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    San Diego on a Budget: 5 Things to Do for Free




    Vacation travel is supposed to be fun and help relieve stress. Take some of the stress off of your wallet with these free things to do while you’re exploring San Diego - Opens a dialog in beautiful sunny Southern California.

      Delightful features, like Zoro Garden, await your discovery at Balboa Park.

      Balboa Park

      Slightly northeast of Downtown San Diego, this 1,200-acre park features landmarks, park trails, gardens and culture. Palm Canyon is a beautiful and shady walk where you can see 58 different species of palm trees. Located between the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego History Center you’ll find Zoro Garden. This beautiful stone grotto garden, once a nudist colony, contains everything a young larvae needs to turn into a butterfly. In front of the Veterans Museum, you’ll find a bronze statue of a WWII B-24 Liberator pointed in the direction where most of the B-24s were manufactured during World War II. There are many other gardens, preserves, ponds and playgrounds to explore here at Balboa Park. We recommend staying at Kimpton Alma San Diego - Opens a dialog ., a quick five-minute drive away from the park.

        Enjoy a picnic at Embarcadero Marina Park.

        Seaport Village and Embarcadero Marina Park

        Stroll along the waterfront paths at Seaport Village. Located just behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, this open-air shopping plaza is a treat for the senses. Casually walk through the shops on your way to Embarcadero Marina Park, where you can have a picnic, go biking or fishing. Enjoy yacht-watching as you walk by the boats in the harbor on S Embarcadero. If you are feeling adventurous and want to walk a little further, you can walk to San Diego Bayfront Park, past the San Diego Convention Center, home to the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con in July. We recommend Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego - Opens a dialog . It’s a great hotel only a few steps away from Seaport Village.

          Seaport Village and Embarcadero Marina Park

          Stroll along the waterfront paths at Seaport Village. Located just behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, this open-air shopping plaza is a treat for the senses. Casually walk through the shops on your way to Embarcadero Marina Park, where you can have a picnic, go biking or fishing. Enjoy yacht-watching as you walk by the boats in the harbor on S Embarcadero. If you are feeling adventurous and want to walk a little further, you can walk to San Diego Bayfront Park, past the San Diego Convention Center, home to the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con in July. We recommend Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego - Opens a dialog . It’s a great hotel only a few steps away from Seaport Village.

            Enjoy a picnic at Embarcadero Marina Park.

            The Gaslamp Quarter is located in the historic heart of San Diego.

            Gaslamp Quarter

            Located in the historic heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is a great place to spend at least a day. There are a variety of stores to choose from, including ritzy galleries and even a dollar store for those of us watching our pocketbooks. The Horton Plaza Park Amphitheater, located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, hosts a variety of free concerns throughout the year. We recommend San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter - Opens a dialog as a great base of operations, right across the street from Petco Park.

              A walk on Mission Beach Boardwalk yields beautiful ocean views.

              Mission Beach Boardwalk

              North and west of the San Diego Airport you can find Mission Beach Boardwalk. This narrow strip of land contains a beautiful oceantront walk that runs from the South Mission Beach Jetty to the Pacific Beach pier. A great place to people watch as it’s usually crowded with in-line skaters, joggers and cyclists. There’s a lot to do here as well, you can enjoy a picnic and take in the scenery, or shop the many surf and swimwear shops. Be aware, these beaches get very crowded, especially in the summer, so go before noon if you want to find parking close by. We recommend staying at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina - Opens a dialog , a quick five-minute drive or a very nice 25-minute walk away from the Boardwalk.

                Mission Beach Boardwalk

                North and west of the San Diego Airport you can find Mission Beach Boardwalk. This narrow strip of land contains a beautiful oceantront walk that runs from the South Mission Beach Jetty to the Pacific Beach pier. A great place to people watch as it’s usually crowded with in-line skaters, joggers and cyclists. There’s a lot to do here as well, you can enjoy a picnic and take in the scenery, or shop the many surf and swimwear shops. Be aware, these beaches get very crowded, especially in the summer, so go before noon if you want to find parking close by. We recommend staying at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina - Opens a dialog , a quick five-minute drive or a very nice 25-minute walk away from the Boardwalk.

                  A walk on Mission Beach Boardwalk yields beautiful ocean views.

                  The Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton is really right there on the beach!

                  Coronado Beach

                  If you are seeking white sand, beautiful blue water, and fascinating tide pools, look no further than Coronado Beach. A long-time haven for celebrities, here you can build a sand castle, wade in the usually warm water or simply enjoy getting a good dose of vitamin D. A truly beautiful place, some popular films had scenes that were shot in Coronado, including Some Like it Hot, Top Gun and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. An amazing hotel right on the beach, and only minutes away from downtown San Diego, we highly recommend Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton - Opens a dialog .

                    Sign Up for Costco.com Emails

                    If you are interested in great deals Costco Travel has to offer, click here to sign up to receive emails. This will ensure that Travel and Costco.com values are sent directly to your inbox.

                      Once You Are Ready to Travel, Costco Travel Can Help

                      We invite you to take some time to browse around and dream of your next vacation, rental car or cruise, whether you’re booking for next month or toward the end of next year.

                        Vacation travel is supposed to be fun and help relieve stress. Take some of the stress off of your wallet with these free things to do while you’re exploring San Diego - Opens a dialog in beautiful sunny Southern California.

                          Delightful features, like Zoro Garden, await your discovery at Balboa Park.

                          Balboa Park

                          Slightly northeast of Downtown San Diego, this 1,200-acre park features landmarks, park trails, gardens and culture. Palm Canyon is a beautiful and shady walk where you can see 58 different species of palm trees. Located between the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego History Center you’ll find Zoro Garden. This beautiful stone grotto garden, once a nudist colony, contains everything a young larvae needs to turn into a butterfly. In front of the Veterans Museum, you’ll find a bronze statue of a WWII B-24 Liberator pointed in the direction where most of the B-24s were manufactured during World War II. There are many other gardens, preserves, ponds and playgrounds to explore here at Balboa Park. We recommend staying at Kimpton Alma San Diego - Opens a dialog ., a quick five-minute drive away from the park.

                            Enjoy a picnic at Embarcadero Marina Park.

                            Seaport Village and Embarcadero Marina Park

                            Stroll along the waterfront paths at Seaport Village. Located just behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, this open-air shopping plaza is a treat for the senses. Casually walk through the shops on your way to Embarcadero Marina Park, where you can have a picnic, go biking or fishing. Enjoy yacht-watching as you walk by the boats in the harbor on S Embarcadero. If you are feeling adventurous and want to walk a little further, you can walk to San Diego Bayfront Park, past the San Diego Convention Center, home to the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con in July. We recommend Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego - Opens a dialog . It’s a great hotel only a few steps away from Seaport Village.

                              Seaport Village and Embarcadero Marina Park

                              Stroll along the waterfront paths at Seaport Village. Located just behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, this open-air shopping plaza is a treat for the senses. Casually walk through the shops on your way to Embarcadero Marina Park, where you can have a picnic, go biking or fishing. Enjoy yacht-watching as you walk by the boats in the harbor on S Embarcadero. If you are feeling adventurous and want to walk a little further, you can walk to San Diego Bayfront Park, past the San Diego Convention Center, home to the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con in July. We recommend Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego - Opens a dialog . It’s a great hotel only a few steps away from Seaport Village.

                                Enjoy a picnic at Embarcadero Marina Park.

                                The Gaslamp Quarter is located in the historic heart of San Diego.

                                Gaslamp Quarter

                                Located in the historic heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is a great place to spend at least a day. There are a variety of stores to choose from, including ritzy galleries and even a dollar store for those of us watching our pocketbooks. The Horton Plaza Park Amphitheater, located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, hosts a variety of free concerns throughout the year. We recommend San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter - Opens a dialog as a great base of operations, right across the street from Petco Park.

                                  A walk on Mission Beach Boardwalk yields beautiful ocean views.

                                  Mission Beach Boardwalk

                                  North and west of the San Diego Airport you can find Mission Beach Boardwalk. This narrow strip of land contains a beautiful oceantront walk that runs from the South Mission Beach Jetty to the Pacific Beach pier. A great place to people watch as it’s usually crowded with in-line skaters, joggers and cyclists. There’s a lot to do here as well, you can enjoy a picnic and take in the scenery, or shop the many surf and swimwear shops. Be aware, these beaches get very crowded, especially in the summer, so go before noon if you want to find parking close by. We recommend staying at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina - Opens a dialog , a quick five-minute drive or a very nice 25-minute walk away from the Boardwalk.

                                    Mission Beach Boardwalk

                                    North and west of the San Diego Airport you can find Mission Beach Boardwalk. This narrow strip of land contains a beautiful oceantront walk that runs from the South Mission Beach Jetty to the Pacific Beach pier. A great place to people watch as it’s usually crowded with in-line skaters, joggers and cyclists. There’s a lot to do here as well, you can enjoy a picnic and take in the scenery, or shop the many surf and swimwear shops. Be aware, these beaches get very crowded, especially in the summer, so go before noon if you want to find parking close by. We recommend staying at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina - Opens a dialog , a quick five-minute drive or a very nice 25-minute walk away from the Boardwalk.

                                      A walk on Mission Beach Boardwalk yields beautiful ocean views.

                                      The Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton is really right there on the beach!

                                      Coronado Beach

                                      If you are seeking white sand, beautiful blue water, and fascinating tide pools, look no further than Coronado Beach. A long-time haven for celebrities, here you can build a sand castle, wade in the usually warm water or simply enjoy getting a good dose of vitamin D. A truly beautiful place, some popular films had scenes that were shot in Coronado, including Some Like it Hot, Top Gun and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. An amazing hotel right on the beach, and only minutes away from downtown San Diego, we highly recommend Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton - Opens a dialog .

                                        Sign Up for Costco.com Emails

                                        If you are interested in great deals Costco Travel has to offer, click here to sign up to receive emails. This will ensure that Travel and Costco.com values are sent directly to your inbox.

                                          Once You Are Ready to Travel, Costco Travel Can Help

                                          We invite you to take some time to browse around and dream of your next vacation, rental car or cruise, whether you’re booking for next month or toward the end of next year.


                                            Image of a Caricature of Penny Anderson

                                            About the Author: The above piece was compiled by Penny Anderson, mother of two young athletes, and Merchandising/Ecommerce Manager at Costco Travel. Penny has been a Costco employee for 27 years.


                                             
                                             
                                             
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