Free things to do in San Diego
For starters, if you live near Mission Hills bring the kids to scenic Balboa Park. Situated close to downtown San Diego, there are lots to see – whether it’s the talented street performers, beautiful gardens or even heading in for Free Museum Tuesdays! Balboa Park has something for the whole family, even the dog.
Nate’s Point is a cool, well-maintained off-leash dog park in the heart of Balboa, where lots of San Diegans bring their pups. The icing on the cake? You get to pet all the dogs you want! Dance to EvOLvE tip? Go in the mornings when there are lots of puppies there.
A fun family-friendly museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Downtown, offers free daily admission for anyone under 25. The museum is free for everyone on the third Thursday of every month. It’s conveniently located within a two-minute walk from the America Plaza trolley station. The trolley, but the way, is an excellent activity for the kids.
Just a hop, skip and a jump away is Mission Beach, one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego. Here there’s lots of space to set up camp for the day, have a picnic, a sunset bonfire, and watch the SeaWorld fireworks on summer nights. There’s a bike trail, and another off-leash dog park too, Fiesta Island. Bring a flashlight if you go to Fiesta later in the day as it gets dark early at this time of year!
Closer to Point Loma? A five-minute drive from Liberty Station is the Pearl Hotel, where the Dive-In Theater is offered. Every Tuesday, guests can gather around or lounge in the vintage oyster shaped pool and enjoy kid-friendly favorites like Elf and Frozen from 8 pm. While tableside viewing is free, pool access requires a drink purchase.
Fact: food always tastes better when it’s free! For tons of gratis samples, check out the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning! As well as free samples of delicious freshly prepared food and farmer’s finest fruits, expect good music, family-friendly arts and crafts spread out over several blocks.
For the cheese enthusiast, go tasting at Venissimo, where delicious cheeses from around the world are sold. This is a great way to discover new ingredients for your grilled cheese sandwiches, without breaking the bank. We all know kids love cheese, so let them sample some more exotic varieties like manchego, Chimay, or little boy blue.
Got a pair of binoculars at home? Take the kids to the Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, and spend the day doing some bird watching. Bring some colored pencils and a sketchbook along, and take turns drawing the colorful birds you’ll see. All done bird watching for the day? Take a hike. No really, this place is great for hiking as it has some seriously spectacular views.
If you’re looking for some springtime landscaping inspiration, the San Diego Botanic Garden has got you covered. On the first Tuesday of every month, admission is free.
Looking for a park experience that just keeps on giving? Sunset Park near San Elijo offers 19 acres of free kid-friendly activities. Expect walking trails, plenty of green space, playgrounds aplenty, a soccer field, volleyball and basketball facilities, a picnic area, and a dog park…, you’d be hard-pressed to run out of things to do here.
Last but certainly not least, there are free children’s dance classes happening in all of these areas! In Grantville, at the Party Fitness Studio, in San Elijo, at the San Elijo Park & Recreation Center, in Liberty Station at the new Kid Ventures, and in Mission Hills, at RISE Studio.
All of these locations feature our EvOLving Dance Days, where our instructors offer free classes. This is a chance for your kids to try out several types of dance in the house. We will be collecting donations benefiting the Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. The minimum suggested donation is US$3.
And feel free to schedule a risk-free trial dance class at any of our locations, so you can see what kind of dance your little one likes best!