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Is San Diego Worth Visiting in Winter?

Our top reasons why San Diego is still remarkable in winter.

San Diego is known for its beaches, year round sun, and abundance of activities. People swarm here during the summer months to take it all in. But with the summer being peak tourist season, everything can get packed. With an average low of 48 and average high of 76, winter is still a great time to visit for some sun, and less crowds.

Although "cold" from a local's perspective, there is still a lot to see and do. If this intro wasn't compelling enough to bring you here during winter, we've compiled a list of four reasons why San Diego is worth visiting in the winter.

1. The City with Cheaper Winter Flights

The airline system will surge its prices on flights during peak tourist season. A flight to San Diego in the summer time can be expensive while flying here in the winter can be cheaper. You can see San Diego at a lower cost by traveling here in the winter. Create a notification on Google flights to alert you of any flight price drops to ensure you get the best winter deals.

2. The City Where Gray Whales Visit in Winter

Did you know that winter is gray whale season in San Diego? During this time, gray whales are migrating from Alaska to Mexico and back. They travel from mid-December to mid-March to give birth in the warm waters of Mexico, then travel back to their feeding grounds near Alaska. To get an opportunity to see a gray whale hop on a whale watching tour like, San Diego Whale Watch or Adventure Whale Watching.
Luckily San Diego is home to many wildlife that are still active during the winter season, and you may see baby seals!
  • You can head to the Children's Pool La Jolla for harbor pupping season that happens between February 8 and March 8. This area is always thriving with seals so be sure to stop by even if you are there before the pupping season begins!
  • Dolphins are in the San Diego waters year round, and sometimes you can get lucky by seeing them on shore, or if you do a whale watching tour you can spot them there!

3. The City Where Sunsets are Better in Winter

No really, the low humidity and cleaner air due to the rain allows for better sunsets in the winter. During winter the earth is closer to the sun and this specific alignment allows for vibrant color in the skies. San Diego sunsets are beautiful year round, but the winter sunsets are different.

Not sure where to watch the sunset? Check out these San Diego sunset locations recommended by locals below:
The sunset is a daily show in San Diego, so be sure to arrive early for the best seats and parking.

4. The City Where Summer Activities Can Be Winter Activities

Majority of the places people visit in the summer, are open during the winter.

The best part about coming in winter? There are no crowds.

There are prominent San Diego sights, like the San Diego Zoo, or Balboa Park but San Diego is an ever evolving city and there are new places to visit every month. To stay on top of what is new, check out San Diego Magazine's blog that is filled with the latest. Before you check out the new spots be sure to pay homage to the iconic landmarks of San Diego listed below.

The San Diego Zoo is on of San Diegos most cherished attractions and is home to 14,000 rare and endangered animals. Located in Balboa Park, they make it their mission to develop sustainable conservation solutions and save species worldwide.

Balboa Park was built in 1868 by San Diego Civic Leaders and since then has come a long way. Filled with beautiful landscaping, museums, and performing arts centers this is 1,200 acres of San Diego you don't want to miss.

A 15 minute drive from Downtown San Diego you will find Convoy, which has the best Asian food in all of San Diego. Be sure to stop by Raki Raki for a big bowl of fresh ramen that will make you want to keep coming back for more.

Gaslamp Quarter is located in Downtown San Diego. In 1867 Alonzo Horton purchased the land and installed 50 Gas Lamp Street Lights, which is how the name Gaslamp Quarter came to be. Now home to fun restaurants, and bars people flood here every day and night. If you come here you won't want to miss the Spanish restaurant Cafe Sevilla, a stop at Tacos El Gordo for some good tacos, or a quick drink while playing arcade games at Coin-Op.

Home to bonfire pits, a two-mile board walk and an oceanside theme park , Mission Beach is classic. Enjoy the crisp winter air by renting a bike, kayak or stand up paddle board all within arms reach of eachother! This beach is normally packed during summer and parking is impossible, but if you're here during winter, it's a breeze.

The California Burrito

When visiting San Diego, The California Burrito is an attraction of it's own, since it originated here. If you've never heard of a California Burrito it is a burrito filled with steak, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and fries. Broadly disputed among locals is the best spot to order one. For this guide we are giving a shout out to Harry's Taco Club located in Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach for the best California Burrito.

SANDMARC Essentials for Your San Diego Trip

To ensure you capture your whole experience, we've rounded up the best SANDMARC gear to bring on your trip to San Diego.
Creator Grip
Perfect for sightseeing, and keeping a firm grip for steady shots and videos.
Telephoto Lens
With so much to see you'll need a great lens to give you crisp portraits.
Wide Lens
You'll be exploring night and day, and this lens is unstoppable in low light conditions.

San Diego is an amazing city to explore. We may be bias, but we chose America's finest city as our headquarters for a reason.