Fall leaves and pumpkins, please. 🍂
Thurs., Sept. 22 marks the first day of autumn, and we’re pretty darn excited for the cozy season. Sure, it’s still warm outside and the leaves may not drastically change colors in our neck of the woods, but San Diego is home to fun fall traditions and — flip-flops + flannels in tow — we shall get our autumn on.
From pumpkin patches and apple picking, to special parties at theme parks + “haunted” hot spots, here are some ways to enjoy the season in America’s Finest City.
🎃 Bates Nut Farm
The pumpkin patch is open now through Mon., Oct. 31, offering gourds, tractor hayrides, a straw maze, a petting corral, and pony rides on select dates. There’s also live music from local groups throughout October.
Pro tip: Don’t leave without buying nuts from the Bates retail shop. 🌰
🍏 Apple picking in Julian
September + October are prime apple picking months in Julian, with several “U-Pick” orchards open for the season. Join a guided apple picking tour at Julian Farm and Orchard Friday-Sunday, or head to Ranchita del Reo, open for apple picking Friday-Monday starting Sat., Sept. 24.
👻 ‘Haunted’ Hot Spots
If you’re into the spooky vibes of the season, try these spine-tingling attractions — not for the faint of heart.
- The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park, open Fri., Sept. 23-Mon. Oct. 31.
- The Haunted Hotel Disturbance in Mission Valley, open Fri., Sept. 30-Mon., Oct. 31.
- The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, open Thurs., Oct. 6-Mon., Oct. 31.
🎢 Fall attractions at local theme parks
San Diego County’s biggest theme parks have been given seasonal makeovers.
- Belmont Park in Mission Beach is hosting its Beachside Fall Fest through Halloween, with speciality treats, live music + festive beer on tap on Friday nights, and free trick-or-treating for the little ones every Sunday in October.
- LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad is hosting its annual Brick-or-Treat Monster Party every Saturday through Oct. 29 + Sun., Oct. 30. The fun — which runs from 3-9 p.m. — includes new shows, games + candy, and is included with daily admission.
- SeaWorld San Diego is running its Halloween Spooktacular, a festive daytime event on Saturdays + Sundays through Halloween featuring trick-or-treating, a dance party, and more. The special programming is included with park admission — and kids go free with a paid adult ticket through Mon., Oct. 31. The theme park is also hosting its scary nighttime attraction, Howl-O-Scream, through Halloween.
- Sesame Place San Diego in Chula Vista is showcasing The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular through Sun., Oct. 30 — “not-too-spooky fun” featuring trick-or-treating around the park, Halloween-themed shows + a spin on its parade, and photo opportunities with “Sesame Street” characters. This is included with admission.
🌅 Sunset Pier Walks at Birch Aquarium
Catch a glowing San Diego sunset from a unique vantage point: Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier.
Scripps Pier is an active, working research pier that’s normally closed to the public, but Birch Aquarium says nature enthusiasts ages 9 and older can sign up for these special sessions on select Saturdays + Sundays. Tickets cost $25 for Birch Aquarium members + $30 for nonmembers.
The walks are part of the facility’s 2022-2023 Outdoor Adventures programming and will feature hands-on science stations where guests can examine samples under a microscope + learn about fieldwork conducted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers. 🔬
🏒 San Diego Gulls hockey
The city’s American Hockey League team hits the ice at Pechanga Arena in the Midway District for their lone preseason home game on Sat., Oct. 8.
The team’s 2022-2023 regular season starts shortly thereafter, with the home opener on Fri., Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., and another home game on Wed., Oct. 26. The season runs through April.
💀 Día De Los Muertos in Old Town
The free event includes a traditional candlelight procession at sundown that starts in front of the Church of the Immaculate Conception and travels down San Diego Avenue to the historic El Campo Santo cemetery.
Many Old Town shops, restaurants + museums will partake in the festivities by creating their own ofrendas — or altars dedicated to loved ones who have died. Some ofrendas will even honor legendary San Diegans who built Old Town. You can also add to the public ofrenda at El Campo Santo.
Know of a local fall tradition we missed? Send us an email with cool ways to enjoy San Diego this season.