San Diego, located on the southernmost coast of California, is a vibrant city known for its stunning beaches, mild climate, and diverse cultural scene. With its laid-back atmosphere and a unique blend of Mexican and American influences, San Diego offers a remarkable combination of urban excitement and relaxed coastal living. The city boasts a range of attractions, from the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park's cultural treasures to the historic Gaslamp Quarter's nightlife and the bustling waterfront of the Embarcadero. Its deep-rooted naval history is evident in the presence of military bases and the USS Midway Museum, while the thriving craft beer industry has earned San Diego the nickname "America's Craft Beer Capital." Whether you're enjoying the picturesque sunset views from Sunset Cliffs, exploring the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument, or simply savoring the flavors of fresh seafood, San Diego captivates both residents and visitors with its abundant charm and year-round outdoor adventures.
Here are some fun events to keep on your radar if you plan on visiting San Diego this fall.
Attractions & Events
The 12th Annual “Kids Free San Diego” is returning in October with special savings and fun for the entire family. During the entire month, San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours and transportation companies are offering families with kids 12 and under a variety of deals from complimentary attraction and museum admission to free meals as well as welcome amenities at area hotels.
The inaugural Del Mar Food & Wine Festival will take place September 6-11 at Surf Sports Park. The festival highlights the best of the Southern California lifestyle, with a lineup of celebrity Food Network chefs including Antonia Lofaso, Brian Malarkey, and Eric Greenspan; local chefs including Tara Monsod of Animae, Claudette Zepeda of VAGA, and Brad Wise of TRUST Restaurant Group; and sports legends including Drew Brees, Alex Morgan, and Rob Machado.
Vanguard Culture’s ENVZN23: Urban Art Takeover will transform industrial spaces, unused buildings, and public areas of Commercial Street in Logan Heights with immersive and interactive art experiences on September 2. Attendees can expect larger than life art displays, live performances in non-traditional venue spaces, and authentic cuisine from a variety of cultures.
CRSSD Fest will bring over 36 artists to San Diego’s Waterfront Park for a two-day electronic music festival, September 23 and 24. Performances by Flume, Underworld, Basement Jaxx, Amelie Lens and many others will set the stage for this popular event. In addition to the music, the festival will offer craft beer, mixed cocktails, food and more.
San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is back for its 19th year along the Embarcadero, November 8 - 12. The festival was recently recognized by USA Today 10 Best Guide as the #1 Wine Festival in the U.S. Sample the best tastes and sips from throughout San Diego including Ranch 45, Garibaldi and The Desmond and hear from culinary greats including Food Network Star Claudia Sandoval, San Diego native Sam the Cooking Guy, and more. Additional experiences range from wine, beer and spirit tastings, exhibits from local lifestyle brands and pop-up events throughout the festival.
The San Diego Zoo presents HalGLOWeen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October. A skeleton band, scarecrow stilt performers and spider acrobats are just a few of the festive features. Hints of Halloween can be found throughout the park and in the animal exhibits with pop-up dance parties, food and drink and more.
Sesame Place celebrates Halloween with not-so-scary fun at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular from September 16-October 29. Children are encouraged to dress in their costumes and stop at trick-or-treat spots throughout the park.
Seaworld San Diego kicks off the fall season with Howl-O-Scream from September 29-October 31. Once night falls, the park will transform into a carnival of haunted creatures, spooky sips and bites, and electric live entertainment.
LEGOLAND® California Resort is bringing back Brick-or-Treat during select weekends in September and October. The event will include trick-or-treating for goodies throughout the park, all-new live shows and character meet and greets. Legoland will also debut The Great Monster Chase, a 4D comedic adventure movie for a limited time.
Quartyard and East Village Association have partnered to produce the 7th annual East Village Oktoberfest celebration on September 30. The lively event will highlight the history of German influence on Mexican lager, music and food. Attendees can expect lots craft beer, traditional Oktoberfest faire including soft pretzels and Bavarian sausages, traditional Polka music and tribute bands.
Belmont Park presents its Fall Festival at the Boardwalk September 9 – October 31. There will be activities and treats for both kids and adults, with trick-or-treating throughout the boardwalk, live music, and fall flavored snacks and drinks. The park will also host its first community 5K on September 17 to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
The San Diego Convention Center welcomes Art San Diego November 3-5. The programming provides a dynamic experience for attendees, offering opportunities to view and interact with works by preeminent international artists, experience leading museums, and enjoy exhibitions that showcase the thriving art and design landscape of San Diego and beyond.
Photo courtesy of Del Mar Wine & Food Festival