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19 Best Places to see San Diego Sunsets You’ll Love

It is difficult to find a bad place in San Diego to watch the sunset. This city has a well-deserved reputation for providing some of the most amazing sunsets in California. This city has more than 70 miles of coastline so there are lots of options for a good view of the sun coming down.

Summer sunsets in San Diego are known for their photogenic pink and purple shades but it is said that the most beautiful San Diego sunsets take place in the fall and winter months. Let us know your view on this in the comments if you’re a local!

What time are San Diego Sunsets?

beach sunset san diego

The earliest sunsets in San Diego take place at at around 16:45 in December and January. By the beginning of March sunset has moved to 17:50. Once daylight savings kicks in sunset times increase until they hit 20:00 early July.

sunset san diego

By early September sunset heads down to 19:00. By the end of October the sun is setting at 18:00 and then daylight savings kicks in early November taking sunset down under 17:00.

Best Places to see San Diego Sunsets

1. Oceanside Pier

This 125-year-old pier is nearly 2,000 feet long which makes it one of the longest piers on the West Coast of the United States. This San Diego icon is home to both fishermen and surfers who can provide a nice silhouette in a sunset photo.

oceanside pier san diego
oceanside pier

2. Ocean Beach Pier

Head to Ocean Beach Pier if you’d like to get some surfers in the foreground of your San Diego sunsets photos. This pier also often features street performers and musicians to keep you entertained.

ocean beach Sunset_pier
ocean beach Pier

If you want to get an interrupted view from the very end of the pier do leave a bit earlier as it can be a longer walk than you might expect. Or stop half way along the pier at the cafe.

sunset from ocean beach san diego
sunset from ocean beach

3. Pacific Beach – Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier was originally built in the 1920s. Today it is home to a hotel, picturesque white cottages, some lovely shops and great sunset vistas. The pier links Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.

crystal pier san diego
crystal pier

For something special book a night at the Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages which were built on the pier.

4. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

With a name like Sunset Cliffs, it would be very disappointing if this spot didn’t offer a great view of the San Diego sunset. Sunset Cliffs Boulevard is just south of Ocean Beach and faces west across the Pacific Ocean.

sunset cliffs san diego sunset
sunset cliffs

Try to arrive early so that you can find a good spot on the cliffs to watch both the sunset and the surfers. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous walk down the cliffs and watch the sunset from the beach.

sunset cliffs san diego
sunset cliffs

5. Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is within the San Diego city limits but is quite a wild stretch of land. If you’re feeling active hike to the top of Torrey Pines. From there choose one of the trails to the edge of the cliff for your sunset viewing point.

torrey pines sunset
torrey pines sunset

After sunset is over, head back the same way or take the Razor Point Trail down to the beach if visibility is good. And don’t forget to check the tides before your visit.

6. Mission Beach Boardwalk

This beach stays busy even as the sun drops. Get there a bit early and try to find a seat and a cocktail at Wavehouse. Mission Beach boardwalk is always lively and runs along the ocean for nearly two miles. It is also home to Belmont Park amusement park, miniature golf, bumper cars and much more.

Mission bay san diego sunset
Mission bay

⇒ Check out my posts on 35 Things to do in Vegas besides Gamble, 7 Best Places to Watch Sedona Sunsets, 11 Texas Sunflower Fields to Visit, 7 Sunflower Fields in Minnesota not to miss, 17 Stunning Sunsets in Florida, 21 Stunning Sunflower Fields in Ohio and 6 Spectacular Places to watch Sunsets in Seattle.

7. Altitude Sky Lounge

This downtown bar has fantastic views as well as a great fire pit and some awesome cocktails to enjoy whilst the sun goes down. Plus it is the highest rooftop bar on the west coast of the United States.

altitude sky lounge san diego sunsets
altitude sky lounge san diego sunsets

The San Diego sunset view from the Altitude Sky Lounge includes San Diego Bay, the downtown San Diego skyline and Coronado Island.

8. Mister A’s

The 12th floor of Mister A’s provides views of San Diego Bay, downtown San Diego, Coronado Bridge, and Point Loma. This is fine dining but you can also pop in for a cocktail and sunset view without booking up to 6pm on weeknights. Or stay around and enjoy one of their famous steaks.

mister a's san diego
mister a’s

The food at Mister A’s is modern American and there is a tasty bar menu to complement your sunset cocktail.

9. Windansea Beach La Jolla

There are many coastal trails along and from Windansea Beach that offer great sunset views. Or stay on the beach for a prime view of the sun setting over the surf breaks and surf shacks (this is a world famous surfing beach).

windansea beach at sunset
windansea beach at sunset

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If you visit in May or the summer there will be wildflowers all over providing a photogenic foreground to your sunset photos. Once you’ve seen the sunset there are lots of great drinking and dining options in La Jolla.

10. Lake Murray

If you prefer lakes to the seaside head to Lake Murray park. Lake Murray Reservoir is located within Mission Trails Regional Park, which lies between San Diego and La Mesa and Santee. The trail alongside Lake Murray is 3 miles long and generally quiet. The lake is open most days from sunrise to sunset.

lake murray san diego
lake murray

11. Centennial Park

This isn’t the largest park in San Diego but if you head to its beach on the left-hand side you will get some amazing sunset views with naval ships in the foreground. The park is at the end of Orange Avenue and close to the Coronado Ferry Landing (more on that below) which has some great local restaurants and shops.

centennial park san diego
centennial park san diego view

12. Palisades Park

This park is located at the end of the Pacific Beach boardwalk and is a lovely spot for sitting, reading and walking. It offers great views of the sunset over the ocean and south to the pier.

palisades park san diego
palisades park aerial view

Palisades park has paths to take you down to the beach as well as the Coast Walk which winds around it.

13. Coronado Beach

Coronado Island is home to Hotel Del Coronado and the stunning white sand Coronado Beach. Enjoy sunset on the beach or with a cocktail at Hotel Del Coronado. Don’t forget to admire its famous shimmering sand which is due to the high content of mica.

coronado view at sunset
coronado view

⇒ Looking for some travel inspiration? Check out my posts on the 25 North America Landmarks, Top 15 Famous Landmarks in the US, 25 Beautiful Canada Landmarks, 16 Most Beautiful Cities in Canada, 15 Most Beautiful States in the US, American Bridges you Must Cross, Most Beautiful Lakes in Canada and the 20 Most Beautiful Cities in United States.

14. Mount Soledad

The 823 foot tall Mount Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial is less than a mile from the beach in La Jolla and is the highest coastal point in San Diego. The view from here combines coastline and the Pacific Ocean plus the mountains in a 360 degree arc.

coronado view at sunset
Mount Soledad Aerial Shot

15. La Jolla Cove

This inlet has one of the most photographed beaches in California. No wonder – there are stunning sandstone cliffs that are highlighted by amazing sunset views. Plus there are often sea lions, seals and pelicans.

sea lion at la jolla cove san diego
sea lion at la jolla cove

⇒ Interested in heading to California? Check out my posts on Unique Restaurants in San Francisco, Things to do in Calistoga review of the great Solage Spa, 19 awesome places to watch San Diego Sunsets, visiting Yosemite in One Day, 10 Stunning Sunsets in California and in Yosemite in October and my guide to a Livermore Wine Tasting.

16. Cowles Mountain

This San Diego sunset will take a little more effort than some of the other options. Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in San Diego at 900 metres. It’s a three-mile rather steep climb to get to the top. But once you get there the view is awesome – some days you may see Mexico.

cowles mountain san diego
cowles mountain

Do be careful with this San Diego sunset as it can be tricky to get back down particularly as the light can disappear quickly.

17. Coronado Ferry Landing

I have already covered Coronado Beach but there is also a fantastic sunset in San Diego to see from Coronado Ferry Landing. It offers some spectacular sunset water reflections.

coronado ferry landing view
coronado ferry landing view

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Another option is to watch the sunset from the Coronado Ferry. Take the ferry from either Broadway Pier or the Convention Centre to Coronado Ferry Landing – if you time it right you could get some great sunset views on the way and once you arrive. The trip takes about 15 minutes – and this is the oldest working ferry in the United States!

18. George’s at The Cove

Head to the top level at George’s bar in La Jolla for some great sunset views plus excellent fish tacos. Their Ocean Terrace offers California modern dining with views of the Pacific ocean.

george'socean-terrace-with-partitions
George’s

19. Island Prime and C Level

This San Diego seafood restaurant is on Harbor Island and has a patio that provides fantastic views of the sun setting over downtown San Diego. Island Prime and C Level are well known for its lobster mac and cheese.

san diego sunset

⇒ Here are some of the best places in the world to watch the sunrise and fall: 10 Places to watch the Sunset in California, 7 Best Places To Watch Sedona Sunsets, 18 Spectacular Spots for the Best Sunsets in Seattle, 5 Stunning Santorini Sunsets, 8 Sunsets in Ibiza, 19 Spots to watch San Diego Sunsets, 11 Places to see the Venice Sunset, 6 Spots to Watch Sunrise in Paris, 11 Places to see Sunset Edinburgh style, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London and 9 Spots to watch the Sunrise in London.

Who Paid for What in this Post

I covered all of the costs involved in writing this post. However, this San Diego sunsets post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

sunset in san diego
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