While there are no bad times to visit San Diego, September has got to be one of the best months in the city.
The glorious summer weather continues into September, but crowds have dispersed following the conclusion of school holidays. This means affordable prices are easier to come by than in other months.
In addition to fabulous Labor Day Weekend celebrations, San Diego plays host to a range of events and festivities in September. All of which will keep you occupied throughout your stay.
Take a look through our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about San Diego in September.
San Diego September Weather
September is the perfect time to experience the warm weather San Diego is famous for, without being so scorched, you can’t leave the hotel.
San Diego September temperatures hover around 66 – 77°F. These are ideal conditions for enjoying the outdoor activities available throughout the city.
Keep tabs on the weather forecast, as the famously powerful, dry Santa Ana winds can sometimes hit San Diego in September. These can easily interrupt your plans and cause considerable destruction.
During the month of September, San Diego receives less than 5mm of rainfall. It’s one of the driest months of the year, and many visitors can expect no rain during their stay.
There are about 12.5 hours of daylight in September, but that tends to decrease as the month progresses, and you can enjoy approximately 9 hours of sunshine each day.
This is the perfect time for a dip in the Pacific Ocean. The sea in September has an average temperature of around 68°C, making it the best time of year for swimmers.
Below are average temperatures and rainfall in San Diego over the year:
What Should You Wear In San Diego In September?
Summer attire is still very much appropriate, thanks to the gorgeous San Diego weather in September.
Be sure to pack all the usual summertime essentials, including shorts, t-shirts, lightweight trousers, flowy dresses, and flip-flops.
The sun tends to be quite strong this time of year, so be sure to invest in SPF, a sun hat, and protective sunglasses.
A light cardigan or jacket is worth bringing in case of an occasional chilly evening. Although there’s a good chance you won’t need it.
Also, remember to include your swimsuit if planning to lounge on the beach or take to the ocean.
Things To Do In San Diego In September
When: September 1st, 2023
Where: Embarcadero Marina Park South
What better way to celebrate the end of summer than at one of San Diego’s best-loved live music events?
Every year, the San Diego Symphony performs at the Bayside Summer Nights Concert Series and typically ends their final show with an electric version of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture.’
As the evening draws to a close, San Diego Bay is alight with fireworks above the city’s skyline.
Arrive early to soak up the sun and enjoy stunning views of the San Diego Harbor in the background.
If you’re in San Diego for Labor Day Weekend, this magnificent event is not to be missed.
SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival
When: August 18th – September 10th, 2023
Where: SeaWorld San Diego
When you think of SeaWorld, craft beer is probably not what springs to mind. However, the famous marine theme park presents its very own Craft Beer Festival every summer weekend until September 10th.
Entrance to the event is included with your tickets to the park, and visitors can pick from over 100 craft beers, ranging from lesser-known local offerings to domestic favorites.
Mouthwatering wines, seltzers, and cocktails will also be available if beer doesn’t tickle your fancy.
You can even order some food to pair with your drink of choice, with menus tailored to compliment the selection of beers.
Please note that tickets include entry to the event but do not cover the cost of food or drink.
Grape Day Festival
When: September 9th, 2023
Where: Grape Day Park, Escondido
Head up to North San Diego for the annual Grape Day Festival in Escondido.
One of the county’s oldest and best-loved events, the Grape Day Festival celebrates the city’s history as one of the finest places to grow sweet grapes, a source of pride for Escondido. The event has drawn crowds to the area for decades.
Today, the festival features live jazz and bluegrass music, plus arts and craft demonstrations. Guests can even jump on the grapes just as locals did in the past.
Additionally, this is a family-friendly event that will keep the kids entertained. The festival provides face-painting, old-school children’s games, and a petting zoo.
Plenty of food will be available on the day, from hearty BBQ and Mexican offerings, to sweet treats like ice cream and shaved ice.
Miramar Air Show
When: September 22nd – 24th, 2023
Where: Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar
One of the most unique and thrilling events taking place this September is the Miramar Air Show, one of the largest military air shows.
Here you can witness incredible aerobatic demonstrations, and get close to modern and vintage aircrafts. Visitors can even experience what it’s like to take flight in one of the many flight simulators.
Also set to feature is the Innovation & Tech Expo. This allows you to explore the ever-evolving technologies the U.S. Marine Corps uses and learn about the latest research and findings.
A free San Diego event, this is one of the most unique days out you can have in the city.
Spend An Afternoon At Balboa Park
A superb place to explore under the San Diego sunshine is the city’s much-loved Balboa Park.
Larger in size than New York’s Central Park, Balboa Park is full of exciting things to do and is one of the top spots to include in your San Diego itinerary.
Wander through the colorful Spanish Art Village Center, admire the beauty of the Japanese Friendship Garden, and explore the famous Botanical Building.
If you want to take a break from the warm weather, some of the finest museums in California call Balboa Park home. A few include the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, and The Museum of Us.
Balboa Park frequently hosts different events and exhibitions each month. Check out their website to explore the September schedule.
Where: Various Locations
Best Beaches In San Diego
In a city renowned for pristine coastline, it’s safe to assume most visitors plan to kick back at a San Diego beach during their stay.
From lively boardwalks to serene hideaways, San Diego is home to a huge array of spectacular beaches.
For a vibrant beachside atmosphere, head to Mission Beach or Ocean Beach. Both are part of bustling neighborhoods filled with chilled out bars and restaurants with a view.
Head to affluent Coronado Island to see the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Otherwise go a little further afield to quieter spots like Del Mar City Beach or Torrey Pines State Reserve, where fewer crowds tend to form and you can unwind in peace. `
If you’re up for an adventure, make your way down to hidden Black’s Beach, which is notoriously tricky to reach.
Try Your Hand At Surfing
Where: Various Locations
Best Surf Lessons In San Diego
It’s no secret that San Diegans, and Californians in general, love to surf.
For visitors new to the sport, surf lessons are available at many of the city’s top beaches. No matter your skill level, instructors can cater to most through private or group instruction.
La Jolla Shores is one of the best beaches in San Diego for beginners, as the waves are consistent, and the area is free from strong winds. Pacific Beach is another excellent learning spot, thanks to the gentle waves.
Experienced surfers should check out Oceanside and Windansea Beach, though all of San Diego’s surf spots will keep skilled surfers enthralled.
Enjoy A Fantastic Day Out At San Diego Zoo
Where: Balboa Park
If San Diego is most famous for its beaches, the zoo is undoubtedly in second place. San Diego Zoo has been attracting visitors for over 100 years and is currently home to over 4,000 animals and 700,000 plants.
Open every day of the week, the zoo allows guests to interact with some marvelous creatures, including koalas, polar bears, hippos, baboons, and so many more.
The zoo’s team of conservationists will also provide insight into how they care for and preserve these fascinating animals, some of which are nearing extinction without the intervention of organizations like San Diego Zoo.
If you purchase tickets online, you get access to a number of extras you won’t get if you buy tickets at the entrance.
Visitors in early September can witness the wonderful Nighttime Zoo, one of the popular seasonal events. Nighttime Zoo features live entertainment and once-off encounters with the zoo’s inhabitants.
September in San Diego is a perfect mix of summer sunshine and entertaining events, with the added plus of smaller crowds.
Every month brings with it different pros and cons, though it’s difficult to find any drawbacks to visiting the city in September. As usual, this is shaping up to be an awesome month in San Diego.
Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Maria Haase