San Diego does fall like nowhere else. You’ll still want to keep those beach chairs handy—and make peace with the sand lingering in the back of the SUV—but it’s time to throw some sweaters into the mix, too. Around town, as temperatures start to cool, events take a cozy turn. From pumpkins and ghouls to biergartens and bonfires, here’s a list of our favorite fun fall outings. Cozy up with a pumpkin-spiced latte—hot or iced!—and start making plans.
Fall Flora and Fauna
Crosscut Farm & Orchard – Julian
- When: September 10 – 18, 2022 with limited reservation times
- Website: https://www.crosscutfarmandorchard.com/
- $$: $5 entry fee (pre-paid reservations required); $20 per ½ peck bag of u-pick apples
- Description: Pack your picnic basket! This fall marks the fourth year that family-owned and operated Crosscut Farm and Orchard has welcomed San Diegans to its sprawling grounds in the East County mountains for farm tours, cider-pressing demonstrations, and apple picking. The site boasts a mix of 700 young and mature Golden Delicious, Jonathan, and Liberty apple trees.
Autumn Festival at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Escondido
- When: October 1-31, 2022, Friday – Sunday
- $$: Included with admission, tickets starting at $55, entrance for ages 11 and younger is free
- Website: https://www.sandiego.org
- Description: Come and join in all the autumn festive fun as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrates the season of color with special activities, entertainment, and culinary comforts.
Bonfire on the Beach & Roast S’mores – Hotel Del Coronado
- When: Nightly at 6 & 8pm
- $$: reservations starting at $195
- Website: https://hoteldel.com/events/beach-smores/
- Description: Bonfires on the beach have long been a favorite tradition at The Del. Reserve a private s’mores package, then throw on a sweater and tuck your toes in the sand while feasting on marshmallows toasted to perfection, served with all the accoutrements—including stunning sunset views.
All the Pumpkins
The 2022 Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nuts Farm – Valley Center
- When: Saturday, September 17, 2022 to Monday, October 31, 2022
- $$: $8 per car
- Website: https://batesnutfarm.biz
- Description: San Diegans have been making fun fall memories at the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch for more than 50 years. Go find your future jack-o-lantern in the pumpkin patch, then climb aboard for a tractor hayride before getting lost in the straw maze. Don’t miss the petting corral and pony rides.
Oma’s Pumpkin Patch – Lakeside
- When: September 27 – October 29, 2022 (Tuesday-Saturday)
- $$: Weekdays Ages 2-13 – $18.00 per child. Ages 14 and Up – $9.00. Saturdays Ages 2-13 – $21.00 per child. Ages 14 and Up – $13.00. Wagon Ride – $5.00
- Website: https://omasfamilyfarm.com/pumpkin-patch/
- Description: Offering fun for the whole family, the child admission includes a Jack Patch pumpkin, the petting corral with lots of baby animals, kid-powered games, a sand pile with toy trucks and tractors, plus a large play area with the climbable Cottonseed Mountain. For many families, a trip to Oma’s is a fall tradition—space is limited, and tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Bonita Pumpkin Station – Bonita
- When:September 30 – Oct. 31, 2022
- $$: Free; attraction tickets from $4
- Website: https://www.pumpkinstation.com
- Description: Come for the pumpkins and photo-ops. Stay for the train ride, corn maze, tractor hay-wagon, and chance to cut and make your own sunflower bouquet. There’s also a petting zoo where cuteness abounds.
The Great Annual Pumpkin Festival – Alpine
- When:October 1-31, 2022
- $$: Tickets starting at $12
- Website: https://childrensnatureretreat.org/tickets/
- Description: The Children’s Nature Retreat is a 20-acre wildlife encounter located in East County. Brand new this year, you can get lost in a 6-foot live maze, then head to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin.
La Mesa Oktoberfest
- When: September 30- Oct 2, 2022
- Website: https://www.lamesaoktoberfest.org/
- $$: Free; Biergarten passes starting at $10
- Description: For 49 years, the Village of La Mesa has welcomed October by transforming itself into a charming Bavarian hamlet—complete with a bevy of international food trucks and a performance by fan-fav blues band Dotty & the Diamonds. An all-ages, furry-friends-welcome spectacular featuring a Dachsund Village and Weiner-dog races, there are also three 21-and-up biergartens and lots of wacky ways to get your German on.
El Cajon Oktoberfest
- When: September 30- Oct 2, 2022; October 7-9, 2022
- Website: http://www.germanclubsandiego.org
- $$: Event admission – Friday & Saturday, $15; Sunday, $5. Free for under 21 and active military
- Description: Come hungry and wearing your lederhosen—for reals—to the German Club of San Diego’s biggest event of the year, turning 50 in 2022. Big-in-Bavaria oom-pah-pah band Die Guggenbach Buam flies in to provide the soundtrack (yes, you’ll do the chicken dance), the brews are all German (feel free to bring your own stein), and Club members prepare and serve a rib-sticking feast with bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, sauerkraut, pretzels, and the best potato pancakes this side of Munich.
LEGOLAND® Brick-or-Treat – Carlsbad
- When: Saturdays, Sept. 17 to Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30
- $$: Admission starting at $98.99
- Website: https://www.legoland.com
- Description: Give the costumes a practice run at Brick-or-Treat, bewitching LEGOLAND® California Resort with tons of candy, an all-new show line up, and never-before-seen exclusive LEGO® characters.
SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream – Mission Bay
- When: September 16- October 31, 2022
- $$: tickets starting at $39.99
- Website: https://seaworld.com/san-diego/events/howl-o-scream/
- Description: When the sun sets, the ghouls take over SeaWorld in this nighttime event more suitable for tweens, teens, and adults. On select weekend nights, find haunted houses, scare zones, live entertainment, DJ dance parties, and access to themed bars, plus rides and coasters. Howl-O-Scream is a separately ticked event not included with regular SeaWorld admission.
SeaWorld Halloween Spooktakular – Mission Bay
- When:September 17 – October 31, 2022
- $$: tickets starting at $99, Kids (ages 3-9) free admission with a full paid adult admission
- Website: https://seaworld.com/san-diego/events/halloween-spooktacular/
- Description: For smaller kids and those whose idea of scary is more Charlie Brown and less Michael Myers, SeaWorld’s biggest fall festival kicks off in September and packs weekends with family-friendly fun. Catch spooky live shows, join in on Halloween activities, and let the little ones trick-or-treat throughout the park.
Sesame Place Halloween Spooktacular – Chula Vista
- When: September 17 – October 31
- $$: Single day tickets at $59.99 /ea
- Website: https://sesameplace.com/san-diego/events/halloween-spooktacular/
- Description: Come in costume and celebrate silly, not-too-spooky fun at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place! The park will be transformed into a family-friendly Halloween haven and guests will enjoy trick-or-treating around the park, Halloween-themed shows, the Sesame Street Halloween Parade, Dance Party, an interactive Spot-The-Ghost Scavenger Hunt, Sesame Street-themed dry & wet rides, games, special retail, and unique photo opportunities with everyone’s favorite furry friends dressed up in costume.
Pumpkin Express Halloween Celebration – Campo
- When: October 8 – 30, 2022
- Website: https://www.psrm.org/pumpkin/
- $$: Fares starting at $7
- Description: Head to the Campo Depot, board a decorated vintage railcar, and chug through scenic mountain vistas along the historic San Diego and Arizona Railway. Back at the museum, encounter a spooky scene as you hunt for pumpkins in the pumpkin patch then decorate your gourd under the watchful eyes of (friendly) ghouls.
HauntFest on Main – El Cajon
- When: Friday, October 21, 2022; 4:00-9:00pm
- $$: Free
- Website: http://hauntfest.org/
- Description: For just five hours, Main Street in El Cajon is transformed into a family-friendly Halloween zone complete with a candy trail and trick-or-treating, dancers, face-painting, live entertainment, a costume contest, and a pumpkin patch. Be there and beware!
Día de Los Muertos
In Mexican culture, ancestors are honored each Day of the Dead—traditionally, November 1—with feasts and a variety of folkloric crafts and rituals. Participate in these festivals and commemorations around town (details online).
- When: Select dates between October 20 – Nov. 1, 2022
- $$: Free
OLD TOWN DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – Old Town
OCEANSIDE DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL – Oceanside
SHERMAN HEIGHTS DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – Sherman Heights
CHULA VISTA THIRD AVENUE VILLAGE’S DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – Chula Vista
CITY HEIGHTS DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – City Heights
ENCINITAS DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – Encinitas
A DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION – The Rady Shell, Downtown
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL – California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Taste of the Season
- When: Throughout the fall
- $$: Varies
- Description: Thanks to Halloween, candy may get all the fall-flavor, but autumn is also the season of warm baking spices, harvest cornucopias (think squashes and gourds), and ooey-gooey comfort food. Here’s a tasting menu of our favorite dishes and delights around town. Spoiler alert: not all of them are sweet!
- Pacific Beach: The Julian Apple Pie Ice Cream at Pacific Beach Ice Cream Co.
- La Jolla: The Halloween-on-sugar-steroids Boujee Rice Krispy Treat at Sugar & Scribe
- East Village/North Park: The house-made pumpkin-spice syrup at Coffee & Tea Collective
- University Heights: The seasonal scoops (like pumpkin cornbread + pepita brittle) at Stella Jean’s
- Gaslamp: The classic Pumpkin Waffle at Café 222
- Old Town: The comforting birria taco with roasted bone-marrow at Tuetano Taqueria
- Little Italy: The gnocchi di zucca (butternut squash) or the decadent cheesewheel pasta at Monello
- Chula Vista: The eye-popping Thanksgiving Savory Danish at Mmm…Cakes
- San Ysidro: The scrumptious cajeta churros at Churros El Tigre
- Chula Vista: The flaky sweet potato or pumpkin empanadas at La Concha Bakery
- Chula Vista: The gooey, cheesy huitlacoche or barbacoa quesataco at Aqui es Texcoco
As a resident of Côta Vera, there will also be a cornucopia of fall events through our lifestyle program to kick off the holiday season. To learn more about the community be sure to join our interest list, here.