San Diego

The Best Weekend Getaways Near San Diego This Fall

Wine tasting, remote hiking, and camping.

benedek/E+/Getty Images
benedek/E+/Getty Images
benedek/E+/Getty Images

San Diego can feel like the promised land: the weather is always perfect, the people are always happy, and there’s a seemingly endless number of restaurants, breweries, and cultural events that pop up every weekend. That said, variety is the spice of life, and it’s always good to supplement all the natural beauty and sunshine that San Diego offers with trips to… well, other beautiful and sunny locales. If you’re looking to break up your routine in town, here are eight getaways for everything from wine tasting to remote hiking and camping. And if you’re not looking to break up your routine in town, well, we’ve got you covered there too. As always, plan your weekend trips with safety in mind, pack a mask, hand sanitizer, and plenty of sunscreen so you’ll return home with nothing more severe than a hangover, and double check your destination-you don’t want to arrive only to find it’s been closed.

Photo courtesy of Telefonica Gastro Park
Photo courtesy of Telefonica Gastro Park
Photo courtesy of Telefonica Gastro Park

Best Food Getaway: Tijuana, Mexico

San Diego’s culinary scene continues to delight us with exciting restaurant concepts, but sometimes you need to shake things up a little. If you’ve been craving something just a little extra, you’re in luck, because with a passport, a 30-minute drive, and a border crossing, you’ll find a culturally diverse, homegrown food destination that rivals any up-and-coming neighborhood. From hip new pop-ups to gourmet sit-downs and a thriving craft beer industry, you’re in for an amazing experience in Tijuana.

A must-visit is Avenida Revolución in Zona Centro, where you’ll find several craft breweries within walking distance, including Telefonica Gastro Park, a central craft brewery, and Cervecería Lírica, surrounded by a variety of food stalls in a welcoming open space. On the other end of the spectrum, Javier Placencia’s Mision 19, gives you an upscale experience and offers both regular and vegan tasting menus.

How to get there: Tijuana is a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego across the border via I-5 South. You can also take the trolley south to San Ysidro and walk across the border. From there, you can take an Uber anywhere in town without spending too much money. Don’t forget your passport.
Where to stay: Find an AirBnb near Tijuana.

Brandi Lyon Photography/Shutterstock
Brandi Lyon Photography/Shutterstock
Brandi Lyon Photography/Shutterstock

Best Family Getaway: Julian, California

If spending the equivalent of your monthly rent isn’t your idea of a good time, visit Julian, a family-friendly getaway that doesn’t involve endless standing in line or maxing out your credit card.

A small, historic gold mining town in the mountains of the far eastern reaches of the county, Julian is renowned for its fall harvest season-specifically, its apple harvesting season. The town hosted its Apple Days festival for over a century to celebrate its famed fruit export and Julian apples have notoriously won blue ribbons at World Fairs from Chicago to Saint Louis. The festival became so popular that Julian expanded the fun to two full months, with everything from pie eating contests, to the town’s country fair, to the local apple scavenger hunt falling within the celebration window. This year, things are still scaled back a bit, but you can indulge in all things apple-season related at the many locally owned and operated orchards and shops.

If you aren’t so keen on autumnal activities, you can take your kids to the California Wolf Center for an awe-inspiring educational day or take a hike to the popular Three Sisters Falls within the Cleveland National Forest just south of town. And, no matter what, make sure you end your day at one of the numerous apple pie purveyors in town-it really will be the best apple pie you’ve ever had.

How to get there: Julian is a 75-minute drive east from downtown San Diego on CA-78 E.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Julian.

Doffo Winery
Doffo Winery
Doffo Winery

Best Wine-Lover’s Getaway: Temecula, California

While some wine snobs may still scoff at the wines of Southern California in favor of the grapes of Napa or even Paso Robles, the vineyards of Temecula Valley have established a reputation over the last decade for producing fantastic syrahs and cabernets. 

With more than 40 vineyards throughout the region, you can find something to satisfy any tasting desire, from lavish, over-the-top wine resorts like South Coast Winery to smaller, mom-and pop operations like Doffo Winery (which just so happens to feature a fascinating collection of vintage motorcycles). Any time of year is great for a visit, though it’s particularly picturesque during the annual Balloon and Wine Festival at the end of May. For the easiest, most chill tour ever, hop aboard an authentic, fully-restored 1914 San Francisco cable car and enjoy gorgeous, open-air views of wine country without the hassle of driving. Temecula Cable Car Wine Tours offers a five-hour adventure to three local wineries that includes lunch, as well as private and seasonal tours.

How to get there: Take I-15 North roughly 75 minutes north from downtown.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Temecula.

Barna Tanko/Shutterstock
Barna Tanko/Shutterstock
Barna Tanko/Shutterstock

Best Free Getaway: Slab City, California

If you want to spend absolutely no money while getting just a wee bit weird, roll on through Slab City, located just a few miles outside Niland on the southeastern rim of the Salton Sea.

Part anarchist collective, part hippie commune, Slab City is frequently referred to as the “Last Free Place in America,” and if you’re willing to trade and barter to get by during your time in this desert alternative camping community, you’re sure to meet some colorful characters living lawless on the outskirts among the numerous art installations that populate the town. You might be familiar with Slab City from Into the Wild, which chronicled the time Chris McCandless spent living in The Slabs; it hasn’t changed much in the years since McCandless visited.

How to get there: Take I-8 East two-and-a-half-hours out to the Salton Sea. Make sure you come packed with all the supplies you’ll need; bartering is hard to do if you don’t have anything to trade.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Slab City.

fox_lei/Shutterstock
fox_lei/Shutterstock
fox_lei/Shutterstock

Best Cultural Getaway: Solvang, California

Solvang” means “sunny field” in Danish, and one stroll through the town will help you understand why it’s rightfully referred to as the Danish Capital of America. The small town in the Santa Ynez Valley was intentionally constructed to replicate traditional Danish architecture styles (you bet your ass there’s windmills), and has remained a tourist attraction for its fantastic bakeries, as well as its famed Danish Days folk celebration at the end of each September, which, in normal times, famously includes an aebleskiver eating contest.

If competitive apple pastry eating contests aren’t quite your thing, make sure to stop by for the renowned Garagiste Wine Festival, which showcases up-and-coming wineries from across the state. Frequently cited as one of the best wine festivals in the country, Garagiste only allows wineries that produce less than 1,500 cases of wine each year into the festival, to ensure the festival stays true to its artisanal roots.

How to get there: Drive four hours north on I-5 North and US 101-North from downtown San Diego.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Solvang.

June Lake Loop
June Lake Loop
June Lake Loop

Best Mountain Getaway: June Lake / Mammoth Lakes, California

Big Bear Lake is generally too packed and too much of a traffic nightmare to really feel like a mountain getaway, so instead, pack your bags and prepare for a longer haul on the drive up to June Lake and Mammoth Lake, two gems of the Eastern Sierra.

The drive up 395-North is replete with great stops along the way-Schat’s Bakery and the Burger Barn in Bishop are always worth a visit-and each town offers a different version of the classic mountain town getaway. Mammoth, as more of a destination resort town, offers world-class mountain biking and skiing; while June, which has more of a small-town vibe, is home to some of the best fly-fishing in the state. Stop by the Ohana food truck at June Lake Brewing for some incredible Hawaiian food while you’re there, or take in the happy hour at Roberto’s for killer margaritas and duck burritos.

How to get there: Take 35-North six-and-a-half hours from San Diego.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near June Lake.

Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock
Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock
Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

Best (Non-Casino) Vegas Getaway: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

Everyone in San Diego knows the traditional recipe of a Vegas getaway: Make an impromptu trip one weekend, spend way too much money on drinks at various clubs and pool parties, pretend to be invincible by drinking no water all weekend, and then limp home with a vicious hangover, lighter wallet, and killer sunburn. After a while, that kinda loses its appeal, but if you look just a few minutes outside of Sin City, you’ll find the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and its abundance of outdoor activities.

With thousands of climbing routes of all difficulties found throughout the Conservation Area’s 198,000 acres and fantastic hiking and remote camping, it’s a great getaway into nature found in an area where most wouldn’t think to look. Even if you’re not much into outdoor sports, the stargazing at Red Rock Canyon is second to none.

How to get there: Take I-15 North five hours from downtown San Diego.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Red Rock Canyon.

Bram Reusen/Shutterstock
Bram Reusen/Shutterstock
Bram Reusen/Shutterstock

Best Island Getaway: Channel Islands National Park, Santa Barbara County

Leaving San Diego to go to a beach getaway might seem a bit foolish, but if you’re going to venture to shorelines outside the ones offered inside the city, you may as well go for the full monty at Channel Islands National Park.

With a topography and ecology that isn’t really reminiscent of anywhere else in the mainland United States, the five Channel Islands you can access are home to excellent hiking, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, camping, and whale watching. The islands are teeming with wildlife, and a trip to any of them is not only a chance to see thousands of seals and sea lions, but to also take a trip back in time, and see what Pacific islands look like when not exposed to overdevelopment. If you really want to feel like you’re at the end of the world, endure the stomach-churning three hour ferry ride out to San Miguel Island, the westernmost and most wind-battered of all the islands.

How to get there: Drive three hours on I-5 North and US-101 North to Ventura Harbor, then hop on a ferry to one of the five islands that range between one to three hours travel time on the water.
Where to stay: Find an Airbnb near Channel Islands.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Rob Pursell is a writer focused on anything from culture to sport to dining and nightlife, whose reporting career has brought him everywhere from Virginian hippie communes to the dining tables of competitive hot dog eaters.

Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.

San Diego

How to Celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego

Check out female-led dance programs, pop up markets, beer dinners, and more events this March.

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Women have played a huge part shaping San Diego into the city it is today. In celebration of Women’s History Month, there are a variety of events across the city that commemorate women’s contributions to our community and culture. Home to the Women’s Museum of California, which hosts events throughout the year, be sure to check out all the ways to support and honor women this month. From art exhibits to dance performances, pop-up markets and yoga, check out the best events to celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego:

Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art

Discover works from overlooked women artists

Ongoing through November 7, 2023
Balboa Park
The San Diego Museum of Art currently has 20 modern and contemporary works of art on display from women who unjustly didn’t receive the same amount of fame as their male contemporaries. The museum’s Modern Women exhibit is your chance to see work from artists like Elaine de Kooning and Lee Krasner, who were overshadowed by artist husbands Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock but whose work has long deserved its own moment in the spotlight. The collection showcases pieces that range from acrylic paintings to photography, inviting us into an untapped artistic sphere.
Cost: $20

Practice Sun Salutations while supporting a good cause

Saturday, March 4, 10 am to 11 am
Pacific Beach
Make a difference in the lives of teen girls of colour while taking a yoga class at Kate Sessions Park. Organized by local nonprofit One Love Movement, all donations for the event go towards college scholarships for girls of the DETOUR F.A.N.C.Y. Expo & Leadership Academy, a mentorship program that promotes equity and inclusion in higher education for girls of colour. All while enjoying stunning views of Mission Bay.
Cost: Donation-based

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Shop local women-owned businesses

Sunday, March 5, 1 pm to 5 pm
Middletown
What better way to celebrate the women in your community than by supporting their local businesses? The Women’s History Month Market, located in the FEMX Quarters venue, is a pop up market you don’t want to miss. The market will feature over 35 vendors from women artisans and you’ll find uniquely crafted sunglasses, jewellery, clothing, and more. The family-friendly (and pet-friendly) event will also include food and music.
Cost: Free

Drink beer crafted by female brewers on International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 8, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Escondido
Women were the original brewers of ale, after all, so it only makes sense to honour our past and present beer connoisseurs with dinner and brews. Located at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Stone International Women’s Day Beer Dinner features three courses, each paired with a tasty beer specially brewed by a team of women at Stone Brewery. The event is part of a larger global celebration for International Women’s Day, where brewers all over the world brew a speciality beer that supports The Pink Boots Society, a non profit that empowers women and non-binary people in the beer industry through scholarships and education. Grab your tickets while you can! 21+
Cost: $50-$70

Attend an exhibition celebrating female and non-binary artists

Saturday, March 11, 5:00 pm
Barrio Logan
Head over to the entertainment and community venue Corazon del Barrio and show your support to female and non-binary artists, whose art and music will be featured in the Diosa Art Show. Around 40 artists are on the bill at this all-ages event.
Cost: Free

Drink some pints for the pups

Saturday, March 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Carmel Mountain
If you need another excuse to down some brews, Second Chance Beer Company is hosting its first ever Ladies & Pups Market for Women’s History Month. The brewery, which holds various events throughout the year, donates a percentage of its sales to animal rescue organizations in California and Arizona. The dog-friendly market will include pop ups from women-owned businesses such as Bold Bouquet, Wet Nose Pottery, and No, You Sit! Treats. For the occasion, Second Chance will serve Fistful of Gummies – Berry Edition, a rendition of their fruited sour beer created in collaboration with Pink Boots Society, an organization that supports women and non-binary individuals in the beer industry.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Women's Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California

Attend a ceremony at the Women’s Museum of California

Saturday, March 18, 11 am to 1 pm
Rolando
Perhaps San Diego’s largest Women’s History Month event, the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes local women for their achievements in the community. The annual event, which takes place at Joan B. Kroc Theatre, is a project of the Women’s Museum of California, a museum dedicated to educating the public about women’s contributions through history with exhibits, programs, and events. Over 100 women have been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame since the program was founded in 2001, and this year’s class includes notable women like activist Norma Ch√°vez-Peterson and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. The event includes a VIP brunch followed by the Induction Ceremony. Be sure to purchase tickets early to secure your spot.
Cost: $20-$150

Join a community of local women and get inspired

Monday, March 20, 5 pm to 7:30 pm
Miramar
The Women’s Speaker Series at Alesmith Brewing Company is a monthly community gathering where local women come together to support one another in achieving professional and personal goals. The event includes a social hour followed by a selected speaker. For this month, the Women’s Speaker Series features career coach and small business owner Laura Bashore, who will share her insight on how you can advance your career or business. Make sure to reserve your spot before attending!
Cost: Free

Come hear about the roles San Diego women played during World War II

Tuesday, March 21, 1 pm to 3 pm
Mission Valley
In the early 20th century, many women were not allowed or expected to be the breadwinners for their households, but things suddenly changed with the United States’ entry into World War II. Here’s your chance to learn about the real experiences of women who lived through WWll and how they navigated through it all. Presented by Oasis San Diego, head over to Mission Valley Library to attend this in-person event.
Cost: Free

Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project

Attend a ballet program choreographed entirely by women

Thursday, March 23 ‚Äď Saturday, March 25 & Monday, March 27, 7:30 pm
Liberty Station
Experience not one but three world premiere ballet performances at The Rosin Box Project, a contemporary ballet company that works to redefine the concept of dance and how it’s experienced for both artists and audiences. To coincide with Women’s History Month, TRBP is kicking off its 2023 season with Empower, a female-led ballet program choreographed by TRBO Residents Lauren Flower, Bethany Green, and Carly Topazio. The program, which takes place at Light Box Theater, offers a fresh take on dance by pushing the boundaries of traditional ballet. Your ticket includes a post-show reception.
Cost: $45

Hear music by a little-known female early 20th-century composer

Friday, March 24, 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Balboa Park
While you may not be familiar with composer Alice Barnett Stevenson, she played an integral part in San Diego’s music scene during the early 1900s. Stevenson was an active member of various music organizations at the time, and she composed art songs for voice and piano and performed at schools all over the country. Her home became a hub for local recitals from visiting musicians, and was also where the San Diego Symphony was founded. This month, you can hear her compositions performed live for the first time in nearly 100 years at the San Diego History Center. Selected works by Stevenson will be performed by musical scholar Katina Mitchell and pianist Yewon Lee. Be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Cost: $25-$40

Listen to Black San Diego women discuss important community issues

Saturday, March 25, 12 pm to 4 pm
Valencia Park
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Friends of Malcolm X Library are hosting Ain’t I a Woman, an event featuring Black women who will be speaking about their professions and discussing the challenges faced within the workplace and the community while offering suggestions on how to further enhance and embrace equality. The event includes a Q&A panel discussion, door prizes, free raffles, as well as music, poetry, and dance. Seating is limited so be sure to reserve your spot early.
Cost: Free event. Lunch purchase is $15.

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Michelle Harris¬†is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Over the years her writing has also appeared in¬†Atlas Obscura,¬†Mental Floss, and¬†Audubon Magazine. When she’s not busy typing, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and cooking vegan food.

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