Exploring San Diego


Things to do for free around San Diego County

Balboa Park botanical
Posted at 12:50 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 17:16:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Finding free fun in town is more important to families than ever in San Diego.

Thankfully, between the region's numerous beaches, museums, and historical landmarks, there are plenty of things to do in San Diego without having to open up your wallet.

We can't, however, promise the same for everything else you do around these free activities (we know you can't visit Old Town without grabbing food, it's impossible.)


Have friends or family in town? Just looking for something local to do? If you're in search of some fun, free things to do around San Diego, check out these activities:

La Jolla Cove - La Jolla Cove is packed with fun things to do, whether it's taking a scenic walk along the coast, watching the seals sunbath at the Children's Pool, or hitting the beach yourself!

Taylor Guitar Factory - Take a free tour of the Taylor Guitar Factory in El Cajon, where you'll be guided through the steps of guitar construction, from wood selection to final assembly. Tours are given every Monday through Friday at 1 p.m., with some exceptions. For more info, click here.

Old Town - Experience San Diego's history in Old Town, where you can walk back in time simply by strolling through Old Town State Park. Check out the Mason Street School House, the Seeley Stable Museum, or Plaza de la Armas.

Friday Night Liberty - The first Friday of every month hosts San Diego's largest monthly art walk at Liberty Station. Friday Night Liberty brings together artists, live dancing and entertainment, and opens studios for guests to peruse art exhibitions and other works.

Balboa Park - Commonly referred to as San Diego's "crown jewel," Balboa Park's botanic gardens, koi pond, organ pavilion, and museums boast some free opportunities for year-round fun in San Diego. Free Sunday concerts can be caught at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 2 p.m. and the Botonic Garden and Lily Pond are open to the public Friday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hiking - There are plenty of hiking trails across the county open to the public and boasting some beautiful views of San Diego's diverse landscape. Head up to Torrey Pines State Park for an easy walk along the coast where you can take in the surf and hang gliders above, or venture out to Mt. Woodson or Iron Mountain in Ramona for a challenging climb to the top. The views are worth it!

Julian - All you need is a tank of gas and you're set for a scenic drive up to Julian. Once you're in town explore downtown Julian's shops or the Julian Pioneer Museum Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center - Take a self-guided tour of Chula Vista's home for U.S. Olympic hopefuls at the Olympic Training Center. Call ahead to check availability. General public hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are available, but run $5 to $35. Click here for more information.

Beach bonfire - Head to San Diego's beaches for a bonfire to end the day! Fire pits are first come, first served during the summer months at our local beaches. Fires are not allowed between midnight and 5 a.m. and you can't burn trash (plus that's a pretty foul smelling way to enjoy the beach.)