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In a city like San Diego where it’s entirely too easy to spend a lot of money, it’s nice to balance out the expensive indulgences for some free fun. The truth is that there are actually plenty of ways to entertain yourself in this area without parting with your hard-earned cash, and many of them are family-friendly. Here are 10 fun and free things to try.

Take a Walk on the Beach


San Diego has 17 miles of coastline, and the beaches are beautiful (and free). Take advantage.

Catch a Movie at the Dive-In Theater at The Pearl


OK, so technically you have to buy a drink for this experience if you’re not a guest at the Pearl Hotel, but admission to their weekly poolside film is free. Classic, independent and modern films from the hotel’s private library are projected onto a 10’ X 13’ screen while food and drinks are served to happy guests. Reservations are accepted and recommended.

Explore Old Town

fine-structure-at-old-town-san-diego-11893660334Photo Felix’s Endless Journey, Flickr

The historic area of Old Town San Diego is amazing, and it’s full of interesting things to check out like the original courthouse/jail and the Whaley House.

Head to a Museum


Almost every museum in San Diego offers monthly free days, which can save you a bundle if you’re a history buff. Many of the best museums are in Balboa Park.

Visit Mission Bay Park

South Shores Park on Mission Bay BryceApr16 (6)

Mission Bay Park is beautiful. Plus, if you have your dog with you, you’ll love Fiesta Island—it’s one of the few beaches in San Diego where you can have dogs off-leash.

Take a Stroll Through the Hotel del Coronado

The historic Hotel del Coronado property always looks amazing, and it’s especially magical during the holiday season.

Check out Ray at Night


Ray at Night is San Diego’s longest running monthly art walk, held the second Saturday of each month from 6-10 PM.

Swim With Seals at the Children’s Pool

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The Children’s Pool in La Jolla was established in 1932 as a spot for children to swim, protected by a seawall. It’s now a popular place for people of all ages, not to mention the seals and sea lions that love to hang out there. There has been some debate about closing Children’s Pool due to the high population of seals making the pool their home, but as of now it’s open and free to the public.

Watch the Sea World Fireworks


You don’t have to be inside the park to catch the firework show—they’re visible for miles around Sea World.

See the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla

sdmemorialPhoto Yelp

Drive up to the top of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, where you’ll see beautiful panoramic views of the city as well as elegant upscale homes in the exclusive neighborhood.