Fact: Sunsets are beautiful everywhere, but some of the most breathtaking ones happen in San Diego California! One of the fun things to do in San Diego is to watch the sunset with a nice shot of Tequila in hand. Spots along the beach have incredible panoramic views of the ocean that can be seen daily. Yes, beautiful sunsets may be a common occurrence in this city, and yes, almost every spot can be considered an amazing spot to watch the sunset. Still, some of San Diego’s sunset spots are better than others, which is why we’ve rounded up a few of our very favorite places—and yes, most of them are at the beach! Let’s take a sunset beach San Diego tour of where to find the best sunsets.
#1 – Sunset Cliffs
Photo Credit: San Diego Flyrides
First off, if you’re looking for the best sunsets in San Diego, why not try the park with the word “sunset” in the name? Sunset Cliffs National Park is one of San Diego’s most gorgeous spots at sunrise, sunset, and literally any other time of day. However, it slays at Sunset. There are well-groomed paths at Sunset Cliffs Park that you can stay on and several stairways that GO down to the beach, but many people go off and explore the beaten paths to sit on the edge of the cliffs. There’s just something about watching and listening to the sound of the waves crashing below you while watching the sun set against the side of those magnificent cliffs.
#2 – Mount Soledad
Photo Credit: Phillip Colla / Oceanlight.com
Where can you enjoy a colorful sky while watching the entire San Diego skyline light up? At the highest coastal point in San Diego, of course! With an amazing 360 degree view of the entire city, the pacific ocean, and the eastern mountains, Mt. Soledad is one of the best places to watch the sun disappear behind both terrain and sea. Then, there is the added benefit of checking out the once controversial big white cross, and the beautiful Mt Soledad Veterans Memorial, designed to honor our nation’s brave men and women, and the only memorial to honor veterans both living and deceased, with an image of the veteran.
#3 – Ocean Beach Municipal Pier
Photo: So Diego Tours
Although the pier is now a popular destination for locals and tourists and one of the most visited landmarks in the county, its original purpose was solely for fishing. Local fishermen needed a way to prevent their fishing lines and lures from getting tangled in OB’s vast kelp and rock beds. The pier helped anglers be able to fish in 25-30 feet of water, avoiding kelp and enabling them to catch fish from deeper waters. In 1996, over 600,000 residents showed up as the pier was officially christened and introduced to San Diegans who wanted to stroll this beautiful landmark. The 1971 ft pier is the longest concrete fishing pier on the West Coast. Its unique T-shape at the end of the pier adds another 500 ft and is one of the most special places to watch San Diego’s most beautiful sunsets!
#4 – Bird Rock
Photo Credit: JSWolfPhotography.com
Hidden along the San Diego coast, located just south of downtown La Jolla, is Bird Rock, a quirky, laid-back San Diego neighborhood named after a rock that—you guessed it— was named after a bird. The town is known for its gorgeous ocean views, independent boutiques, and cute restaurants. However, the offshore rock that you can spot at the end of Bird Rock Avenue is what makes the area one of the most unique in San Diego. The rock was once thought to resemble the shape of a bird—the rock had an arch with an opening under it, but was eroded by wave action and finally collapsed a few years ago. Fortunately, the collapse didn’t reduce the value of this beautiful view.
#5 – Sunset Point Park, Belmont Park & Mission Beach Boardwalk
Photo Credit: Abounaphoto.com
As its namesake suggests, Sunset Point Park, on Mission Bay next to the Dana Hotel, is a perfect place to watch the sun go down. The sandy shoreline, complete with fire pits for evening bonfires, the sand and water separated by a protective rock wall, and large grassy park, makes Sunset Point (sometimes called Mission Bay Park) great for picnics and taking walks instead of swimming and playing in the bay.
If a bigger crowd is more your speed and the ocean calls you to jump in for a swim, Mission Beach is your place to go. Just head across the street to the Mission Beach Boardwalk and Belmont Amusement Park. Each location is a top-notch spot to watch a pretty sunset. You can also rent a kayak from Aqua Adventures and watch the sunset from the water on Mission Bay!
#6 – Windandsea Beach
Photo Credit: LaJolla.com
Nope, it’s not a typo. Windansea Beach is fun to say (five times fast) and is also the perfect place to capture the most picturesque sunset shots. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to an unobstructed view of the Pacific near a rugged coastline on this La Jolla California beach. There may even be some surfers still out that you can catch to make your golden hour photo all the more So-Cal authentic. Be sure to get there a little before sunset to snag a good spot. It can get crowded at Windansea Beach during sunrise and sunset hours.
#7 – San Diego Bay/ Embarcadero
Photo Credit: Maritime Museum of San Diego
There’s a little something for everyone along the San Diego Embarcadero. You can have a family picnic and cool off in the sprinklers at Waterfront Park, walk down to Seaport Village and eat delicious seafood at one of their bayside restaurants, watch the sunset from The Fish Market, the USS Midway aircraft carrier, from any of the tall ships at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, or even take a sail and watch the sunset from the middle of the Bay. Whichever you decide, you can watch an incredible sea of color as the sun begins to go down over the Pacific.
#8 – Poseidon Restaurant
Photo Credit: Yelp.com
This waterfront restaurant is the perfect spot for watching the sunset while enjoying delicious Pacific Rim, Mediterranean, and Mexican seafood dishes. The atmosphere in this Pacific beach casual restaurant isn’t something to take lightly. The sun hits just so that it makes for a great place to take a date, and is also ideal for those special golden hour social media photos. Dining with a view doesn’t get better than this spot.
#9 – Mister A’s
Photo Credit: Mister A’s
With one of the most spectacular views in San Diego, Mister A’s is a restaurant where you can see the beautiful downtown San Diego skyline, and also the San Diego Bay, Balboa Park, Coronado, Point Loma, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and even watch as airplanes gently glide into the San Diego Airport from the wrap-around balcony. Once considered a place for special occasions (both jackets and ties were required), Mister A’s is a place where you can enjoy casual elegance with friends or family.
#10 – Jake’s Del Mar
Photo Credit: Jake’s Del Mar
Jake’s Del Mar has embodied the spirit of old Del Mar. When they opened in 1981, they built upon a simple philosophy: To provide outstanding food and service in spectacular settings, and they have truly done just that. Jake’s is an unforgettable beachfront dining experience, perfect for a date night in San Diego. It’s located right on the sand, and its floor-to-ceiling windows provide a picturesque view of the beach, and the reflection of the sunset on the glass is a beauty to behold.
These are our favorite places to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay. And after a beautiful sunset, what’s better than sipping on some of San Diego’s best Italian wines? Check out our Vino Vino Tour to taste the finest small production wines, as well as Italian favorites in Little Italy.