Family fun in San Diego doesn’t have to end with the close of Summer. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a fall break trip with the kids, the year-round city is the perfect destination for adventure, shopping, beaches, parks, museums and fabulous foodie delights.
Where to Shop and Eat
Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town San Diego
Celebrating 50 years in business this November, Diane Powers’ Bazaar del Mundo can be credited for attracting thousands of visitors to San Diego with food and wares that capture the spirit and adventure of Latin America. The lively and colorful entry to San Diego’s Old Town community, the Bazaar del Mundo is a favorite destination for food, folklore and fun.
Bazaar del Mundo’s 50-year history is colorful, to say the least. After winning the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s bid to restructure the Pico Motel in 1971, Powers began her journey to build a thriving collection of colorful shops and ethnic restaurants inspired by the Mexican bazaars she fell in love with during her early travels.
The Bazaar del Mundo Shops are comprised of colorful boutiques, each offering distinctive items from all over the world.
- The Gallery features artisan jewelry, including amazing turquoise and sterling silver pieces.
- Ariana is filled with artful women’s fashions and accessories.
- Artes de Mexico features the work of several masters of Mexican folk art.
- The Guatemala Shop features treasures from across Latin America.
- Our popular Kitchen Shop sells vibrant tabletop and kitchen products, imported ceramics and handwoven textiles.
Everything has been carefully selected and curated to reflect the colorful cultures so passionately admired. The atmosphere at Bazaar del Mundo is festive, authentic and inviting. Shoppers can stroll throughout the many shops, soaking in the vibrant colors, rich textiles and the beauty of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items.
Whether you’re a local, or visiting from out of town, a stop by Bazaar del Mundo is not just a quick shopping trip, it’s a trip around the world. An official public celebration will be held Nov. 4-7 at Bazaar del Mundo, featuring a weekend-long artisan marketplace, live entertainment and more to celebrate its 50 years.
Diane Powers’ Bazaar del Mundo Shops sits adjacent to Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant on Juan and Taylor Streets. The complex reflects the popular shopping and dining experience that San Diegans and visitors enjoyed for over 30 years while in the Old Town State Historic Park.
Established in 1995, Casa Guadalajara has grown to become one of the most popular Mexican dining destinations in San Diego. Serving up award-winning Mexican cuisine in a beautiful courtyard setting, owner Diane Powers seamlessly creates an ambiance that satisfies all your senses with bright, festive décor and lush patios. Casa Guadalajara serves customer favorites including Ensenada Fish Tacos, Tequila Lime Shrimp and Carne Asada Tampiqueña. Enjoy the breezy outdoor patio, order one of their famous “Bird Bath” margaritas and admire Mexican folk-art adorned architecture.
Where to Spend a Day
San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park
Journey through the history of aviation and space exploration at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, housed in a classic Ford Building built in 1935 and located in beautiful Balboa Park.
According to David Neville, the Director of Marketing and Communications at the museum, there are three big stars you don’t want to miss.
- Apollo 9 Capsule
The centerpiece of a new exhibit “Space: Our Greatest Adventure”, the Apollo 9 capsule is one of 11 on display in the world and the only one available to view on the west coast. The Apollo 9 capsule went into Earth’s orbit in 1969 and proved it could redock with the lunar lander, which set up future space missions to fly near the moon and eventually land on the moon. “I have more computing power in my cell phone than they had on the Apollo 9,” Neville notes. He adds it’s the coolest piece in the museum and is on loan from the Smithsonian – but he’s not giving it back—and visitors are the better for it.
- Spirit of Saint Louis
A flight worthy replica of the custom-built plane that Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris in 1927. Built by Ryan Aeronautical, this impressive unit is the first thing you see in the rotunda.
- Bell X-1
The first airplane to break the sound barrier in 1947, this replica of Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 hangs proudly and majestically inside historic 86-year old building, above the Apollo 9 display.
Open from 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week, the San Diego Air and Space Museum will give you more than an inspiration for aviation. It’s a great experience for the entire family all the way around.
Admission prices this fall:
Full price adult: $22.50; Youth ages 3-11 $12; Seniors 65+ $18; student with ID $18; children 2 years and under, active military and museum members are free. Kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult admission ($22.50) in the month of October.
Howl -O-Scream at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego is offering its biggest and best nighttime Halloween event this fall for guests. Perfect for date night or a gathering of friends, thrill seekers will love the transformation of the park after dark as it turns into an intense horror-filled haunt during the ALL-NEW Howl-O-Scream. For the first time ever, guests can feel every spine-tingling terror as they make their way through 3 different house of horrors, creepy cocktail bars, scare zones and roaming haunts, while adventuresome guests can deepen their thrills on coaster rides after dark. A separately ticketed event, Howl-O-Scream is anticipated to be an immediate fan-favorite and a terrifying Halloween event that will be sure to make you tremble.
Where to Stay
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Settle in for comfort, relaxation and eye-popping views of the San Diego skyline, San Diego Bay and Coronado Island when you stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, the tallest hotel on the west coast. The hotel has everything you need for an entertaining night in if you’re not comfortable going out, including a rooftop cinema club. Halloween movies are on the schedule for the fall travel season. You’re also within walking distance of everything Downtown San Diego has to offer, including the famed Gaslamp Quarter, the Embarcadero waterfront, Seaport Village, the USS Midway and Maritime Museum. Food and wine festivals are starting to return. One of the newest attractions is the San Diego Symphony’s new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, a stunning outdoor concert venue that seats 3000-5000 music lovers along the waterfront at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Where to Play
There’s a good reason why Hollywood loves filming in Oceanside, California (Animal Kingdom TV series, Top Gun). Located 45 minutes north of Downtown San Diego, Oceanside is a picturesque beach community with roughly three miles of sandy coastline, year-round whale watching, the historic Oceanside Pier (1,942 feet long) and the perfect Pacific Ocean conditions that attract plenty of family-friendly events.
If you haven’t been in a few years, Oceanside has transformed by undergoing the largest resort development in San Diego County in 50 years. Two new Hyatt beach resort properties now overlook the pier in Oceanside. The Seabird Resort and Mission Pacific Hotel are both four-star hotels that sit directly in front of the pier and have luxury accommodations with oceanfront views. Critically acclaimed chef Roberto Alcocer is at the helm of the new restaurant Valle inside the Mission Pacific Hotel.
Movie buffs with the need for speed can check out the Top Gun house, a vintage cottage from the 1800’s made famous by Maverick and Charlie’s romantic romp inside. Developers behind the new Mission Pacific Hotel restored the home and incorporated it into the property. Later this fall, it will eventually become a lounge and dessert shop called Charlie’s. Take my breath away!
7 Oceanside Events Coming This Fall
- U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championship, September 9-12, 2021
- Super Girl Surf Pro, September 17-19, 2021
- Oceanside Harbor Days, September 18-29, 2021
- IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside, October 30, 2021
- Bike the Coast, November 6, 2021
- Beach Soccer, November 13-14, 2021
- O’side Turkey Trot, November 25, 2021
Where to Do It All
Belmont Park along Mission Beach
History meets fun on the boardwalk. San Diego’s beachside amusement sector Belmont Park is gearing up for its fall-themed event called Fall Fest from October 1 through November 14. Enjoy live music, a beer garden, a pumpkin patch, larger-than-life fall décor and Instagrammable fall food items throughout the park. Bring the kids on Sundays for free trick-or-treating.
Beer lovers have 70 taps to choose from at Draft, a full service restaurant with live music on Friday nights and country music line dancing inside.
If a rooftop sunset is more your style, check out coastal cuisine at Cannonball and soak up the priceless views from La Jolla to Ocean Beach.
Open 7 days a week and featuring the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster (built in 1925), Belmont Park is one of the more phenomenal experiences you’ll have in San Diego this fall. Visiting later? You’ll want to come back for Winter Wonder (after Thanksgiving) when Belmont Park is covered in holiday lights, winter décor and giant snowflakes hanging from the roller coaster.