12 San Diego Discounts: Experience The City For Less

See how easy it is to pay less for admission to the San Diego Zoo and other attractions

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Whether you’re on a family vacation in San Diego or live here, there are several San Diego discounts on attractions like LEGOLAND, SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo and others.

As you ponder all of the fabulous things to do in San Diego, here are twelve fantastic San Diego discounts.

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Go San Diego Card (Most Popular)

The Go San Diego Card is the most popular discounted San Diego attractions pass. It provides entrance for up to 43 San Diego attractions for one low price. Purchase a pass for the amount of consecutive days you would like to use it:  1, 2, 3, 5 or 7. Your card is activated on the first day you use it.

However, I find that most people choose the build-your-own pass option. This is where you choose two or more San Diego attractions to the pass for a savings starting at 20% off of retail price (34 San Diego attractions are available for this option). The more attractions you add, the higher the discount is.

Before purchasing the Go San Diego Card, it’s important to have your list of what to do in San Diego somewhat sorted out. This way you can compare what the cost would be if you paid for the tickets a la carte and gauge true savings. Passes can be printed on demand but there is also now a very convenient app.

Buy the Go San Diego Card

See also: 10 Benefits of the Go San Diego Card Attractions Pass

Southern California CityPASS

The Southern California CityPASS is ideal for those visiting San Diego in addition to Orange County and/or Los Angeles. Admission includes Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure, LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego. You may also choose to add on the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Safari Park.

You have 14 days to use the pass starting on the first day of use. Visit as many attractions as you like in any order as you like during this time frame and you’ll skip many ticket lines with the pass in-hand.

Buy the CityPASS

San Diego 3-for-1 Pass

Get seven consecutive days of unlimited admission to the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld San Diego for one low price using the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass. The current pricing for this pass is $168.99 for adults and $137.99 for kids on Viator and $165 for adults and $135 for kids at the park booth. The value in this pass is if you are going to visit parks multiple times or are sure to visit each park at least once.

If you have time to have the pass shipped to you, Costco is the cheapest place to get it at $129.99 for adults and $104.99 for children otherwise turn to Viator or a park ticket booth.

Buy at Costco.com Buy at Viator

See also: Is the San Diego 3 for 1 Pass a Tourist’s Best Option?

2-Visit Pass

This pass allows you to visit the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park once each or to pick one park and visit it twice. Current price is $90 for adults and $70 per kids so it saves about $10 per person (regular one-day admission to each park is $50 for adults and $40 for kids). Buy the 2-Visit pass directly through either park’s website or ticket booth.

Buy the 2-Visit Pass

Balboa Park Explorer Pass

How to see the museums in Balboa Park for less.

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 17 museums. These museums are all within close 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.

One Day Balboa Park Explorer Pass

Provides admission to 5 museums in one day ($45 ages 13+, $26 ages 3-12).

Multi-Day Explorer

Provides admission to 17 museums for a consecutive 7 days ($55 ages 13+, $29 ages 3-12).

Multi-Day Explorer/Zoo Combo

Provides admission to 17 museums and the San Diego Zoo for a consecutive 7 days ($94 ages 13+, $61 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)
Large Family – $229 (up to 2 adults and 5 or more 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 at some of the 17 museums.

Buy the Balboa Park Explorer Pass

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.

Check Coupons

Costco

Enjoy LEGOLAND California and other attractions for less with these San Diego discounts

Check the gift card section in San Diego Costco locations for discounted tickets to SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, Hornblower Cruises, the USS Midway 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.

Check Costco Deals

Direct Promotions

Check each attraction’s website to see if they are offering any direct promotions.

SeaWorld San Diego Tickets

SeaWorld San Diego tickets can usually be purchased at some sort of discount through their offer page, for example. As of this writing a single-day park ticket is $35 less if you visit Monday – Friday.

Other Bundled San Diego Attraction Tickets

San Diego Zoo tickets are often bundled with park add-ons, San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets or other promotions that you’ll only find online.

Some attractions offer AAA, senior or travel agent discounts as well.

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-priced 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 100 participating restaurants, hotels and attractions.

San Diego Groupons

Search site affiliate partner Groupon for discounts on everything from San Diego 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 below 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.

See also: A Hometown Pass Allows San Diego Residents on Select Tours for Free

If You Need Transportation

Site affiliate partner Viator offers transportation to San Diego theme parks from various San Diego hotels.

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


Save up to 55% OFF Top San Diego Attractions!

Find out six ways to save money on San Diego attractions like SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, the museums of Balboa Park and more.

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4 Comments

  1. Alicia
    July 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    Birch Aquarium does free admission days for cardholders the first weekend of every month.

  2. July 17, 2017 at 11:35 am — Reply

    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!

  3. Amielee
    May 11, 2016 at 9:32 am — Reply

    Do you know if you can get the 3 for 1 pass for adults and get kids in free during October?

    • May 11, 2016 at 9:36 am — Reply

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

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