Fun Fall Date Ideas in San Diego

Autumn is a delightful time to visit San Diego: The temperatures remain decidedly summery, but you still get to enjoy brilliant autumnal foliage and fun Halloween events. Couples can also discover plenty of romantic, seasonal date ideas. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites.

Apple Picking in Julian

For an old-fashioned apple-picking date, nothing compares with a trip to Julian. Along with stocking up on McIntosh, Arkansas Black, and Heirloom apples, you’ll be able to take in the fresh Cuyamaca Mountain air, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, sign up for a History Hunt, and shop at 150-year-old stores. Add a more exotic twist to your date by touring a camel farm or buffalo ranch or panning for gold, and don’t forget to stop by the Julian Pie Co. for a slice of world-famous apple pie.

Attend the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

They say that the couple who tries new things together stays together, and where better to try new things than a culinary festival? Sample some of your favorite fall flavors at the San Diego Wine & Food Festival (November 17-24), which USA Today readers voted one of the best such events in the country — from pinot noir and syrah to Basque wines and cheese to gourmet pizzas. Just make sure to buy your tickets well in advance. Added bonus: You’ll get to enjoy a beautiful view of San Diego Bay!

Have a Picnic at Balboa Park and Explore the Japanese Friendship Garden

For the couple who likes keeping to themselves, we recommend a quiet and low-key picnic in one of Balboa Park’s gardens, perhaps featuring seasonal delicacies from one of the nearby greenmarkets in North Park or Hillcrest. There’s lovely autumnal foliage to be found throughout these 1,200-acre grounds, as well as the charming Japanese Friendship Garden, whose exhibition “Light, Air, Fluctuation” runs through late October. 

Watch a Film Under the Stars

When evening falls, check out an outdoor film screening with Mission Hills’ Cinema Under the Stars. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Birds” are just a few of the classic films hitting the organization’s heated, weatherproof movie dome during the autumn season of this event, which has made the New York Times’ “36 Hours” feature. Note that reservations must be made by the Wednesday preceding your film of choice.