Best Time to View Sunsets in San Diego

By Amy Curtis

Bring your day in San Diego to a glowing close

Best Time to View Sunsets in San Diego

San Diego is a lovely place to visit, with a temperate climate and a wide array of activities available. Beaches, amusement parks, city life, sporting events and scenic drives are all within easy reach, making each day an adventure. Watching the setting sun sink into the Pacific is the perfect way to end a San Diego evening.

Best time to view the sunset

In the winter, sunset comes early. When the clocks turn back in November, the sunset moves to 4:55 p.m., and by the time December arrives, it’s all the way back to 4:40 p.m. It creeps a little later to reach 5:00 p.m. again at the beginning of the year, and in February, it goes from 5:20 to 5:45 p.m. In March, the clocks spring forward, and the sunset moves to 6:55 p.m., and by the end of April, sunsets happen at 7:30. May sees the sun set later, going down between 7:40 and 7:50 p.m., and by the end of June, it’s down at 8:00 p.m. The sunsets start moving earlier in July, reaching 7:45 p.m. by the end of the month, and by the end of August, they’re at 7:15. September sunsets go from 7:10 to 6:30 p.m., and by the end of October, they’re at 6:00, where they’ll stay until the clocks go back in November and put them an hour earlier.

Tip

When making a plan to see the sunset, it’s always best to check a weather site such as weather.com or the local paper to determine the exact time for that date.

Weather and seasonal considerations

Autumn and winter bring beautiful sunsets to San Diego. In the fall, the Santa Ana winds carry dust and other particles out over the ocean, and the light reflecting off those particles makes the sunsets absolutely spectacular. In winter, the air is brisker, moving more quickly than it does in summer, blowing away any haze and making the sunset sky clear and beautiful.

Where to go to watch

  • Head for a beach. San Diego has 70 miles of coastline, so it’s not hard to find a great beach where you can watch the sunset. Some local favorites include La Jolla Cove and Windansea Beach.
  • Watch from a cliff. The most obvious choice is Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, but it’s not the only place where cliffs make an excellent perch for sunset viewing. For a place unfamiliar to most tourists, try the Del Mar Beach Cliffs at South Del Mar.
  • See the setting sun over drinks. We Olive & Wine Bar is a retailer that sells olive oil, but there’s a wine-tasting room that not everyone knows about. It’s got a balcony for watching the sunsets, and it's the perfect place to go to avoid crowds.
  • Grab a slice and a view. It may seem like a strange place to watch the sunset, but Del Mar Pizza’s outdoor patio provides an excellent vantage point for watching the evening show. The pizza is good, too! Prefer more sophisticated dining? Make a reservation at neighboring Sbicca, but do it early, because the restaurant fills up quickly.