Free Things to do in San Diego During the Holidays

With winter break coming up, kids will soon be out of school and in desperate need of round-the-clock entertainment. Keeping your kids busy can be a challenge during the holidays – even more so if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to keep them entertained. For those of us who don’t want to break the bank this Christmas, try entertaining your family with a few of these free, fun and kid-friendly activities in San Diego this winter:

Discover a natural winter wonderland. San Diego might not get snow within its city limits, but a short one-hour drive to Mount Laguna might just reveal that wintery white you’ve been craving this season. Take the kids out into nature for a picturesque hike, or enjoy a snow day complete with snowball fights, building snowmen and sledding down mountain slopes.

Explore Balboa Park’s museums. For the first four Tuesdays of each month, San Diego residents and active duty military are treated to free admission at a number of different Balboa Park museums, including kid favorites like the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Model Railroad Museum, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. For an added bonus any day of the week, Balboa Park’s Timken Museum of Art is always free!

Enjoy a holiday tune. Every Sunday at 2 p.m., Spreckels Organ Pavilion comes to life with the sound of music during its free afternoon organ concerts courtesy of the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department and the Spreckels Organ Society. Concerts range from Christmas sing-alongs and Scottish pipe bands to waltzes and showtunes, and all of it resounding from the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ right here in San Diego.

photo credit: Yortw via photopin cc

photo credit: Yortw via photopin cc

Visit Whoville. The Old Globe Theatre is bringing the magic of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas to San Diego with daily theatre productions until Dec. 28. For a free holiday outing, take the family out to The Old Globe Theatre to explore the magic of Whoville village, which is on display right outside on the theatre’s plaza.

Absorb the cityscape. Mt. Soledad in La Jolla boasts a sweeping panorama of San Diego, spanning from Torrey Pines to the north to the heart of Downtown to the south. Take the family for a short, but winding drive up to the top of the hilltop, and enjoy the wondrous Christmas lights and décor en route as you drive through the surrounding neighborhoods.

photo credit: DarkFokus2 via photopin cc

photo credit: DarkFokus2 via photopin cc

Take in the sights and sounds of Seaport Village. Every day in Seaport Village is an exciting one with music and entertainment abound day and night. Enjoy live music from the food court between noon and 4 p.m. as you do a little holiday shopping, or bring the little ones to see Santa Claus at the East Plaza Gazebo between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Light up the holidays with a beach bonfire. Gather your friends and family around a cozy beach bonfire at Coronado, Mission Bay or La Jolla Shores to cap off a perfect California winter evening. Don’t forget the wood, blankets and marshmallows, and remember to get there early to snag the best fire pit!

photo credit: Josh Koonce via photopin cc

photo credit: Josh Koonce via photopin cc

Explore the tide pools in Point Loma. For a winter activity that can only happen in sunny San Diego, take the family out to the tide pools in Point Loma to see a slice of San Diego’s coastal ecosystem right at the base of the Cabrillo National Monument. Winter months during low tides and full moons are the best times to marvel at the natural shallow water pools and the wondrous sea life within.

Thanks to San Diego’s temperate year-round climate, there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors this winter to partake in free, family-friendly activities. With so many free and fun holiday options for your family, you’ll wish that winter break never ends!


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