Members of the US Armed Forces put their lives on the line to ensure Americans can enjoy their freedoms. Many institutions recognize the efforts and the sacrifices current and former service members make and offer incentives to them and their families. Those might include significant discounts on goods and services, but some even have free offers to take advantage of. 

Are Free Tickets for Military and Veterans in San Diego Actually Free?

Yes. Many places offer perks, such as admissions or a meal totally free of cost to those who have served or are active duty or reserves. 


Do I Have to Show Proof of Service to Get Free Tickets for Military and Veterans in San Diego?

Yes. Most places will require proof of service. For active military members, this could be as simple as showing your current ID. For veterans, this often means showing your DD214. If you plan to take advantage of free services or goods, make sure you have the appropriate identification when inquiring. 

Where Can I Get Free Tickets for Military and Veterans San Diego?

There are a number of places that offer free entry, such as parks and museums.

The Zoo

The San Diego Zoo offers complimentary one-day entry to members of the US Armed Forces with a valid ID. Their family members can visit as well --- with or without them --- and enjoy 10% off. They can also enjoy the Safari Park for no additional cost. There are no blackout dates, the free ticket is available year-round. 


Active-duty members can visit the San Diego Air & Space Museum, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, and USS Midway Museum for free any day of the year. Veterans are eligible for a discounted entry. The Veterans Museum, in particular, has an expansive collection of artwork and artifacts showcasing the US Armed Forces throughout history. 

It's worth looking into the city's Blue Star Museums program for a list of participating institutions. The San Diego Automotive Museum is one that often enrolls in the program, where visitors can see multiple forms of transportation throughout the years.


Those who want to visit SeaWorld can do so free of charge. The park also allows up to three dependents to visit with the active-duty, reservist, or National Guardsman for free as well. Visitors here can enjoy several rides and take in aquatic shows that put the trainer's talents front and center. 

Other Locations

For those who like to watch horses race, the Del Mar Racetrack offers free general admission to active-duty military members and their families. Every year, the city puts on the San Diego Bayfair races and festival, active-duty members and reservists get free admission. Spouses who accompany them receive half-off admission.

Through the Interagency Pass – Military Annual Pass, military members and their dependents can get free access to the Cabrillo National Monument, where the remains of coastal defenses still sit.  

Can Veterans Get Into Disney for Free?

Disneyland is just a short 1.5-hour drive from San Diego, which has led many veterans and servicemembers to wonder if they can get into the park for free. The answer is no, all active-duty, reservists, and retired military must pay to get in. However, they can enjoy discounts on 4-, 5-, and 6-day passes. 

Can Military and Veterans Eat for Free in San Diego?

Most establishments require active and retired service members to pay for their meals, though there are some places where they can enjoy a discount. On Veterans Day, however, they can enjoy a free meal at several locations in San Diego.

These eateries include Applebee's, Black Angus Steakhouse, California Fish Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Chili's, Claim Jumper, Red Lobster, and Outback Steakhouse. Several other restaurants in the area offer discounts. Just be sure you're aware of what you need to bring with you and what is offered for the holiday. 

Just a quick note: throughout the years, more venues, parks, and destinations have added military perks, including free tickets and meals, to thank those who serve with the US Armed Forces. Even if a place you're interested in doesn't offer a deal today, doesn't mean that will always be the case. Make sure you follow along on social media for specials and deals that might not always be known ahead of time. And of course, check back on our site regularly for the latest updates.