from everyday stresses, the Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is the perfect solution.

For an entire day you can soak up the sun, gossip with your girlfriends, pamper your skin and let your worries just melt away. The outdoor spa might be a little bit of a drive from San Diego, but it’s totally worth it. Read more here

Life’s a Beach

Telling you to head to the beach for a free day out would be a little obvious. But there is a place you can be a real beach bum and on vacation just miles from your home that costs next to nothing.

The campgrounds at South Carlsbad State Beach are wildly popular among tourists, why not reap the benefits of living here for yourself?

Book early. Spots fill up fast. Book now

Walk on the Wild Side

A day at the zoo or a day at SeaWorld can cost your family quite a bit, but if you get the season passes you can go time and time again.

SeaWorld has a “Fun Card” where you can pay for a day and the rest of the year free.

Click here to check out the Fun Card and other SeaWorld savings.

You can also buy year’s membership to get into both the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park.

Dual Membership: $84 (2 adults in the household)

Single Membership: $65 (1 adult in the household)

Buy tickets here

Happy Hour

No one knows San Diego Happy Hours better than the King of Happy Hour.

Click here to view a list of his favorites.

When life needs to slow down for a second, but you can’t afford spa prices, head to the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas. Just sit for a second. The views are astounding and the meditation gardens will help you connect with your spiritual side.

Check it out here
Balboa Park

Balboa Park has a lot of different offers and deals to keep you busy.

Admittance to the park grounds, the Botanical building, outdoor gardens and some attractions are all free.

The Passport to Balboa Park offers visitors the chance to experience 14 museums in the Park, with a one-time purchase. You can choose the seven-day Passport or the Zoo/Passport Combo.

Check out these money-saving deals offered by several Balboa Park organizations (coupons are updated regularly).

Tide Pools

Explore San Diego’s tide pools. Here is a list of the best ones to explore from

  • Cabrillo National Monument at the rocky shore at the tip of Point Loma.
  • Ocean Beach at the foot of Newport Avenue under the Ocean Beach Pier.
  • Tourmaline Surfing Park west of La Jolla Boulevard at the north end of Pacific Beach.
  • Shell Beach at the low tide at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla.
  • Dike Rock just to the north of Scripps Pier in La Jolla.
  • Flat Rock at the base of Torrey Pine State Reserve.
  • Cardiff State Beach by the bluffs at the south end of the parking lot.
  • Swami's by the gold domes on the Self Realization Center in Encinitas.
  • San Onofre State Beach near Basilone Road off I-5 just north of the border checkpoint.

Park at the Park

A day at Petco Park with your kid can cost peanuts. Take him/her to a game and get the Five for $5 Deal -- which, by the way, includes peanuts, all for about $25. Where else can do that in America? Find out more here

What is your favorite cheap or free thing to do in San Diego? Leave a comment below or let us know on Twitter @NBCSanDiego or on our Facebook fan page at

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