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

This list includes fifteen of the best ways to save money on top things to do in San Diego.

We can help you save on tickets, tours, and hotels. If you purchase through some of the links below, we may be compensated. Thank you for supporting our small business! Our editorial guidelines.

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

1. Attraction Tickets: Our Discounts & Promo Codes

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 sell 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 attraction tickets at discounts or for the same price as you would pay at a ticket window.

You can print your tickets or have them scanned on your mobile device. These are just a few discount offerings:

Dive Deeper into discounts

go city san diego app illustration

Go City San Diego is the most popular San Diego sightseeing pass. It provides entrance to up to 50 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.

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 Explorer pass option.

Before purchasing the Go City 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. You don’t necessarily need to be headed to theme parks to get value out of the pass. I’ve had people buy it who were only interested in museums or planning outdoor activities.

Passes can be printed or accessed via a very convenient mobile app. You can read my full Go City San Diego review.

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TWO WAYS TO SAVE ON GO CITY SAN DIEGO

Use promo code LAJOLLAMOM10 to apply an extra 10% off ALL Go San Diego sightseeing passes when you buy through Go City! This discount stacks on top of sale rates! Also, check aResTravel, where All-Inclusive and Explorer Passes are currently cheaper.

(Pass has limited value for families at many attractions during Kids Free October in San Diego — we recommend individual tickets during this timeframe instead.)

3. 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 1-Day SeaWorld San Diego ticket.

4. San Diego CityPASS

San Diego CityPASS is also a sightseeing pass that includes a limited number of attractions. Going this route makes sense if you plan to visit LEGOLAND California and/or SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo or Safari Park (not both), and at least one of the other participating attractions. You can read my full San Diego CityPASS review.

Otherwise, you should buy Go City San Diego or individual tickets. The pass types include:

  • SeaWorld San Diego + 3 Attractions
  • LEGOLAND California + 3 Attractions
  • SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California + 3 Attractions

The three attractions can be your choice of:

  • San Diego Zoo OR San Diego Zoo Safari Park (not both)
  • USS Midway Museum
  • City Cruises
  • Old Town Trolley Tours
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego

5. Balboa Park Explorer Pass

san diego discounts

If your list of things to do in San Diego with kids (or without!) involves visiting Balboa Park, consider purchasing a Balboa Park Explorer Pass which will allow general admission entrance to most of Balboa Park’s museums. The one museum excluded is the new Comic-Con museum.

These museums are all close to each other, so it makes sense to spend a day or half a 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).
  • 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. Prices from $99–229 for individuals, students, and families.
  • Learn from failure: Failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey. Instead of letting failure discourage you, use it as a learning opportunity. Ask yourself what went wrong and how you can do better next time.

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

6. Entertainment Book Cover San Diego and More

The Entertainment book used to be a physical book of coupons that you could cut out to redeem at various places around San Diego. I bought one a few times and it did pay for itself after a few uses. But back then, you had to bookmark and remember to use the coupons.

These days, the Entertainment book is an app. And the upshot to the app is that if you subscribe, it’s not just discounts in San Diego that you’ll receive but rather there are discounts throughout the entire United States that you’ll have access to.

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

7. San Diego Tourism Authority Website

Our tourism board, of which I am a member, 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.

8. Costco

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).

However, our attractions are no longer featured as discounts on the Costo website. They’re out of the theme park ticket business sadly. I did score on Instacart gift cards recently. And a lot of our clients Instacart essentials to their hotel rooms, not to mention we Instacart in a pinch to home!

9. Direct Promotions

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

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

10. Museum Month in 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.

11. 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

12. San Diego Groupon

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.

13. 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.

14. 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 also 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.

15. 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.

You can also save:

  • 5% on Five Star Tours with code LAJOLLAMOM that will take you on day trips to LA and Mexico in addition providing San Diego airport transfers and theme park transportation
  • LEGOLAND Parks: Use promo code LEGO for $3-18 off various tickets → California | Florida | New York
  • Disneyland: Use promo code SAVE5 for an extra $5 off already discounted 2-Day or longer Park Hopper tickets → SAVE NOW
  • Everyday California (La Jolla tours): Use code LJMOM20 for a 20% discount on tours, lessons, and rentals → SAVE NOW
  • So Diego Tours: Get $5 off walking food tours of Little Italy, Downtown, and Old Town San Diego! Use promo code lajollamom. → SAVE NOW

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 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).

Explore More in Balboa Park

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9 Comments

    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