San Diego’s Best Fall Events and Activities
Fall is a magical time in San Diego. Between Halloween-themed events and seasonal delights, there’s a lot to experience here in the month of October and beyond. Luckily for those traveling with kids, many of these events and activities are family-friendly. Round up your friends and family and get ready to enjoy mild weather, special deals, and spooky fun with these fall activities in San Diego.
Kids Free in October at San Diego Zoo
There’s never a bad time to go to the San Diego Zoo, but if you plan your visit for October, you’ll get a nice bonus: free admission for kids 11 years and younger. This special is part of Kids Free San Diego, a city-wide special offering free admission and activities at museums and other attractions during the month of October. Once you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the 100-acre zoo and seen quite a few of the 4,000 animals housed there, take your little ones to the Japanese Friendship Garden, the SD Air & Space Museum, and the San Diego Natural History Museum, all located in Balboa Park.
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every weekend at San Diego Zoo, HalGLOWeen takes over San Diego Zoo with dance parties, musical performances, entertainment, and food specials. Head to the Front Street Stage area for interactive games and a lively dance floor where the whole family can get down. Or stay near the Bubble Dance Party to bust a move under a constant stream of bubbles! HalGLOWeen is included in your admission – don’t miss the chance to experience one of the most exciting ways to celebrate Halloween in San Diego.
Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
When you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in San Diego, a haunted trail might not be the first thing to come to mind. But this spooky, mile-long trail of horrors — named by CNN as one of the top 5 best haunted attractions in America — welcomes children 10 and up (as long as they’re brave and can stand and walk on their own two feet!). Start out in the 3,500-square-foot eXperiment maze, then try to find your way through the fog while avoiding chainsaw-wielding zombies and a cloister of creepy nuns.
Autumn Festival at Safari Park
Enjoying fall in San Diego means taking advantage of warm weather and sunny skies and spending plenty of time outdoors, especially at popular attractions like San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Taking place over three weekends in October, Autumn Festival at Safari Park celebrates the season with a series of events and special displays at outdoor venues in the park. Meet friendly scarecrows, make your way through a maze, hear the traditional country and bluegrass sound of The Barn Owls, and enjoy the lantern ceremony once the sun sets. These activities and more are included in your admission.
Ghost Tours in Old Town
Old Town is a delightful historic area filled with cute shops, interesting museums, and flower-filled dining patios. But beneath its benign surface lies a secret: Old Town is purported to be one of the most haunted areas in town. It’s home to Whaley House, dating from 1857, the former home of a prominent family, where spirits are said to roam the hallways. The Cosmopolitan Hotel, too, has its share of ghostly rumors, many coming from guests brave enough to stay there. But nothing beats the creepy vibes you get from a tour of El Campo Santo Cemetery, filled with dilapidated gravestones marking the resting places of souls who have been in this spot for hundreds of years.
Led by knowledgeable guides, a ghost tour can introduce you to these places and more, passing on the lore of local hauntings and the historical characters entrenched in these stories. There are quite a few local companies that offer ghost tours to the places mentioned above. Our advice? Take your tour at night to up the freaky factor.
Boasting comfortable rooms, free parking, and free WiFi, Sunrise Inn makes the ideal base for fall adventures. Our affordable San Diego hotel is located in the heart of Point Loma Village, walkable to many shops and restaurants.