14 Things To Do In San Diego This Winter


When you want to escape cold winter temperatures, you should plan a trip to San Diego. Winter weather in San Diego averages highs in the upper 60s with plenty of sunshine during the day. The evenings can get cooler and overnight lows average in the high 40s and low 50s. 

Best of all, you can find plenty of exciting things to do in San Diego to make your vacation memorable. Our list of things to do in San Diego during the winter is also perfect for locals looking for something new to try or to entertain your out-of-town friends and family.

1. Whale Watching

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From mid-December to March, you can see gray whales from the shoreline as they migrate from Alaska to warmer waters off the coast of Mexico. In addition, several tour companies offer whale watching tours when you want to get up close to these amazing animals. 

2. Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium is part of UC San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. You can see blue penguins, sea turtles, a variety of fish, and other aquatic life. The aquarium is also a great place to whale watch from the shore. Just remember to bring your binoculars.

3. Aerobatic Flying Experiences

You and your whole family can take to the skies over San Diego for a bird’s eye view of the city, Pacific Ocean, and the bay with an
aerobatic flying experience at Sky Combat Ace. You don’t even need a pilot’s license to fly a plane in San Diego. 

Our skilled pilots will be with you throughout the flight experience as you take your thrilling ride. We offer different flight packages where you can ride along and let us do the flying or take the controls and fly yourself.

4. Ice Skating

From November 17, 2022, through January 1, 2023, you can experience ice skating by the sea at Hotel del Coronado. You don’t need to be a resort guest to ice skate. However, resort guests can also access the Frostbite Lounge and Frosted by the Sea celebrations.
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From November 17, 2022, through January 1, 2023, you can experience ice skating by the sea at Hotel del Coronado. You don’t need to be a resort guest to ice skate. However, resort guests can also access the Frostbite Lounge and Frosted by the Sea celebrations.

5. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

52nd annual Parade of Lights features boats decorated for the holidays. The event takes place on December 11 and December 18, 2022. The parade starts at Shelter Island at 5:30 p.m. and ends past the Coronado Ferry Landing. There are plenty of great viewing spots from the shoreline to enjoy this two-hour spectacle of lights. 

6. Holidays at Legoland 

Legoland is located about a half-hour north of San Diego. Their holiday event runs from November 19, 2022, through January 2, 2023. It is perfect for families with small children that want to check out holiday characters, including Santa. There is also holiday-themed music, food, and shows. 

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7. SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

From November 14, 2022, until January 8, 2023, you can experience holiday traditions, decorations, live music, shows, entertainment, food, and holiday shopping at SeaWorld San Diego. In addition, the theme park offers a wide range of roller coasters and rides for children, teens, and adults. 

8. December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights is a must-do wintertime San Diego activity and the largest free holiday event in San Diego. It takes place on December 2, 2022, from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. and on December 3, 2022, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. at
Balboa Park. It is a family-friendly event featuring holiday lights, bands, choirs, dances, music, food, and a visit by Santa. During the day, you can enjoy free access to the museums and explore the park trails and gardens. 

9. San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is also located on 100 acres in Balboa Park. The zoo is home to over 800 species and 4,000 animals. From December 10, 2022, through December 23, 2022, and December 25, 2022, until January 2, 2023,  you can experience Jungle Bells. 

This holiday-themed event features nightly tree lighting, holiday treats, holiday lights, live entertainment, live musical performances, and a magical 3D light experience called Aurora. Santa also makes regular appearances through December 25th. 

10. Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade annual event takes place downtown on bayside streets and features floats, drill teams, balloons, and marching bands. Street-side parade viewing is free. You can also register to take part in the Holiday Bowl National Funding 5K Run/Walk, where you get to run or walk the parade route and receive a finisher medal at the end. The date and time of this year’s event are still to be determined, so check their website for further details. 

11. Liberty Station

If you are a foodie looking for some of the best food in San Diego, you need to check out Liberty Station, which features many of the best restaurants in the city. In between eating, Liberty Station also offers access to shopping, art galleries, and more. During the holiday season, you can experience gorgeous holiday decorations and lights, special holiday-themed treats, and visits from Santa.

12. Winery and Wine Tasting Tour

Many people don’t know that California wine tasting tours began in San Diego. There are several nearby wineries you can book tours and tastings at, such as
Bernardo Winery. You could also take an hour and a half drive north to check out Temecula, which has four different wineries. 

13. Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego is the heart of the city and is considered the birthplace of California. One of the biggest Día de los Muertos celebrations you can enjoy in the city is in Old Town. The annual celebration takes place on November 2, 2022. 

It is also a great place to visit to learn more about the history of San Diego while enjoying gardens, specialty shops, and authentic Mexican restaurants. You can even book the Tequila, Tacos, and Tombstones Walking Tour.

14. Sunsets

The sunsets in San Diego during the winter are truly amazing. There are plenty of great viewing areas along the beaches. You can also get a fantastic view from Balboa Park. For the ultimate experience, you can book a sunset sailboat cruise. 

No matter how you plan your winter in San Diego, there is plenty to see and do, whether you want to enjoy the sights, sounds, and festivities of the holiday season or experience a once-in-a-lifetime thrilling aerobatic flying experience.

From whale watching to aerobatic flying experiences, San Diego activities will make your holiday season special.

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