November in San Diego: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Winter Sunset at Scripps Pier in San Diego
Winter Sunset at Scripps Pier in San Diego.

Moment Editorial / Getty Images

Tourism in San Diego begins to wane in November, meaning less crowded attractions, cheaper hotel prices, and open tables at the city's top restaurants. The month starts out quiet and gets slightly busier as the holidays creep closer. A slew of food and booze-themed events keep the calendar packed until the holidays roll around in this perpetually sunshiny city.

San Diego Weather in November

November is the beginning of San Diego's rainy season, beckoning the most unpredictable weather of the year. Although precipitation doesn't peak until January, the monthly rainfall can drop all on the same day, especially during "winter" storms.

  • Average high: 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius)
  • Water temperature: 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius)
  • Rain: 4 days
  • Rainfall: 1.01 inches (2.6 centimeters)
  • Daylight: 10 hours
  • Sunshine: 7.7 hours
  • Humidity: 66 percent
  • UV index: 4

Water-wise, the ocean gets cold by November. This is when San Diego's resident surfers begin donning their boots and hoodies over thick wetsuits. Cold water aside, though, the waves are optimal as San Diego's peak surf season continues through the month.

What to Pack

Long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and layers are ideal for San Diego's sometimes chilly fall weather. The city is famously laidback, so feel free to keep your look casual unless you're looking to get dolled up for a night out in the Gaslamp Quarter. Pack an umbrella or rain jacket with a hood for rainy days and a warm jacket for after-dark outings. Sunscreen and a good pair of walking shoes are absolute musts. You won't need a winter coat unless you plan to take a side trip to nearby Julian or up to Big Bear Lake.

November Events in San Diego

San Diego puts on several fall festivals throughout November and holiday events begin ramping up toward the end of the month.

  • Mother Goose Parade: The town of El Cajon has been hosting this fairytale-themed parade for more than 60 years. In fact, many locals consider it the unofficial start of the Christmas season. 2020's whimsical floats, bands, and marchers will be centered around the theme "A Whole New World." It will take place virtually—televised on ABC10 News—on November 22.
  • Fleet Week San Diego: Fleet Week celebrates San Diego's military personnel with a schedule of concerts, parades, and a popular air show. In 2020, it will be held from November 9 to 15.
  • San Diego Jazz Festival: Some jazz music fans call this event "the crown jewel of jazz festivals." Performers represent a wide variety of jazz styles, including classical, Dixieland, ragtime, swing, and rockabilly. They perform in venues that range from small, intimate listening rooms to large concert halls with dance floors. 2020's Jazz Festival will be held virtually from November 25 to 29.
  • San Diego Beer Week: In addition to gobbling turkey and tasting the trimmings, why not indulge in the regional specialty, craft beer? You can celebrate the city's vibrant brewing scene during this 10-day festival, taking place at various venues throughout San Diego from November 6 to 15, 2020.
  • Fall Back Festival: In addition to setting back the clocks, you can travel back in time even further at San Diego's Fall Back Festival. This event transforms the Gaslamp Quarter into a western town from the 1880s. It's scheduled for November 1, 2020.

November Travel Tips

  • Daylight Savings time ends in early November, which will push the clocks back and make it seem like the sun is setting earlier. Many local attractions may change their hours accordingly.
  • Expect closures on and around Thanksgiving.
  • Tourism is quiet in early November, but hotel prices will continue to rise as the holidays get nearer.
  • Anytime a big convention comes to town, hotels in the Gaslamp and downtown fill up and room rates increase. Check the calendar for these before you go.
  • For a look at local events, check the San Diego Union-Tribune's entertainment section or the San Diego Reader's arts calendar.
  • Sign up for a free account with Goldstar for special access to discounted tickets for performances and San Diego attractions.