San Diego is a great city for all family members and friends to enjoy free activities year-round on any day of the week. It enjoys near perfect climate, averaging 300 sunny days a year with daily temperatures averaging 71 degrees. Situated on southern California’s Pacific coastline, this city boasts miles of beautiful beaches and harbors and bountiful parks amid historic neighborhoods. Free festivals, music concerts, dramatic presentations, and special events occur every month. Additionally, a plethora of free entrances to museums and engaging activities are regularly on the daily calendar. There are lots free and fun choices for everyone each weekend in San Diego.
What is the value of any place, regardless of how beautiful the terrain or lovely the climate, without its culture and those special people who make the “happenings” an attraction? I recently spent a day in San Diego where I talked to a couple of the people who make San Diego the wonderful place that it is. I chatted with “Queen of Panama,” seventeen year old Victoria Mendoza, from nearby Oceanside, California, for instance. Greeting me in front of Balboa Park’s House of Panama dressed in traditional Panamanian garb she said her favorite duty as queen was “performance dancing.” The hospitable international community is one of the rich attractions in the park and throughout the city.
People are friendly in San Diego and it is easy to start a conversation with park and museum guides, or even street musicians. Mitchell Walker, master of the didgeridoo, for example, is amicable, talented, knowledgeable of his aboriginal Australian instrument, and draws a formidable crowd. Between each performance he delivers a mini-lecture on the history of the world’s oldest wind instrument and offers suggestions to those who would like to learn to play. “Practice with a glass of water and a straw, fill your cheeks, and try to make continuous bubbles,” he instructs.
Behind Mr. Walker is the Natural History Museum. It is one of fifteen museums in the park that are free on Tuesdays. Check a calendar to discover which Tuesday of the month your favorite museum is gratis. The Timken Art Museum is always free. Other San Diego museums outside Balboa Park are free on different days.
Balboa Park is renowned for its beautiful gardens: seven are free. I recommend the magnificent rose garden past the center fountain. Bountiful parks and gardens beautify the city and provide ample room for picnics and recreation. I visited a dog park across from Cabrillo Bridge. It is gated with ample room for canines to exercise and socialize. San Diego also has several dog beaches. You will certainly find plenty to do at the aquatic Mission Bay Park, spanning 4,600 acres.
Maybe you will opt for a free tram or walking tour. You can visit a one-room schoolhouse in historic Old Town, watch craftsmanship and view art in a Spanish Village, or explore the Olympic Training Center. You are certain to find live entertainment for free from noon to 4PM at the Seaport Village. If you enjoy architecture, some Victorian houses should catch you fancy in the Gaslamp Quarter. La Jolla Cove is considered one of the world’s most beautiful natural preserves for scuba diving.
Festivals recur annually each month, so check the calendars. During December you can view fireworks followed by the San Diego Bay Boat Parade of Lights. In the spring you will certainly enjoy the Cinco De Mayo Festival. All summer there are free music festivals. In October the Harvest Festival is an immense arts and crafts show with live music.
For additional family fun, be sure to visit the new Children’s Museum at the Marina, free on the second Sunday of the month.