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2021 Best Things To Do In San Diego This Winter

a large body of water with buildings in the background

San Diego is a tourist mecca with hundreds of activities throughout the year. Things may slow down in the winter when it’s the coldest, but the fun doesn’t stop just because the temperatures aren’t in the 80s. You may need to dress in layers so you can stay warm when the sun goes down, but here’s our list of the best things to do this winter in San Diego.

San Diego’s Parade of Lights

One of the most anticipated events each Christmas season is the Parade of Lights. The 2021 theme is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The parade is free to attend. With over 80 decorated boats, it can take a while for the procession to go through. It’s a great way to spend an evening in San Diego. The parade is hosted on 2 nights in December. For 2021, the dates are December 12 and 19, starting at 5:30 p.m. Bring hot cocoa and enjoy beautifully decorated boats as they cruise by. There are several places where you can watch the parade, but the most popular areas are along the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Coronado. After you enjoy the parade, take in one of San Diego’s best restaurants by the water. Make your reservations early though.

Whale Watching in SD

We might be biased, but whale watching in San Diego is one of the best activities to do at any time of year. Winter stands out because the whales migrate from the north to San Diego where it’s definitely warmer than Alaska in December. From gray whales to humpbacks, there’s no shortage of whales from mid-December to April. At Next Level Sailing, we always find dozens of types of wildlife when you’re out on our boats. You may see seals, sea lions, dolphins and more on your whale watching trip.

Take a Visit to Old Town

Old Town is a popular destination all year long, but when they decorate for the holidays, it’s a can’t miss experience. You can explore Mexican cuisine and historical buildings that give you a glimpse into what life was like in early San Diego. If you go before Christmas, you’ll have dozens of stores to shop for gifts. Enjoy mariachi music from live performers on a regular basis. Be sure to check out Old Town’s calendar of events to watch for seasonal events.

Go Wine Tasting

San Diego has over 100 wineries in the region, giving you plenty of opportunities to taste local wines. If you’re looking for a hostess gift for your New Year’s Eve party, visiting wineries is a great way to discover new wines. Can’t get to a winery when it’s open? Look for wine tasting rooms and events in San Diego to learn more about wine. Many restaurants offer local wine and food pairing to help you understand how wine complements your dinner. Take advantage of these offers.


The San Diego food scene is diverse and varied. It’s not just about fine dining. San Diego is known for tacos. Mexican food in this city tends to be more authentic instead of Americanized. Look for one of the taco stands or taco trucks. San Diego is also known for craft beer. With over 150 craft breweries, San Diego is considered the craft beer capital. Make sure to check out one of the breakfast spots that San Diego is famous for. Morning Glory or Harry’s Coffee Shop are just two of the iconic locations where you can eat a wonderful breakfast.

San Diego is one of the best vacation spots in the United States. Picture perfect weather, even in the cooler months, lets you enjoy the outdoors when you don’t have to work. We get some of the best wildlife through the waters. You’ll have a great time whale watching in San Diego when you make reservations or charter a boat for a fantastic adventure.