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Here are 10 Reasons to Visit San Diego with the Family this Fall

Grab the kids and head south for a weekend in San Diego. The kids are over the pumpkin patch (ok, not really) but spice up this fall with more then just your favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Fall makes me think of sweaters, the smell of wood burning from chimneys, beer, family and a few really bad costumes. During San Diego’s cooler season, visitors can find a variety of annual festivals and fairs, haunting Halloween celebrations and diverse cultural entertainment. With nearly perfect weather and an entire month devoted to “kids free” offerings, fall is an ideal time to visit San Diego. 

Kids Play for Free: The popular “Kids Free San Diego” promotion returns this October. All major San Diego attractions, including SeaWorld, the world-famous San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND California, will offer free admission to kids throughout the month, along with more than 30 other area museums and attractions. In addition to free attraction admission, many local hotels and restaurants will offer specials throughout October. At this point, there really is no excuse as you why you haven’t take little Tommy to see the amazing world of LEGOLAND. With the hotel and restaurant discounts the parents get hooked up too! 


Fantastic Film Festivals: The acclaimed San Diego Film Festival returns Sept. 24-28 offering a slate of films that showcase the best in American and international full-length features, documentaries and shorts. During Nov. 6-15, the 15th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival presents films, videos and workshops that celebrate the work of Asian artists from around the world. Mark your calendars and plan ahead for these awesome film festivals. My suggestion, stock up on candy and movie snack in the mean time. 

Food Fests Galore: During Sept. 21-26, more than 180 restaurants will offer specially priced prix-fixed meals during San Diego Restaurant Week. During Nov. 17-23, the 11th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival takes over the Embarcadero Marina Park North, located next to Seaport Village, and other venues throughout downtown San Diego. On Oct. 12, the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla hosts the 12th Annual Celebrate the Craft culinary showcase. Renowned chefs, vintners and farmers from across California gather for gourmet cooking demonstrations which highlight an enthusiasm for natural ingredients and innovative cooking and winemaking. Make sure to plan a ride home from the festivals because there will be LOTS of wine, we promise.


Neighborhoods Come Alive: Southern California’s largest free two-day musical festival, the 33rd Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair returns Sept. 27-28 to the Normal Heights neighborhood with four beer gardens, seven stages and more than 90 musical acts, performing rock, country, folk, TexMex and more. On Oct. 12, Little Italy in downtown San Diego presents the 20th Annual Little Italy Festa . A grand celebration of Italian culture, this traditional street festival offers music, fine foods, specialty crafts and Gesso Italiano, a classic Italian street chalk painting exhibition.

Halloween, Attraction-Style: Halloween makes a splash at SeaWorld San Diego during its Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld celebration featuring trick-or-treat stations, a special Halloween-themed Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure sea lion and otter show, Penelope’s Pumpkinfish Patch, a variety of up-close animal encounters and photo opportunities at the Mermaid Grotto. LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad joins in the Halloween fun with its annual Brick-or-Treat celebration, featuring a one-of-a-kind, 4-ft. tall LEGO jack-o-lantern, costume contests and trick-or-treating with a souvenir goodie bag along the park’s Brick-or-Treat Trail.

Racing Season, Take Two: San Diego’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is adding a second racing season for the first time; the new Bing Crosby Season will run Nov. 7-30. Del Mar’s fall meeting will feature 15 racing days and run Friday through Sunday on its first weekend, followed by four-day racing weeks (Thursday through Sunday) for the balance of the season. Floppy hats are welcome and check out our Racing Guide for tips on how to bet and where to party afterwards.


Dancing in the Streets: Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System present the 15th Annual Trolley Dances, Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6. Guests riding the light-rail San Diego Trolley are treated to site-specific choreographed dance performances at unexpected locations along the trolley’s Orange line starting at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Dances take inspiration from the surroundings and local energy at six trolley stops along the route. This is so awesome! It’s like living in a musical! Broadway takes it to the streets kind of vibe. Sort of…

The Ultimate Beer Tasting: Bring your stein, glass boot, drinking horn or whatever vessel you prefer. During Nov. 7-16, hundreds of beer-centric events will take place during San Diego Beer Week, a countywide festival that highlights San Diego’s award-winning craft beer, breweries and pubs; event dates, times and locations vary throughout the week. Realistically this should be a countrywide celebration but in the mean time San Diego is the best place to make this happen, especially with their abundant array of quality breweries.

World-Class Contemporary Art: More than 60 galleries from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia showcase paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, videos and cutting-edge multimedia artworks during Art San Diego 2014. Held November 6-9 in Balboa Park, the contemporary art fair serves as a marketplace for the world’s leading contemporary art galleries. This is an awesome event for any art connoisseur, especially if you’re not from San Diego because you get to expose yourself to artists you might not meet otherwise. If you love the Sawdust Festival in Laguna then you’ll love this. 

Summer Weather Doesn’t End With Summer: When autumn arrives, San Diego’s weather stays warm while summer crowds at the beach diminish. With average temperatures in the 70s and 80s, summer weather in San Diego continues daily until November. Enjoy a bonfire at the beach, bring a sweater, a blanket and a s’mores kit to watch the sunset. 

Brooke Binkowski on
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at or call 619-236-1212.

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