One of the easiest ways to save money on San Diego attractions is to invest in the Go San Diego Card. It’s hugely popular with tourists. Plus, the Go San Diego Card is also an excellent buy for residents who are sightseeing with visiting friends and family or want to spend more time exploring San Diego.
In this post, I’ll share some answers to questions I frequently get about the San Diego City Card. I will also go over the various card options, how to use the Go Card in San Diego, and the benefits that extend beyond the savings.
FAQs About the Go San Diego Card
Before I dig into the discounts you’ll get when you use the San Diego City Card, let’s talk about what it is and how it works.
What Is a Go City Card?
Go City Cards are available in cities worldwide. The Go San Diego Card is a single-card, multi-attraction pass that will save you big bucks when you’re purchasing combined admission to the city’s top attractions, tours, and museums.
There are different types of Go Card you can buy when you’re exploring San Diego. This way, you can see what you want to see and do what you want to do. Go San Diego Card options include All-Inclusive passes, Build Your Own passes, and package deals including the popular 4-Choice Flex pass.
How Does the Go San Diego Card work?
All you need to do is think about what you want to see and then choose the right type of Go San Diego Card. To make things easy on you, you can download it right to your phone.
An All-Inclusive pass is your ticket into any of the city’s amazing attractions. Buying a Flex pass means picking your favorite four options from a list of the city’s top attractions. And a Build Your Own pass is the perfect option if you plan to create your itinerary in advance.
Most San Diego Go Card options let you enjoy perks around the city, from skipping lines to freebies to discounts at restaurants and shops.
What Are Go San Diego Cards Used For?
These passes are one of the best ways to explore San Diego. You can get discounted admission to more than 40 destinations in San Diego and Southern California, including theme parks like SeaWorld San Diego® and Knott’s Berry Farm® plus hotspots like the USS Midway Museum®, Belmont Park®, Birch Aquarium, and select San Diego Harbor cruises. The more you do with your Go San Diego Card, the more you’ll save!
Do Go San Diego Cards Expire?
The all-inclusive Go Card for San Diego can be purchased in 1 to 7 day increments. The card is activated the first time you use it at a participating attraction.
Build Your Own and flex passes are valid for 30 days after activation. You have one year from the date of purchase to begin using your pass. After one year, it will expire.
Be aware that you can only return unused San Diego Go Cards for a full refund for 30 days after the purchase date.
Can You Take Money off a Go San Diego Card?
Once you’ve activated your Go Card, you can’t make changes to your passes or deduct cash from it. Additionally, the Go Los Angeles Card is non-transferrable and may not be resold. If you have purchased a Go Card for San Diego but haven’t activated it, you may be able to change the pass type by calling 800-887-9103.
The Top 10 Reasons to Invest in a Go San Diego Card
1. Save Up to 55% on San Diego Attractions
The best reason to buy a Go San Diego Card is for the discounted admission. Keep in mind how much you can save using the San Diego Go City Card will depend on what type of pass you choose and what you decide to do. Based on my research, the typical savings range from 20-55%. Of course, that depends on the type of card chosen.
It is difficult to get this large of a discount without this card — especially for those who are avid sightseers or have long San Diego vacations planned.
To get a better idea of how much you’ll save by buying a San Diego Go City Card, check out how people saved using the Go San Diego Card.
2. All Major San Diego Attractions Participate
Everything I would classify as a major San Diego attraction can be visited using the Go Card San Diego (the full list is below), including the San Diego Zoo®, San Diego Zoo Safari Park®, LEGOLAND® California, Belmont Park, plus the most kid-friendly museums in Balboa Park.
3. The Go San Diego Card Saves Time
With the Go San Diego Card, you typically won’t have to wait in a ticketing line when you visit an attraction.
Once you purchase the Go San Diego Card, the app (which is excellent for anyone who needs help getting around the city) or printed pass serves as your ticket. This can save you significant time at busy places like the USS Midway Museum and LEGOLAND — especially in the summer.
4. There Are Two Go San Diego Card Pass Options
An All-Inclusive Pass
This Go Card option allows users to visit all the available 40+ San Diego attractions at a reduced cost. The benefit of the All-Inclusive pass is that you can make last-minute decisions about which attractions to visit. This is handy if Balboa Park and downtown San Diego are on your to-do list, as many attractions are near each other.
The All-Inclusive San Diego City Card pass is available in 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 day increments, but needs to be used on consecutive calendar days. Daily admission to SeaWorld San Diego is included with only the 3, 5, or 7 day passes.
Build Your Own Attractions Pass – Good for Residents
The Build Your Own pass is the best option for people who know exactly where they’re going. It can include as few as two of the 43 available San Diego attractions and is good for 30 days after activating the card at your first attraction.
If you live in San Diego and your family doesn’t have an annual membership to certain attractions, it’s a great way to save on local fun. The Build Your Own Pass also covers a few Orange County and Los Angeles attractions like Knott’s Berry Farm® and Universal Studios Hollywood®.
5. It’s an Easy Gift
Do you have family and friends coming to San Diego for a holiday vacation? Skip the mall shopping and opt for a Go San Diego Card. Passes can be delivered to your recipient via email.
Seventeen other cities offer Go City Cards, too, and prices start as low as $20. You might be able to get Go City Cards for most of the people on your gift giving list.
6. You Get Instant Digital Delivery
It’s possible to buy the Go San Diego City Card online and immediately print a pass to use. Or you can store your pass on the Go City Card app. Having the app means you never have to worry about losing your paper Go San Diego Card. I highly recommend a download.
7. Having the App Means Skipping the Line
If you print out your Go San Diego Card voucher, you may need to take it to a ticket line to collect your actual paper pass. The app lets you skip this step at select attractions and allows you to go directly to turnstiles where they will scan a QR code on your phone.
8. The App Gives Directions, Hours and More
After you register your purchase of a Go Card San Diego on the app, you’ll get immediate access to directions, hours, tips for making the most of your San Diego visit, and much more handy information all in one spot.
9. Manage Multiple Passes from One Phone
It’s easy to manage multiple Go City Card passes from the app by simply swiping between them. The app also allows you to contact customer service with one tap.
10. There Is a Risk-Free Guarantee
If you buy a Go San Diego City Card and wind up not using it, you have 30 days from your purchase date to return any non-activated or unused passes for a full refund.
What Else You Should Know Before Buying a Go San Diego Card
- Most San Diego attractions do not charge admission for children under the age of 3. Children ages 3-12 enjoy a reduced Go San Diego Card price.
- In most cases, you can visit each attraction once per day, but some are limited to once per pass. You will receive a guidebook that outlines these details.
- The card is not valid on a 24-hour basis. That means if you visit an attraction at noon on Monday, the remainder of day 1 lasts until attractions close on Monday. Tuesday will be counted as day two.
The most popular card is the 5-day All-Inclusive card. Most users visit 2-3 attractions per day with this option. I will say that if you are exploring the museums at Balboa Park, you could easily hit five attractions in a day.
List of All-Inclusive Go San Diego Card Attractions
Note: Premium attractions are included in the 3, 5 and 7 day passes ONLY
- 1 Race and Laser Tag at Miramar Speedway
- 3-Day Hop-on, Hop-Off Old Town Trolley Pass (premium attraction)
- Belmont Park All Access Combo Pass
- Bike and Kayak Tours Coronado: Bike, Snorkel, Kayak and/or Stand-Up Paddleboard Rentals
- Bike and Kayak Tours La Jolla: Bike, Snorkel, Kayak and/or Stand-Up Paddleboard Rentals
- Birch Aquarium
- Coronado Museum of History and Art
- GoCar Tours®, Half-Hour Tour (must have two Go Cards for two passengers in the car)
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- LEGOLAND/SEALife Aquarium Park Hopper, LEGOLAND Only or LEGOLAND Resort Hopper
- Living Coast Discovery Center
- Mingei Museum
- Model Railroad Museum
- Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown)
- Museum of Making Music
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- Sea California® San Diego Hornblower Cruises (1-Hour)
- PETCO Park® Tour
- San Diego Air and Space Museum
- San Diego Art Institute
- San Diego Automotive Museum
- San Diego History Center®
- San Diego Museum of Art®
- San Diego Museum of Man
- San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT)
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- SeaWorld San Diego (premium attraction)
- Speedboat Adventures (premium attraction)
- The Fleet Science Center by IMAX®
- The New Children’s Museum®
- USS Midway Museum
- UTC Ice Sports Center
- Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises (Summer and Winter)
- Whaley House
There are also some Orange County and Los Angeles attractions included:
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Knott’s Soak City USA® Water Park
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Whale Watching & Dolphin Cruises Newport Landing
- Dolby Theater® Guided Tour
- Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes
- Hollywood Museum®
And you can add a handful of Las Vegas attractions including
- Blue Man Group®
- LINQ® High Roller
- Vegas! The Show®
- V – The Ultimate Variety Show®
Do You Have Questions About the Go San Diego Card?
Ask them here in the comments, and I can find out the answers for you. And if you’ve used the card, please share your experiences.