Fun and Free Things to do in San Diego
San Diego’s beaches are continuously ranked among the best in the nation and are always completely free to enjoy. Build a sandcastle, catch some waves, or just take a nap in the sun – summer days were meant to be spent at the beach.
2. La Jolla Cove
This tucked-away stretch of sand nestled under La Jolla’s rocky cliffs is¬¬¬ the ideal spot for a beach day. After you take a swim in the idyllic cove and explore the sea caves, head over to the Children’s Pool and say hello to the famous herd of sea lions basking and barking in the sun.
3. San Diego Symphony Rehearsals at Rady Shell at Jacobs Park
The San Diego Symphony regularly has rehearsals at the new and beautiful Rady Shell at Jacobs Park and, lucky for you, they are open to the public and free for anyone to enjoy! Take in the stunning scenery of one of San Diego’s most beautiful concert venues while listening to the classical notes of the full orchestra. See a schedule of upcoming rehearsals at theshell.org or google “San Diego Symphony Open Rehearsal Schedule.”
4. Museum of Contemporary Art – La Jolla
Are you a fan of the arts? The Museum of Contemporary Art just opened a stunning new location in La Jolla, and admission is “on the house” on select days out of the month! Visit the museum and walk through the exhibits for free on the second Sunday and third Tuesday of each month.
5. Organ Concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion
The perfect Sunday includes a stroll around beautiful Balboa Park, maybe a picnic under a shady tree, and a free concert at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every Sunday at 2 p.m., all are welcome to gather and enjoy an hour-long organ performance. Don’t forget to bring blankets, seat cushions, shade hats and sun umbrellas to make your concert experience the best it can be. Music-loving pets are welcome, too!
6. Mission Beach Boardwalk
The Mission Beach Boardwalk is the place to be every weekend, especially if you like to skateboard, bike, rollerblade, or even just walk with amazing ocean views right in front of you. Cruise down the nearly two-mile stretch of oceanfront boardwalk, pick up a game of sand volleyball at the open courts on the south end of Mission Beach, and then end your day with a stroll around Belmont Park – the perfect recipe for a flawless San Diego-esque day.
7. Self-Guided Tours of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Got an athlete in the family? Take a trip to San Diego’s Southbay and enjoy a free self-guided tour of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site. Stroll down the mile-long Olympic Path any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and observe the center’s beautiful venues and activities, including a BMX track and archery range. You might even see rowers training out on Otay Lake!
8. Mountain Hikes
Although it’s known for its beaches, San Diego offers a collection of great mountain hikes that will take you to high peaks and stunning views. If you’re looking for a workout, try Potato Chip Rock or Iron Mountain. Moderate strolls more your thing? Take a walk around picturesque Calavera Lake or try the Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, a flat hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall.
9. Bird Watching
San Diego has more species of birds than any other place in the continental United States! More than 500 species either call our city home year-round or stop by on their migration path in the fall or spring. You’re bound to find some luck bird watching at one of our region’s many wetland reserves, including the Tijuana Estuary, Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, and the Famosa Slough in Point Loma.
10. Balboa Park Resident Free Days
Beautiful Balboa Park museums offer free general admission on a rotating basis each month to San Diego County residents, and to active military personnel and their dependents. Every Tuesday you can visit a different museum, like the Fleet Science Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden, for free! See the full list of select museums and Resident Free Days at balboapark.org or google “Balboa Park Resident Free Days.”
See the full list of fun and free activities to do in San Diego here.