Whether you’re on San Diego vacation or live here, it’s easy to find San Diego discounts on attractions like LEGOLAND California, SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, and others. I keep on high alert for ways to save money in San Diego so that I can share the details here without you having to scour the internet for promo codes, deals, and coupons that do not work.

On this list are fifteen of the best ways to save money on top things to do in San Diego.

Balboa Park at dusk — How to save money on tickets to San Diego attractions.

You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through the links in this post, I may be compensated.

Attraction Tickets: aRes Travel

If you need San Diego discount tickets to one attraction, buying through San Diego based aRes Travel is the way to go. I’ve partnered with them for many years to millions of dollars worth of tickets. They also have awesome vacation packages (look for the new Price Drop alerts) and combo tickets for even deeper savings.

They are authorized ticket sellers for major attractions (including Disneyland) and offer many single and multiple day attractions tickets at discount or for the same price as you would pay at a ticket window.

In some cases, you can buy your tickets online, print them at home and go straight to the gate or pull them up on mobile and go straight to the gate.


Check for unpublished deeper savings on tickets through my partnership with aRes Travel, an authorized San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket seller.

*By texting the word SDPARKS to 1-833-490-0799 you agree to receive automated promotional messages with how to secure my deeper ticket discounts and this agreement isn’t a condition of any purchase. Msg and data rates may apply. 2 msg/mo. Reply STOP to cancel. Read my full privacy policy.

These are just a few of the discount offerings but you’ll want to check my exclusive prices first.

Learn more about San Diego Zoo discounts and San Diego Zoo Safari Park discounts.

Go San Diego is the most popular San Diego sightseeing pass. It provides entrance to up to 41 San Diego attractions, tours, and water sports rentals for one low price.

Purchase an All-Inclusive pass for the number of consecutive days you would like to use it:  1, 2, 3, 5 or 7. Your pass activates on the first day you use it.

You may also choose the Build-Your-Own pass option. Add two or more San Diego attractions to the pass for savings starting at 20% off of retail price (44 San Diego attractions are available for this option). The more attractions you add, the higher the discount is.

Finally, you can choose the number of attractions you’d like to see (3, 4, 5, or 7), and decide later about which attractions you’d like to see with the new Explorer pass option.

Before purchasing the Go San Diego pass, it helps to have your list of things to do in San Diego somewhat sorted out. This way you can compare what the cost would be if you paid for tickets a la carte to gauge true savings.

Passes can be printed or accessed via a very convenient mobile app.

PLEASE NOTE: Go San Diego passes are not qualifying tickets for the annual Kids Free San Diego promotion in October.


Use promo code LJM10SDO to apply an extra 10% off ALL Go San Diego sightseeing passes! This discount stacks on top of sale rates! Expires 12/31/22.

Ticket Combo Packages

There are several ways to bundle major San Diego theme parks together.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park & SeaWorld San Diego Ticket Combo Deal

This combo Pass includes 1-Day San Diego Zoo ticket and San Diego Zoo Safari Park and up to 7 consecutive days to SeaWorld San Diego. Go straight to the gates with this pass that is perfect for animal lovers. It currently saves about $33 per pass after processing fees.

San Diego’s Fab 4 Combo Deal

This is for those planning to hit all four major theme parks. This Combo Pass includes 1-Day San Diego Zoo ticket, 1-Day San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket, 1-Day Legoland California and up to 7 consecutive days at SeaWorld San Diego.

California Explorer Pass (Includes Los Angeles and San Francisco Attractions)

The California Explorer Pass offers savings for those embarking on a California road trip. You’ll be able to explore 3, 4, or 5 major California attractions at a discount over 30 days. Participating attractions include:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • LEGOLAND California
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Warner Brothers Studio Tour
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Knott’s Soak City
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • Belmont Park
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • California’s Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Balboa Park Explorer Pass

san diego discounts

If your list of things to do in San Diego involves visiting Balboa Park, consider purchasing a Balboa Park Explorer Pass which will allow general admission entrance to Balboa Park’s 16 museums.

These museums are all within easy proximity of each other, so it makes sense to spend a day or half-day bouncing between them without worrying about paying separate admission each time.

Limited Pass

Provides admission to 4 museums in one day ($56 ages 13+, $35 ages 3-12).

Parkwide Pass

Provides admission to 16 museums for a consecutive 7 days ($67 ages 13+, $43 ages 3-12).

Parkwide Pass/Zoo Combo

Provides admission to 16 museums and the San Diego Zoo for a consecutive 7 days ($117 ages 13+, $77 ages 3-12).

Annual Explorer Pass

I can’t tell you how much I recommend an annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass. This is one of the most well-worth San Diego discounts if you live in the area. We’ve owned one since it came out and at $229 per year for 2 parents and however many kids you have, it’s a great deal. We love being able to bounce between museums on a whim.

Family – $229 (up to 2 adults, up to 4 children ages 3-17)

Adults (age 18+) – $129

Senior (age 65+) – $99

Student (full-time students) – $99

Buy online, at the Balboa Park kiosk or some of the 16 museums.

San Diego Entertainment Book

This book full of coupons has major value if you can take the time to flip through it and bookmark what you’ll use. It’s only $9.99 every year if you want to subscribe digitally (the discounts are so vast this method is easier for searching).

It is full of 2-for-1 deals and up to 50% off coupons for dining, attractions, shopping, travel and more. I had a book sent to me so that I can take a look at it and use it.

There are coupons for places like Broken Yolk, Leucadia Pizzeria, Boathouse Restaurant, Flagship Cruises (champagne brunch and nightly dinner cruise), Avis, Macy’s, ACE Hardware and more.

San Diego Tourism Authority Website

Our CVB, San Diego Tourism Authority, maintains an active list of discounts on restaurants, hotels, and attractions throughout the county. Click on the discount link to either print a coupon or follow other redemption instructions for listed San Diego attractions.


discounts in san diego

Check the gift card section in Costco locations for San Diego discount tickets to SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, Hornblower Cruises, the USS Midway Museum, and other attractions as well as some popular restaurant groups around town (the Cohn Group of restaurants is one I’ve seen).

Typical savings seem to be about 10–30%. On occasion, the main Costco website lists some of our major attractions so check there as well.

Direct Promotions

Check each attraction’s website to see if they are offering any direct promotions. Some attractions offer AAA, senior or travel agent discounts as well.

SeaWorld San Diego tickets can usually be purchased at some discount through their offer page, for example.

Macy’s Museum Month (February)

February means that it’s Macy’s Museum Month. Pick up a pass at a participating San Diego Macy’s store to receive half-price general admission to over 40 San Diego museums throughout the entire month.

Kids’ Free October

If there is a best time to take a San Diego family vacation, it’s in October where kids eat, play, and stay in San Diego for free. The San Diego Tourism Authority maintains a list of the over 85 participating restaurants, hotels, and attractions who participate in this annual promotion.

See also: Kids Go Free in October to Over 85 Attractions, Restaurants & More

San Diego Groupons

Search Groupon for San Diego discounts on everything from restaurants to San Diego attractions. Deals tend to change, but one I’ve purchased recently is the $10 attractions pass to Belmont Park (excludes rides). Other deals will show in the widget above, but there are almost 1000 deals in San Diego alone at any given time.

You can also download the Groupon app and keep it on your phone. It should pull up deals for restaurants and other discounts that are near to where you are.

Hometown Pass

If you are a San Diego resident and have friends coming to town, check out the Hometown Pass. It works sort of like a buy-one-get-one-free promotion where a resident can ride San Diego SEAL Tours and Old Town Trolley tours for free with another paying adult. You do need to sign up for the pass online in advance and redeem it at a ticket booth.

San Diego Restaurant Week

There are two San Diego restaurant weeks, one in January and the other in the fall, where over 180 of our best restaurants provide a set prix fixe menu that is a better value than ordering a la carte.

The promotion is designed to showcase our local cuisine but it gives residents and visitors an opportunity to try new restaurants at a reduced cost. San Diego Restaurant Week is a very popular time to eat out so reservations are encouraged.

Exclusive La Jolla Mom Discounts!

Yes, I work with vendors, hotels, and tour operators around town to bring exclusive San Diego discounts to you! In addition to being able to offer the lowest prices on Zoo and Safari Park tickets, this is among my most popular.


Use code lajollamom for a 20% discount on kayak and snorkeling tours, lessons, and rentals. Book now.

You can also save:

Let me know of any other San Diego discounts in the comments below.

Here are some tips for exploring San Diego for free:

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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    1. That is an excellent question. I’m going to ask the tourism board who runs Kids Free October. I’ll loop back!

  1. Thank you for the resources. I knew about some of these discounts, but others were new to me. It’s always great to save money!

  2. Thank you for all the detailed information … it is helping us plan our week-long San Diego vacation!
    I did want to let you know, though, that your 10% off code for the GoPass is not being accepted, much to my disappointment. Even tried using a different browser, still no success.

    1. Thanks for letting me know! It should work through Jan 1, 2020 but there must be a technical error. I’ve reached out to have them fix it!

  3. Thank you for the discount on the San Diego Zoo. Saved us $14 bucks!! You can’t find a discount anywhere else. I tried.

    FYI, you don’t need to print them. The zoo scans the QR code