Being a parent in San Diego is great. There’s never a shortage of things to do and always great weather to do it in. But let’s face it, it is NOT cheap to live here! As a mama on a budget, I am always looking for fun, cheap or even better free ways to keep my toddler active. I have a compiled a list of FREE things to do with your kiddos this summer that I think you should check out. So let’s beat that summer cabin fever!
Located downtown San Diego on Pacific Highway, the park is open daily 8am – 6pm daily, the North and South fountain jets are on daily 11am – 7pm daily and the North and South reflection pool hours are 10:30 am – 7pm daily. This is where you take the kids to beat the heat and run them out for nap time! They can splash through the sprinklers, go to the park play area, have a picnic and get a sweet view of the ships in the harbor. The park play area is totally modern and funky, kids will love that it is designed slightly different than traditional parks. So pack up the fam on the hottest day and let them splish splash through the fountains and run wild in the park! Hopefully, they come home worn out and give mommy a much needed break! There is meter street parking surrounding the park and paid parking below.
This travelling, interactive folk music is a favorite amongst kids. The duo’s set have won tons of awards over the last 10 years. We’ve seen this concert a handful of times and my son loves it more each time. They generally do about a half hour set of children’s classic songs and the kids can totally engage with shakers, scarves and dancing. You can find their schedule up on their website. They travel all around San Diego to lots of different venues, we’ve personally seen them at two different libraries, at the park after Stroller Strides and the farmer’s market. All concerts are free!
Story Time at the Library
Libraries throughout San Diego offer a variety of free classes and programs for kids of all ages. Our favorite is story time, aka “Babies & Books”, at the North Park Library. Every Friday at 10am we gather with other babies under the age of 2 to listen to a few stories being read, play with friends and toys, and of course, bubbles! The half hour is just perfect enough for the little’s attention span and they are very laid back and let you stay for a while after to play. I love taking my son here to interact, it is easily one of the best activities I found to stimulate his learning and social skills. Some of the other programs they offer for your littles include: “Yoga Story Time” and “Signing Story Time”.
Summer Movies in the Park
Family movie night just got an upgrade! On Friday and Saturday nights at various park venues (and sometimes super cool places like the USS Midway) throughout San Diego, they show kid friendly movies for free! Some venues you do have to pay to park. A movie calendar schedule is posted on the website and you can decide if the time and the movie works for you and your family. There are even pre movie activities to engage in. Many parks will have concessions and food trucks, but you can bring your own snacks, some even allow you to bring the pup!
Mission Bay at Fanuel Street
Mission Bay is one of the most beautiful and serene places in the city. I lived there for 5 years a different lifetime ago, pre kids. It’s also pretty big, if you didn’t know. I like bringing my son over by Fanuel Street. There is a large grassy area you can picnic or play around, bring the dog, bathrooms, a park and of course the bay. Kids LOVE sand, as I’ve learned. So with the bay, park and grass, this spot is the trifecta of fun. There’s also lots of areas for them to climb – your favorite as a parent, I know. There’s also plenty of shade to escape the beating sun. You also get to see all the fun things that go on at the bay – boats, jet skis, yoga paddle boarding and tons of people watching. There is a small parking lot or street parking.