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Top 17 Fall Activities in San Diego

a pile of fruit sitting on top of a grass covered field

With an abundance of fall activities in San Diego, you’ll be exploring from dusk to dawn.  No matter if you’re visiting or living here, there is always something new to experience.

What’s more, San Diego’s weather in October makes it the perfect time to visit and explore outdoors. There are plenty of festive events happening all month long – here are top 17 that you shouldn’t miss.

1. Apple Picking at Julian Farms

a person picking an apple

There is nothing that conjures up the memory of Fall more than homemade apple pie. Why not go pick your own apples and eat some of the best apple pie San Diego has to offer? 

Enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery while venturing up to Julian, California – the Apple Capital of Southern California. Grab some apples to enjoy for the week and pick your own pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. The kids will love it! 

After your trip to the Apple farm, spend some time driving through the surrounding Cuyamaca Mountains. Get lost in the trees, enjoy the weather, and snap some pictures of the amazing views.

Ready to take a break and smell the pie? Julian Farms is a family-owned and operated farm. They grow a variety of fruit, including apples, and offer apple picking from September through November. 

This is a great fall activity for the whole family and it doesn’t hurt that the drive there has some of the best views.

When you’re done, don’t forget to stop for some apple pie at the Julian Pie Company.

Explore more of Julian This Fall


Event Highlights Date

Julian Autumn Jubilee

Enjoy Hayrides, take part in a Hoedown, listen to the Jug Band play at this annual fall festival in San Diego. The Julian Autumn Jubilee will have Cider Pressing, Farm Animals, a Reptile Show, Candle Dipping, Craft corners, Archery, Tomahawk Throwing,, Treasure Hunts, Mazes to explore, a live Pumpkin Patch, and more!

Every Saturday

Julian’s 25th Annual Oktoberfest

Live music, Oktoberfest Dancers, Bingo Hours, Sip and Paint, Children’s Activities, Silent Auction, Raffles, Great Food and Beer Garden.

1 October 2022

Official Apple Picking Season Opens

Apple Picking, Apple Growers Association Apple Tasting, 

September – November

2. Hiking at Torrey Pines

overlook from Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of the most popular hiking destinations in San Diego. The reserve is home to miles of trails with stunning ocean views. 

The reserve is especially beautiful in the fall with its unique vegetation and flocks of  California quail that gathered in massive groups. The reserve is also home to the endangered Torrey Pine tree, which only grows in this area.

If you plan on doing a Torrey Pines State Reserve Hike, they’re all under 2 hours and most head along the coast so you can enjoy the coastline like nowhere else.

Learn through the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Talks and Events





Fall Educational Talk – “Saving Birds Thru Habitat”

In order to save our native birds, Saving Birds Thru Habitat educates people of all ages on how to create habitat for dwindling North American bird populations.

1 October 2022

Educational Series – 10,000 Years: The Archaeological History of San Diego

Cindy Stankowski, Executive Director of the San Diego Archaeological Center will give an overview of the Archaeological History of San Diego. 

8 October 2022

Nature Discovery Series: Raptors

Dr. Bob Gordon offers an interactive talk about raptors and children get to meet Huxley the Harris Hawk. 

15 October 2022

Wine in the Pines Fall Festival

Wine, food, music and nature

15 October 2022

3. Japanese Friendship Garden Fall Activities in San Diego

a house with trees in the background

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful 12-acre garden located in Balboa Park. The garden is an expression of friendship between San Diego and Yokohama, its Japanese sister city. 

It’s easy to spend hours enjoying the stunning garden features, like the massive koi ponds, a new tea house, and several wooden bridges that take you along the garden route. 

Saving the best for last, this garden takes on new life in the fall. The leaves of the trees change color to create a stunning scene. Keep an eye out for the Japanese maple trees that line the walkways in shades of red with bursts of vibrant yellow, orange, and green.

More Fall Activities in San Diego at the Japanese Friendship Garden




San Diego Sake Day

Explore some of the best sake from Japan and the US on World Sake Day.

1 October 2022

Holiday Market 

Get the perfect souvenir or gift to take home.

12 November 2022

4. Take the Kids to the SeaWorld San Diego Spooktacular


The SeaWorld San Diego Spooktacular can’t be beat- it combines all the fun of trick or treating with all children’s love of animals. 

The event features all the must have Halloween to-do’s like pumpkin carving and a spooky-themed dance party. 

Best of all, the Spooktacular is included with park admission and is perfect for families with young children.

 More Fall Activities in San Diego at SeaWorld 

Event Highlights Date

Meet a Mermaid

Kids love the Halloween-themed mermaids that make a special appearance during fall in Seaworld.

Every Saturday and Sunday

Spooktacular Pumpkin Hunt

Get your map at the Seaworld store and look for the special pumpkins hidden all over. When you’re done, don’t forget to get your special gift!

Every Day

Hay Maze

A fall must, complete the Seaworld Hay Maze and meet a few special characters along the way.

Every Day

5. Howl-O-Scream San Diego is One for the Adults

a person posing for the camera

Not for the faint-hearted, the Howl-O-Scream is an adults only after dark event hosted by SeaWorld. It promises to leave you running for the doors! Better just hope you open the right door…

As one of San Diego’s premier Halloween events, you’ll go from screaming to dancing to laughing all night long.

And, don’t forget to check out this year’s Halloween production – Darkness Falls – it promises to haunt your dreams for weeks to come!

6. Día de Los Muertos Fall Activities in San Diego

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera

Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of deceased loved ones. 

The holiday is observed all over Mexico, and in San Diego, there are several events and activities to take part in. 

One of the most popular is the annual Día de Los Muertos festival at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This festival features traditional food, music, dancing, and altars decorated with photos and mementos of deceased loved ones.

Pay your respects during Día de Los Muertos in San Diego


Where What’s happening


Sherman Heights Día De Los Muertos

The event will feature a traditional celebration, an altar blessing, live performances, food, and many other activities.

October 13 – November 2, 2022

Old Town Día De Los Muertos

Mercado del arte and procession to the Cemetery.

October 20-30, 2022 & November 2, 2022

Oceanside Día De Los Muertos Festival

Traditional altars, arts & crafts, a por siempre car display, and a chalk cemetery.

October 23, 2022

Chula Vista Third Avenue Village’s Día De Los Muertos

View the ofrendas (offerings), eat traditional Latin food, and take in the music at this inaugural event.

October 28, 2022

City Heights Día De Los Muertos

The event included communal altars, face painting, mask making, dancing, singing, and music, as well as prizes for the best catrina and catrin.

October 29, 2022

Encinitas Día De Los Muertos

A continuous line-up of some of the best Latin musicians and artists in San Diego, arts-making workshops, artist demonstrations, student exhibits, Mariachi performances, and food trucks are all part of the festival experience. 

October 29, 2022

A Día De Los Muertos Celebration with The San Diego Symphony

In memory of those who have passed, the San Diego Symphony will present an evening of Latinx music and culture.

October 30, 2022

Día De Los Muertos Festival

In keeping with tradition, the California Center for the Arts will feature altars, dance performances by Xinachtli, the Aztec dance group, as well as craft tables, outdoor DJs, and artisan craft markets.

November 1, 2022

7. Enjoy Kids Free October Activities in San Diego

child carving a pumpkin

October is Kids Free Month in San Diego, which means that children ages 12 and under can enjoy free admission to many of the city’s top attractions when you buy an accompanying adult pass. 

Some of the top kids free activities include SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, and Speed Boat Adventures to name a few. There are some great fall activities in San Diego to choose from, making October the best time to visit San Diego with the family. 

Free Kids Activities in San Diego This Fall

    • Buy 1 Adult Entry And Get 1 Kids Ticket Free!
    • Flying trained birds of prey is an unforgettable experience
    • If you haven’t been to the new kids museum, October is your chance!
    • Discover one of the world’s best zoos!

8. Fall Activities in San Diego Zoo Safari Park

a tree in front of a building

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a unique wildlife preserve that is home to more than 3,600 animals (updated 2022) from all over the world. 

The park offers several safari-style tours where you can see lions, tigers, giraffes, and other animals in habitats that have been specially designed for them. 

More Fall Activities in San Diego Safari Park





Physical activities for kids, Live Band, entertainment with scarecrow stilt walkers, eerie organ keyboardist, and Dr. Zoolittle’s Tricks & Treats.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Autumn Festival

A-MAZE-ing Autumn Adventure maze, Jamboree country dance party, The Barn Owls music, Safari Parker educational talks, and Lantern Ceremony.

8–9, 15–16, 22–23, and 29–30 October 2022

9. Halloween-themed Fun Activities in San Diego at Belmont Park

children running in front of carousel

Belmont Park is a historic oceanfront amusement park located in Mission Beach. The park is home to the Giant Dipper roller coaster, an arcade, restaurants, shops, and more. 

Every year, the park hosts the Fall Fest. The event features acoustic music performances, specialty treats, a pumpkin plunge pool for the kids, carnival games, and rides. As far as best beach spots in San Diego go, this one is hard to beat.

10. Oktoberfest Activities in San Diego & Best Breweries to Sample

a group of people standing in front of a crowdPhoto Credit: Sydney Valiente

San Diego is home to more than 100 breweries, making it one of the best cities in the country for craft beer lovers. 

Every year, several breweries host Oktoberfest celebrations with German-style beers, food, and music. 

This is a great way to sample some of the best brews San Diego has to offer.

Event Highlights Date

Carlsbad Rotary’s 40th annual Oktoberfest (family event)

Stein-holding Competition, Musical Hut Spiel (German musical chairs), Schnitzelbank (short rhyming verse songs), corn maze, petting zoo, corn hole, kids zone, magic and science performances, and a do-it-yourself magic table. 

1 October 2022

Carmel Valley Oktoberfest at One Paseo

Traditional German music, beer-hall games, costume contests, beer gardens, and German-inspired food.

1 October 2022

Escondido Oktoberfest at the Welk (family event)

Bavarian pretzels and bratwurst from Germany, craft beer from local breweries, live music featuring dueling pianos, rides and games for children.

1 – 2 October 2022

La Mesa Oktoberfest

Food, beer, wiener dog races, Children’s Carnival, artisan market, and traditional live music.

1 – 2 October 2022

OB Oktoberfest

Games, contests, and live music that celebrate Oktoberfest are all planned. There will be a Mr. & Mrs. Oktoberfest contest, a beer stein holding contest, a corn hole tournament, as well as a 4:20 happy hour, a liquid brunch, and drag performers.

7 – 8 October 2022

El Cajon Oktoberfest (family event)

Authentic German food and German beers and liquors, traditional folk dancing, games and contests, craft booths, Kids’ Zone (under 21’s get in free to this fall festival).

30 Sept – 2 Oct and 7 – 9 Oct

Ramona Motorcycle Rally & Oktoberfest

Bands, vendors, craft beers and food trucks. 

14-16 Oct

Rancho BEERnardo Festival (21+)

Unlimited 2-ounce pours, craft beer, local wines, food for purchase, free parking, and music

22 Oct

San Diego Craftoberfest at Liberty Station

Specials on craft beer and food, live music, beer pong tournaments, stein holding competitions, as well as yodeling and Oktoberfest Costume contests.

23 Sept – 2 Oct


11. Plan a trip to San Diego’s legendary haunted hotel – the Hotel del Coronado

a group of people standing in front of a building

Easily the most iconic hotel in San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado holds some spooky tales that really come to life during Halloween.

This iconic hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan, a woman who died under mysterious circumstances in 1892.

If you want a truly authentic San Diego Halloween experience, you can take a scenic drive to Coronado Island and do a tour of the hotel to learn more about its history and see some of the places where Kate’s ghost has been spotted.

Is the story of Kate Morgan true? Seems so yes, there are police reports that confirm the death and many guests have sighted strange ghostly activities. Luckily, Kate is a friendly ghost and it seems she just wants someone to listen to the tale of her broken heart.

12. Explore the Harbor with Speed Boat Adventures San Diego

a man and a woman sitting on a boat in the water

If all the above activities in San Diego aren’t enough for you, this adrenaline ride takes things to the next level! On your private speed boat you’ll explore the harbor, zip past the Maritime Museum, see the Coronado Bridge from a new angle, and find the resident seals and dolphins!

One of the highlights of any trip to San Diego, the speed boat tours are now synonymous with a fun time in the Bay.

13. Go Trick or Treating with the Go Car Tours

GoCar in Gaslamp Quarter

Go Cars are the best way to see the city, especially if you are short on time. The Go Car will take you on a tour of the city, pointing out all the best sights along the way. 

Best of all, in October the crowds are fewer as fall arrives and schools reopen.

You still have the amazing California weather, and all the Halloween and fall Activities in San Diego are still open.

14. Take one of the Old Town Ghost Tours

a group of people posing for the camera

The San Diego ghost tours take you through some of the most haunted places in Old Town San Diego. You’ll learn about the ghosts that are said to haunt these locations and hear some spine-tingling stories. 

We love the way the tour guides dress up and transport you to a different era. Make sure you visit Gaslamp Quarter to see the old-style lamps that line the streets and cast an eerie glow on the historic buildings that have been preserved in that area. Some of our favorite San Diego ghost tours are provided by Ghosts & Gravestones.

15. Delicious Restaurant Week Activities in San Diego

a group of people sitting at a table with a plate of food

Finally, don’t forget to get some fuel for the day! Restaurant week offers a great opportunity to try some of the best restaurants in San Diego at amazing prices. 

During the San Diego Restaurant Week (September 25th – October 2nd 2022), participating restaurants offer special pre-fixed menus at unbeatable prices. You get to try more for less!

16. Visit the Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch

This pumpkin patch offers so much more than just picking pumpkins. There’s also plenty of fun fall activities for the entire family. 

Go on a tractor ride, get lost in the corn maze (or the haunted one for the brave), and of course, get your Instagram family pumpkin photos to share online! Definitely one of our favorite fall activities in San Diego.

17. Visit the Drive-Thru Scream Zone

a dog wearing a costume

Fall activities in San Diego and Halloween go hand in hand. You can’t miss the San Diego Drive-Thru Scream Zone! Picture yourself driving through the haunted streets of San Diego. 

Highly recommended for Halloween-loving families who want something different yet amusingly scary. 

Ready to Explore the Best Fall Activities in San Diego This Year?

For fun fall activities, San Diego is the best place in the world! With gorgeous weather and picturesque locations everywhere you go, Fall is a fantastic time of year to visit San Diego. 

We hope this article has helped you choose some fun fall things to do in San Diego with friends or family.