Things to Do in San Diego on a Budget

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Tourism generates $7 billion in the city of San Diego annually.
Tourism generates $7 billion in the city of San Diego annually. (Image: Kenneth C. Zirkel/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The city of San Diego, California is one of the top five vacation destinations in the U.S. Its convention and visitor's bureau also cites the San Diego region as one of America's top business destinations. From the beaches of Mission Bay to the museums of Balboa Park, San Diego is an engaging place for visitors of all budgets.

San Diego Padres Baseball

The San Diego Padres Major League Baseball club plays in the city's East Village district in a stadium that opened in 2004. Tickets to games are just $5 when purchased in advanced and $7 on game day, as of the 2010 season -- a considerable bargain considering the cost of pro baseball games in other cities. The Padres play against several different Major League opponents during 82 home games a year. Meals and beers can also are also served at the stadium for less than $5. Tours of the stadium and the field are also less than $10 per person, a great outing for Little League teams, families and seniors groups.

Farmers Markets

Over a half dozen farmers' markets are held every day throughout San Diego. Admission to the markets is free, and many accept EBT, credit and debit cards. Consumers can buy reasonably priced produce harvested by local farmers, all of which is certified by the county agricultural commissioner and in compliance with California quality food standards. The largest markets are Friday's Mission Valley farmers' market and Sunday's La Jolla market, each of which feature fresh seafood, baked goods and fresh flower vendors. The market's also occasionally have live musical entertainment. San Diego's markets are an inexpensive, ecologically conscious and fun way to experience the culture of the city while enjoying delicious food.

Wildlife

The Casa beach on Coast Boulevard, colloquially referred to as the Children's Pool, is a small beach that is protected from the surf by a seawall. The beach is free of charge, and offers panoramic views of the city and oceanfront as well as safe swimming for kids. The beach also offers up close and personal vantage points to observe seals and sea lions who visit the beach from their home at nearby Seal Rock. While it is not advisable to make contact with the animals as they are wild, visitors can get quite close to observe the great mammals napping, grooming young pups or splashing in the shoreline. A lifeguard station, bathrooms and showers are also located at the park.

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