Go San Diego Card

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Rating: 3.4/5 (46 votes cast)

San Diego is a great vacation city with a ton to offer adventuring families. From the rich and varied collection of museums of Balboa Park, to the kid-friendly theme parks of LEGOLAND and SeaWorld, there’s something to please every taste. And don’t forget about the miles of amazing beaches and plenty of outdoor activities in La Jolla! The Go San Diego Card from Smart Destinations lets you experience the best of what the region has to offer for one low price. It even includes excursions to Hollywood and Orange County theme parks for visitors who have a few more days to explore. So get out there, meet the amazing animals of the San Diego Zoo, kayak the waters of La Jolla Cove, and marvel at the exhibits in the Air & Space Museum!

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Top Included San Diego Attractions

San Diego Zoo
LEGOLAND
SeaWorld San Diego (on 3-, 5-, and 7-Day Cards)
USS Midway
Whale Watch Cruise
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Knott’s Berry Farm

See the complete list of attractions and tours in the sidebar.

How it Works

The Go San Diego Card is an all-inclusive attraction pass, featuring over 40 area attractions to choose from. It’s a digital pass (or physical card, depending on where you buy it) that provides admission to any of the participating attractions you want to visit during the active life of your card. Purchase the card for a number of consecutive days (1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days are the available options) and activate it when you visit your first attraction. No need to choose attractions in advance, although in the case of certain attractions like cruises and tours, you may want to or be required to make reservations.

What’s Good?

The greatest strength of the Go San Diego Card is the wide variety of available attractions. The family of included attractions encompasses almost everything a visitor would want to see in the Greater San Diego area, Carlsbad, Orange County, and even L.A. Even better, the range of available activities means there’s something to make everyone happy, from the culture lovers to the theme park fans.

The Go San Diego Card is so popular because it offers substantial savings to families who plan on filling their time with attraction visits. If you’re looking to do and see a lot on your vacation, this is the card for you!

Because each person has his or her own card, families can split up and visit different attractions based on their interests. This provides valuable flexibility in the event of bad weather or another change in plans.

The card also allows you to skip ticket lines at top attractions like the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the USS Midway, allowing you to save what can add up to be quite a bit of time, especially during the busy summer season.

As an extra benefit to cardholders, the Go San Diego Card even offers special discounts at shopping and dining venues, as well as at additional attractions like specialty tours and cruises. This allows you to save money on activities and attractions not included in the card itself, keeping your entire vacation on budget! Best bets include a free appetizer at Coyote Café (Old Town) one the most popular restaurants in the city, and a $10 savings at the Prado Restaurant in the heart of Balboa Park. Perfect to taking a break at while visiting some of the many included tourist attractions nearby.

The passes are also convenient and easy to use because of Smart Destinations’ exclusive digital delivery. Purchase the pass online and download it instantly to your smartphone or tablet. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a smartphone, you can opt to print out the passes instead!

Lastly, the comprehensive guidebook included with the cards is an invaluable resource and can help visitors make the most out of their Go San Diego Card and their vacations. It includes maps, directions, contact information, and even some basic information about local transportation options.

What Could Get Better?

While the Go San Diego Card covers the full cost of admission, it doesn’t cover extra expenses like parking, which is something you will need to take into consideration in the downtown area. Fortunately, Balboa Park has free (albeit limited) parking.

Some visitors are only able to be in town for one or two days, and would still like to see SeaWorld, but the 1- and 2-Day Go San Diego Cards don’t include SeaWorld as an available attraction. On the plus side, if you do make a point of purchasing a 3-Day card just to get SeaWorld, you can visit SeaWorld all three days of your card!

Get Your Money’s Worth

For the most part, you’ll get more value out of your Go San Diego Card if you visit more attractions. A good rule of thumb is to visit between 2-3 attractions per day to maximize your savings with the card. For example, cardholders who visit four attractions with the 2-Day Go San Diego Card can save up to 50%!

However, for longer duration cards, you’ll get the same value by visiting fewer attractions per day. For example, you only need to visit one or two attractions per day with a 7-Day Go San Diego Card to get your money’s worth.

You also maximize your savings by choosing pricier attractions. For example, visits to theme parks or the zoo often come with a higher gate price, so you’re getting more value if you opt for those over a historical house tour.

Insider Tips

The Go San Diego Card is good for a number of days after activation, and is activated by the first attraction you visit. To make the most of the life of your card, be sure to visit your first attraction at or around 9 am each day (when the card is available for use).

While the card is only usable until 5:30 pm each night, you can stay in the attractions as long as they are open after admission. So if you’ve found an attraction you want to see that’s open until 7 pm, for example, plan to get there a little before 5:30 to make the most of your card’s availability.

If you make a point of taking advantage of included extras – at shopping venues, for example – you can save a lot of money on souvenirs. However, you should be aware that some places will scan your card in order to process the discount, which will activate the card, so be sure to use the card for discounts on days you will be visiting attractions.

While LEGOLAND is an extremely popular attraction, it’s best suited for very young children. Fortunately, the Go San Diego Card also includes attractions that older kids will love, like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

Coupon Codes

Buy the Pass Now

Get  $10 off your Go Card/Explorer Pass order over $20!  via coupon code:  JanuarySavings  .

The fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online. Book now to use the coupon. It should have expired by now but i just tested it and it still works. Does not work on build-your-own passes.

Where to Buy It

The Go San Diego Card is available at many outlets. You can buy it at travel or resale sights like Expedia, Costco, Orbitz or Travelocity. You can also opt to buy it at certain physical retailers once you get to San Diego, but those locations can occasionally be tricky to find and they sometimes sell only certain denominations of card.

The best place to buy the card is on the Smart Destinations website. They offer the most reasonable pricing and frequently have promotions that give you discounts on purchases over a certain amount. They also have a great return policy, allowing you to return unused cards for up to a year after purchase.

Go San Diego Card, 3.4 out of 5 based on 46 ratings
  • Tatum Wong Yuen

    Can you use the go San Diego card with kids free October attractions mainly the zoos, sea world and Legoland?