While the rest of the country is suffering through another arctic freeze, San Diego sees some of its nicest weather in the winter, with average highs around 65 degrees and average lows around 50.
You may not get to wear your bathing suit — although the temperature can spike into the 80s on occasion — but you will get consistently clear and sunny days if you visit this time of year.
All of that mildness makes San Diego a perfect destination for hiking, biking and running in the winter months. The Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon are favorite destinations for runners, and there’s also the Mermaid Half Marathon, 10K and 5K for women; the Super Run 10K and 5K; and the Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K, which you can run solo or as part of a couple. (Add your times together and compete with other couples to be the fastest pair.)
If you want to get off your feet, but still enjoy the outdoors, try the Torrey Pines Gliderport. You can paraglide or hang glide with an experienced pilot, who will dip and soar you along the ocean cliffs. Or get a snack at the cafe and watch other people run off the cliffs with wings on their backs.
Reporting in from Torrey Pines glider port between meetings – this is the life, at least in late November pic.twitter.com/eUQNkafpkg
— Bill Aulet (@BillAulet) November 19, 2014
The winter months are also a good time to try whale watching tours, which are run in partnership with San Diego’s Birch Aquarium.
From December through April, thousands of gray whales pass through San Diego on their way to Baja, and a quick harbor tour can help you catch a glimpse.
You can also catch a ferry boat or water taxi to Coronado Island for dinner, or just take a walk along the beach.
San Diego gets fewer visitors in January and February — between 2,000 and 2,100 a month in 2014, compared with 4,500 in July — which means its popular tourism spots aren’t as packed.
Check out the many, many museums in Balboa Park, from the famous, like the San Diego Zoo, to the lesser-known, like the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The railroad museum is an underground hideaway filled with intricate setups from local railroad clubs.
— Belinda Jones (@belindatravels) January 31, 2015
The Mingei International Museum will have an exhibit on artist and blacksmith C. Carl Jennings through Feb. 23, and the San Diego Museum of Man extended its BEERology exhibit on craft beer through the summer.
Speaking of craft beer, if you like it, San Diego is the right place for you.
There are new craft breweries popping up every month, and many have tasting rooms in San Diego’s urban centers. Check out Mike Hess Brewing and Modern Times in North Park, both of which have nearby food options built in.
— Sarah Weinberg-Scalo (@SarahWScalo) November 9, 2014
Pizza restaurant URBN will walk its pies across the street to your table at Hess, while at Modern Times you can order from next door Tacos Perla using an app on your phone.
There’s also the famous Stone Brewing, which serves beer and local, seasonal gourmet food at its Escondido and San Diego locations, and brewery Ballast Point, which offers beer and food in its Little Italy tasting room. Also try Panama 66 for craft beer and small bites right in the middle of Balboa Park.
Starting in January of this year, San Diego will have an interactive theatre experience at the historic Lafayette Hotel. Called The Grift, the show brings visitors through the hotel and immerses them among the performers.
“’The Grift’ at the Lafayette Hotel takes audiences on a participatory journey through the extraordinary rooms and spaces of this expansive, 1940s-era landmark,” says the event’s description. “They are introduced to Ben, who, under mysterious circumstances, lived his entire life at the hotel.”
If you like to take your shows sitting down, the San Diego Jewish Film Festival runs in San Diego in February, this year the festival includes 96 short and feature-length films at theaters scattered throughout the area. Or, if you’d prefer to recline while you watch, try the luxury movie theater Cinépolis in Del Mar, where you can tilt your seat back, put your feet on a foot rest and order food and drinks from a touch screen at your seat.
Across the border
The wait times at the San Diego-Tijuana border have dropped steadily in the past year, making it easier to visit Mexico than in the past. Find the best time to cross using an app from UC San Diego, park and walk across the border bridge, or take a guided tour.
— DiscoverSD.com (@DiscoverSD) December 11, 2014
Touring company Turista Libre is run by an American journalist who lives in Tijuana and takes visitors on themed-trips that revolve around tacos, breweries, or salsa dancing.
January, February and March aren’t the warmest months in San Diego, but they are off-season, which means the city’s many attractions are less crowded. Visit at this time of year and you’ll get lots of sunshine and moderate temperatures, plus more room to explore.
San Diego has a lot more to offer than just the beach.
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