While San Diego, CA has fantastic weather most of the time, there are certain times when rain does make an appearance. Winter in San Diego usually has more rain than any other season, but rain can come along anytime and it is always best to have a backup plan in place to keep enjoying the fun and exciting things San Diego has to offer.
Spend a rainy day in San Diego exploring the museums of Balboa Park including the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. If it is not a hard rain and you do not mind getting damp, the San Diego Zoo is also in Balboa Park where you can see some pretty fascinating wildlife. Plenty of other San Diego museums await too! The Children's Museum is always a hit with the kids.
If you are looking for more adventure than history or culture, give indoor skydiving at iFLY or indoor rock climbing at Mesa Rim at try. Indoor go kart racing is also an option for amazing family fun, and indoor ice skating is a good activity for everyone. Whether you are in San Diego with kids in tow or visiting with friends, there is plenty to keep you busy even if the rain is falling.
San Diego on a rainy day does not mean you have to halt your plans. Get out and explore all the fabulous indoor activities that showcase the city’s diverse and unique culture. We even think that a walk on Ocean Beach can be wonderful under the protection of an umbrella. If you do get caught unexpectedly in the rain, look for Bounce luggage storage in San Diego. Drop off backpacks and bags to keep them dry while you see this marvelous city!
Skydiving at iFLY
Jumping out of a plane in the rain definitely is not ideal, but skydiving in the wind tunnels of iFLY sounds like an exciting time. With locations in Mission Valley and Oceanside, you will love spending a few hours learning the ins and outs of skydiving without ever having to step foot on an airplane. The weather outdoors won't affect you at all here!
The best part is that iFLY offers adventures for kids aged 3 years and up so it is a wonderful and unique family outing for those rainy San Diego days. You do not need any special skills or past skydiving experience to enjoy this activity. It is also a terrific learning experience for those interested in science and technology.
Go Karts at K1 Speed
Are the kids asking for cool things to do? K1 Speed has two locations, Carlsbad and Downtown San Diego in the East Village. This rainy day activity is for kids that are at least 48” tall for the junior track. The indoor go kart track is about a quarter mile and the karts can reach about 45 mph. It is a fun experience that you will want to do again before you leave.
Electric go karts can really zoom around the track and there are plenty of safety barriers on the tracks to keep everyone safe. Families can challenge each other to races or make new friends at the track. K1 Speed also has an on-site café so you can take a break and enjoy some refreshments. There is also an arcade for those not wanting to get out on the track.
Ice Skating at UTC Ice Sports Center
Head to La Jolla for an afternoon of ice skating when there is rain in the San Diego forecast. The UTC Ice Sports Center inside the Westfield UTC Shopping Center holds daily public skating sessions. You can even sign up for a spirited game of Broom Hockey. Parents can grab a bite to eat at the Dining Terrace while the kids have a blast on the ice. The Dining Terrace is glass enclosed and you can watch as they skate.
Skate rentals are available so you don’t even have to bring your own skates. For little kids needing help on the ice the Seals or skater’s helpers are available. The best part about ice skating at UTC is after you are done skating you can head into the mall for shopping, hit the food court, or kick back in the Arclight Theater to watch the latest blockbuster.
Rock Climbing at Mesa Rim
With locations in Mira Mesa and Mission Valley, it is easy to go rock climbing indoors when it is raining in San Diego. Both locations offer climbing instruction, belay lessons, youth programs, and yoga classes. The entire family can find something to keep them entertained.
Aside from being great exercise, it is a fantastic way for the whole family to enjoy a rainy day. This is kid friendly fun and is also relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy a one-week package that includes rental gear and a belay lesson as well as full club membership for the week. There are also family passes available.
Museum Hopping in Balboa Park
Balboa Park is one of the most visited areas in San Diego on both clear days and on rainy days! With 17 museums, you can easily spend a rainy day museum hopping. Learn about the history of trains, planes, and automobiles, and the history of San Diego, or enjoy art museums including interactive art installations along the way.
Some of the museums that might grab your interest include the Fleet Science Center, World Beat Center, Timken Museum, Museum of Us, San Diego Air & Space Museum, and Natural History Museum. Visit during February for Museum Month for amazing deals at most of the museums and extended evening hours so you can see more while in San Diego.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is one of the most popular museums in town and offers a detailed history of flight including space travel and San Diego’s naval history. When here you will see the actual balloon that the Montgolfier Brothers flew in 1783 as well as several navy bombers and the Apollo XI Space Pen. The Flight Simulator is a big hit with kids of all ages.
The San Diego Natural History Museum is part of the Balboa Park museums and highlights the natural history of not just San Diego but all of Southern California. With five floors of exhibits and artifacts, you will easily spend several hours exploring the interactive and hands on exhibits and cool displays including huge dinosaur skeletons.
Bowling at Tavern + Bowl
Head to downtown San Diego in the East Village for rainy day fun at the Tavern + Bowl where you can kick back in your rented bowling shoes, toss down a few beers, and see who can bowl the worst. Bowling is a fantastic way to get out of the rain and cut loose for a few hours.
The tavern offers traditional bowling alley eats that are greasy, cheesy, and the ultimate comfort food when you are hanging out with friends, having a date night, or celebrating a birthday. Bowling packages are available pretty reasonable so on the next rainy day, head over and enjoy some bowling fun.
Whaley House Museum
This iconic landmark is located in Old Town and is considered to be haunted and is definitely worth checking out when it is raining in San Diego. The mysterious and storied past of the Whaley House is what draws people in and makes them want to dig a little deeper to see if they can figure out what really happened inside this Greek Revival architecture home.
The former home of Robert J. Whaley and his wife, Mary McFarlan-Whaley, the museum tells the story of two of the most prominent families in San Diego in the 1800s, the Whaleys and the McFarlans. You will also learn more about the history of the area. The home was built by Thomas Whaley in the early 1800s and has been used as a private residence, general store, theater, and courthouse.
If SeaWorld is a bit too crowded, head to La Jolla and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps where over 5,000 fish are housed. There are more than 60 different habitats that showcase the natural underwater world that the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has worked so hard to research. The aquarium opened in 1903 and offers a unique look at the aquatic world.
Enjoy the different exhibits including Live Tide Pools, Boundless Energy, and Wonders of Water as well as Hall of Fishes and Shark Reef and There’s Something About Seahorses. Bring your camera for fascinating photos of the various habitats and aquatic animals on display. The Birch Aquarium is a wonderful place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon out of the rain.
USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway was in service for 47 years and is one of the most iconic ships in the United States Navy. When you are faced with a rainy day in San Diego, head to the harbor downtown and check out this amazing aircraft carrier that has been turned into a floating museum. With more than 60 exhibits, many interactive, to explore, and 29 distinctive aircraft you should plan on spending several hours here.
Follow in the footsteps of the thousands of sailors who served on this ship and learn about the history of many of these sailors. The flight simulator is a huge draw for people of all ages. Learn what it feels like to be soaring through the skies and heading into battle. Take a seat in the Battle of Midway Theater for a short educational movie about the history of the US Navy and the USS Midway.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Commonly referred to as MCASD, this museum is home to a huge collection of art pieces using several different media. All the art in this collection was created after 1950. With 4,700 pieces in the collection, you will be here for a while. Conveniently located in downtown San Diego, the MCASD is a fantastic place to spend some time when the weather is inclement.
The MCASD was opened in 1986 and has undergone several name changes including the La Jolla Art Museum, Art Center in La Jolla, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. The current museum consists of two buildings: Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building and David C. Copley Building.
The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building features large-scale sculptures and art pieces including the huge Santa Fe Depot sculpture by Richard Serra which can be found behind the building and Systematic Landscapes by Maya Lin. If you are an art lover, you will find this museum fascinating.
The David C. Copley Building is adjacent to the first building and is home to two permanent collections following the Light and Space theme. Roman De Salvo’s contributions include light fixtures made from industrial materials. Jenny Holzer created diodes that filter light and create almost an optical illusion.
Rainy Day in San Diego
There are so many fun things to do in the San Diego area no matter the weather. Being in southern California means the temperatures will be mild and usually, the sun will be shining giving you plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the city.
When rain is in the forecast, though, you will be looking for indoor activities to keep you busy and still enjoy your time in San Diego. Whether it is visiting movie theaters, enjoying modern art museums, getting physical with bowling, rock climbing, or skydiving, there is definitely something that will get you excited.
Looking for even more things to do in San Diego on a rainy day? Check out these other guides: