1. Day at Cabrillo Monument
One of the best tourist destinations in San Diego is atop Point Loma at the Cabrillo Monument. This Historical Monument is hundreds of feet above the pacific and offers some of the most extravagant views of the City. For just $5 a vehicle you and your family can watch aircraft carriers come in from sea, walk one of the nature trails, and go down to the surf to play in the tide pools.
2. Picnic at Balboa Park
In the center of the city nestled between the freeways and skyscrapers, lies a little eden called Balboa Park. There are many events, museums and things to do for both fee and free in Balboa. One of favorite dates is a simple picnic in the park and then a stroll around the beautiful architecture of the Park. Bonus Hint: Tuesdays are Resident days and offer free admission on select events and museums for Residents, military and their dependents.
3. Watch Seaworld Fireworks
Probably the best free thing to do in San Diego is watch the SeaWorld fireworks. When the warm summer nights welcome in the annual display of fireworks, make your way over to one of Mission Bay’s bonfire pits and nestle up close to someone special. The fireworks start at either 8:50pm or 9:50pm depending on day.
4. Coronado Ferry Ride
Leaving from Seaport village, you begin your day in one the cities waterfront gems. The ferry Travels back and forth to Coronado all day. Bring your bike and bike around Coronado Island, or just lounge at one of the little beaches near the ferry landing. For just $4.25 each way, there is not a more affordable way to get out on the water in San Diego bay than to take the coronado ferry.
5. Play in the Surf
It goes without saying that San Diego has some of the best beaches in the world. Whether you came to surf, tan, snorkel or swim, there is something for everyone at the beach. If you are on Spring Break and looking for a younger crowd, you will find it at Pacific Beach. For a great family beach, try mission beach or La Jolla Shores.
6. Get a California Burrito
You may wonder how this got on the list? Yes. It is that Good. Original to San Diego, everyone should try one of these delicious treats. What is it? A california burrito is a carne asada burrito with cheese, guacamole, and french fries wrapped up in a huge tortilla. Try it and you will not be disappointed.
7. Watch the sun set and stars rise
At the top of Mt. Soledad you will get a 360 view of America’s finest city from it’s highest point. Drive right up to the top and park it like your Will Ferrell in “Anchor Man” and enjoy the greatest free lookout point in San Diego. Sunset, Sunrise, or the middle of the night, every time is a good time to visit Mt. Soledad.
8. See a Padres Game
Yeah you heard me right. You can see a Padres game for under $10. Get a seat in the Lawn, Bleachers, or find better seats on promotion and go enjoy a game. 20 games a year offer certain seats free dinner with your seat (as long as your happy with a hot dog and a coke).
9. Climb Cowles Mountain
A perfect mile and a half hike, Cowles Mountain is a great way to get outside. Stay fit and have fun while climbing to the top for a rewarding view. Just make sure you either go in the morning or evening if its a hot day, this is a medium to difficult workout.
10. Hang out at the Cove
Called the “Gem by the Sea”, La Jolla certainly does shine out from the rest. The beautiful La Jolla Cove is strewn with beaches, parks and shops that are perfectly interwoven by grassy parks and paved walkways. Whether you pack a lunch or eat at one of La Jolla’s nicest restaurants the choice is yours, but the beauty of the experience is free.