Summer in San Diego County means big crowds: from the beaches and trails to the restaurants and theme parks, everywhere you look are visitors soaking up the sun-drenched good life that we get to enjoy year-round. But it’s fall, when temperatures begin to drop and the vacationing masses start to clear the beaches, that’s the perfect time to enjoy both the unique (free Zoo passes!?) and the traditional (Julian apples!) seasonal activities that our area has to offer.
- Kids Hit the Town for Free: Families from around Southern California look forward to San Diego’s Kids Free October, a month-long, citywide celebration that grants free admission to children (with a paid adult) at more than 100 theme parks, museums, harbor cruises, and hotels. This is the time to plan your family trip to Legoland, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and Zoo Safari Park, or check out the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. Even Amtrak gets in on the fun, with kids riding free on the Pacific Surfliner from points as far north as San Luis Obispo.
- Hometown Brews: San Diego has an embarrassment of riches in the realm of traditional Oktoberfest celebrations around town, but the city’s internationally acclaimed craft beer community really shows its stuff the next month with San Diego Beer Week, running from Nov. 7-16. Special events happen at breweries and pubs across the city, including the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival on Nov. 8, where you can sample the county’s award-winning breweries – and attend Beer College classes from local university craft beer business programs.
- Dia de los Muertos Celebrations: Far from being a somber affair, traditional Dia de los Muertos celebrations across San Diego are vibrant, colorful, spirited, and richly cultural occasions when families remember and honor their loved ones.
- Del Mar Races Bonus Season: The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will host itsBing Crosby Season for the first time ever this fall, with an Old Hollywood vibe. The traditional racing season may be over, but from Nov. 7-30, the famous track by the ocean will reopen for races, concerts – even an opening day Gatsby-style celebration and vintage Hollywood fashion show.
- Spooky San Diego: Old Town’s Whaley House is just one of the city’s many supposedly haunted hotspots. To amp up the Halloween spirit this season, visit Hidden San Diego’s list of ghoulish places around town or book a historical ghost tour through a group like Haunted San Diego.
- The Mountain Town Experience: The mountain town of Julian and fall go together like, well, apple pie and ice cream. Don’t despair if you’ve missed the “u-pick” season at local orchards, which typically run from late August through early October. There’s still plenty of seasonal bliss going on in town, from strolling the main street with a cup of hot apple cider, hopping on a hayride, or visiting a Gold Rush mine. Don’t miss the 58th Annual Old Time Melodrama play or the 4th Annual Pomegranate Festival at Oasis Camel Dairy in nearby Ramona – and don’t forget to take home one of those famous apple pies.