Are you planning a trip to San Diego and want to visit the main attractions? Then the Go San Diego Card can save you money. Here you find out if the San Diego Go Card is worth it for you, where to buy it, and other tips and tricks from a San Diego local.
San Diego has so much to offer and you could fill months with fun stuff to do in the city. I am a local and I still have lots of things on my San Diego bucket list. But I know that going out to all of these places can get expensive and that seems a little unnecessary.
Lucky for you, the Go San Diego Pass can potentially save you some money. Now, I know what you’ll ask. Yes, I will most certainly break it down so you know if this nifty San Diego Go pass is worth your time and, most importantly, your money.
How To Save Money with the Go San Diego Card
Now the beauty of this pass is that there are a variety of them to choose from. It all depends on how long you’re planning on staying in town. It’s available as a day pass and can go as long as a week-long pass. If that doesn’t quite satisfy you, there is an option to completely customize your passes;
Which Pass Should You Get?
All-inclusive Pass: As the name suggests, you can visit all of the mentioned attractions for free for the duration of the pass you bought. This is a great option if you don’t have any fixed plans, but want to know how much you’ll be spending before you arrive. Great for precise budgeting and flexible scheduling. Buy your all-inclusive pass here>>
Explorer Pass: You choose if you want 3, 4, 5, or 7 of the included attractions and have up to 60 days to visit them. This is a great option for locals or people who visit San Diego for longer periods of time and don’t want to rush visiting the attractions but still want the bundle savings. Buy the Explorer Pass here>>
Build-Your-Own Pass: With this one, you can completely free-build your own Savings Pass and only pay for the attractions you are actually going to visit. You’ll save 20% of the ticket price if you choose 2 or more attractions. Pretty sweet deal!
How much does the Go San Diego Card cost?
There are various options for the San Diego Go Pass, so the price really depends. The most popular is the all-inclusive pass, which usually costs $99 for the first day and each additional day you add is cheaper. Check out the prices for the all-inclusive San Diego Go Pass below.
Of course, bringing kiddos along with you can also be expensive and there are kid passes for the San Diego Go Card. A single day pass for a child from 3 to 12 costs $89, that’s $10 less than a single adult pass. Below are the prices for all of the fixed price passes on the site:
|Adult Price||Child (3-12) Price|
There is also a 90-day cancellation policy from the purchase date to return any non-activated passes. Just in case you change your mind about the number of passes or your trip gets canceled. But check the fine print, in case this is updated!
Where To Buy the San Diego City Pass
You may be asking, “Well, where can I buy this cool little pass?” Well, there are a couple of places you can purchase the Go San Diego Card. I recommend checking all the websites, as they often have sales or discount offers:
Groupon has sometimes really great offers for the Go San Diego Card and other fun things to do in San Diego, restaurants, and even hotels. Definitely check them out and see if you can find a great offer. Find savings on Groupon here>>
If you are not already familiar with them, GetYourGuide and Viator are great vacation planning sites, where you can find discounted tickets for attractions, tours, excursions, and passes. On Viator, you’ll not only find the San Diego Go all-inclusive Pass but tickets to the individual attractions at a much lower price. GetYourGuide also has the Explorer Pass. I have used both websites and I find them equally great. I usually check both and see if they have a special deal or discount and go with the cheapest one.
So if you aren’t interested in the build-your-own option on the Go San Diego Card, then I highly recommend these two websites as the pricing for the passes is usually far better than the direct website and you don’t have to sacrifice any of the benefits.
Both of these options will give you an online ticket that you can access on the site or on their apps and is instantly accessible. It’s a great paperless route that they’ve taken to help the environment, which is also a really good plus.
Buy your San Diego Pass on GetYourGuide>>
Buy your San Diego Pass on Viator>>
Go San Diego Site: If you want one of the custom passes, you have to buy it directly here, but they usually do not offer any discounts: Click Here to Buy
If you aren’t up for the paperless route, then you can go to the Balboa Park Visitors Center, the San Diego Visitor Information Center, The California Welcome Center Oceanside, or the Westfield UTC Shopping Centre to purchase them in person.
However, if you decide to go with this method, you won’t be able to take advantage of any online deals that they may be offering. So before going out and buying it, check online to see if there are any deals, discounts, or offers.
What Is NOT Included
This is a pretty loaded question since it really depends on the pass that you purchase. All of the big attractions are covered in the regular day to day passes. If you decide to customize your pass because you know that you won’t have time to visit every place, then you’re free to decide what you do and do not include in your pass.
Now, this pass doesn’t pay for your full meals at restaurants but it does make you eligible for some discounts and deals that you may want to snatch up.
What is included in the San Diego Go Pass?
What exactly does the San Diego City Pass include? What big ticket items can you see without paying full price for entry?
San Diego Attractions
SeaWorld San Diego – Normally $93.99
This is a hot spot for families to see magnificent sea creatures and ride some wicked rides. Not to mention the scenery as you drive toward is lovely and calming to the eyes.
San Diego Zoo – Normally $60
I’m sure you’ve heard of the world-famous San Diego Zoo. People from all over the world come to town just to see the breathtaking animals interact with an environment similar to their natural habitats. There are also tons of food options in the park as well as in the Downtown area.
Read our tips for visiting the San Diego Zoo here>>
San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Normally $60
It may seem similar to their older, more globally known sister park, the Safari Park is a more interactive park. Here is where you can take Jeep rides into the simulated environment of Safari animals to really get up close and personal. There are, of course, other exhibits at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park that aren’t as interactive but there’s a certain fun in Safari rides that you just have to at least simulate the experience.
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum – Normally $26
This is a super interesting boat museum that really takes you back in time. You can hear about her time sailing the war riddled seas and the several stories of sailors. Each seafaring tale breathes life into this metal vessel. There are even a few spooky tales that may interest you if you ask.
Read our article on the USS Midway Museum here>>
LEGOLAND ® California – Normally $105
LEGOLAND ® in Carlsbad is the perfect theme park for the little ones. .If you have kids under the age of 10, they will have a blast. And even for adults, it is quite a lot of fun.
Belmont Park – Normally $30
As a kid, I got so excited to visit Belmont Park. The vibes of Mission Beach really come through in the area. It’s that one token amusement park that you have access to year-round. It’s especially fun during those dead times of the year like between summer and fall when it is less crowded. That way, you can ride the rides back to back and not have to bother with other people or very long lines.
Offers and Discounts
Flying Leather Neck Aviation Museum
Free admission, parking, and saving of 20% at the gift shop.
A complimentary 15% off savings certificate valid at multiple locations.
Amtrak California Pacific Surfliner
At most, two children from 2-12 ride for 50% off for each adult rail fare purchased.
Unique Tours by Where Tours
20% off on Amazing Downtown Scavenger Hunts, Insider’s View of Balboa Park, or La Jolla Walking Tours.
The Prado at Balboa Park
This is one of the most popular restaurants in San Diego. Their food style and decor really bring you to the sea. With the San Diego City Pass, you get a $10 savings on a purchase of $40 or more.
Skip the Line Privileges
On top of the listed attractions, there are several more activities included in the all-inclusive passes. There are even Skip the Line Privileges that come with this nifty little guy. You can skip the turnstile line at the Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld. You can also skip the ticket line at Knott’s Berry Farm and the long line at the USS Midway Museum.
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- SeaWorld ® San Diego
- USS Midway Museum
- 1 Hour Harbor Cruise
- Belmont Park
- LEGOLAND ® California
- Speed Boat Ride
- Kayak Rental
- Snorkel Rental
- Whale Watching
- Air and Space Museum
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Bike Rental
- Hiking Tour
- Pier Fishing
- Paddle Board Rental
- Surfboard Rental
- Pedal Boat Rental
- Pure Brewing Tasting
- Automotive Museum
- Museum of Us
- City Tour
- San Diego History Center
- Model Railroad Museum
- One-way Coronado Ferry
- Shop & Dine Package
- iFly San Diego
- Museum of Art
- New Children’s Museum
- Speed Circuit
- Natural History Museum
- Petco Park Tour
- Birch Aquarium
- Fleet Science Center
- Whaley House
- Beach Tour
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- Living Coast Discovery Center
- Gaslamp Museum
- San Diego Art Institute
- Coronado Museum of History and Art
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Hollywood behind the scenes
- Hollywood Museum
- Dolby Theatre Tour
Is the Go San Diego Pass Worth It?
There’s really no doubt that there are significant savings when you purchase the pass. The three pass options guarantee you a savings of at least 20% if you can commit to visiting at least 2 attractions. Unless you don’t want to save money, there are really no downsides to it.
The amount of benefits and good times that you can have with this pass in hand is boundless. If you don’t want as many attractions or you know that you won’t get around to everything, you can customize the pass to only cover the places that you for sure will have the opportunity to visit.
Additional San Diego Tips and Tricks
When you walk around San Diego there are a few things to really keep in mind:
- The best spots in town will be hidden by the locals, they usually point visitors in the direction of the more touristy spots. So do some research yourself on hot local spots if you really want to get in the scene.
- Hillcrest is the best spot to feel welcomed. It is an inclusive community with so many different people. It makes you take a step back to realize that everyone in the world has a story. I see it as the true heart of San Diego.
- DO NOT go to the chain places. There are so many small businesses and independent shops all over the place. They provide better products and services than the big chains.
- Just go for a walk. I encourage you to explore the veins of San Diego through the streets and the trolley lines to really soak it all in. There are hidden gems everywhere. But, do so safely and be prepared for absolutely anything.
- On Tuesdays, most museums are free entry for Military or California residents and students. Take advantage of that and check out all the rad museums.
San Diego is filled with color and uniqueness. There are hidden things everywhere and things that the locals like to keep to themselves. Don’t be afraid to explore. But also don’t be afraid to do the big touristy stuff. That’s why we have the San Diego City Pass. It’ll save you money so you can freely go on your next adventure.
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Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Maria Haase