Fall has arrived and we are ready to pull out our cute boots and cozy sweaters! It’s also the perfect time to craft a bucket list of fun activities and outings for all ages to enjoy. One of the best things about forming a family bucket list is experiencing new things and creating family memories…from the little everyday treats, like filling your cart with the best pumpkin spice goodies of the season, to bigger adventures like the Encinitas Holiday Street Fair. We’ve curated an amazing list of activities for you that will make this an extra-awesome autumn.
Make sure to tell us which one was your favorite event – Enjoy!
During the weekend of Sept. 22-24, 2023 enjoy a 3-day event jam-packed with world-class surfing competition that will blow your mind, and a festival village loaded with female-inspired vendors, activities and amazing entertainment.
Experience the mouth-watering flavors of autumn with San Diego Restaurant Week, returning for its 20th year from Sunday, September 24, 2023, through Sunday, October 1, 2023. With over 100 restaurants across 30+ neighborhoods, this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. From farm-to-table feasts to hearty comfort foods, the city’s top chefs are showcasing their autumn-inspired creations during San Diego Restaurant Week.
Sunsets over the Pacific Ocean are the perfect time to explore the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier. It is typically closed to the public, but during select Saturdays and Sundays from September 15th through Dec. 10th the Birch Aquarium naturalists offer guided walking tours along the pier. You will learn about the structure’s history and research conducted at Scripps Institution of Oceanography through this interactive experience. For ages 9+ and minors must be accompanied by a paid adult.
October 1 – 31, 2023. Why not take advantage of free admission for kids 12 and under at more than 50 of San Diego’s most favorite museums, historic sites, aquariums, gardens and more! Make your October a month to remember full of art, culture, science and endless learning experiences. Maximum 2 kids free per paid adult. For more information and coupon:
October 5 through 31, 2023 (except some Monday and Tuesday nights). The best San Diego Halloween adventure awaits you at the Scream Zone at the Del Mar “Scaregrounds!” Choose between the trifecta of terror with the Haunted Hayride, Labryinth Manor, and Stars of the Silver “Scream”. If you are a scaredy cat and want to skip the ghouls, zombies and monsters, then no worries – friends and family can enter The Midway compound at no charge and enjoy carnival games, food, drinks, photo opportunities and more!
Oct. 7, 2023 Pacific BeachFest has something for everyone including a fish taco contest, beach volleyball, craft beer, 5K run, kids activities and live music! This is one of the free San Diego events in October that you surely won’t want to miss.
Saturday, October 14th – Felecita Community Park – Escondido. Ready for a kooky and spooky good time!? Bring your seating and picnic items and enjoy The Addams Family 2 movie night in the park! A perfect opportunity to spend time with family and friends under the stars. You are allowed to bring your own blankets, low-backed chairs, food and drinks… All they ask is no glass containers.
Oct. 18-22, 2023 SDIFF offers world premieres, never before seen studio releases, the best in independent filmmaking and a full schedule of glamorous parties and intimate events with filmmakers.
Oct. 21st Join Encinitas’ very own dog-friendly festival at Puppy Picnic Co. and Pet Power Studio featuring dog beer, photo ops, a costume contest, and more! You and your furry friends won’t want to miss this.
November 3-12th experience San Diego Fleet Week, one of San Diego’s largest military events featuring military displays, high tech equipment in the Innovation Zone, active Navy & Coast Guard ship tours, live music, food and fun for the whole family… all while honoring and celebrating the men & women of our military.
November 8-12th enjoy some of the world’s best wine and culinary creations at the annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, where sailboats and sandy beaches serve as the backdrop for one of the country’s most talked about weeks in food. This is one of the biggest yearly festivals in San Diego, and visitors will enjoy cooking classes, tasting panels, celebrity chef dinners, and tons more. The festival was named the winner of 2019 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contests for Best General Food Festival.
Racing returns each fall to the seaside oval. As another first-class summer season closes, it’s all about fall tidings and the Bing Crosby Season. This nostalgic season will present superior racing Fridays – Sundays and Thanksgiving along with a lineup of engaging events during the four-week run. Friday, November 10 – December 3, 2022.
November 17 – 19, 22, 24 – 26, and 29 – 30; December 1 – 3, 6 – 10, 13 – 23, and 26 – 31, and January 1 from 5 to 10 PM at San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanic Gardens) in Encinitas. The magical Botanic Garden Lightscape is back for the second year following many sold out nights in 2022. Enjoy the spectacular garden light show featuring the international Lightscape exhibition. Delight in a one-mile evening walk through the lighted garden filled with one million twinkling lights, as well as “cathedral” of lights, a laser garden, lantern trees and more. This is a special ticketed event with entry times every 15 minutes. Reservations required.
November 17, 2023 to January 7, 2024 at The Del, Hotel del Coronado. Where the ice meets the surf, enjoy the iconic outdoor ice skating rink at The Del. Take a spin on the rink while overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoy all of the holiday tradition that the historic venue offers. Be sure to reserve your tickets up front to avoid the crowds.
November 19th – Children’s rides, two stages of live entertainment and food and drink refreshments provide an attractive setting for the public and a great boon to our vendors. Remember to bring your own bag(s) to collect all your street fair shopping.
Come “move your feet before you eat” this Thanksgiving at Oceanside’s 18th Annual Turkey Trot 5-mile or 5K run/walk. Register & join one of the fastest-growing holiday traditions. Be sure to bring the entire family, as there will be races for everyone. The event offers a costume contest, the largest teams competition, fabulous live entertainment on the course, and finisher medals for all participants. The event has raised over $470,000 for non-profits that serve O’side residents.
Mellano Farm Stand is fun for the whole family! You’ll find tractor rides, fresh flowers and produce, food trucks, live music…and even pigs! This farm truly brings the farm-to-table vibe with its wholesome events and activities. Be sure to follow their social media for all the up-to-date events and activities – there is always something fun going on at the farm!
You’re guaranteed a night of excitement when you go and check out San Diego’s premier American Hockey League (AHL) team, affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. With hockey season running from early October through early April, you can be sure to fit a game in your schedule.
Go camping! What a better way to soak in fall than by a crackling campfire with smores and a lighthearted Halloween story before snuggling into your sleeping bag? Check out some of San Diego’s favorite campsites for families:
Peep the fall foliage at the Japanese Friendship Gardens. Especially beautiful in autumn, it is one of the best places to see fall colors near downtown San Diego. The Japanese maple trees turn brilliant shades of red at this time of year, and you’ll see other trees and shrubs turning bright orange and yellow. Kids love the koi, too.
Enjoy the cool weather by going on a family bike ride. Feel the wind in your hair and relive some childhood memories while riding bikes along some of the most awesome family-friendly bike paths.
Brave a Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour. Ghosts tours via bus or walking if you are brave enough to make your reservation. Ride the coffin-on-wheels spooky style through San Diego to see the San Diego haunted houses, hotels, mansions, and graveyards. Reservations required.
A couple more ideas that are fun and fall-friendly: