As a student, there are two factors you are looking for when finding things to do in San Diego. Money is always an issue for students so anytime the activity can be free, it is always a good thing. The other influence in your sightseeing adventures is you want to learn something along the way. Anytime you can expand your mind and gain some knowledgeable facts, it’s worthwhile for you to do.

This list looks at some of the free and educational activities to do in San Diego as a student because you can still have fun on a budget.

  1. Take In The Flowers By The Botanical Building

    Nestled within Balboa Park is the Botanical Building. This free treat will provide for a wonderful day as you get to walk along the flowers and enjoy nature. This statuesque building overlooks a lily pond and a lagoon. This is the perfect place to read and collect your thoughts.
  2. Go To Jail At The San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum

    Located in San Diego’s Old Town district, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum has a little bit of everything. From police uniforms and badges to a real patrol car, the museum provides a history of the city’s sheriffs dating all the way back to 1850. This museum is completely funded through donations so offer a little something before you leave.
  3. Get Spooked at Casa de Estudillo
    Source: Is Architecture

    Casa de Estudillo is located in the State Historic Park of the Old Town District of San Diego. This historical site was home to one of the first families to come to San Diego dating back to 1829. It is said to be haunted with many visitors claiming they have seen ghosts wandering the location, which are said to be the past residents. Stop by and see if you get spooked.
  4. Take A Free Guided Tour In Old Town
    Source: GL Brannock Photography

    While you’re in Old Town get a free guided tour of the Historical Park. This Latino area of San Diego has a rich history and hosts several events in the city. If you plan it right you could be there for one of its fiesta events.
  5. Take In Some Art At The Spanish Village Art Center
    Source: Trail and Hitch

    This artist community features 37 different artist studios and galleries that you can tour for free. See a variety of artworks for from painting to jewelry to sculptures and basketweaving. It will give you some culture to be immersed in this art community.
  6. Go On A Train Ride
    Source: Chula Vista Live Steamers

    While this one might surprise you, it is sure to be loads of fun. Ride the Chula Vista Live Steamers train. This group of train enthusiasts offers train rides for a donation of fifty cents. It’s surely a bargain and not something you get to do every day.
  7. Ride A Bike Though Mission Bay
    Source: Where is Cookie

    Get active in Mission Bay Park. This 4600-acre park has several paths that you can walk, run or bike on. It’s located on the bay of San Diego so it is easy to get to. You can explore its beaches or stick to the path for some exercise. In either case, it will cost you nothing to get in.
  8. Ride The Carousel at Seaport Village

    Seaport Village has its very own carousel that you can ride for $3. This whimsical ride is guaranteed to make you smile and will take you back to your childhood. Built in 1895, the carousel is a bit of the history of San Diego and fun all ages.
  9. Get A Breathtaking View of San Diego
    Source: Mapio

    If you drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in nearby La Jolla you will get a picturesque view of San Diego every way your turn. Take in the bay and coastline while you’re there and be sure to take some photos. This is a great place to go at night and see the city lights.
  10. Have a Bonfire At Coronado Beach
    Source: San Diego Blog

    Coronado Beach, across the bay from downtown San Diego, offers a glorious beach that you can hang out at during the day well into the night. As it gets dark, start a bonfire and get together with some friends to chat the night away.
  11. View Some Art At the Museum of Contemporary Art
    Source: Best of the Road

    For something a little educational, take some time at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. Located downtown, this museum offers great works of minimalism and pop art in a variety of medium. Once a week there is free admission.
  12. Try Some Snorkeling In La Jolla Cove

    Boasting some of the clearest waters in California the La Jolla Cove is perfect for snorkeling. See some underwater sea life off the coast that stretches for miles. You’ll just need your own gear to get going.
  13. Go To An Organ Performance
    Source: AndySDReader

    Situated in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion offers free concerts every Sunday. Come marvel at the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world. You will hear a variety of music from show tunes to waltzes. Bring a picnic lunch for an extra special experience.
  14. Surf and Swim At One Of San Diego’s Many Beaches
    Source: GoPro Tumblr

    This one is a given, considering the vast number of beaches in the area and the warm weather to be had. Go for a swim at one of San Diego’s beaches. Enjoy the white sand and clear water. It’s a great way to cool off and work on your tan.
  15. Watch The Boats In The Bay
    Source: Tian Xinqi

    With the San Diego Bay being one of the highlights of San Diego, it’s good to take some time enjoying its features. Pick a grassy spot and watch the boats and ships go by. It’s a perfect place to people watch and view sea lions and dolphins.

As a student in San Diego, there is plenty to do that won’t blow your budget. You’ll be able to learn a little and enjoy yourself a lot – exactly what vacations are meant for.