I'm a veteran's wife so every year I always go on a list hunt ahead of time to find free things for my special veteran on Veteran's Day. This will be the very first time we are here in California for Veteran's Day since my husband finished his last term in the military.

I've come to find that the major chains are usually very consistent with offering freebies for veterans and active military on Veteran's Day. Here is the list I've compiled for San Luis Obispo, California so far. I hope that this helps you and your veteran too. 

Veteran's Day is Mon., November 11, 2019. Please be ready to show proof of military service or veteran's status when requested by any of these companies for your freebies. *If there is a (To be confirmed) note next to the freebie listed below, it just means that I haven't seen the company's actual website publish their freebie announcement for 2019 but it is usually an ongoing annual offer that they do. 

  1. Free haircut at all Great Clips places for veterans on Veteran's Day. They do this every year and my husband has been able to taken advantage of it most of the time. If the veteran comes in that day and can't wait too long to get a haircut that very day, they will hand the veteran a free haircut card to use. 
  2. Free ticket to a veteran and 1 guest at Knott's Berry Farm from Nov. 3 - 21, and Dec. 2 - 19, 2019. Now that we are here on the Central Coast, we can drive a few hours south to Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County. This is so great that they give you a date range. Show your Military I.D card or DD214 at the Knott's Berry Farm main gate to redeem this offer. Additional discounted tickets may be purchased at the ticket booth. Restrictions apply.
  3. Free pancake breakfast to veterans and active duty at IHOP on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, 2019 at all participating IHOPs around the nation from 7AM - 7PM. 
  4. Free wings for veteran's on Veteran's Day at Buffalo Wild Wings. They usually don't post it on their website ahead of time but will publish a PR announcement or post on facebook a couple of days before about this freebie. (To be confirmed)
  5. Free meal to veterans and active military on Veteran's Day at Applebee's. They usually require you to show proof. Sometimes it's from a special list so do tell them upon order that you are a veteran or active military and they will let you know what's the freebie offer. 
  6. Free meal to veterans on Veteran's Day at California Pizza Kitchen. They usually don't have an announcement until early in November about their offerings but it is usually an ongoing annual offer from a selected menu (like pizza, salad or pasta, etc) for the veteran to pick from. (To be confirmed)
  7. Little Caesar's pizza will offer a free $5 hot and ready combo during the hours of 11AM - 2PM to any veteran or active military. Must mention offer and like the rest, be ready to show proof.
  8. Free meal to veterans at Olive Garden from a selected menu. They usually don't market this freebie until a few days or during the first week of November but from my experience, it is not always on the actual Veteran's Day but close to it. (To be confirmed.)
  9. All veterans and active duty get a free meal from Chili's from a selected menu on Veteran's Day. There's a list of 7 this year: https://www.chilis.com/restaurant-events/veterans-day.
  10. All veterans and active duty get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam at Denny's. From what I've seen, it is not always offered on Veteran's Day. Sometimes it's offered a day before or after depending on the year. For instance, last year in 2018, the offer was a day after Veteran's Day. They usually won't announce which date until a press release is out early in November. (To be confirmed)
  11. All veterans and spouses of veterans get a free tall coffee at Starbucks on Veteran's Day. To be honest, I've never taken advantage of this freebie on Veteran's Day as a veteran's spouse because the line is always so long! They always offer this freebie but don't announce it until the first part of November. (To be confirmed).
  12. All Veterans & Active Military get 25% off at Fish Tales & Bar and 50% off any boat or water toy rental in the store at Lopez Lake from Oct 1 - Nov 15, 2019. No limit on days or amounts of uses. Lopez Lake is located in Arroyo Grande, part of San Luis Obispo county. 
  13. Veteran's Day at the Vineyard: complimentary wine tastings at Riverbench Vineyard and Winery in Santa Maria. At Riverbench, past and present military service men and women receive complimentary wine tastings year round. For Veterans Day weekend, we're toasting to those who served. Visit either Riverbench tasting room anytime on Saturday (Nov 9), Sunday (Nov 10) or Monday (Nov 11) for a special library sparkling wine pour added to any tasting. Even though Santa Maria is part of Santa Barbara county but it is really close! Address of Riverbench Vineyard: 6020 Foxen Canyon Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93454
  14. Free entry for veterans and active military at Aquarium at the Pacific between Nov. 9 - 15, 2019. FREE for veterans, military personnel with service ID. Otherwise, general admission, free for Aquarium members. Aquarium of the Pacific is not in San Luis Obispo county and located in the LA area (3 hours drive south of SLO) Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. See pictures of Aquarium of the Pacific.
  15. Knott's Berry Farm is offering free entry to Active, Retired and Veteran U.S. Military Personnel themselves and one guest from November 3 - 21 and December 2 - 19, 2019. Must show proof by Military I.D. or DD214. Knott's Berry Farm is not in San Luis Obispo county but is about a 4 hour drive South from SLO. Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620. See pictures of Knott's Berry Farm.
  16. Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering free entry to veterans, active duty, retirees and reservists during Veteran's Day weekend (Nov. 9 - 11, 2019). Must present active military I.D. Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Veteran's Day Celebration around SLO

Nov 11, 2019 (Mon) - Veteran's Day Celebration at Pismo Beach Pier at 11AM. Address for GPS: 600 Cypress St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Nov 11, 2019 (Mon) - Veteran's Day Ceremony and Lunch at 11AM at Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial at Atascadero Lake Park. Ceremony with music and bbq by Kiwanis. Address for GPS: 9305 Pismo Ave, Atascadero, CA 93422

Nov 11, 2019 (Mon) - Veteran's Day Ceremony at 11AM at Vets Hall with guest speaker and barbeque after the service. Address: 1000 Main St., Cambria, CA 93428

Nov 11, 2019 (Mon) - Veteran's Day Program at from 11AM - 2PM at Los Osos Valley Mortuary and Memorial Park. Ceremony includes guest speaker Pete Pepper. Address: 2260 Los Osos Valley Rd., Los Osos, CA 93402

If you're a veteran in San Luis Obispo county, you can take advantage of a lot of cool events that the County of San Luis Obispo put together. They help you with benefits and services that you are eligible for too. You can visit the Veterans Service website that is run by the county and they also do an amazing job of posting upcoming events on their Veterans Services of San Luis Obispo county facebook page.

See other family-friendly events on the SanLuisObispoMom.com activities page.