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The 15 Best Cheap Hotels in San Diego, California [2023]

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
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San Diego is the second-largest city in California and home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo and the 1,200-acre urban cultural center called Balboa Park. With a laid-back California vibe and a host of attractions like art galleries, museums, gardens, and great beaches to enjoy, it’s no wonder that millions of people choose to visit sunny San Diego every year.

With so much to see and do in the city, you won’t always want to blow your entire vacation budget on your accommodations, which is exactly why we’re going to clue you in on the best inexpensive hotels to book in San Diego!

The Best Cheap Hotels in San Diego

Americas Best Value Inn Loma Lodge – Extended Stay

Americas Best Value Inn Loma Lodge
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $79

Perfect for guests looking to visit San Diego for a couple of weeks or even longer, this hotel offers bright, clean, and spacious bedrooms with a homey feel. There is also a decently sized outdoor swimming pool and free parking.

Located in the quiet coastal community of Loma Portal, Americas Best Value Inn Loma Lodge is just a short drive from the picturesque Mission Bay and Old Town San Diego and is less than 10 minutes away from SeaWorld San Diego, Ocean Beach, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Bottom Line: Comfortable and convenient, Americas Best Value Inn Loma Lodge is a popular choice with guests looking to really spend time getting to know San Diego.

Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown

Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $79 or 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

This budget-friendly hotel offers air-conditioned bedrooms with private bedrooms, cable TV, work desks, and seating areas, and is just a 15-minute walk from the bars, restaurants, shopping, and attractions of the Gaslamp Quarter.

Continental breakfast along with tea and coffee is offered daily in the lobby area. For those looking for additional amenities, this hotel is also home to a business center with a fax and photocopy machine and a guest launderette that provides ironing and dry cleaning services.

Guests staying at the Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown will love the central location, and this hotel is popular with those looking to visit the famous San Diego Conference Center, which is less than a mile away.

Hot Tip: If you’re looking for things to do in San Diego, why not check out these tours: San Diego Harbour CruiseWhale and Dolphin Watching Cruises, or a La Jolla 2-Hour Kayak Tour.

Berkshire Motor Hotel

Berkshire Motor Hotel
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $95

Situated directly beside J.A. Cooley Museum, this intimate motel is located on El Cajon Boulevard close to the shops and cafes in the Hillcrest District, as well as North Park, Park Boulevard, and Adams Avenue.

Popular with guests visiting San Diego State University, bedrooms here are modern and well-appointed, featuring dark wood furniture and cable TV. The Berkshire Motor Hotel has tea and coffee facilities and a pleasant outdoor seating area for guests to enjoy.

With only 14 bedrooms to choose from, this motel has a friendly feel, and free private parking makes it a great base from which to explore the city and beyond.

Hot Tip: Are you traveling with the whole family? Check out our guide to visiting San Diego with kids.

Best Western Seven Seas

Best Western Seven Seas
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $89 or 24,000 Best Western Rewards points

Housed in a Mediterranean-style building in the Mission Valley area of the city, this hotel offers a good range of amenities for travelers looking to explore San Diego on a budget.

Being less than a 10-minute drive from the world-famous San Diego Zoo, guests will love taking a dip in the outdoor pool, relaxing in the 2 spa tubs, or playing table tennis on the sun deck. The Best Western Seven Seas also offers an on-site restaurant and a poolside bar.

Bedrooms are clean and spacious with well-appointed bathrooms and are the perfect place to rest your head after a busy day shopping at the nearby malls or heading into town to explore the Gaslamp Quarter.

Hot Tip: The San Diego Zoo has several live streams broadcasting throughout the day — including visits with its apes, elephants, koalas, and pandas — featured in our guide to virtual tours of popular tourist attractions around the world.

California Suites Hotel

California Suites Hotel
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $89

This suite-style hotel is located just over 8 miles from downtown San Diego and offers a Californian motel feel. Bedrooms are cozy and comfortable, while en-suite bathrooms are spacious and practical.

Guests staying at the California Suites Hotel can make themselves at home with the microwave, fridge, stovetop, and cable TV on offer in every bedroom, and the well-manicured gardens, swimming pool, and hot tub are also ready to be enjoyed.

With a 24-hour reception and on-site laundry facilities, guests will be within easy reach of SeaWorld San Diego, which is just over 5 miles away, or the San Diego Convention Center which is just a couple of miles further.

Hot Tip: Entertaining for over 50 years, SeaWorld San Diego has animal habitats, rides, shows, and experiences, including swimming with dolphins. Our guide to the top amusement parks in North America highlights how to make the most of your visit to this amazing park.

Days Inn by Wyndham Mission Valley Qualcomm Stadium/SDSU

Days Inn by Wyndham Mission Valley
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $72 or 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

This hotel is located close to San Diego State University and just a short drive from San Diego Zoo, Old Town, and SeaWorld San Diego. The Coronado Golf Course is also just a short drive away.

Bedrooms are cheerful and modern, and a free hot and cold breakfast buffet is available just off of the lobby. Guests staying at Days Inn Mission Valley Qualcomm Stadium/SDSU can also use the fitness room, outdoor swimming pool, sundeck, and hot tub.

There are eateries and shopping facilities close by, and guests can choose to upgrade to a room with a kitchenette if they are planning on making this their base for longer.

Motel 6 San Diego – Near Sea World

Motel 6 San Diego
Image Credit: Motel 6

Price per Night: From $74

This motel offers stylish, modern decor combined with the intimate feel of a smaller establishment. Located close to SeaWorld San Diego, and just a short drive away from some of the city’s most famous attractions including the San Diego Zoo and the Gaslamp Quarter, this is a great place to begin your California adventure.

Spacious bedrooms come complete with modern bathrooms, and this Motel 6 also offers cable TV in every room, including children’s channels. Complimentary coffee is available in the lobby, and there is paid-for parking available on-site.

From the hotel, guests can also pick up buses to take them to SeaWorld San Diego, Old Town, and Mission Bay.

Heritage Inn San Diego

Heritage Inn San Diego
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $73

Situated in an excellent location for access to a variety of exciting attractions including Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, USS Midway Museum, Valley View Casino Center, and the Old Town historic district, this is a budget hotel with a big heart.

Comfortable bedrooms have a homey feel and private bathrooms, and the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Guests at the Heritage Inn San Diego are also welcome to enjoy free coffee and pastries in the lobby, as well as free wireless internet access and on-site parking.

Howard Johnson by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle

Howard Johnson by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $100 or 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

Bright, funky bedrooms and free Wi-Fi come standard in this clean, modern hotel that benefits from an excellent central location.

Just 750 yards from the restaurants, cafes, museums, and attractions to be found in the historic Old Town, guests staying at the Howard Johnson San Diego Hotel Circle will not have to go far to experience an authentic taste of San Diego.

Bottom Line: With free parking also available on-site, guests will love the fact that world-class attractions including San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and Ocean Beach are all just a short drive away. To save even more money, check out our guide to finding cheap car rentals in San Diego.

Kings Inn

Kings Inn
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $97

This family-friendly hotel is situated in the Mission Valley district and is just a 15-minute drive from San Diego International Airport (SAN), making it a popular choice for new arrivals to the city.

To inject some fun into your vacation, this hotel features 1960s-style bedrooms with modern twists, including USB charging outlets and bright, contemporary bathrooms. Guests at the Kings Inn can enjoy a delicious daily breakfast at the Waffle Spot, or a lively meal at the on-site Mexican restaurant.

The many delights and attractions at Balboa Park are just 5 miles away, as is San Diego Zoo, while the Gaslamp District and down San Diego are just a few miles further.

Motel 6 San Diego – Hotel Circle – Mission Valley

Motel 6 San Diego
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $75

This pet-friendly hotel is less than a mile away from the popular Old Town district of the city, and as it is located in the Hotel Circle, there are lots of great cafes and restaurants to choose from close by.

Bedrooms here are modern and offer contemporary-style furnishings, and signature orange flourishes, while the lobby is home to tea and coffee-making facilities as well as a computer and printer.

From this excellent central location, guests staying at Motel 6 San Diego – Hotel Circle – Mission Valley can easily explore the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Convention Center, and SeaWorld San Diego. These are less than 5 miles away, or drive out a little further to pay a visit to the famous San Diego Zoo.

Hot Tip: Planning a road trip up or down the Pacific Coast Highway, one of our top road trips in the U.S.? Our guide takes you from San Francisco to San Diego, with suggested stops along the way.

Pleasant Inn

Pleasant Inn
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $90

Located just 7.5 miles away from the University of San Diego, this comfortable hotel offers cozy bedrooms that come complete with cable TV and refrigerators.

Guests are welcome to make use of the on-site gym or join their fellow guests to enjoy a daily continental breakfast in the dining room. There are also basic business facilities in reception.

Centrally located, the Pleasant Inn is popular with guests looking to explore some of the very best attractions the city has to offer, as the hotel’s just a 15-minute drive from San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, SeaWorld San Diego, UCSD, SDSU, and some beautiful California beaches.

Riverleaf Inn Mission Valley

Riverleaf Inn Mission Valley
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $68

Located in a picturesque neighborhood just a mile away from Old Town San Diego, this hotel offers cheerful and functional accommodation close to some of the city’s most famous fashion malls.

Shop until you drop before returning to your bright, clean, and comfortable bedroom with a private bathroom, or take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. There is also an on-site convenience store at the Riverleaf Inn Mission Valley that caters to all the essentials and communal spaces that are great for meeting fellow guests during your stay.

Guests are also welcome to help themselves to a brew from the coffee maker, while younger visitors can let off some steam in the children’s play area.

Rodeway Inn San Diego Near SDSU

Rodeway Inn San Diego Near SDSU
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $71 or 12,000 Choice Privileges points

This comfortable and homey hotel offers affordable accommodations just a short drive away from San Diego State University. Bedrooms are clean and cheerful and come complete with private bathrooms, cable TV, microwaves, and refrigerators.

Guests staying at the Rodeway Inn are welcome to enjoy the daily continental breakfast service and free coffee before heading out to explore San Diego. Mission Trails Regional Park is just a 10-minute drive away, and the attractions of downtown San Diego are easily accessible by car or public transport.

Super 8 by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle

Super 8 by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Image Credit: Booking.com

Price per Night: From $73 or 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

Conveniently located in downtown San Diego, this hotel offers clean and comfortable budget accommodations close to the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.

Fuss-free yet friendly, guests here are welcome to make use of the on-site fitness center, business center, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Bright and cheerful bedrooms with private bathrooms are the perfect place to rest your head after a busy day exploring the city, and the free SuperStart breakfast buffet will get you off to a good start every day.

Parking is available at the Super 8 San Diego Hotel Circle for a small fee, and the hotel is within walking distance of local shops and amenities.

Final Thoughts

From the major tourist attractions like San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park to the narrow streets of the historic Old Town, and the golden sands of the nearby beaches, San Diego offers an authentic California experience that everyone can enjoy.

You can find somewhere pretty cool to stay — no matter your budget — in this lively, cosmopolitan city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do any cheap hotels in San Diego have a pool?

There are a few cheap hotels in San Diego that have a pool and even a hot tub. Some of these include:

Where should I stay in San Diego?

You have many great options for accommodations in San Diego. The Gaslamp Quarter is popular with those looking for entertainment, Little Italy for café culture, Old Town for its proximity to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, and La Jolla or Mission Bay for the beaches. Hotel Circle is where you can find a lot of budget accommodations.

How much does a budget hotel cost in San Diego?

Budget hotels will cost in the region of $70 to $100 per night. Some properties will offer reduced rates for extended stays.

How many budget hotels are there in San Diego?

San Diego is a large city, so there are dozens of affordable places to stay. Take a look at our list above for the best options.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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