How to Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend in San Diego

San Diego’s stunning landscapes, wide variety of attractions, and legendarily mild weather mean we’re a popular destination year-round. Still, Memorial Day is a particularly exciting time to visit! The long weekend surrounding the holiday typically marks the start of the summer season, so there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy in and around the city. Here are some tips on how to have a great San Diego Memorial Day weekend.

Visit our Beautiful Beaches

San Diego is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to soak up some sun and surf along our more than 70 miles of coastline. Some of the most popular beaches in the city include nearby Ocean Beach, La Jolla Cove, and Mission Beach. These oceanfront spots offer plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and picnics. Looking for a quieter beach experience? Head to the North County beaches such as Carlsbad Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach. No matter where you go, just be sure to pack sunscreen and an umbrella and arrive early to stake out a spot — the beaches are particularly popular this time of year.


Attend a Memorial Day Ceremony

Although Memorial Day weekend is a great time to enjoy a picnic or family outing, it’s important to remember that it’s also an occasion to honor and remember those who have served in the military and given their lives for their country. Since San Diego has a deep and longstanding history with the armed services, there are several ceremonies throughout the city to commemorate the day. The USS Midway Museum, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park and Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial are all great locations to attend such events. And calling all Military personnel: check here for some fun and free things for service members to discover over the holiday. 


Visit Balboa Park

Ask any local for their list of must-see spots in San Diego, and iconic Balboa Park will be on nearly everyone’s list — and rightly so. Balboa Park is in many ways the cultural heart of San Diego. At 1,200 acres of lush green space, Balboa Park is perfect for picnics, brimming with public art, and home to a wide variety of restaurants, museums and other attractions. There’s just always something amazing happening, so enjoying a little outdoor recreation here is sure to be a memorable experience. Check their events calendar to see what’s going on over the holiday weekend (up to and including special offers for service personnel.  


Explore Old Town

Old Town San Diego is the birthplace of California. Right here is where the first European settlers established the earliest missions in the 1500s. As such, it’s home to many historic buildings, heritage sites and landmarks. The area is also known for its cultural depth, boasting some of the best Mexican restaurants and shops in the city. Old Town is also the place to go for many regular festivals featuring traditional music, dancing, and food.


Enjoy a Hike

Thanks to our famously mild year-round weather, hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the city for locals and visitors alike. The varied topography of San Diego (which includes beaches, parks, and even mountainous regions) also makes for a wide variety of terrain types. So there’s truly a path for every hiker, from beginner to experienced trail-trekker. Not sure where to start? Check out this post on San Diego hiking trails (courtesy of our sister property Humphreys Half Moon Inn) for some tips on great trails you’ll want to be sure to check out over the holiday. 


Take in a Padres Game

San Diego is home to Major League Baseball’s Padres — and their 2023 season is well underway! Attending a game at Petco Park is a fun way to spend a day enjoying America’s pastime, especially on Memorial Day weekend. And speaking of Petco, the Padres’ home field was recently named the #1 stadium in the league for the second year in a row. So grab your seat, snag a bag of peanuts, and root-root-root for the home team! 


Create Your Own Adventure

San Diego is such a fantastic spot for finding things to do, it’s really impossible to go wrong no matter what your plans are. Choosing a direction and traveling in it could land you at any number of events over Memorial Day weekend. Events like the Kuumba Festival (May 25-28), the nation’s premier celebration of black art and culture. Or the Vista Strawberry Festival (May 28), featuring craft vendors, live music and great food. The Santee Street Fair (May 27) is a celebration of microbrewing in the heart of the “Craft Beer Capital of America.” And of course, the weekend kicks off with a spectacular fireworks display at SeaWorld San Diego


Celebrate Your Holiday at Island Palms

Reserving a stay at Best Western Plus Island Palms puts you right in the center of these great Memorial Day goings-on. Plus, you’ll find excellent rates, guest-first amenities and stellar service right here. Start your planning at our exclusive specials and offers page (which includes our Advance Purchase Rate offer), but don’t wait — our spaces fill up quickly every year. So you’ll want to book your stay soon and save extra before we sell out!