San Diego is not usually known for the typical fall experience with crisp temperatures, colorful fall foliage, and cozy days in front of the fireplace. Fall in San Diego is not that much different than 90% of the rest of the year: 75 F and sunny.
When I moved here from Germany many years ago, this was a fun change for the first few years, but now I really miss the 4 seasons. So every year, I go on a little quest to celebrate Fall in San Diego. Take a look at my favorite fall activities in San Diego and share your favorite ways to get into the fall spirit in the comments.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch for the ultimate fall feeling
Nothing puts me more in the fall spirit than visiting a pumpkin patch. This is one of the ultimate fall activities, whether you have a family, bring your dog, go on a date, or have fun with your friends. Pick out some pumpkins for carving, get lost in a corn maze, and relive your childhood memories when you hop on top of that hayride. Don’t forget to put on your cute boots and fall outfit, even if you sweat your butt off, because it is 80F outside. It is worth it 😉 Take a look at the best pumpkin patches in San Diego here>>
Drink the season at the Great Pumkin Beer Festival San Diego
October 2023 Exact Dates TBD
Location: Gaslamp Quarter
People either love or hate pumpkin beer, there rarely is an in-between. I like dry pumpkin beers that don’t taste like a pumpkin pie shoved into a bottle. If you want to find your favorite pumpkin beer, check out the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival San Diego at the end of October.
Right in the heart of the city, in our beloved Gaslamp Quarter, you can taste your way through 40+ pumpkin beers and find your favorite. This year’s motto is “Steampunkin”, so if you are in the mood to dress up, this can be your inspiration. If not, that is cool too! Listen to some fun music, try some fall-inspired dishes and enjoy!
Celebrate Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead and its equivalent festivities are an important celebration for Catholics around the world. It is an auspicious time to connect with loved ones that have passed on. Day of the Dead or Dia de Los Muertos is a big day in Mexico, Central and South America and celebrated by Latinos around the world. The cemeteries are decorated, dress up as sugar dolls and build altars to remember their loved ones. Old Town has the biggest Day of the Dead celebration in San Diego and it is definitely something worth witnessing.
Pick apples at an apple orchard
Anything apples are another way to celebrate fall in San Diego. Go out to Julian and eat some apple pie (read our guide on the best apple pie in Julian here) or go to one of the many apple orchards in East County to pick your own apples.
Most farms have other farm activities set up, including pumpkin patches, hayrides, apple pressing, and candied apple stations. Cool off afterward with a chilled apple cider and enjoy the Fall feeling in San Diego! Take a look here for the best places for apple picking in San Diego!
Go to La Mesa Octoberfest
Friday, September 29 – Sunday, October 1, 2023
Location: La Mesa Village
Yes, it is not Munich. But La Mesa Octoberfest is still a lot of fun. Hanging out with your friends, drinking a few beers, and dressing up in Lederhosn and Dirndl always brings me back to my home state of Bavaria.
The event is free, so you can spend more on beer and yummy sausage and schnitzel. Oh, and don’t forget to reserve an Uber to get back home safely.
Get spooked at a Haunted House
Fall is obviously also Halloween season and there are plenty of things to do on Halloween in San Diego! One of my favorite Halloween things to do is go to a haunted house. Walking through the themed set and having scare actors and actresses jump out and make me scream is my kind of fun. Check out our guide to the best haunted houses in San Diego here>>
Spiny Lobster Season
October also means the beginning of Spiny Lobster Season in San Diego. If you love seafood, this is a season to mark in your calendar. From October to March, you can get your fill of these tasty critters all over Southern California and Baja California.
Whether you go out and fish for yourself, grab some at the Fish Market, eat them at Mitch’s Seafood, or drive down to Puerto Nuevo for a tasty meal, make sure you get your fill of tasty lobster. The season will be over before you know it!
Go for a Fall Drive or Hike
Of course, the fall colors and fall foliage in San Diego won’t be as spectacular as on the East Coast or up north. I would not travel to San Diego to go leaf-peeping, but if you live here, you can still get a bit of the red, orange, and yellow glory of fall. Here are some of the best places to see some changing fall colors in San Diego.
- Japanese Friendship Garden Balboa Park
- Palomar Mountain
- Mount Laguna
- Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Yes, San Diego might not have the best climate to enjoy the traditional fall feeling, but even as a German, I find a number of ways to celebrate fall in San Diego.
Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Maria Haase