Admittedly, I moved to San Diego from the East Coast to escape the New England winter, I didn’t realize that meant giving up fall, too. This will be my fifth fall in SD and to be honest I’m still not over it. Don’t get me wrong, going to the beach straight through September is pretty awesome but by October 1st I want flannels, sweaters, boots, and hot chai lattes. So if 100 plus degree weather in October (thanks global warming) or even 70 degree weather in November has given you culture shock here’s a list of the best ways to get your fall fix in San Diego.
There’s no more iconic indicator of fall than the leaves changing colors and falling to the ground, that’s why it’s called fall after all. Unfortunately, palm trees look pretty much the same year round, but there are a few secret spots around San Diego where you can catch the leaves changing.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa park is a great place to watch the seasons change all year round, so relax by the Koi ponds and take in the fall foliage. Tickets are $8 with your student I.D.
If you don’t feel like spending the money on admissions at the friendship garden take a stroll through Balboa Park for free.
Apple (Pie) Picking
Apples are my favorite fall ingredient (sorry, not sorry, pumpkin spice), and apple picking is time honored fall tradition. Julian, CA is famous for their apple orchards. Unfortunately, all the orchards close for the season at the end of September, but Julian offers a pretty sweet consolation prize year round – that’s right I’m talking about the Julian Pie Company.
Sure, it’s a long drive to Julian and you could just pick one up at Von’s but nothing beats a warm, fresh baked slice of Julian apple pie and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous you can get yours with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese-yes it’s weird, but it’s also life changing.
Or you can skip the trip and order one of my favorite underrated fall drinks at Starbucks: the Caramel Apple Spice. “Steamed, freshly pressed apple juice and cinnamon syrup. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and caramel drizzle,” it’s basically apple pie in a cup so save it for special occasions.
Outdoor Ice Skating
Finally, if you’re feeling especially homesick for changing seasons you can go outdoor ice skating. Yep, you read that right, outdoor ice skating in San Diego. Believe it or not there’s more than one spot to go outdoor skating in SD.
- Skating by the Sea at Hotel Del in Coronado open from November 23-January 1 and tickets will cost $30 (insta-worthy photo opp included, see photo above).
- Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station open from November 16-January 7 and adult tickets are $14. Have fun and do good, all proceeds go to the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s.
Winter and finals are quickly approaching and before you know it you’ll be home for the holidays and hopefully these activities will help you stave off the homesickness until then. With that in mind, remember to make time for you! Balance is important, so take a break from studying and essay writing and see what San Diego has to offer.