Have fun during the summer in San Diego without breaking the bank! In fact, many things to see and enjoy in San Diego are absolutely free. With 70 miles of beautiful beaches, near-perfect weather and a variety of summer street fairs, concerts, and arts and cultural events, San Diego offers a fun and inexpensive summer getaway.
Put on your bathing suit, grab your towel and head to one of San Diego's 30+ beaches, all open to the public and perfect for bodysurfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.
Hit the road and take in the sights as you navigate San Diego's 59-Mile Scenic Drive that loops its way through the city's charming neighborhoods and reveals our unique attractions and natural wonders.
Take advantage of San Diego's warm summer nights and enjoy a number of free summer concerts held in parks throughout the county.
After a day enjoying San Diego's beautiful beaches, world-class attractions, numerous golf courses, fabulous shopping and amazing cultural institutions, spend the evening under the stars relaxing with a free movie, family, food and fun.
Gather friends, family and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of San Diego County's bonfire-friendly beaches, located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Oceanside.
This summer, Balboa Park comes alive after dark every Friday. Enjoy extended evening hours at select museums, as well as food trucks and entertainment throughout the Park.
When: June 1 - August 31, 2018
Enjoy Adams Avenue in a friendly, relaxed and carefree environment where taste-makers and free thinkers mix freely with family and friends. Experience exhibits and performances that will dazzle the eye and stir the senses.
When: June 2, 2018
Celebrate the annual RB Alive! Street Fair with more than 300 booths, Kids Zone with rides, games and special carnival foods, cultural stage, classic car show and more.
When: June 3, 2018
Join the San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Mission Indians for the Annual Inter-Tribal Powwow with arts and craft booths, food, dancers, drums, an opportunity drawing and contest dancing.
When: June 9-10, 2018
Beginning in June, Twilight in the Park free concerts are held at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday summer evenings in Balboa Park.
When: June 19 - August 30, 2018
The Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off Festival offers an oceanfront chili cook-off, five stages of continuous live music and entertainment, the community mural project, Artists Alley, carnival rides and games, food and vendor booths, a beachside beer garden and more.
When: June 23, 2018
Delight in beautiful organ music from the world's largest outdoor organ on Monday evenings during the International Summer Organ Festival, as well as Sunday afternoon concerts year-round at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.
When: June 25 - September 3, 2018
The ultimate family friendly music beach party, the 14th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am features an awesome surf competition and free concerts on the sand at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, while raising money for local community and youth programs.
When: June 30, 2018
Soak up the international flavor at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park during the free International Cottages' Lawn Programs. A summer-long event, a different country is celebrated each Sunday through ethnic foods, songs and dance.
Catch a magnificent Pacific sunset and watch sea lions play along the shoreline at La Jolla Cove, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world.
Visit Seaport Village and The Headquarters at Seaport on weekends for free entertainment, hours of leisurely strolling and window shopping, and a small free police museum including vintage jail cells open to the public at the site of San Diego's former police headquarters.
Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. Once the stomping grounds of the legendary Wyatt Earp, the Gaslamp Quarter is now home to unique stores and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and bars, many of which are set in turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture.
Join the festivities at San Diego's many Fourth of July fireworks and celebrations, held in numerous communities throughout the county. The Port of San Diego celebrates with the Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza over San Diego Bay, the largest fireworks display in the county.
Visit the past during summer afternoons at San Diego's Old Town, filled with activities that reflect life in early San Diego and celebrate the West on the move.
When: July 7 - August 18, 2018
Marvel as world-class sandcastle sculptors create some of the best sand creations on the West Coast, while also enjoying a community parade and pancake breakfast, live music, children's craft activities, a Kids 'n Kastles competition, Farmer's Market and International Food Fair.
When: July 13-14, 2018
Two weekends each July, watch the annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament, San Diego's original boisterous beach softball event at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay.
When: July 14-22, 2018
The annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade is among the largest in the United States attracting over 100,000 cheering spectators and significant media participation.
When: July 14, 2018
Festival of the Bells is a weekend celebrating the anniversary of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, California's first Mission, with the blessing and ringing of all five Mission bells.
When: July 14-15, 2018
Join thousands of fans to watch more than 100 of the world's best female surfers compete and be a part of the Supergirl Surf Pro Festival Village!
When: July 27-29, 2018
Get stoked! It's time for the most adorable surf event of the year. At the Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition, the most fearless dogs will jump on their boards, paddle out and hang 20!
When: July 28, 2018
San Diego's car cruises and auto shows are the perfect way to spend a warm evening checking out everything from classics to the latest and greatest in the world of automobiles.
Take free fly-fishing lessons from the San Diego Fly Fishers club on Sunday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Lake Murray, located in La Mesa. If you don't have your own gear, arrive early for a free equipment loan.
Sample some of the more than 200 varieties of fresh produce grown in San Diego at one of the region's many Farmers Markets held daily at locations throughout the county.
Bike, walk or jog along the many trails within Mission Bay Park. Bikers, walkers and joggers share more than 20 miles of scenic paths winding through sunlight and shade near the shoreline with workout courses at planned stations along the route.
Rollerblade, skateboard, bicycle or people watch along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile boardwalk running along the coastline of these lively neighborhoods.
Take a scenic drive to Mt. Laguna to hike, bike or picnic while enjoying the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
Hike the trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park and see the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, a number of animal species and miles of unspoiled beaches below.
Learn about the wonders of nature and the native people who once lived on the land at the state-of-the-art Visitors Center at Mission Trails Regional Park, then explore the park's more than 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
Celebrate this tart and juicy yellow fruit, plus Chula Vista's heritage as the "Lemon Capital of the World," along with live entertainment, a kids' fun zone and lemons galore.
When: August 5, 2018
ArtWalk @ Liberty Station brings fine art outside under San Diego's sunny skies to create the perfect viewing under natural light. Purchase artwork directly from the finest artists in the region.
When: August 11-12, 2018
The National City Automobile Heritage Day Festival & Car Show features a dazzling display of cars from very early models to the latest Super Cars.
When: August 11, 2018
Cardiff-by-the-Sea is ready to celebrate man's best friend! Set in a beautiful beach community, Cardiff Dog Days of Summer is a fair for dogs and dog lovers.
When: August 12, 2018
CityFest takes place in the heart of Hillcrest under the Hillcrest Sign and is a huge celebration of community spirit through music, arts, crafts, and food.
When: August 12, 2018
During the annual World Bodysurfing Championships, 350-400 bodysurfers from around the world compete in their respective age divisions for trophies and prizes.
When: August 18-19, 2018
Chula Vista HarborFest is a family-friendly celebration that welcomes everyone to enjoy a classic summer festival with breathtaking ocean views as a backdrop.
When: August 18, 2018
Surfers, scientists and survivors come together to support the fight against cancer at the 25th Annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational at the beach near Scripps Pier in La Jolla.
When: August 19, 2018
The Ramona Country Fair is a great place for family fun featuring rides, carnival games, vendors, beer and wine gardens, food, entertainment, and much more!
When: August 23-26, 2018
Imperial Avenue Street Festival is a multicultural street scene that celebrates the rich culture of the Logan Heights community.
When: August 25, 2018
An eclectic and inspiring celebration of Leucadia's unique culture and roots in creative expression, the LeucadiART Walk is a revival of the original 80's art event in historic Leucadia with art, entertainment, a children's art pavilion and more.
When: August 26, 2018
Join the Barona Band of Mission Indians for Barona Powwow - a weekend of contest dancing in all categories, camping, drums and cultural immersion.
When: August 31 - September 2, 2018
Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego's shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Shores and Cove offer some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserve to explore.
Walk along downtown's beautiful Embarcadero, featuring the Waterfront Park, promenades and an 830-foot-long water fountain to splash and play. Along the way, view an impressive assortment of public art sculptures and memorials celebrating San Diego's international ties, cultural diversity, and military and maritime heritage.
The iconic 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway in San Diego is a must-do for bicyclists visiting the area. Of course, there are plenty of other amazing bike paths to explore throughout the county.
Watch tail-waggin', Frisbee-catchin' and stick-fetchin' dogs splash in the surf. Man's best friend is permitted to roam leash-free at all hours of the day on designated dog beaches in Ocean Beach, Coronado and Del Mar.
Hang 10 at the California Surf Museum, which houses a permanent collection of historic boards, photographs and videos, located on historic Highway 101 in Oceanside. During free admission day on Tuesdays, explore its colorful and educational display on the sport of surfing and the legends who braved the waters over generations.
Take a walk or run along the 65+ miles of trails of Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the United States, and discover its beautiful Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and glorious gardens. Also, visitors can take advantage of the Park's variety of other free offerings, including ranger-led walking tours.
Go on a self-guided walking tour of the UCSD Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance.
Spend the afternoon at Tidelands Park in Coronado. The park's 22 bayfront acres feature four baseball fields, a playground, skatepark, picnic tables, small beach with an exercise course, boat access, fishing pier, and bike and pedestrian paths.
Explore the clear shallow tidepools of La Jolla Cove and Point Loma when the tide is low and the pools are teeming with aquatic life.
Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, home of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego.
Spectacular views also await at the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa, offering visitors a birds-eye glimpse of San Diego's East County communities.
Experience the history of the local Hispanic community's struggles and triumphs with a visit to the Chicano Park Murals, established by activists in 1970. This cultural park has received international recognition as a major public art site for its commanding mural paintings set underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Some of the murals narrate the history of Barrio Logan where the park is located.
Wake up early and explore San Diego's natural surroundings by taking a hike along any one of the county's many trials.
Witness the living legacy of California's birthplace in Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego's first "downtown." The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.
The Sycuan Pow-Wow is a time for people to get together, sing, dance, renew old friendships and make new ones, and a time for young people to meet and court.
When: September 7-9, 2018
South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival will be a day (and evening) of fun for all with live entertainment, local art, food, drinks and more!
When: September 8, 2018
Commemorating early San Diego history when Alta California was still part of Mexico and declared independence from Spain in 1821, the annual Fiestas Patrias at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park begins with the ringing of the bell at the historic Casa de Estudillo and includes the Escaramuzas, traditional women equestrians.
When: September 15, 2018
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego offers year-round free admission to guests 25 and under with valid ID at both its downtown and La Jolla locations as part of its effort to engage youth in San Diego's global art scene.
Take the highway to the danger zone and learn all about the Marine Corp's extensive aviation history at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. Over select summer weekends, former Marine pilots invite pilots and non-pilots of all ages to get behind the stick during Open Cockpit Days.
Explore the mediation gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas. It is here that Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time, wrote his "Autobiography of a Yogi." The meditation gardens are open to the public daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Walk 1,942 feet along the Oceanside Municipal Pier, the longest wooden pier on the U.S. West Coast. The pier is a perfect setting for fishing, walking and wave watching.
Browse through the Ocean Beach Antique District, located along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, offering the largest concentration of antique and collectible dealers in San Diego County. Here, you'll find one-of-a-kind antiques, mid-century modern furniture, fine estate sale items, vintage jewelry and specialty memorabilia.
Walk along the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad and look for birds, insects, plants, fish and animals in one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the Southern California coast. The nature reserve is open 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily.
Join San Diegans in a local natural phenomenon, the grunion run, on warm summer nights when the tide is high and the moon is full. Witness thousands of small grunion fish swimming ashore to mate and bury their eggs in the sand before riding the waves back out to sea.
Glorious sunshine, warm breezes and beautiful beaches are calling from San Diego, and we're inviting you to answer the call. Add some spring to your step and plan a visit to San Diego where the sun shines year-round!
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