San Diego has a lot to offer in May. With summer just around the corner, temperatures are pleasantly warm, but the city has not quite reached its high season for tourism. And of course, there are Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day events that will make this month extra special.
As a result, expect more reasonable prices and smaller crowds. In addition, the city is home to a variety of exciting events throughout the month of May to keep you entertained.
Below, we’ve created a guide to help you to plan your trip to San Diego in May. This will fill you in on what you can’t miss in this Southern California city during the month of May.
May Weather In San Diego
Looking at the weather in San Diego during the month of May, temperatures generally range from 63 – 77°F. An ideal time to explore the city without too much heat.
However, San Diego can suffer from ‘May Gray’, which is a descriptive term for the morning marine layer that leads to overcast skies and cooler temperatures. The good thing about May Gray in San Diego: The marine layer is usually most heavy over the coastal regions and burns off by mid-day. So plan in-land adventures in the mornings and activities along the coast in the afternoon and you’ll still get plenty of sunshine.
Despite this, San Diego Country receives very little rainfall in May, usually less than 9mm, which is a huge plus. Although, there have been many years when the city has seen no rain at all. Visitors can expect around 13.5 – 14 hours of daylight each day, with around 8 hours of sunshine daily.
Swimming in the sea is possible at this time, though the water is still a little chilly at an average of 63°F. Visiting San Diego beaches is possible but may not be as pleasant this month.
For more information on San Diego May weather, check out the carts below:
What Should You Wear In San Diego In May?
May in San Diego is the perfect time to break out your shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops particularly if you’re coming from a cold part of the world.
The weather is slowly heating up, so lightweight clothes are ideal for walking around the city during the day. Temperatures can drop in the evenings, so be sure to pack a sweater or hoodie to keep warm in the evening. Even though skies can frequently be cloudy this month, be sure to pack your sunscreen for protection.
Things To Do In San Diego In May
Fiesta Old Town Cinco De Mayo
When: May 5th-May 7th, 2023
Where: Old Town San Diego
Immerse yourself in fabulous Mexican culture during the vibrant annual Cinco De Mayo festival in San Diego. This free event is the ultimate fiesta and a perfect way to spend a weekend in San Diego Old Town, near downtown San Diego.
Experience live Latin bands, witness incredible dance performances, and learn about the Battle of Puebla, the festival which inspired this celebration.
Of course, there will be a wide selection of tantalizing tacos, burritos, and tostadas. Plan to wash everything down with a refreshing margarita.
Gator By The Bay – Zydeco, Blues, And Crawfish Festival
When: May 11th – 14th 2023
Where: Spanish Landing Park
San Diego’s take on the famous Mardi Gras festival, Gator by the Bay, is an action-packed four-day event filled with live entertainment, mouthwatering Cajun food, and family-friendly fun. This event is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in San Diego in May.
Enjoy a wide variety of blues, jazz, swing, and zydeco performances while sampling some incredible spicy gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, and po’boys. You can also learn how to create these dishes for yourself at one of the many cooking demonstrations.
Terrance Simien, Kid Ramos & The 44s, Alabama Mike and Tia Carroll are just some of the 100+ performers taking the stage this year. Gator by the Bay is sure to transport you to New Orleans for the weekend.
La Jolla Half Marathon & La Jolla Shores 5K
When: May 20th, 2023
Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds
For those looking to maintain their fitness while visiting San Diego in May, the La Jolla Half Marathon is a perfect way to excerpt yourself. All while experiencing the picture-perfect California coastline. The race kicks off at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, passing through the stunning Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and finishing up at the gorgeous La Jolla Cove.
This is an amazing and unique way to see some of the most beautiful spots San Diego has to offer. There’s also a 5K run taking place for those looking to enjoy the views with a much less strenuous workout.
It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque place to complete a San Diego half marathon.
Fiesta del Sol
When: May 20th – 21st, 2023
Where: Fletcher Cove Park, Solana Beach
Get your dancing shoes on and spend a weekend on Solana Beach listening to live music to kick-start the summer season. This event takes place every year in San Diego and showcases local performers, craftspeople, and food.
Experience a wide variety of music genres, from rock to reggae, and choose from an extensive selection of food vendors. Fiesta del Sol is an event all the family can enjoy, with relaxing beer gardens to kick back with a beverage. Plus an area catered to kids featuring rides, games, and face painting.
Best of all, this event is free to enter!
Memorial Day Weekend
When: 26th – 29th May, 2023
Where: Throughout San Diego Country
Memorial Day is a time to pay respect and honor the men and women who lost their lives serving the US military.
This is a wonderful time to visit San Diego; there are numerous events across the city to commemorate this important holiday. So many so, most consider this weekend to symbolize the beginning of the summer.
Some of the best events you can attend this weekend include:
- Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival – Town Center Parkway & Riverview
- Stampede Rodeo and Memorial Festival – Star Valley Park, Valley Center
- Veteran Museum – Balboa Park
The Vista Strawberry Festival
When: May 29th, 2023
Where: Downtown Vista
After paying your respects at a Memorial Day Ceremony, get your tickets for the Vista Strawberry Festival, a fun-filled family day out for all. With free admission, lots of live entertainment, races, food vendors and craft brewery stalls, and plenty of competitions where you can win amazing prizes, there’s no better way to finish up the Memorial Day Weekend.
The Vista Strawberry Festival will run from 8 am until 6 pm, so you’ll have time to check out one of the memorials in the morning and end the evening at the event.
If you’re interested in competing in either the 5k run or the children’s race, you must register online beforehand. Anyone over the age of 21+ will receive a free beer upon entry, a nice way to cool down after pushing yourself.
Have The Perfect Family Day Out At San Diego Zoo
When: All Month
Where: San Diego Zoo
Check out our Top Tips For Visiting The San Diego Zoo here
The San Diego Zoo is open year-round and is a must on many tourists’ bucket lists. Paying a visit to the zoo in the month of May can be a great way to witness some of the incredible animals while avoiding the high-season crowds.
With beautiful, natural habitats, San Diego Zoo gives children and adults a chance to encounter almost 4,000 animals, many of which are very rare or endangered. A day spent here will be an extraordinary chance to learn about these majestic animals. Plus, learn how the staff works to protect and conserve endangered species.
If you plan to visit San Diego in the first half of the month, be sure to check out the captivating Butterfly Jungle Safari.
With a huge selection of exciting and lively events throughout the month, May is a superb time to visit San Diego.
Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, there are sure to be a number of events to make your time here memorable and unique.
Combined with increasingly warm weather and little rainfall, May is an ideal time to see what San Diego has to offer!
Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Maria Haase