friends on beach with american flag

Guide to Memorial Day Weekend in San Diego

As Memorial Day approaches, San Diego is gearing up for a weekend of sun, surf, and endless fun! From lively beach parties to thrilling outdoor adventures, our coastal paradise has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a local looking for exciting ways to celebrate or a visitor eager to dive into the city’s vibrant atmosphere, this guide is your ticket to an unforgettable Memorial Day weekend in San Diego. Join us as we uncover the hottest events, coolest attractions, and hidden gems that will make your holiday one for the books. Get ready to soak up the SoCal sunshine, make memories, and kick off the unofficial start of summer in America’s Finest City!



Although Memorial Day weekend is a great time to enjoy a picnic or family outing, it’s important to remember that it’s also an occasion to honor and remember those who have served in the military and given their lives for their country. Since San Diego has a deep and longstanding history with the armed services, there are several ceremonies throughout the city to commemorate the day. The USS Midway MuseumVeterans Museum at Balboa Park and Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial are all great locations to attend such events. And calling all Military personnel: check out our guide below to see what’s discounted, or even free for military members and their families this Memorial Day weekend!


San Diego is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to soak up some sun and surf along our more than 70 miles of coastline. Some of the most popular beaches in the city include nearby Ocean BeachLa Jolla Cove, and Mission Beach. These oceanfront spots offer plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and picnics. Looking for a quieter beach experience? Head to the North County beaches such as Carlsbad Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach. No matter where you go, just be sure to pack sunscreen and an umbrella and arrive early to stake out a spot — the beaches are packed this holiday weekend!


Soak up history and sunshine in Old Town San Diego, just down the road from our hotel! Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and vibrant culture of Old Town San Diego this Memorial Day weekend. Explore its well-preserved historic landmarks, indulge in delicious Mexican cuisine, and discover the artistry of traditional crafts. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience lively cultural events and browse unique souvenirs at the bustling marketplace. With beautiful parks and outdoor trails nearby, Old Town offers the perfect blend of history, recreation, and culinary delights for a memorable holiday getaway.


After a day spent soaking up sunshine at the San Diego amusement park, prepare to be dazzled by a nightly fireworks display, honoring our heroes with a spectacular salute just 10 minutes before the park closes. Through their Waves of Honor program, military personnel and up to three direct dependents may enjoy one complimentary admission to SeaWorld San Diego. Don’t miss this unforgettable weekend of remembrance and celebration at SeaWorld – make your plans now to be part of the experience!


Veterans Museum at Balboa Park (4.2 miles)

In honor of those who served, Balboa’s Veterans Museum houses both permanent and traveling exhibits that aid us all in remembering the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. The museum itself also serves as an exhibit, having chosen the former home of San Diego Naval Hospital’s chapel as its home. The Veterans Museum offers free admission to active-duty service personnel and their families (with valid military ID).

2115 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 

San Diego Padres Military Appreciation at Petco Park (4.5 miles)

The Padres have deep roots in San Diego, so the team has always honored the sacrifices of their friends and neighbors who serve. Every Sunday home game (as well as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) for the entire duration of the season is designated as a Military Appreciation event. During these special games, active duty service members, veterans, and their families receive a 25% discount off tickets and 10% off regular tickets. In addition, The team commemorates service personnel with a special fourth inning stretch featuring a performance of the Marine Hymn by the team’s organist, and the players wear military-style camo uniforms. Even the whistle that plays after every Padres home run is a recording of the ship’s whistle from the USS Ronald Reagan Nimitz-class aircraft carrier! 

100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Zoo (4.8 miles) and Safari Park (29 miles) 

Every day of the year, the world-famous San Diego Zoo offers complimentary one-day passes to members of the U.S. Armed Forces presenting valid ID. Spouses and children visiting with or without their family’s service member may also enjoy 10% off Zoo and Safari Park passes. Military veterans and retirees may also contact their local base’s ticket office to inquire about additional discounts. 

San Diego Zoo: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Zoo Safari Park: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027

USS Midway Museum (5.4 miles)

famous kissing statue in front of uss midway

The decommissioned aircraft carrier the USS Midway may have seen the last of her battles, but the impressive craft has wowed thousands as one of San Diego’s top museums. Active-duty military personnel and reservists are welcome to complimentary admission to the USS Midway Museum year round with valid ID. Veterans also enjoy highly discounted tickets. It’s a must-see for anyone with an interest in Naval history. The USS Midway Museum’s “Legacy Week” is known as the heart and soul of all Memorial Day celebrations here in San Diego. This occasion also features a live stream of all events, including their annual blood drive, Remembrance Wall, and other ceremonies honoring our country’s service personnel.

910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Birch Aquarium (11.1 miles)

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a must-stop for anyone with an interest in marine biology. This public education center offered by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography features interactive displays, a tide-pool exhibit, and 60-plus habitats housing a variety of fascinating and colorful sea life. They also offer discounted admission for any service personnel with a valid military ID. 

2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Your Memorial Day Weekend Getaway Awaits

Planning a Memorial Day weekend getaway to San Diego? Look no further than Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle for the perfect stay! Centrally located with a host of amenities for the whole family, we offer competitive rates that ensure a comfortable and affordable experience. Plus, our Military Appreciation Rate extends discounted rates to active and retired military personnel year-round, making your stay even more rewarding. Come and enjoy our hospitality as we make your long weekend stay one to remember!