The birthplace of California and its’ second largest city, San Diego maintains one of the finest climates in the United States, and is regularly voted near the top of the list for most comfortable cities to live in and visit. It has one of the lowest variations in annual temperature in the country, and remains relatively warm and dry throughout much of the year. The temperature is not too hot and not too cold, making it a year-round destination for tourists from all over the world.
The beauty of “California summers” is epitomized in the weather of San Diego, where visitors can expect three months of comfortable warmth and almost no rainfall, the average is less than one day per month. However, the beginning of summer can occasionally fall into the “June gloom” of San Diego, and in certain years, that month can be predominantly cloudy, although this does not usually increase precipitation.
The average mean temperature of San Diego in the summer is an overnight low of 18.5C and a daytime high of 21C.
Since most long vacations for jobs and schools occur in summer, it is understandable that San Diego’s peak tourist season is in the summer, but due to the city’s shockingly uniform climate throughout the year, most activities can be enjoyed in most or all of the year, regardless of when your trip may be. There is some summer specific activities, however, like the always popular San Diego County Fair for the best local food and outdoor fun for the family, or enjoy longer evening hours at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, ranked the best zoo in America. For many people, summertime vacations equal beach lounging, so grab your sunscreen and enjoy one of the 33 beaches in San Diego, including Coronado Beach, consistently ranked as the #1 spot for surf and sun in America. If you are in San Diego around Independence Day, don’t miss the 4th of July Big Bay Boom Fireworks show, which draws huge crowds every summer, and in June, don’t miss the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook Off, with hundreds of local artists, food stands, and entertainment groups. Another popular event in June is the Rock N’ Roll Marathon; the course is packed with live bands along the route, beginning in the beautiful Balboa Park and finishing at SeaWorld San Diego.
The beautiful weather of summer runs into the autumn season as well, and although the tourists have begun to leave town, the city of San Diego always has more to offer. The warm weather continues throughout the fall, but the rainfall slightly increases in the fall.
The average mean temperature of fall in San Diego is an overnight low of 15.5C with a temperate daytime high of 22.5C.
The autumnal months in San Diego don’t signal the chilly end of summer fun, so the city is still a wonderful tourist destination throughout the season. Sports fans shouldn’t miss the chance to see the San Diego Chargers in action in the fall at Qualcomm Stadium. If sports aren’t your thing, then perhaps the arts are more your speed. Autumn is the high season for cultural events in San Diego, including the San Diego Film Festival and the Contemporary Arts Fair, both held in September to highlight the cultural depth and the contemporary artistic offerings of the city. San Diego is the “birthplace of California”, so there are a number of cultural events which highlight the city’s history, as well as the close connection to Spanish culture. For those of you who want a taste of the past during your vacation, don’t miss the Cabrillo Festival in late September, celebrating the 16th century discovery of California with music, food, and dancing. Also, if you take your vacation around Halloween, the cultural influence of Mexico is obvious with the festive Day of the Dead celebrations in Old Town San Diego. Although San Diego isn’t known for its’ large German population, the autumnal spirit in San Diego reaches a fever pitch with Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the city in late September and early October. If wine is your drink of choice, stop in at the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival to sample the best wines San Diego has to offer, as well as select vintages from around the world.
The winter season may drop slightly in temperature, but it’s still a comfortable time to visit and enjoy the sights and sounds of San Diego. Rainfall is heaviest at this time of year, but the average is still only 6.5 days of rain per month.
The average mean temperature in the San Diegan winter is 10C as an overnight low, climbing up to 18.5C as a daytime high.
The beaches aren’t as packed in winter, but there are plenty of other activities to keep your vacation packed with excitement. Every city has holiday traditions, and San Diego is no exception. The Parade of Lights happens over two weekends in mid-December and involves hundreds of private boats decorated with Christmas lights for the season, or check out Chula Vista’s Starlight Parade, which features carolers, floats, and even classic cars, a definite “California style” Christmas celebration. Winter is also the best season to whale watch from Point Loma as gray whales migrate through the area on the way to their breeding grounds. The slightly unpredictable weather of winter also makes indoor activities more attractive to potential visitors, so this is a great time to walk through Balboa Park and quickly do some museum-hopping between the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts. Lastly, in the same artistic vein, catch one of the world-class shows at the Lyric Opera of San Diego or the Starlight Musical Theatre.
Once spring has sprung in San Diego, the city begins to fill up once again with visitors from all over the world, eager to soak up some of that perfect Southern California weather. Expect the same barely fluctuating temperature patterns as in other seasons, and although there is still noticeable precipitation hanging over into March, rainfall drops off dramatically as the season progresses. Sometimes the city experiences “May Gray”, when some thick cloud cover envelops the city, keeping the air cool and damp, but still not high in precipitation.
The average mean temperature for the San Diegan spring is an almost balmy overnight low of 13.5C and a Mediterranean-style daytime high of 20C.
The flowers bloom, the beaches fill, and San Diego comes alive in the spring months. Floral festivals are a large part of San Diegan spring culture, so join in the beautiful celebrations with your whole family. The San Diego Museum of Art annually hosts Art Alive, an exhibition which invites more than a hundred floral designers to create renditions of famous art masterworks out of flowers! If you want fresh air along with your flora, then take a day trip to the Flower Fields of Carlsbad, California, a 50-acre section of rolling hills and strolling gardens filled with countless varieties of vibrant flowers, manicured and designed in creative ways. While in Carlsbad, do not miss the famous LEGOLAND theme park, and if you are a true LEGO fanatic, stay in the newly opened LEGOLAND Hotel, an experience in itself for kids and AWLL’s (Adults Who Love LEGOs). Back in the main part of the city, while away an afternoon with America’s favorite pastime and watch a San Diego Padres home game at Petco Park. Another style of sporting attracts thousands of visitors to the city each spring, the Del Mar National Horse Show, one of the most prestigious of its’ kind in the US, and more than 3,000 of the finest horses from around the country annually participate. If music and dancing are the keys to your vacationing heart, then tap your toes and slap your knees at the Gator by the Bay Zydeco, Blues, and Crawfish Festival, where you can dance, eat, and play in mid-May. A few weeks earlier, at the end of March, catch more than 60 of the latest indie music sensations at the Indie Music Festival in the North Park area of the city.
Whether it is spring, summer, autumn, or winter, San Diego has a plethora of activities to keep you busy and entertained, all under the comfortably ideal weather of this beautiful west coast hot spot.
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