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San Diego in August

August sees the mercury top out in San Diego with average temperatures tickling the mid-70s and plenty of warm, dry weather for enjoying the city’s perfect parks and beautiful beaches. Dive in for our guide to visiting America’s craft beer capital during summer, and all the best things to do in San Diego in August (yes, it includes beer!)...

Visiting San Diego in August

Temperature: 66-79°F • Average Rainfall: 1 day/month • Average Sunshine: 9 hours/day

Family picnic in the park

Summer sizzles in San Diego. Expect hot August days sipping frozen daiquiris on the beach or picnicking in the shade of Balboa Park acacias, and balmy evenings marked by sunset strolls and rooftop cocktails. Unsurprisingly, the attractive climate, family-friendly attractions, and many summer-specific events and festivals mean August is also one of the busiest times of year, as tourists arrive in droves, all eager to achieve the perfect California tan.

Sunbathe sensibly though, kids. You’re aiming for light bronze rather than nuclear red, so don’t forget those all-important sunshine essentials: high-factor sunscreen, big hats and sunglasses and, for extended periods on the beach, a parasol or tent. Other than that, loose-fitting linens and cottons will serve you well, and there are plenty of air-conditioned galleries, museums and bars to duck into should the heat start to bite.

Book flights and accommodation well in advance; August is particularly popular with families as we’re deep into school holidays, so it pays to plan ahead to snag the best deals.

Check out our guide to where to stay in San Diego here.

There’s no avoiding the reality of longer summer queues at sought-after San Diego attractions, but knowing that you’ve saved a few dollars on entry will surely take the edge off. The Go San Diego pass can save you up to 50% if you plan to do some serious sightseeing, with entry to tours, activities and attractions including San Diego Zoo, the Whaley House Museum, the Museum of Art, and Petco Park Stadium, home of local heroes the San Diego Padres.

Find out more about Go San Diego pass options, and get yours here.

Things to do in San Diego in August

La Jolla Shores

Sunset at La Jolla Shores

No summer vacation in San Diego would be complete without a trip up to La Jolla, a sun-drenched coastal neighborhood in the north of the city, around 12 miles from downtown. The mild climate and soft golden sands make the beaches here absolutely perfect for long summer days spent building sandcastles with the kids, wiping out in the shallows on hired surfboards, and saying ‘hey’ to the resident sea turtles and harbor seals on kayak excursions to the nearby marine reserve. La Jolla Shores is a palm-fringed crescent that lies beneath pine-clad bluffs, and comes complete with a stunning pier, an uber-popular selfie spot with soaring struts and a long wooden platform from which to admire those famous pink California sunsets. Afterwards, fire up the BBQ for that most decadent of summer treats: starlit s’mores on the shore.

SeaWorld Summer Spectacular

SeaWorld in Mission Bay is a treat at just about any time of year, but especially during August when its Summer Spectacular is in full swing. This annual event supplements the already 19 aquariums and multiple thrill rides with a series of eye-popping live shows. We’re talking water-based stunts and acrobatics, pirate and mermaid parades, bombastic firework displays and a summer concert series featuring big names from the world of international pop music. Spectacular really is the word. Find out more here.

Padres Baseball Season

Baseball players in action

The Major Leagues baseball season is at its peak in August as teams slug it out for the title. You can expect several games featuring local legends the Padres at their home ground, Petco Park Stadium. The roar of the crowd, the soft-serve ice cream, the slightly warm beer… it’s practically a rite of passage for visitors to San Diego, and pretty much an essential August activity. Note that stadium tours (but not games) are included with the Go San Diego pass.

Horses for Courses

Baseball doesn’t float your boat? Perhaps horse-racing will. August also sees the Del Mar horse-racing season get into full gallop. The track here, north of the city, has a long and storied history that takes in Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and Seabiscuit. Catch thrilling races from late July through early September, and please gamble responsibly.

Beautiful Balboa Park

The carousel in Balboa Park

Balboa Park is just made for long, lazy summer days. We’re talking picnics by the picturesque Botanical Building (or, well, anywhere really), shaded woodland walking trails and one of the best zoos on the entire planet. What else? Well, there’s an old school carousel if you want to feel the wind in your hair (sort of) and an even older-school organ pavilion with live recitals on Sunday afternoons and free concerts in the evenings through summer. Chill in the zen Japanese Friendship Garden, and grab some selfies by the Spanish-Colonial masterpiece that is the Casa del Prado, jewel of the park’s broad El Prado Boulevard. And, if the heat gets too much (it has been known to hit the 90s here, fact fans), duck into the nearest air-conditioned museum. The San Diego Museum of Art, Air and Space Museum, Fleet Science Center, Museum of Us and Mingei International Museum (not to mention San Diego Zoo) are all included with the Go San Diego pass.

Read our guide to Balboa Park here.

Run in the Sun

This one’s for all the fitness fanatics out there! The modestly titled America’s Finest City Half Marathon takes place on a Sunday mid-August every year, giving participants a chance to take in the stunning SoCal scenery along a coastal route that takes in Point Loma, San Diego Bay and Balboa Park. There’s also a 5k that – ahem – runs in tandem with the main event, sticks to beautiful Balboa and the immediate vicinity and, critically, is far kinder on the knees. 

Beer, Glorious Beer

Men drinking beers in the summer sun

And if all that exercise has made you thirsty, you’re in luck. San Diego boasts a quite extraordinary number of microbreweries, from the Hillcrest Brewing Company to Modern Time, Ballast Point to the Belching Beaver. Get your hazy summer ale fix at these or any one of dozens more taprooms and dive bars across the city. Or hit up the rooftop bars in the atmospheric Gaslamp Quarter for sundowner cocktails.

Save on San Diego Attractions, Tours and Activities

Save on admission to San Diego attractions with Go City. Check out @GoCity on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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