San Diego’s countless charms draw visitors from all over the world, many of whom decide that the best way to enjoy all this beautiful city has to offer is by purchasing an attraction pass. Two popular options are available from Go City San Diego: the San Diego Explorer Pass and the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass. Which one is the right pass for you? It fully depends on what you want out of your San Diego attraction pass. Do you hope to maximize the number of attractions you see while in San Diego, or would you prefer schedule flexibility? Would you like to see the city’s most popular attractions, or are you most interested in high-end, water-based activities? Do you want a pass with no exclusions, or are you okay with a few exclusions if it means saving that extra bit more? Learning about the ins and outs of the attraction passes available in San Diego before you visit can help make your experience an unforgettable one.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the two passes available in the San Diego market today. You’ll read about the strengths and weaknesses of each pass, how the two passes differ from one another, and the ways in which you can use the passes to save money while visiting San Diego. At the very bottom of the page, you’ll find a pass-by-pass comparison with additional tips designed to help you make up your mind about which pass is perfect for you.
Available San Diego Attraction Passes
These are two different options for those travelers wanting to use an attraction pass during their visit to San Diego: the San Diego Explorer Pass and the Go San Diego All-Inclusive Pass. These two passes have a lot in common, but they also possess unique attributes. Determining which one of these passes will work best for you will come down to what you specifically want in an attraction pass.
San Diego Explorer Pass
The San Diego Explorer Pass is a flexible attraction pass granting you admission to your choice of 3, 4, 5, or 7 attractions from a list of over 40 different attractions. When you activate a San Diego Explorer Pass, you’ll have 60 days to use it, granting you a remarkable degree of flexibility in planning your adventure. As a digital product, the San Diego Explorer Pass is easy to use and makes getting into busy, popular attractions a breeze.
Explorer Pass Attractions
The San Diego Explorer Pass lets you choose what attractions you want to visit from a list of over 40 different attractions. Some of the most popular attractions accessible with your Explorer Pass include the Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass, jet ski rentals in San Diego Harbor, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, and your choice of either the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The San Diego Explorer pass also features a mixture of museums, guided tours, kayak rentals, hiking excursions, and more.
Explorer Pass Strengths
The San Diego Explorer Pass is a smart choice for those visitors who have flexible schedules. Once you activate your Explorer Pass, you have 60 full days to use it. As a result, you’ll never feel rushed—you can take your sweet time seeing the attractions you want to see at the pace you want to go.
The San Diego Explorer Pass is a digital pass, meaning that as soon as you click buy, you can download it straight to your smartphone. You’ll never need to worry about carrying paper tickets again—unless, of course, you prefer paper, in which case you can simply print out your Explorer Pass ahead of time and bring it with you on your trip.
Explorer Pass Savings
Many visitors to San Diego decide to get a San Diego Explorer Pass on account of how much money they can save when using it during their visit. There are many different ways to add up your potential Explorer Pass savings, and the exact number will depend largely on how you decide to use your attraction pass. However, to take just one example of a 5-attraction San Diego Explorer Pass: if you were to buy individual tickets for the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, San Diego Speed Boat Adventures, 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley by Old Town Trolley Tours, and a 90-minute kayak rental in La Jolla, you would spend almost $300. However, you could visit the exact same five attractions with a 5-attraction Explorer Pass and spend only $129. That’s a savings of nearly 60%.
The San Diego Explorer Pass can also save you time. Since you’ll have your pass in hand ahead of time, you won’t have to stand in line to buy a new ticket at each different attraction you visit. Instead, you’ll just stride right up to the gate and get your smartphone scanned.
Go San Diego All-Inclusive Pass
The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is an all-inclusive attraction pass that allows you to visit as many attractions as you want over your choice of 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days. During the duration of your pass, you’ll have access to over 55 unique, popular attractions. The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is also designed to work best with the Go City app, making it an attractive and convenient choice for those visitors who want to leave paper tickets behind.
Go San Diego Pass Attractions
The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass will get you in the door at San Diego’s most famous attractions, including such popular sites as the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Fleet Science Center with IMAX, and many more.
The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass also covers a number of guided tours, museums, shopping and dining experiences, and bike, surfboard, and kayak rentals.
Go San Diego Pass Strengths
The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is a smart option for those visitors who have a finite amount of time to spend in the city and wish to make the most of it. The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass includes over 55 different attractions, and you can visit as many of them as you want. All you do is pick how many days you want your pass to be valid for: 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7. Whichever pass you select, you’ll have that number of consecutive days to do as much as you can between the hours of 9:00am and 5:30pm.
The pass can be downloaded straight to your phone for easy access and use. It also comes with a free digital guidebook that contains attraction hours of operation, maps, travel tips, and more.
Go San Diego Pass Savings
How much money you save when you using a San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is up to you. That is, the more attractions you visit each day for the duration of your pass, the more money you’ll save. For example, take the 3-day San Diego All-Inclusive Pass, which runs at just under $200. To determine how much you can save with this specific pass, decide which attractions you want to visit, add up their standard admission prices, and subtract the cost of the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass. The figure you’re left with will be how much you’re saving with the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass.
The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass will also save you time. At busy attractions like the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego, you’ll be able to skip the general ticket line and stride straight to the gate to scan your pass for admission.
Which San Diego Tourist Pass is Right for Me?
You’ll find a fair amount of overlap between these 2 passes. Each pass grants you access to most of San Diego’s signature attractions. However, there are some important differences between the 2 passes, and these differences can help you decide which pass is right for you.
For instance, if you want to visit SeaWorld San Diego or LEGOLAND California with an attraction pass, then the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is the pass for you. Both SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California are only available via the All-Inclusive Pass so you won’t find them on the Explorer Pass.
If sheer number of overall attractions is your priority, then the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is also the pass for you. With the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass, you’ll have access to over 55 different attractions. With the San Diego Explorer Pass, that number is closer to 40 distinct options.
If you think you might want to visit both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, you’ll want to pick the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass. While the San Diego Explorer Pass also features these 2 attractions, there is a catch: you have to pick one or the other.
Your San Diego All-Inclusive Pass must be used on consecutive days between the hours of 9:00am to 5:30pm. That means, if you activate your 3-day pass on a Monday, you must use it on that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This is likely best for those visitors who know they only have a few days or long weekend to spend in San Diego.
On the other hand, if you’re only keen to visit a few, specific San Diego attractions, and time is not as much of a factor, you’re probably better off with the San Diego Explorer Pass. Your San Diego Explorer Pass will be good for 60 days beyond activation.
If you want to use your attraction pass on one of Old Town Trolley’s popular guided tours, then know that the 2-day Hop-On Hop-Off tour is only available with the San Diego Explorer Pass. Likewise, the San Diego Explorer Pass features a number of fun water-based activities that are unavailable with the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass. These include jet ski rentals, Seal Tours by Old Town Trolley, and a ride on the Flagship Patriot Jet Boat.
Several attractions that are part of the San Diego All-Inclusive Pass are actually located in or near Hollywood and Orange County. These include such popular attractions as Knott’s Berry Farm, the Catalina Flyer, and more. Whether or not you are interested in venturing farther afield from San Diego will determine whether or not this appeals to you.[wpdatatable id=1]