Wonderful Winter Activities in San Diego

Whether it’s our laidback, relaxed vibe, or the fact that you can ice skate along the beach on a sunny day…winter just hits different here in San Diego. While there’s something to be said for enjoying the snowy, white Christmases that most of the country is used to, we can’t help but be grateful for our 65° degree Decembers. Are you planning a visit to our Mission Bay hotel and wonder what there is to do when you don’t have Jack Frost nipping at your nose?  Here’s a closer look at some of the wonderful winter activities you can enjoy here in San Diego.

San Diego’s Festive Holiday Happenings


From holiday celebrations at our attraction parks, to neighborhood Christmas Parades, numerous light displays and holiday festivals…San Diego is full of good vibes and holiday cheer in the winter season. Here at The Dana on Mission Bay, we are front and center to the Mission Bay Boat Parade of Lights and SeaWorld’s Christmas Events, as well as offer seasonal cocktails, poolside holiday movies, Christmas Dinner and New Year’s Celebrations to our hotel guests and locals. There’s no better place to feel merry and bright than here in America’s Finest City.


Warm Up at a Secret Speakeasy Holiday Pop-Up


(Photo: @thegrassskirtsd)

Speakeasies — a.k.a. hidden bars — began out of necessity during America’s prohibition era. But since there’s something that just feels a little taboo about them, their popularity has persisted to the present day. The entrances to these hush-hush hideaways are often less than obvious (such as obscured doors behind bookcases, or false lobbies leading to expansive interiors), and many even require passwords for entry. Even better, many of these clandestine dewatering holes are getting into the seasonal spirit with holiday-themed pop-ups!


Winter is Whale Watching Season!


(Video: @noemicabre)

San Diego’s winter months mark the beginning of one of nature’s most spectacular displays – the annual migration of gray whales. So there’s no better time to embark on a thrilling whale-watching adventure and witness these magnificent creatures as they journey along the coast.

If you’re interested in visiting the Dana this winter- check out our “Vacay Your Way” package- which includes the option of booking a 3-hour whale watching tour with Legacy Whale Watch– along with your stay!

So bundle up, breathe in the crisp sea air, and marvel at the awe-inspiring sight of whales breaching against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.


Tide Pooling

San Diego is notable for many reasons. One of the most interesting? Our abundance of tide pools; small, elevated reservoirs of inland ocean water that retain their depth even after the tide goes out. The best times to visit are during the fall and winter months when tides are low, so be sure to get out and explore. We recommend starting in La Jolla Shores Park or at Children’s Pool, where some of the city’s most famous are located. 

Famous Apple Pies & Snow Days in Julian

(Photo: @princetepher)

We know, we know…you came to San Diego to get AWAY from the snow…but our mountain communities are some of the prettiest spots in town- and are worth a winter visit! San Diego is unique in the way that you can see the beach, the desert and the snow all in one day. With the historic Julian area within 90 minutes of our hotel (along with neighboring mountain communities like Mt. Laguna, and Palomar Mountain) – we highly encourage taking a day trip out here- for the very least, to try their world-famous Julian Apple Pies and hard ciders!


Hike along the ocean at Torrey Pines Reserve

For those seeking more outdoor adventures, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offers a breathtaking backdrop for winter hikes. The milder temperatures make it an ideal time to explore the reserve’s trails, which offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the unique Torrey Pine trees. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, Torrey Pines provides a serene escape to nature within the heart of the city.

Enjoy Ice Skating

(Photo: @utc_ice)

Outdoor ice skating in Southern California? Absolutely! Embrace the winter months with a bit of ice skating at San Diego’s various rinks. Whether you choose the San Diego Ice Arena, oceanfront at Skating by the Sea, or the Westfield UTC Ice Rink, gliding across the ice is a delightful way to celebrate the season. Lace up, feel the crisp air on your face, and enjoy the festive atmosphere of these seasonal skating rinks.

Spend Your Winter On The Water at The Dana on Mission Bay

(Photo: @danamissionbay)

Planning a visit to San Diego over the winter months? There’s no better spot to stay than The Dana. We’re centrally located on beautiful Mission Bay, and our exceptional accommodations, service and amenities make us the ideal place to enjoy the season. Take a look at our special offers and plan your visit today!