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San Diego in May
A couple of major holidays make San Diego a fun place to go in May. The better-known is Memorial Day which is the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5) has become one of California's most popular festival days, and San Diego hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the U.S. The date celebrates a Mexican military victory, not – as some people may say – independence day. Festivals are often held on the weekend nearest to the fifth.
San Diego's Best May Events
Carlsbad Flower Fields: Near the town of Carlsbad, bulb growers raise fields of colorful, showy, Giant Ranunculus flowers. When they flower in the spring, they open the fields for visitors to see them. Depending on the weather, that happens between early March and early May.
Del Mar Horse Show: The horse show is a three-week event, held in April and May. It's one of the most popular equestrian events in Southern California. It's not just for riders, but something everyone will enjoy, with evening performances and gorgeous horses to see.
Things That Are Especially Fun to Do in May
Besides the official events, you'll find more to do in May. In Balboa Park, the Rose Garden will be in full bloom.
You can also see a uniquely California event in May, the annual grunion run. That's when thousands of tiny, silvery fish mate by the light of the full moon (or the new one). See the schedule. The best San Diego beaches to watch them are La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach between Tourmaline Park and Lifeguard Tower 20, Mission Beach between Lifeguard Towers 19 and 10, Ocean Beach between Mission Bay Channel and the Ocean Beach Pier and on Coronado between the Hotel del Coronado and Dog Beach.
The annual events listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Diego in May. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance try these resources:
Sign up for a free account with Goldstar to get access to discounted tickets for performances and save on some San Diego attractions. Even better, it's just as useful when you're at home as it is when you're visiting San Diego.
You can also check the San Diego Union Tribune's entertainment section. The San Diego Reader keeps a big list of groups performing at local live music venues.
Watch the San Diego Padres play baseball. Their pretty downtown baseball stadium is a great place to watch a game.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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What to Expect from San Diego Weather in May
May begins the drier part of the year in San Diego, with lots of sunshine and little rain.
More About San Diego in the Spring
- Average High Temperature: 68°F/20°C
- Average Low Temperature: 59°F/15°C
- Water Temperature: 65°F/17°C
- Rain & Clouds Index: 0.23 inches (0.3 cm) rain, 59% sunshine
If you want to compare these weather conditions to what San Diego is like the rest of the year, you can find that all in one place in the Guide to Typical San Diego Weather.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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What to Pack, What to Wear in May
San Diego starts to warm up in May, moving toward summer. Days will be sunny, but as the year progresses toward June, you may find morning fog at the coast.
Pack a mid-weight jacket, especially if you plan to spend time near the ocean. Bring short-sleeved shirts and lightweight pants, with a light layer or two. You may want to wear shorts on the warmest days.
Tips for San Diego in May
Hotel occupancy is high in May. To avoid sellouts and high rates, reserve as far ahead as you can, making sure that there are no cancellation penalties if you change your mind.
More San Diego by Month
If you're just starting to plan your trip and deciding when to go, you may want to know what San Diego is like in other months. You find that in these guides:
Summer in San Diego starts out with foggy, cloudy days near the beach if you go to San Diego in June or sometimes even in July. By August, the fog clears up, but it's also one of the busiest months, with lots of families on vacation and Arizona residents looking to escape the heat. Here's what to expect from San Diego in August.