November is finally here! Say goodbye to the spooky vibes of October and get ready to dive headfirst into the holiday season. This month, it’s all about embracing the fall aesthetic, so why not check out the most unique things to do this November? San Diego has an array of fantastic fall events throughout the entire month, including candlelit concerts, beer festivals, and more. And who knows, maybe this year you might finally flex that stylish light jacket if the weather permits!
1. Dia De Los Muertos
Although Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 2, San Diego offers an array of events until November 5 to honor the dead. Some of the neighborhoods that are having celebrations are Sherman Heights, Downtown Chula Vista, City Heights, Old Town, Encinitas, and Barrio Logan, as well as Old Globe, California’s Center for the Arts, and SeaWorld.
2. San Diego Beer Week
For beer lovers, San Diego Beer Week is a hoppy paradise. From November 3 to 12, this 10-day celebration of all things craft beer brings together the best breweries and venues across the city to participate in tastings, special releases, and food pairings. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the thriving local craft beer scene.
3. Candlelight concerts
Fall in love with the enchanting melodies at various Candlelight Concerts throughout November. These musical performances in iconic San Diego locations add a touch of magic to your evenings, creating a perfect blend of music and ambiance to round out your fall festivities.
4. Fleet Week San Diego
From November 3 to 12, experience one of San Diego’s biggest military events featuring thrilling military displays and high-tech equipment in the Innovation Zone. You can also take Navy & Coast Guard ship tours and then enjoy the live music, food, and fun of the whole event! Enjoy the military Veterans Art Exhibit on November 8 to 13 and the Veteran’s Day Boat Parade on November 12.
📍Point Loma Plaza
5. San Diego Asian Film Festival
Are you a movie buff? Well, November in San Diego only means one thing: the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF). This cinematic extravaganza spans from November 2 to 11 and offers more than 130 films at select cinemas throughout San Diego County. Renowned for being the largest showcase of Asian cinema in Western United States, SDAFF is a must for those eager to explore captivating narratives and independent works from Asia.
6. Carlsbad Village Faire
On November 5 head up the coast to Carlsbad, and you’ll find the Fall Village Faire, the largest one-day street faire anywhere! The village features 900 arts and crafts booths, antiques, a Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, an international food center, a huge section with children’s rides, and a certified Farmer’s Market. Stroll along the streets, shop for unique gifts, and enjoy the beautiful coastal city of Carlsbad. FYI, there will be free shuttle bus service from the Shoppes at Carlsbad and the Coaster Station .
📍Grand Avenue between Carlsbad Blvd. and Jefferson St., Carlsbad
San Diego Wine & Food Festival
From November 11 to 14, sailboats and sandy beaches serve as the backdrop to the fabulous San Diego Wine and Food Festival. The festival will feature dozens of events, hundreds of domestic and international wineries showing off their best wines, as well as many craft beer and spirits. Many local culinary masters and celebrities will be at the Grand Tasting on November 12.
📍Embarcadero Marina Park North
7. Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration
Starting on November 17, Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration is on! The annual Christmas show is a holiday fan favorite. There will be seasonal shopping, festive food and drinks, and stunning live shows for the whole family to enjoy. The celebrations last until January 7, 2024..
📍500 SeaWorld Dr.
8. Fall Back Festival
Call the family because it’s a free, fun day Sunday at the Fall Back Festival. This cute children’s historical street faire takes place in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter on November 5. Learn about San Diego’s rich cultural history by participating in various interactive activities and demonstrations. And for more fun, get down and dirty with a pie-eating contest!
9. Holidays At Legoland
From November 18 to January 7 you can experience the holidays with a LEGO twist! There will be music and cheer at LEGOLAND, which will all culminate with the world’s biggest LEGO Christmas Tree. Santa’s elves will be busy at work and singing in Fun Town. Bring the fam and can take a picture with a life-sized LEGO Santa and Reindeer to remember the magic of the holidays.
📍One Legoland Dr.
10. San Diego Botanical Garden Lightscape
Experience the magic of the holiday season at the San Diego Botanic Garden Lightscape. Starting November 17 and continuing through December until January 1, this event transforms the garden into a mesmerizing wonderland of lights. From musical light shows to new and enchanting fan-favorite displays, indulge in the magic of the holidays as nature and art merge in a mesmerizing display.
📍San Diego Botanical Garden
Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. And as San Diegans, we are luckier than most, as our sunny days continue but have a distinct touch of fall. Before or after your Thanksgiving feast, you and the family can enjoy the gorgeous California outdoors. You could get ahead of holiday shopping, enjoy a day at the beach, and so much more! You can even volunteer your time at a food bank and make Thanksgiving a beautiful day for others!
12. Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Did you know that the one and only Dr.Seuss was a San Diegan through and through? Well, from November 8 to December 31, you can relive the magic of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a musical. Based on this literary classic, the whimsical musical is sure to bring the kid out of even the biggest Grinch around.
📍1363 Old Globe Way
13. Ebenezer Scrooge’s Big San Diego Christmas Show
Ebenezer Scrooge’s Big San Diego Christmas Show will celebrate the joy of Christmas from November 17 to December 24. This theatrical reimagining of the beloved Christmas tale will take you straight back to your childhood and introduce little ones to the iconic ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future —but with a funny local twist.
📍1363 Old Globe Way
14. Skating By The Sea
Ice skating during the holiday season is essential, and from November 17 to January 7, Skating By The Sea awaits. This spectacular seaside ice rink on Hotel del Coronado features stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado beach. Best of all, the proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish San Diego, so this holiday season, give back and make all the fun worth it. And if after skating you feel hungry, head down to the ocean-side Frostbite Lounge, where you can unwind in plush seating next to roaring fire pits and enjoy delectable bites.
📍1500 Orange Ave, Coronado
15. Santa Train North Pole Limited
All aboard the Santa Train North Pole Limited! From November 24 to December 18, the holiday magic is on full steam ahead. Get ready for Christmas carols, delicious cookies, hot cocoa, The Night Before Christmas, and the big guy himself, Santa. Make sure to arrive 45 minutes before your train departs to avoid delays. The train ride lasts 90 minutes total.
📍750 Depot St, Campo
16. Encinitas Holiday Street Fair
Start your November shopping at the Encinitas Holiday Street Fair, where you can find unique gifts, holiday décor, and an array of delicious foods from local vendors. On November 19, this event is a fantastic way to kick off your holiday shopping and soak up the festive atmosphere.
📍Coast Highway 101 between D and J Streets, Encinitas
Julian Country Christmas And Tree Lighting
Nothing screams Christmas like a good old-fashioned tree-lighting ceremony. The Julian Country Christmas event on November 25 is a beautiful way of feeling the spirit of Christmas once more. This year, the tree lightning will take place at the new “Town Square” location on the corner of Main Street and Washington. So get ready to take pictures on sleigh rides, roast chestnuts on open fires, and paint the whole town Jack Frost white.
📍Julian Town Square