As California’s second-largest city and home to the iconic San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, it’s normal if your expectation of San Diego is high. Don’t worry, though, as you won’t regret visiting this city. With a laid-back California vibe, this city can be enjoyed by all types of travelers. Whether you’re here for business or a short getaway, we’re sure you’ll enjoy everything the city offers. With that being said, looking for the best budget hotels in San Diego can be a daunting task, as there are dozens of options available. Thankfully, staying at a cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, doesn’t always mean you have to sacrifice something. The hotels on this list have awesome amenities, a convenient location, and, most importantly, affordable rates. You’ll always get your money’s worth! So, here are our picks!
Table of contents
- California Suites Hotel
- The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
- Old Town Inn
- Kings Inn
- The Pearl Hotel
- Best Western PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina
- Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy
- Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside
- Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
- The Dana on Mission Bay
- Bay Club Hotel and Marina
- Top Affordable Bars in San Diego CA
- Top Affordable Restaurants in San Diego CA
- Free Things To Do in San Diego CA
California Suites Hotel
Let’s start this list with the California Suites Hotel, one of the best budget hotels in San Diego, California. Though affordable, the accommodation options here are incredibly comfy. Each of the air-conditioned rooms features everything you need, including a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, microwave, stovetop, and more. While the bathroom is on the smaller side, we love how clean it is. Plus, there are free toiletries as well.
Since downtown is eight miles away, we understand if some people are too lazy to venture out. Thankfully, this hotel has many amenities to keep you busy. Guests can relax in the garden, dip in the outdoor swimming pool, or unwind in the hot tub. If you’re here for a while, feel free to take advantage of the on-site laundry activities. Other notable amenities include free parking and a 24-hour reception!
The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
Have a memorable San Diego trip by staying at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows! This lively, fun hotel in the bustling North Park boasts refreshing, modern rooms with luxury linens, a flat-screen TV, a coffee maker, and free Wi-Fi. No matter what you need, you can find it all! If you have an extra budget, you can book the suite! It has an extra bunk bed, mini-fridge, and microwave. On top of that, bi-level bungalows are also available on the property.
It has many amazing amenities to make sure your days at this hotel are never boring. There’s a funky restaurant and bar which promises to keep your tummy happy. But our favorite is the on-site steakhouse! On top of that, there’s complimentary coffee in the lobby, which is a huge plus for caffeine addicts! There’s also a fitness center and an Olympic-size pool with lounge chairs for sports enthusiasts.
Old Town Inn
Despite its unusual location close to the freeway, the Old Town Inn is surprisingly a nice cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, that’s worth checking out. From this hotel, the sights in Old Town San Diego are only a 10-minute walk away. There, you can find plenty of popular places for margaritas. On top of that, this also means you’ll be only a 10-minute drive away from the airport, Belmont Park, and SeaWorld, making it a nice cheap hotel in San Diego near SeaWorld.
Of course, as one of the best budget hotels in San Diego, this hotel offers plenty of freebies. They include a continental breakfast every morning, free parking, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Guests who want to keep their bodies fit can also splash in the outdoor swimming pool. If you’re with your kids, you can let them have fun in the arcade room. Lastly, the rooms and suites at this cheap hotel in San Diego near SeaWorld are fitted with a flat-screen TV, DVD player, coffee machine, and other must-have amenities.
Staying at a cheap hotel in San Diego, California, doesn’t always mean you’ll have much to sacrifice. Kings Inn is the perfect example. As one of the best budget hotels in San Diego, it allows you to have a nice vacation without making a hole in your wallet. Here, you can sleep in one of the clean and roomy guestrooms equipped with standard amenities. When it comes to freebies, you’ll have free parking, high-speed Wi-Fi, and free access to the kidney-shaped swimming pool. Laundry services are also available for those staying for a while.
During your stay, you can rest assured that you won’t go hungry! That’s because two on-site restaurants are ready to fill your tummy! The Waffle Spot is known for its waffles. Aside from that, there are also steaks and other comfort food. Meanwhile, the Amigo Spot offers scrumptious Mexican dishes that’ll leave you wanting more. When it’s time to venture out, you don’t have to spend a long time on the road. Places like Fashion Valley Mall, Old Town, Balboa Park, and downtown are all 15 minutes or less by car!
The Pearl Hotel
The Pearl Hotel is another cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, that’s worth a spot on this list. Why? That’s because it’s not like a budget hotel at all! It offers you a superb pool experience, and we think it’s one of the best in the city. Swimming in a pool is cool, but did you know what’s cooler? You can watch free movies while you’re chilling in the pool with a glass of wine in your hand! Yep, this hotel allows you to enjoy free movies at its poolside theater! Aside from that, you can also have a poolside party. Sounds fun, right?
Recently renovated, each modern and comfy room on the property is bright and equipped with eco-friendly furniture. All of the charming rooms come with a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, ironing facilities, and other standard in-room amenities. Even the Standard King Room, also known as the Jewel King Room, is spacious! This hotel is located in Point Loma, which isn’t too far from the airport. It’s also about a 15-minute drive from some of the top things to do in San Diego‘s downtown.
Best Western PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina
Offering a private marina and stunning views of the bay, how can you not fall in love with Best Western PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina? In addition to that, we also have to applaud the hotel’s convenient location. Only a 13-minute walk from the beach, this is a nice option for those looking for a cheap hotel in San Diego near beach. Apart from that, downtown and the airport are only a short drive away from the property. If you don’t have a car and want to explore the neighborhood, you can take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary bike rental!
That’s not all! As one of the best budget hotels in San Diego, this property has not one but two bay-side swimming pools! You can also relax in the outdoor hot tub after a day of exploring the scenic neighborhood. Plus, there’s also a modern fitness center for gym rats. Another thing worth mentioning is the on-site Blue Wave Bar & Grill, which serves fresh seafood, juicy steaks, and more. Finally, the guestrooms at this hotel are nothing less impressive. They’re airy and equipped with everything you’d expect from the best cheap hotel in San Diego, CA. Think of a refrigerator, a coffee machine, ironing facilities, and free Wi-Fi.
Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy
As the name implies, this cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, is nestled in the Little Italy neighborhood. Though named one of the best budget hotels in San Diego, Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy still manages to offer top-notch amenities as if it’s a first-class, luxurious hotel! Among them are rooftop yoga classes, a state-of-the-art fitness center, spa treatments, and a tiny outdoor pool that allows you to take a relaxing dip and enjoy your favorite drink simultaneously. Aside from that, this is also one of San Diego’s best pet-friendly hotels, welcoming dogs up to 40 lbs!
Moreover, most of the guestrooms at this modern hotel offer mesmerizing harbor views, which is a huge plus. Additionally, there’s free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, a work desk, and a safety deposit box. Down for a drink? The on-site Glass Door Restaurant & Bar is the place to be, offering specialty drinks and a daily happy hour. Even better, this cheap hotel in San Diego, California, is within walking distance of some of downtown’s major hotspots. Oh, there’s also a complimentary airport shuttle for those who hate ordering Uber.
Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside
Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside is an ideal cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, for those having an extended stay. As the name suggests, this property is an all-suite hotel, meaning every accommodation on-site is far from small. Each modern suite has a fully-equipped kitchen, work desk, and an airy living area. If you don’t like cooking and want to be treated like royalty, feel free to opt for the room service! Apart from that, some of the city’s best restaurants are within easy walking distance.
Only a mile from downtown, you can rest assured that there’s plenty to see and do in the area. The Maritime Museum of San Diego and USS Midway Museum are a must-visit for museum-goers, as they’re both less than two miles away from the hotel. Apart from that, the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park are also in the vicinity. After a long day exploring the city, head back to the hotel and take a refreshing dip in the outdoor swimming pool. If you still have so much energy left, why don’t you sweat it in the fitness center?
Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
Though there’s nothing too fancy at Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown, it does an excellent job at making sure all of its amenities are enough to give you an enjoyable stay. At this cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, you can sleep in one of the air-conditioned rooms without worrying about outside noise. Each room has a flat-screen TV, seating area, work desk, and other standard amenities. Of course, there’s also free Wi-Fi to help you stay connected. Speaking of free stuff, the hotel also provides a complimentary daily breakfast. On top of that, free coffee and tea can be found in the lobby.
We also think this is one of the best budget hotels in San Diego for business travelers. That’s because there’s a spacious business center with a fax and photocopy machine. If you’re here for a long time, a guest laundrette provides amazing dry cleaning services. Additionally, we love its central location! Set in downtown, this San Diego hotel is only a 15-minute walk away from some of the neighborhood’s best bars, eateries, shops, and attractions.
The Dana on Mission Bay
Those in San Diego with their loved ones should consider staying at The Dana on Mission Bay, one of the best budget hotels in San Diego for families. Every room at this cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, is spacious, but we highly recommend booking the Deluxe Family Room! It’s equipped with everything you need, like air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a microwave, a mini-fridge, a coffee machine, and complimentary toiletries and bathrobes. On top of that, there’s a private balcony, the perfect spot to enjoy your morning coffee while admiring the surrounding view. No wonder it’s one of the best family hotels in San Diego!
Thanks to its location, this hotel is also named the best cheap hotel in San Diego near SeaWorld. The iconic attraction is only a short walk away. Are you searching for a cheap hotel in San Diego near beach? This hotel is also only a mile away from San Diego’s Mission Beach. If you want to skip all the hassles, the friendly staff can also make arrangements for tours, attraction tickets, and more. Better yet, bike and car hire are also available! But you don’t always have to venture out to have a good day. Two outdoor swimming pools are waiting for you, and so is the state-of-the-art fitness center.
Bay Club Hotel and Marina
Snugly nestled in the Shelter Island neighborhood, the Bay Club Hotel and Marina is a cheap hotel in San Diego, CA, that promises nothing but an enjoyable stay without sacrificing your money. Only five miles away from SeaWorld, this is also seen by many as the best cheap hotel in San Diego near SeaWorld. Apart from that, places like the Cabrillo National Monument and Maritime Museum of San Diego are also within easy reach. Are you looking for a cheap hotel in San Diego near beach? Perfect, as Sunset Cliffs Beach and Coronado Beach are also nearby. Not to mention, the San Diego International Airport is only a short drive away, minimizing the chance of you missing your flight! In addition to a convenient location, this cheap hotel in San Diego, California, also offers plenty of on-site amenities that will excite you.
Guestrooms at this cheap hotel in San Diego near SeaWorld are fitted with standard amenities. Expect things like free Wi-Fi, a 42″ flat-screen TV with premium channels, a seating area, a small fridge, a single brew coffee machine, and more! In addition to that, most rooms also boast stunning waterfront views! When it’s time to feast, visit the Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar. It features fine dining cuisine and breathtaking views of San Diego Bay. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool! It’s open all year long and welcomes travelers of all ages. If swimming isn’t your thing, work up a sweat in the fitness center instead!
Top Affordable Bars in San Diego CA
- El Dorado Cocktail Lounge – One of the city’s cheapest bars, this place offers a wide collection of cheap drinks. From its specialties and classics to old favorites, all cocktails cost you only 9 USD.
- Cat Eye Club – During your free time, don’t forget to stop by this swanky lounge! Many drinks here are only 6 USD on Thursdays, which is extremely cheap. Most cocktails on the regular menu are available at around 10 USD.
- Starlite – This popular hotspot is another must-visit place for affordable drinks. Its well-known Kentucky Colonels are only 8 USD every Wednesday. You can also have 2 USD off specialty cocktails during happy hours, which runs daily from 4 PM to 7 PM.
Top Affordable Restaurants in San Diego CA
- Sipz Clairemont – Here, you can enjoy vegetarian and vegan Asian-inspired dishes without breaking your wallet. Our favorite is the Pad Thai!
- Hinotez – If you’re after Japanese food, this is the place to be. You can order classic Japanese dishes like ramen, udon, yakitori, and more. It’s open every single day for dinner and late-night dining.
- Homestyle Hawaiian Restaurant – By spending less than 10 USD, you can have plate lunches with a side of steamed rice and macaroni salad! We recommend ordering the Kalua pig and lava chicken!
Free Things To Do in San Diego CA
- San Diego Beaches – The beaches in San Diego are all free to the public! You can swim, surf, and do whatever you want with your friends or families without spending a dime.
- Embarcadero – For hours of free entertainment, visit Embarcadero! Here, you’ll have a laid-back day of hanging out in the spacious grassy area and watching yachts and shops pass on the beautiful San Diego Bay.
- Spreckels Organ Pavilion – Want to enjoy free organ concerts? Visit Spreckels Organ Pavilion every Sunday at 2 PM! It features one of the world’s biggest outdoor pipe organs in a fully outdoor venue.