November in San Diego marks the beginning of our (slightly) rainy season, but many people choose to visit during this time for many reasons that I’ll get into below. We are also a top-rated Thanksgiving break destination with fun, local events the whole family will enjoy.
Whether it’s Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Beer Week, Fleet Week, or the toe-tapping live music of the jazz fest, our November events have something for everyone.
This month-by-month series aims to help you decide when the best time to visit San Diego is for you. For residents, I add tidbits about what’s happening around town.
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San Diego November Weather
San Diego weather in November consists of overcast days, particularly in the mornings, which usually become sunny during the afternoon. You’ll need a jacket in the late afternoon, especially in the shade.
The Santa Ana heat waves that grace San Diego in October have disappeared, and the air temperatures are overall cooler. With time change plus shorter days and some periods of rain, November is truly the sweet spot and the perfect month to visit San Diego before the cold winter weather settles in.
In November, San Diego weather for you to pay attention to depends on which of our four microclimates you’ll be visiting. The temperature changes between the coastal regions, inland valleys, mountains, and the desert become more drastic during this month.
It’s Less Sunny in November
The days after Halloween in San Diego are still typically sunny, but as the month progresses, out come the sweaters. The sun might still be shining, but crisp air means that you’ll see people wearing shorts while others are bundled up and wearing UGG boots.
Here are the San Diego November weather stats:
- Average temperature (high/low): 69°F/54°F
- Rainfall: 1 inch
- Days of rain: 4
- Days of sunshine: 75%
- Daylight: 10.5 hours
- Ocean water temperature (high/low): 63.9°F/61.8°F
If you plan to visit San Diego in November, try to come during the first couple of weeks. The odds of capturing sunny beach days are higher during this timeframe but certainly not impossible for the rest of the month of Thanksgiving. There will be days of partial sun, some cloud cover, and a few rainy days.
What the Beach Is Like
Most locals (and tourists alike!) have shifted to using San Diego beaches for walks, running, water sports, and sunset watching. Not many of us are recreationally sunbathing or swimming in the ocean, but there are always a few exceptions.
Visiting families tend to ask whether they can go to the beach in November. Yes, but you may not enjoy the stereotypical Southern California beach day just because the weather is cooler.
Rest assured that plenty of tourists who are coming from colder climates are sunbathing and swimming. To them, it’s delightful. Kids will probably plow right into the water. Just bring a sweatshirt and sweatpants for after, as wet bathing suits and hair in the crisper San Diego weather make you colder after swimming. You’ll go, but you may not stay as long as you would in, say August.
Even though the weather has cooled down, you should still coat your entire body with sunscreen. You can still definitely get sunburned in November in San Diego.
The ocean temperature has dropped by several degrees, so you should wear a wetsuit.
The best way to enjoy the ocean in November is through water sports, snorkeling tours, and surfing lessons. I would definitely plan to rent a wetsuit for either activity. You don’t need one for kayak tours, however, just wear athletic pants and a jacket.
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Advice for Booking Hotels in November
San Diego hotel rates are at off-peak levels, except during Thanksgiving week. This means if you’re looking for a getaway, most of November provides excellent value.
And right now, quite a few incentives are floating around for mid-week stays making November the perfect time to visit San Diego.
Some beach valet services (shuttles to the beach, chair set-up at the beach, etc.) may pause in November and restart for San Diego’s Thanksgiving events.
The vast majority of hotel swimming pools are heated year-round, and of course, most pool decks also have Jacuzzis.
Taking place through the holiday season, many San Diego hotels begin their holiday festivities the week of Thanksgiving.
At the top of our list is Hotel del Coronado. Nestled in San Diego Bay, Hotel del Coronado’s multiple events over the winter holiday season includes Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday festival with live music, and everyone’s favorite — Skating by the Sea, which features a spectacular ice rink on Windsor Lawn by the ocean.
San Diego November Events
San Diego events in November typically focus on food and drink and gearing up for the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving.
SAN DIEGO BEER WEEK
The annual San Diego Beer Week is happening between November 4 -12. Events throughout San Diego County showcase our 150+ independent craft breweries.
Craft beer will be flowing from participating restaurants, bars, and a beer garden or two. Check the calendar.
SAN DIEGO ZOO JUNGLE BELLS
Typically starting at the end of November, Jungle Bells is now occurring December 9 – January 1, 2023. The celebration includes lighted displays, seasonal food, live animal presentations, holiday decor, and more.
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SeaWorld San Diego Red, White, & Blue Salute / Christmas Celebration
Through December 31, 2022, Active Duty and up to three direct dependents may enjoy one complimentary admission through SeaWorld San Diego’s Waves of Honor program. Former military personnel plus three dependents can enjoy complimentary admission through November 13, 2022.
You’ll also be able to start celebrating Christmas at SeaWorld San Diego from November 14 through January 8! Meet Santa and Rudolph, catch Donner and Blitzen’s Lazer light show, or enjoy the sounds of the Holiday Brass band. Admission is included with regular park admission.
Refer to my post about buying cheap SeaWorld San Diego tickets.
Fleet Week San Diego
Fleet Week San Diego celebrates the men and women in the military. This year, Fleet Week begins its San Diego events on November 4 and ends with a Veteran’s Day Boat Parade and Football Classic on November 11 and 12.
TAKE IN THE SOUNDS AT THE SAN DIEGO JAZZ FEST
One of the longest-running annual musical festivals, this year, the San Diego jazz fest celebrates its 43rd year. Whether you like it smooth and blue, jazzy and spunky, or soulful gospel, you’ll find it all (and more!) at this five-day musical festival.
Thanksgiving Dinner — Eat Out or Grab a Chef Meal for Home
If you’re among the many wondering if a high-effort, multi-course Thanksgiving dinner makes sense for just your immediate family, you can go to one of the many San Diego restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner. Many of the same restaurants in that link are also offering chef-prepared meals that you can pick up to eat at home or in your vacation rental. These include:
- Pendry San Diego
- Hotel del Coronado
- Rancho Bernardo
- Rancho Valencia
Things to Do in San Diego in November
Things to do in San Diego in November that are worth considering include tide pooling and the beginning of our holiday activities. The first few weeks of the month are also excellent times to take a trip and visit San Diego theme parks because the crowds that came for Kids Free October are gone.
Go Tide Pooling
November begins tide pooling season in San Diego because one of our twice-daily low tides happens during daylight hours. The best times to go are during minus tides. You can check the online tide charts to find out when these occur.
Refer to my list of best tide pools in San Diego to find out where to go. A few of the best spots are actually tide pools in La Jolla. The easiest place in my seaside community to view tide pools during a low tide is along the La Jolla seal trail to hit a few popular spots like La Jolla Cove and Shell Beach.
Remember to practice good etiquette. Touch, but don’t take. Even a pretty shell could be a sea creature’s habitat. You should be able to see plenty of sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, and small fish.
Peep Fall Colors
While San Diego seasons sometimes feel like they’re all blending, a great thing to do in San Diego in November is to head over to the Japanese Friendship Garden. Some maple tree leaves turn color into pretty reds and oranges, but there are also a couple of exhibits to check out.
The first is the Maneki Neko, or lucky cat, collection on display through the month’s end. You may have seen these before, as they’re part of the Mingei Museum’s collection, but always fun for kids to see, too.
ENJOY A HOLIDAY CRUISE ON THE SAN DIEGO BAY
San Diego, California weather may be nearly perfect year-round for a Hornblower cruise, but we especially love their holiday cruises. Gather your family and friends for a fun and unforgettable brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise this holiday season, and spend Thanksgiving dinner out on the water instead of slaving over a turkey!
DRIVE THE Seasonal BELMONT PARK GO KART TRACK
Check out San Diego’s outdoor Go-Kart track during your visit to everyone’s favorite beachfront amusement park. Race your friends and family in a friendly competition to see who gets to the line first.
TAKE A WELLNESS-CENTRIC STAYCATION (OR VACATION)
It’s also a great time for San Diego residents to consider wellness-centric resorts like Rancho Valencia, where there are many fitness activities. Or recharge batteries at Golden Door, one of the best destination spas in the world. You’ll want to take advantage of my benefits at both places!
What to Wear in San Diego in November
Your San Diego packing list for a November visit will involve more pants and sweaters than you would need in October. It’s long sleeves weather. Right now, it’s November and raining. I’m wearing a sweater and boots, but my husband is in a T-shirt and shorts. You’ll see a mix of both outfits around town.
Here’s what to put in your suitcase:
- Portable umbrella
- Bathing suit and warmer cover-up
- Rashguard or UV shirt for sun protection and warmth
- Flip flops for the beach and pool
- Shorts for beachgoing
- T-Shirts (short-sleeved for exercise and beachgoing, but mostly long-sleeved otherwise)
- Pants or jeans
- Sweater or jacket for evenings
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing
- Casual dress or collared shirt and nice jeans (only if you plan to dine in one of our nicer restaurants )
- Sweaters and sweatshirts
- Wetsuit, if you have one (otherwise, they’re easy to rent)
You probably do not need a full-blown raincoat. Many San Diegans don’t even own one. I like to have a jacket that can double as a raincoat or get a little wet when I don’t feel like busting out an umbrella.
See also: Fall Things to Do in San Diego
We locals start firing up our car seat warmers and bringing out the UGG boots, but it’s really not that cold.
Restaurant patios that have spanned into the streets still welcome diners. It’s important to remember to support these businesses which will likely see reduced numbers because of shorter days and local tendencies to stay homebound when temperatures drop. It’s a weird time, for sure.
Please share your thoughts about San Diego in November!