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?
Table of Contents
- What time are San Diego Sunsets?
- Best Places to see San Diego Sunsets
- 1. Oceanside Pier
- 2. Ocean Beach Pier
- 3. Pacific Beach – Crystal Pier
- 4. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
- 5. Torrey Pines
- 6. Mission Beach Boardwalk
- 7. Altitude Sky Lounge
- 8. Mister A’s
- 9. Windansea Beach La Jolla
- 10. Lake Murray
- 11. Centennial Park
- 12. Palisades Park
- 13. Coronado Beach
- 14. Mount Soledad
- 15. La Jolla Cove
- 16. Cowles Mountain
- 17. Coronado Ferry Landing
- 18. George’s at The Cove
- 19. Island Prime and C Level
- Who Paid for What in this Post
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 California for some great sunset views plus excellent fish tacos. Their Ocean Terrace offers California modern dining with views of the Pacific ocean.
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.
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.