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Things to do for Budget Travelers in San Diego, California 

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  • 1

    Balboa Park

    376 reviews

    Balboa Park is a great spot for families and dates! There are a number of museums (there's at least 1 with free admission, the others have a fee) and the gardens and fountains are beautiful. I love the intricate architecture of the outside of the buildings. This is a great spot to spend a few hours walking around and exploring ...

    Popular withFamiliesLocalBudget
  • 2

    San Diego Zoo

    496 reviews

    The San Diego Zoo is a great place to spend your time with family or friends and not break your budget!

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 3

    Old Town

    268 reviews

    I thought Old Town was going to be the oldest part of town but it turns out it's kind of a historically preserved, tourist attraction. The entire thing is set up like the old wild west/traditional Mexico feeling. While your there you have to stop for some of the Mexican food and I recommend grabbing a margarita while your at ...

    Popular withHistoryFamiliesBudget
  • 4

    Mission Beach

    98 reviews

    Gorgeous sunsets and lovely for walks along the boardwalk! Tons of bars & restaurants nearby, try Sandbar for taco Tuesday or wave house in the summer!

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 5

    La Jolla Shores

    146 reviews

    I decided to chill on my second night in SD. A friend wanted to get some air after being stuck at a conference all day, so we hopped in my rental and drove here. We walked along a good amount of the area, and it was nice taking everything in. Well, everything that I could see, which wasn't much because ...

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 6

    Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma Lighthouse

    66 reviews

    We arrived here about 1 hour prior to sunset and walked down to the tide pools. My bf loves photography, and he said that the lighting on the cliffs was absolutely perfect. We drove back up to the Visitor's center to see a beautiful view of downtown San Diego and Coronado Island. We walked up to the Whale Overlook just ...

    Popular withHistoryFamiliesBudget
  • 7

    Seaport Village

    129 reviews

    Seaport Village is a great spot to take a walk, window shop, enjoy the gorgeous view, people watching, and enjoy a bite to eat! The book store is my favorite, the cafe has awesome drinks and really tasty desserts! Nice romantic spot in the evenings!

    Popular withFamiliesLocalBudget
  • 8

    Fashion Valley Mall

    93 reviews

    Department store heaven for shoppers. Fashion Valley is probably the most well known mall in San Diego for the wide variety of stores it has. Has some high end brand name designer stores as well. Great food options for sitdown as well as the food court. Movie theater. Plenty of parking and the trolley right there as well for accessibility.

    Popular withLuxuryFamiliesBudget
  • 9

    San Diego Padres

    44 reviews

    A great ballpark and fun activity to add to your visit! The games don't usually sell out and tickets are readily available. You can enjoy dinner and drinks from many nearby sports bars, pubs and restaurants. Steps away from the nightlife in downtown with easy access to the trolley.

    Popular withFamiliesLocalBudget
  • 10

    Pacific Beach

    41 reviews

    I'm an ocean-loving person, so when we had a family reunion a few years ago I picked Pacific Beach as the location. We all got rooms in the same motel, with kitchenettes, and had a great time strolling the beach, swimming, playing Frisbee, walking to restaurants and driving to other parts of San Diego. We even did a day trip ...

    Popular withOutdoorLocalBudget
  • 11

    Hillcrest Farmers Market

    25 reviews

    I've been here twice and love it! Our favorite thing to eat here is the live sea urchin from the corner seafood booth. Only $9 and you get a wiggling urchin to spoon out of. SO DELICIOUS and FRESH! 3 for $5 macarons across the seafood booth are also a pretty good deal TOO because they're like 3 bite macarons! ...

    Popular withFoodiesVegetarianBudget
  • 12

    San Diego Public Central Library

    5 reviews

    This newly renovated library is beautiful! There's even a giant chess board when you walk in. Private study rooms are abundant that you can "rent." It has 9 levels (although 7 and 6 are inaccessible at the moment). We visited all the levels and found the 9th (rare books) and the 2nd (teens) to be the most interesting. The rare ...

    Popular withDesignFamiliesBudget
  • 13

    La Jolla Cove

    149 reviews

    I've never considered how unique and spectacular it is to have such a gathering of seals accessible for all to see! This cove is nestled between gorgeous cliffs which have tide pools, loud crashing waves, and blue water as far as the eye can see. I especially love sitting on the cliffs mid to late afternoons and enjoying the calmness ...

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 14

    Mount Soledad & Korean War Veterans Memorial

    34 reviews

    A great lookout spot and very serene place to visit. Drive up and enjoy a gorgeous sunset and spectacular views of San Diego in all directions. A great free activity, another favorite lookout is Mount Helix in La Mesa.

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 15

    Old Town Trolley

    60 reviews

    A great location to park and ride. Close to downtown and many of the trains converge here so you can head on another line. A good location to stop at as it's right across from old town and minutes away from downtown.

    Popular withLocalFamiliesBudget
  • 16

    Ocean Beach

    59 reviews

    Great sunsets, and neighborhood. Known for an abundance of local bars that serve cheap drinks and have a laid back atmosphere. Most local businesses here are cash-only! Also great for its amazing sunsets.

    Popular withLocalBackpackersBudget
  • 17

    Little Italy District

    109 reviews

    We absolutely LOVE Little Italy! Not only the food, but the local culture, "shop local" feel, designer boutique stores and walkability are very attractive about the area.

    Popular withLocalFoodiesBudget
  • 18

    Coronado Ferry Landing

    30 reviews

    The ferry is a great way to get from Downtown SD to Coronado Island. Do note, if you take the ferry, you're on the opposite side of the island as the beach. You can probably find a bus/trolley with a route that goes to the other side. Once you arrive, you're met with the Ferry Landing Marketplace, full of small ...

    Popular withFamiliesLocalBudget
  • 19

    Carlsbad State Beach

    24 reviews

    Lots of fun to take a walk and watch the surfers. Park on the street for free or you can pay to park in the lot.

    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorBudget
  • 20

    Dog Beach (Ocean Beach)

    3 reviews

    Perfect place for dog lovers and also has good surf! Not too crowded, lots of free parking, but of course packed during any holiday weekend, tourist and summer seasons! Your dogs will have a blast, but please clean up after then. Restrooms within walking distance.

    Popular withBudgetWellnessOutdoor
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