What time of year is best to visit San Diego? With San Diego’s year-round Mediterranean climate, there is no bad time of the year to visit based on the weather, but there are certain other factors that may help you decide.
San Diego is a tourist hotspot being one of the favorite coastal cities to visit during school summer breaks and June, July, and August are the busiest months. Although it is lively and fun, beaches are packed during these months and hotel rates are higher as well. March through May and September through November are perfect times to visit San Diego as they avoid peak season. Check out the San Diego weather section for more information.
Note: One of the best things about visiting in Spring is that The Flower Fields are generally open from March through May. This is one spectacular “must-see” in San Diego!
What should I pack? On the note that San Diego has a mild climate year round, the main thing you will NOT need to pack is heavy winter clothes. Throughout the year, you cannot go wrong with packing long jeans, shorts, a light jacket, one thicker jacket (if visiting in Winter for those occasional strong wind days), a hat, blouses/shirts, comfortable beach clothes, flip-flops, tennis shoes (for those who plan to be active), and of course your SWIM SUIT!
Depending on what you plan to do, other essentials (which you can also purchase in San Diego) might include sunscreen, a camera, beach bag, beach towels, a wet suit, and sunglasses. For those planning on doing activities like snorkeling, hiking, surfing, etc., bring a GoPro if you have it! You will get epic shots venturing around San Diego.
What should I do for transportation? Although renting a car in San Diego is probably the best option for convenience and getting around, there are plenty of other means of transportation.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has several options. One is the San Diego Trolley which provides transportation to 53 stops on four different trolley lines around downtown, Old Town, Mission Valley, and metropolitan areas. Around downtown, you can also opt to take the Silver Line, which is a heritage streetcar light rail.
Another option for the MTS are buses, which are probably one of the most cost effective ways of getting around. There are many routes and lines to get you where you want to go. To check the bus timetables, visit Metropolitan Transit System.
Another growing trend of transportation in San Diego is Uber, and this is a great option for getting to events and beaches as it avoids having to find parking. Rates can vary depending on the demand of the time or day, but regardless, the convenience is great!
Are there pet-friendly hotels in San Diego? Yes. San Diego loves our four-legged friends! Some pet-friendly hotels in San Diego even give cats and dogs a royal experience. From chew toys to royal carpets, comfy beds and treats, your pet will love being included in the vacation.
Where is the best nightlife? One of the things that makes San Diego unique is it’s various diverse neighborhoods that provide different scenes and vibes. If you are looking for a night out full of action, rooftop bars, and some of the cities hottest nightclubs, downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter has it all! On the other hand, if you are looking for more of a hipster-artsy scene with laid back bars, good music, and craft beers, North Park is your choice! Hillcrest (mostly known as the popular LGBT neighborhood) also has a fantastic nightlife that has everything from country line dancing to clubs, upscale venues and dive bars. You are guaranteed to find a scene that suites the mood you are in with a night out in Hillcrest.
Check out the “Nightlife” section for a list of venues.
How close is San Diego to Mexico? San Diego borders Tijuana, Mexico; a drive from downtown takes around 20 minutes. Typically, it is a breeze to cross the border from San Diego to Tijuana unless you go during peak rush hour times there can be a little wait. Crossing the border from Tijuana back into San Diego on the other hand is not a quick process. Wait times can vary from a rare half hour to over four hours and it is highly suggested to study up on the border crossing options returning back to the U.S. before you go to make sure you get into the appropriate lanes and know the different border crossings.
When is whale watching season? Mid-December through March is the best time of year to witness Gray Whale siting’s in San Diego while mid-June through September is the best for siting Blue Whales.
Is there skiing in or close to San Diego in the winter? Believe it or not, yes! Big Bear Lake is a small mountain resort community about a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego, which is home to some of Southern California’s best skiing and snowboarding.
What is the closest airport to San Diego? The San Diego International Airport (SAN, also known as Lindbergh Field) is the main airport in San Diego located just northwest of downtown.
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