San Diego in January is great. The hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season is over, and prices are lower than at any other time of the year.
San Diego weather in January is not the best compared to the rest of the year, but still pleasant. However unpleasant weather is relative when it comes to San Diego. While San Diegans might complain, the majority of visitors are enjoying the “warm” temperatures that San Diego has to offer in the first month of the year. There is plenty of sunshine to go around here in Southern California!
There are also lots of fun things to do in San Diego in January, including New Year’s Day brunches, participating in the Polar Plunge (if you dare), joining the Martin Luther King Jr Parade, exploring Balboa Park, and it is by far the best time to go whale watching in San Diego.
Plus if you want to see snow in San Diego, this is your best bet to experience it up in the mountains surrounding San Diego.
San Diego Weather in January
Like I mentioned before, the weather in January in San Diego is not that great, but with an average high temperature of 66° F during the day, 50° F low during the night, and 6.7 average days of rain, “bad weather” is relative when it comes to San Diego.
The average day in San Diego still gets 7.7 hours of sunshine in January, despite it being the wettest month of the year. You can enjoy a total of 10.3 daylight hours, enough to explore the beautiful city.
Water temperatures in San Diego in January average 59.4° F, so it is too cold (for most people anyway) to go swimming.
Take a look at the average temperatures and rainfall for San Diego for the whole year:
Average Rainfall & Temperatures in San Diego
What Should You Wear in January in San Diego?
On most days, you should be fine with long pants and a thin sweater, and a (rain) jacket for the evenings.
While it is mostly sunny, plan to bring a rain jacket of some sort or plan for indoor activities for your itinerary in case it rains.
No matter the forecast, layers are well utilized this time of year.
Things to do in San Diego in January
Check out this list of events in San Diego in January. There’s a lot of fun stuff to do and cool January events that will start the new year off with a bang. Whether you’re visiting from out of town or are a local San Diegan, make sure to add some of these highlights to your calendar.
For a complete list of the best things to do in San Diego be sure to check out Best Things To Do In San Diego.
New Years Day Brunch
When: January 1, 2023
Brunch is always a good idea and what better to kick off the the new year than a brunch with friends? San Diegans love their brunch and we have endless options. Take a look here:
New Years Day Brunch Cruise: Both Hornblower and Flagship offer New Years Day Brunch Cruises and they are a fun way to start the new year in style.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, check out our recommendations for the best brunch spots in San Diego and the best brunch in La Jolla.
La Jolla Polar Bear Plunge
When: January 1, 2023 10 AM – 11 AM
Where: La Jolla Shores, Kellogg Park
If you want to start the new year with something crazy, you could join the La Jolla Polar Bear Plunge. Join several hundred people who brave the cold water and jump into the Pacific Ocean at La Jolla Shores. What a way to sober up.
San Diego Resolution Run
When: January, 14th 2023
Where: Tecolote Shores, Mission Bay Park
A perfect way to strengthen your New Years resolution. Join the 5k, 10k, or Half Marathon and enjoy this beautiful running route along the San Diego Waterfront.
San Diego Marathons In January
Looking for more races to kick off the new year? Check out the Carlsbad Marathon, San Diego 50 Ultra & Trail Marathon, or the Kids Marathon Mile at Legoland!
For a full list of marathons check out this Complete List of San Diego Marathons.
San Diego Brew Fest
When: January 7, 2023
Where: Liberty Station NTC Park
The much-loved San Diego Brew Fest features over 70 breweries and 100 beers. Plus yummy food trucks, games and live music!
SoundON Festival of Modern Music
When: January 5-7, 2023
Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
The San Diego SoundON festival features up-and-coming local composers and masters of Modern Music side by side.
Poway Winter Festival
When: January 13-14, 2023
Where: Poway Community Park
Where you can build a snowman, sled, ice skate, even make s’mores around the fire in San Diego? The Poway Winter Festival! This family-friendly event is hugely popular each January in San Diego.
Martin Luther King Jr Parade
When: January 15, 2023
Where: San Diego Waterfront, Harbor Drive
This annual event honors Martin Luther King Jr with a beautiful parade along the San Diego Waterfront. The parade is organized by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity of which Martin Luther King was also a member.
January is one of the best times to go whale watching in San Diego and it is peak season for gray whales to pass by on their way to Mexico.
Read our guide on the best whale watching tours here>>
Restaurant Week San Diego
Where: 180+ restaurants in San Diego
After years of shutdowns and restaurant closures, this is a great way to support your favorite local eateries and try out some fun new places.
Farmers Insurance Open
When: January 25-38, 2021
Where: Torrey Pines Golf Course
This is a professional golf tournament played by the PGA Tour on the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla. Whether or not you like golf this event is always well enjoyed by spectators.
San Diego International Auto Show
When: December 30, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Where: San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego International Auto Show features over 400 cars, including new releases and electric cars, plus test drives! This is the perfect place to shop and compare cars or just admire exotics and classics.
WSL Junior Championships
When: January 9-15, 2023
Where: Seaside Reef
The WSL Junior Championships is one of the top junior surf events in the world. It’s where 24 young men and 24 young women compete for wildcards directly to the Challenger Series events.
San Diego Monster Jam
When: January 7-8 & 14-15, 2023
Where: Snapdragon Stadium
Monster Jam is a thrilling event perfect for a family outing! At this event Monster Truck drivers and Motocross riders show off their tricks and skills, plus participate in racing competitions.
Monster Energy Supercross
When: January 21, 2023
Where: Snapdragon Stadium
If you’re a big fan of motocross racing you won’t want to miss the Monster Energy Supercross event this January in San Diego. This dirt bike racing championship is a thrilling event featuring all the sport’s stars.
San Diego Lunar New Year Festival
When: January 20-22, 2023
Where: Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park
One of the best ways to start off the New Year is by attending the San Diego Lunar New Year Festival. The popular event hosts fun competitions (pho eating contest, anyone?) and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience
When: January 27 – March 26, 2023
Where: Wyland Center at Del Mar Fairground
National Geographic brings an immersive King Tut experience to San Diego this winter. The exciting exhibit unravels the mystery behind this 3,300 year old story and dives into one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.
When: January 27 – 29, 2023
Where: Mira Mesa Community Park
The San Diego Tết Festival is a three day celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. The event sees live entertainment and performances, carnival rides, and delicious food vendors, among many other exciting attractions.
This is a great January festival the whole family can enjoy!
Is January A Good Time To Visit San Diego?
While January is one of the “worst” months in San Diego in terms of weather it’s still much better than January averages around the United States. With mild weather, lots of events, and ample attractions visiting San Diego in January can be a great choice!
As you can see there’s lots of great things to do in San Diego in January! Which event will you attend this year?
San Diego California in January was written by Maria Haase for San Diego Explorer.
San Diego in January: Weather, Events & Things to Do – Pin for Later
Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Maria Haase
Beautiful San Diego, California. I gotta leave Houston,Texas and go to San Diego California after this remarkable informative report. San Diego here i come.