San Diego may be known for its zoo and its conventions, but there’s plenty of natural beauty in the city for visitors to enjoy.
Make sure to take in at least one sunset while you’re visiting.
To make sure you get the best views possible, here are the top places to watch the sunset in San Diego.
The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in San Diego
1. Mount Soledad
Mount Soledad is a popular hiking destination in San Diego, and what better way to end a hike than with a gorgeous sunset over the city?
Since the main hilltop is fairly free-standing, that means you get a near-perfect 360-degree view of the surrounding area. The sky brightens and turns shades of red and orange no matter where you look, making you feel like you’re in the middle of a painting.
Though Mount Soledad is a landmark in the city, not many people think about making the dusk hike, especially not tourists.
2. Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach
Crystal Pier may seem like an unassuming wooden pier that’s no different than any others you might see in beach towns, but that’s where you’d be wrong.
Crystal Pier is actually a favorite sunset viewing spot for San Diego locals.
The pier is long and tranquil, so it usually doesn’t attract too many crowds. That means you can sit back and enjoy the sound of the Pacific ocean’s waves below and watch the sun setting on the horizon without any obstructions or distractions.
All without fighting for a good spot.
3. Gaslamp Quarter
If you’re looking for a little more action and a lively environment when you watch the sunset, then head to Gaslamp Quarter.
This little area can be found in downtown San Diego and is known for its bustling nightlife, making it perfect for your sunset endeavors.
Just grab a drink at one of the lounges or lay out a blanket in Horton Plaza Park, and you’ll feel like a San Diego native enjoying dusk in one of the most vibrant parts of the city.
After sunset, you’ll still have hours of entertainment!
4. Windansea Beach
If you’re looking for a relaxing sunset on the beach but don’t want to stray too far from the city, head to La Jolla’s Windansea Beach.
La Jolla is a small but prominent part of the San Diego area that’s well known for its beaches and its sunsets. A big part of that reputation comes from Windansea Beach.
This stretch of coastline is a perfect mix of natural and curated beauty that makes you feel like you’re somewhere tropical watching the sunset.
Once you see a sunset here, you’ll keep coming back.
5. Coronado Beach and Hotel Del Coronado
This entry is a little different because we’re giving you two locations in one.
Coronado Beach is known for being one of the most gorgeous beaches in the San Diego area. In fact, it’s become famous throughout the whole state. No matter where you are on the beach, you’ll have a flawless view of the sunset.
However, if you want to elevate your experience a little, book a stay or get a dinner reservation at the Hotel Del Coronado. That way, you’re right on the beach and can relax the night away.
6. Sunset Cruises on San Diego Bay
If you want your sunset-watching experience to be a full experience you’ll never forget, book a sunset cruise in the San Diego Bay (also called Mission Bay).
These cruises aren’t a secret, but you’d be surprised how few people think to take one, so you’ll likely have a story none of your friends and family who’ve visited the area will have had.
These cruises are built to make sunset a relaxing and memorable experience. In fact, they often include dinner or drinks you can enjoy while on the water.
7. Petco Park
Petco Park may be a stadium, but it offers a pretty spectacular view of the San Diego sunset, a fact that surprises locals and tourists alike.
Whether you’re high up in the stands or practically on the field, you’ll be able to see the sunset brilliantly as it creates dramatic shadows across the greens.
Unfortunately, the park isn’t always open to the public. You have to book a tour, which usually only takes place during the day, or get tickets for an evening event to be allowed free access to the stadium.
8. Bird Rock
Bird Rock is a pretty idyllic little neighborhood within the La Jolla community in San Diego.
It’s an artsy, homey little town that draws visitors from all over.
One of the reasons people keep flocking to this little neighborhood is its beach scenery, specifically in the evening.
The coastline is an interesting mix of soft light sand and dramatic coastal cliff sides.
That means that no matter whether you’re on the beach or in one of the many coastal restaurants, you just have to look up to see an amazing sunset.
9. Mister A’s
If you’re looking for a place to have a nice dinner without sacrificing seeing the San Diego sunset, make a restaurant at Mister A’s.
This French-inspired restaurant is highly recommended among locals for people who want a fancy night out. So, of course, the views had to live up to the ambiance.
From the floor-to-ceiling windows in the restaurant, you get a fantastic and one-of-a-kind panoramic look at the rest of the city.
So, if you make an early-enough reservation, it means you’ll get a perfect view of the sunset.
10. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
If you want to be surrounded by coastal nature and feel like you’re far away from the busy city while you watch the sunset, plan a trip to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
This protected stretch of the west coast covers 68 acres of beach that’s surrounded by cliffs and palm trees.
Since it’s a 2.4-mile hiking loop to reach the park, you’ll be just far enough from the rest of the city to forget about the crowds for a while and find a nice, private spot to enjoy the dusk views.
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.