9 Free and Fun Things to do in San Diego This Summer

Every summer in San Diego, you can expect a high chance of AWESOME.

And, we’re upping the cool factor by sharing our favorite FREE things to try out in San Diego this summer.

San Diego Waterfront Park

FREE Water Wonders
There’s now a new place to splash and play when you visit La Pensione. And, it even comes with a waterfront view! San Diego’s new Waterfront Park opened in May 2014 and now boasts massive, open grassy areas; an expansive interactive fountain that you can splash around in, gardens and a modern playground. Just three blocks from us, this park is the perfect place for a picnic, people-watching, jogging, getting your feet wet, and sunbathing.

Outdoor moviesFREE Outdoor Movies
Who needs chilly movie theatres when you can watch a movie under the stars? When you visit San Diego in the summer, you can always expect to find a free outdoor movie throughout the week with the San Diego Summer Movies in the Parks. Here are the showings closest to La Pensione:

The Lone Ranger – July 3 (USS Midway Museum)
Karate Kid – July 5 (Old Town/Heritage Park)
Lego Movie – July 26 (Balboa Park/Morley Field)
Planes – August 22 (USS Midway Museum)
Rio 2 – August 22 (Ocean Beach)
Little Mermaid – September 19 (Waterfront Park)

Outdoor concertsFREE Outdoor Concerts
Warm summer breezes.  A picnic with friends and family. FREE tunes all evening long. It’s music to our ears. Take advantage of San Diego’s warm summer days and explore a number of free summer concerts located throughout the county. 

Il Mercato - Little Italy's Saturday morning Farmer's Market

FREE Fresh Eats
 Lucky you. When you stay with us, San Diego’s most popular farmers market, Il Mercato, sets up right outside our doors on Saturday mornings. Mingle with the locals and see what makes San Diego such a healthy, foodie city. Il Mercato, Saturdays 8am-2pm; located right outside of La Pensione Hotel.

The Headquarters at Seaport Village

FREE Bayside Entertainment & Wandering
Visit Seaport Village, and its new cosmopolitan neighbor, the Headquarters,  for free weekend entertainment and hours of leisurely window shopping, strolling, and people-watching.  You can  also walk along the stunning bayfront or relax in the grass and gaze at passing ships and yachts along San Diego Bay. 

Mission Bay FireworksFREE Fireworks
On almost every night of the summer, the night sky over Mission Bay is ablaze with fireworks courtesy of Sea World San Diego. No need to buy a SeaWorld ticket to enjoy the show. Just about anywhere in Mission Bay (and even in Old Town) guarantees a good seat for these complimentary firework shows. Click here to see the full firework schedule.

CultureFREE Cultural and Natural Gems
Take a walk through Balboa Park, San Diego’s arts and culture gem, and the largest urban cultural park in the United States. Locals love the Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and beautiful gardens.  While most of the museums require a minimal entrance fee, the Timken Museum and the iconic Botanical Building are free to explore, as is the rest of the park.  They also offer complimentary walking tours of the park’s expansive grounds.  

Are you 25 years old or under? Member of the military? Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego, located just 3 blocks from La Pensione Hotel in Little Italy. Everyday they offer complimentary admission for military members and their family, as well for guests those under 25.

Old TownFREE Historical Experiences
Witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace at Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.”  This 12-acre park is packed with Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, FREE museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.


 What are your favorite secret freebies in San Diego?