With its Mediterranean climate, kid-pleasing attractions, sport venues and growing craft-beer scene, San Diego appeals to most travellers, just about all the time. But this southern California city is perhaps most appealing in the fall. The beaches are still inviting, but virtually tourist-free, and Balboa Park’s 17 museums and famous San Diego Zoo are less crowded, especially mid-week. What’s more, it’s easier to get a table at one of the Mexican restaurants in Old Town, site of the city’s first mission, or a seat inside a hip bistro in the historic Gaslamp Quarter.
October is “Kids Free San Diego” all month—children can visit popular attractions including the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, LEGOLAND California and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, among others, for free, with a paying adult (check age restrictions). Many accommodations offer incentives such as activity credits for kids, and select restaurants let kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.
November is a good month for beer-lovers and oenophiles. San Diego Beer Week runs Nov. 4 to 13 this year—10 days to taste local craft beer, tour breweries or hop on the Beer Train Trolley Tour. Switch to fermented grapes during the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival (Nov. 13 to 20) with wine tastings, culinary classes and celebrity chef dinners.
Average Fall Temperature: Near-perfect highs at 23°C in October and 21°C in November.
Getting there: WestJet flies to San Diego eight times a week from Vancouver and Calgary.
Discovering San Diego’s Low-Key Spots for Family Fun
Writer Lisa Kadane and her family explore San Diego like locals by visiting its lesser-known attractions. Here, she writes about her experience with her kids riding the carousel at Belmont Park, swimming at La Jolla Children's Pool and wandering through Birch Aquarium.