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Free family activities in Southern California

All kinds of fun are possible in Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Here are some ideas for free family activities!

Southern California

Balboa park

1Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park is chock full of museums and cultural centers. Although many of these charge admission fees, there is no shortage of fun to be had without reaching for your wallet.

The park covers 1400 acres and offers beautiful scenery and landscaping. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the wonderful weather. You can also sit at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and hear the Spreckels Organ. With 4,530 pipes, it is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs. Concerts are held at 2 p.m. every Sunday and are free. Be sure to check the park’s website for additional free activities each month.

Website: Balboa Park

Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101


2Coronado Beach, Coronado

Take a quick drive over the Coronado Bridge from downtown San Diego and you’ll arrive in “island paradise.” Coronado is a small peninsula with a population of approximately 26,000 people. However, hundreds of thousands of people visit each year for the many fun things to do, including spending a relaxing afternoon at the beach.

Regularly noted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, Coronado’s central beach is a great place to enjoy a sunny day. The expansive two-mile stretch of glistening sand, the Hotel Del Coronado and the striking ocean and views make this a nice place to spend an afternoon as a family. You can enjoy tide pooling in the rocks at south end in front of the Del or take a stroll down to dog beach at the north end. There are restroom and shower facilities, and during season, lifeguards are on duty.

Website: Coronado Beach

Address: Ocean Boulevard, Coronado, CA 92118


3Seaport Village, San Diego

Offering 54 shops, four fine dining waterfront restaurants and 13 eateries, Seaport Village is far more than just a place to dine and shop. The 14 acre waterfront facility features four miles of cobblestone pathways surrounded by beautiful ponds and fountains, relaxing landscaping and live musical entertainment. You’ll find a range of music, including blues and jazz. You can also enjoy the work of street performers and artisans, who are numerous on the weekends. Stroll down the boardwalk along the San Diego Bay for magnificent scenery and views and enjoy a picnic on the lush green lawns, or watch the many people flying kites in the expansive park areas.

Website: Seaport Village

Address: 849 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101


4US Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista

The US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista is located on a 150 acre complex in the east county area of San Diego. It is the place where 4,000 athletes receive training each year for nine Olympic sports. It opened in 1995 and is the first master planned US Olympic Committee training center.

Thousands of visitors enjoy a free self-guided tour of the facility each day, and those interested in a guided tour may attend one on Saturdays. While at the center, there are a variety of things to do and see, including watching athletes in training. This is an activity the entire family can enjoy.

Website: US Olympic Training Center

Address: 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA 91915


5Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Take your family on a tour of this state park and museums to learn something about early San Diego history. On your tour, you will take a peek at life in the area from the years 1821 – 1872. See how San Diego was changed from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement when the two cultures came together. Stroll through the museums and view historic buildings. Check the website’s special events calendar for additional activities. Old Town San Diego is also home to countless shops and restaurants and is known for particularly good Mexican restaurants.

Website: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Address: 4002 Wallace Street, San Diego, CA 92110

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