Friday, January 7, 2011

Free Things to do in San Diego

What's going on around town?

Prior to moving to the area, I grilled our friends who were previously stationed here to find out things they enjoyed while living here in San Diego.  Some told us that we are absolutely going to love it and that there is so much to do.  Upon our arrival, others told us the same things.

Being new to the area, I have been researching free or inexpensive activities for our family to explore together.  In my research, I found that there are many companies who support active duty service members and their families in such ways as free admission to some attractions.

Parade of Flight and North Island Open House - February 12, 2011
Gates open at 8am and Parade of Flights at 1pm; free admission, free parking and free blanket seating

Free bowling for active duty 11am - 1pm
Monday's at Sea 'N Air Lanes NASNI
Wednesday's at Admiral Robinson Recreation Center NBSD

Seaport Village - Walk around and enjoy free entertainment.  The offer free Sunday Concerts 1-4pm in the East Plaza Gazebo.  2 hours of free parking with purchase.

Automotive Maintenance Monthly Training Programs - Free program 2nd Saturday of every month, NBSD Auto Skills Shop, Bldg. 3234, 9am - 12pm.  Refreshments are provided and no car needed to take class.  Reserve your space by calling (619)556-7009.  January 8 - Brakes, February 12 - Oil Change and Under Car Inspection.

Gaslamp Quarter - Walk around and enjoy all  the shopping and dining.

2011 Bob Hope Classic, January 9-23, 2011 - Free admission for active duty military personnel and their families plus access to the New Eisenhower Medical Center Military Hospitality Lounge with valid ID.

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park  - Free admission for Active Duty with valid military ID card.

USS Midway - Free admission for Active Duty and Reservists with military ID card.  Free for children 5 and younger.

Here's to the Heroes Salute - Free single day admission to a service member with valid ID and form filled out for up to three family members:

MWR Movies - Always free.
Lowry Theater NASNI, Bldg. 650, (619)545-8479
Naval Base San Diego Theater, Bldg. 71, (619) 556-5568
QZone Theater NAB, Bldg. 337, (619) 437-5487

Discover San Diego Beaches.

Discover Vietnam Memorial Monument.

Point Loma Tide Pools - No collecting of any kind, rules enforced by the park rangers.

Museums at Balboa Park - Free Tuesday Admission to museums for San Diego City & County Residents with ID and Active Duty military and members of their family.

Park Ranger Tour at the Balboa Park Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality - Free tours at 1pm on Free Tuesday Admission days.

Discover San Diego Trails.

Squaw Valley - Free admission for Active Duty  with valid military to Ski & Ride Free.

The Century Club of San Diego Farmers Insurance Open - Free admission for Active Duty and their immediate family at the gate with active military ID.

Discover San Diego's Farmers Markets.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:
Free admission to active duty military on February 6 (Ronald Reagan's Birthday)

San Diego Archaeological Center - free and open to the public.

The New Children's Museum  - Free admission on the second Sunday of each month.

Free fly fishing lessons at the San Diego Fly Fishers Club on Sunday mornings 9am - noon at Lake Murray located in La Mesa.  If you don't have your own gear, arrive early for free gear rental.

Discover Mission Bay Park.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Resident's Free Tuesday's.

US Olympic Training Center - Free tour each Saturday at 11am on a walk-in basis.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share your thoughts on family friendly explorable activities in or around the San Diego area.


  1. Hi Lisa,
    I don't know how else to reach you, so I thought I'd post here....

    You are the winner of my Sunglass Hut Gift Card Giveaway. I want to send you these cards, especially since they EXPIRE on Jan 31, 2001.
    Please email me at mar4jc at verizon dot net with your contact info so I can send them out.

    The Frugal Writer

  2. Hi Lisa, great article to help San Diego families stretch their dollar. For more free family fun events, activities, and deals, visit San Diego Family Fun as a resource at

  3. Thanks for sharing such important details. I was looking for things to do in san diego as am looking to visit there next month. I hope things may not have changed much in these 5 years since your post.