The 10 Best Spring Activities in San Diego

carlsbad flower fields of red yellow and orange

Spring is an absolutely stunning time to experience San Diego. The sun is shining bright, and the crowds are delightfully smaller. Beginning in March, many outdoor venues showcase various concerts and events, while the weather is ideal for indulging in all sorts of water sports. So, if you’re looking for a tranquil escape during the slow season, you simply can’t afford to miss out on these exciting San Diego Spring activities. Get ready to immerse yourself in the perfect blend of natural beauty and thrilling adventures!

1. The Carlsbad Flower Fields

The most popular blooms in San Diego are found at the world-famous Carlsbad Flower Fields. Open from March to May, this 50-acre field features a stunning array of rainbow-colored ranunculus flowers that are a sight to behold. You simply have to see it to believe it! To ensure everyone’s safety, tickets must be purchased online, and visitors are given designated entry times to avoid overcrowding. Adult tickets start at $23, and children aged 3-10 can enjoy the flower extravaganza for just $12.

Note, the Carlsbad Flower Fields are about a 30 minute drive from central San Diego but parking is free! You can even visit the Armstrong Garden Center and take home some ranunculus flowers or seeds for your own garden! Watch a video about it here. If you want to stay at a nearby hotel, check out the Cassara Carlsbad. They offer “stay and play” packages that include admission to the Flower Fields.

2. Concerts at the Rady Shell

If you’re a music enthusiast looking for an exceptional concert experience, San Diego’s newest outdoor venue, the Rady Shell, should definitely be on your list. Nestled along the waterfront, this venue regularly hosts the San Diego Symphony and other talented artists. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a movie screening here!

Ticket prices start at an affordable $25 for open lawn seating, while table seating can go up to over $100. With a variety of food options available on site, and great deals on bottles of wine, you’re guaranteed a delightful evening of entertainment and relaxation.

3. Snapdragon Stadium Games

Check out Snapdragon Stadium, the newest sports venue in San Diego, which hosts some of the most thrilling sports events in the city! Cheer on the NWSL San Diego Wave women’s soccer team, featuring top-notch Olympians like Alex Morgan, Kailen Shariden, Emily Van Egmond, and many more. And that’s not all!

During the spring season, you can also enjoy watching matches from other local teams such as Legion rugby, Seals lacrosse, and San Diego State University soccer. Most tickets are $30 or less, making it an affordable and exciting night out with friends and family. Plus, Snapdragon Stadium offers a diverse range of local food stands, with no national chains in sight, just the most loved and cherished food spots in the city.

white decorative Roman columns and a blue sky

4. Balboa Park Blooms

Spring is one of the most wonderful seasons in San Diego, and if you are looking for an incredible way to experience it, look no further than Balboa Park. Here, you’ll have two options for indulging in the beauty of Spring. First, head over to the 12 acre Japanese Friendship Garden and enjoy the dazzling cherry blossoms from over 200 trees. This stunning garden comes alive during the month of March, with a major Japanese cultural celebration weekend at Balboa Park.

Alternatively, head over to the San Diego Museum of Art, which hosts the annual Bloom Bash during the Spring. This event celebrates the return of sunshine and features local craft food and cocktails, art installations, live performances, and music. Plus, you can enjoy the Museum galleries and be among the first to see the beautiful Art Alive floral exhibition. If you time your visit just right, you may be able to catch both options!

5. Whale Watching & Other Boat Tours

There are tons of ways to get out on the water in San Diego during the Spring. One of the most special experiences is whale watching with Sail San Diego. Take a 2 hour tour of the bay or venture further out to have a chance to see migrating whales. Ticket prices also include an unlimited variety of snacks and drinks, including alcohol choices. Each boat can fit up to 8 people and there’s always the option to charter the whole boat for your group. Use my discount code SAILWITHMEGAN for 5% off!

Another unique option is Tiki Time Bay Tours. The company offers a variety of tours, all aboard a charming tiki boat with a live improv tour guide. During the cruise, guests can sit back, relax, and revel in the breathtaking views of the city skyline, Coronado Bridge, and the Coronado Island while sipping on tropical drinks. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Tiki Time Bay Tours is a must-do activity that will leave you with unforgettable memories of San Diego. Use TIKIMEGAN for 25% off your ticket!

6. St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Cutwater Spirits St. Patrick's Day meal

Perhaps one of the most beloved spring activities in San Diego is St. Patty’s Day. Local bars and breweries get so excited about this time of year and you’ll see great deals all over the city. Some of the best local craft breweries are Duck Foot Brewing (bonus points for being gluten reduced!) , Burgeon Beer, and Pure Project Brewing.

You could also check out these classic Irish Pubs: The Field Irish Pub (Gaslamp) or The Harp (Ocean Beach). If craft cocktails are more of your vibe, check out these local distillers: Old Harbor Distilling, Storyhouse Spirits, Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room, You & Yours Distillery, or any of these rooftop bar venues.

a rooftop movie happening in downtown San Diego at night
photo via Rooftop Cinema Club

7. Rooftop Cinema Club

When the sun comes back to San Diego, the city welcomes back one if it’s most unique venues, the Rooftop Cinema Club at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. This breathtaking outdoor movie experience is incredibly affordable and is sure to be memorable. Enjoy a full food and drink menu as well as the classic movie theatre popcorn and candy. Showings include both classics and modern hits such as Top Gun, Mean Girls, La La Land, Anchorman, and more.

What’s even more exciting, is the “Woof-top” showings where you can bring your dog with you to see a kid-friendly showing and enjoy the night together.

Note: Most evening showings are restricted to ages 18+ over. Use meganelisevarela to save 25% on your tickets!

8. Butterfly Garden at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Once a year, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park hosts a special butterfly exhibit where you’ll have the opportunity to witness the beautiful and intricate life cycle of butterflies up close. You’ll see thousands of domestic and exotic species fluttering around you in a specially-designed enclosure that mimics their natural habitat and creates phenomenal photo opportunities. Admission costs an additional $15 per person for this 30 minute tour.

If you’re looking for an even more thrilling experience, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers a variety of cart safari options, including the popular Mimosa Safari. This exciting adventure takes you on a guided tour of the park while enjoying a delicious breakfast spread and sipping on mimosas. You’ll get up close and personal with some of the park’s most beloved animals and learn more about their habitats and behaviors from knowledgeable guides. The Mimosa Safari is a great way to start your day and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the park. Watch a quick review of it on TikTok.

9. Padres Games

Attending a Padres game is a must-do experience for any sports fan visiting San Diego. Not only do you get to watch a Major League Baseball game in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country, but you also get to enjoy stunning views of the San Diego Bay and the city skyline. The atmosphere is electric, when everyone comes together to cheer on the team! 

Make sure you check out the local food and beverage stands like Seaside Market, Hodad’s, Board & Brew, Cutwater Spirits, Ballast Point Brewing, and more!

10. Margaritas & Cinco de Mayo Festivities

As a beloved border town, San Diegans pride themselves on having some of the best Mexican food and margaritas in the country! Old Town San Diego comes alive in the Spring for Cinco de Mayo festivities including folklorico performances, mariachi bands, and food specials at the many restaurants on San Diego Ave. My personal favorite in the area is Cafe Coyote!

If you’d rather go downtown, check out King & Queen Cantina or El Chingon. You’ll be able to find tons of craft tequila and margarita specials throughout the whole city wherever you go!

Spring in San Diego is the best of both worlds, smaller crowds, warmer weather, and tons of activities to choose from! You won’t be disappointed planning a visit during this time of year! 

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