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7 Great Spots to Watch the Sunset

in San Diego

What better way to end a San Diego day than watching the sun sink into the Pacific? While there’s no bad place to watch the sky fade from lilac to vermillion, here are a few of the most breathtaking spots to choose from, including mountaintop, pier, beach, and bluff.

By: San Diego Magazine


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Crystal Pier

Pacific Beach

This San Diego classic was built in the 1920s; its beloved cottages were added a decade later, and today house a hotel and shops. Today as then, the Pacific Beach landmark is a perfect spot to drop a fishing line, breathe in the fresh salt air, watch the surfers carve up waves and let the day fade away. Situated on the paved Oceanfront Boardwalk linking Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, the pier is an ideal setting for a memorable sunset.

windansea sunset

Windansea Beach

La Jolla

Windansea is one of those rare places that looks as if it were sculpted by a world-class landscape architect. A sheath of green iceplant spills down to a series of rock shelves and low-tide patches of sand. It's a place beloved by surfers, sun-lovers and, of course, anyone who appreciates an epic sunset: The whole beautiful beachscape takes on a burnt-umber glow as the sun slips behind the waves.

sunset cliffs sunset

Sunset Cliffs

Ocean Beach

Just south of Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs Boulevard traces a beautifully rugged, 1.5-mile stretch of bluffs. Pounded by surf, the cliffs shift and erode, occasionally forming new rock arches and grottos. The runners, cyclists, yogis, photographers and beachcombers who flock there each evening know that the west-facing cliffs’ name is well-deserved for the place's twilight sky show.

hotel del coronado sunset

Coronado Beach and Hotel Del Coronado


Sweeping expanses of white sand punctuated by dunes, tide pools and a dog-friendly beach. That’s only part of the draw to Coronado Island’s west side, which is also home to the world-renowned, red-roofed Hotel Del Coronado. If you savor the sunset at the hotel, you may think the effects of your cocktail are enhancing the glow of the Pacific. In reality, it’s the rich mica content in the sand here that makes the surroundings glitter.

oceanside pier sunset

Oceanside Pier


At nearly 2,000 feet, Oceanside’s 125-year-old pier is one of the longest on the West Coast. That means there's even more of a stroll to savor if you venture all the way to the end, watching anglers cast their lines and surfers ply the waves below. When the sun sinks behind the wide blue Pacific, you can toast this gorgeous end to the day at one of South Oceanside’s excellent eateries, many of which are within walking distance of the pier.

Sunset view from Portside Pier in San Diego

Portside Pier


If you're on San Diego's Embarcadero, it's hard to miss this perfect waterfront perch: Just look for the distinctive glass dome of Ketch Grill & Taps, and the elegant rooftop terrace that hosts Topsail. Settle in for a local beer or a hand-crafted cocktail plus some delicious bites, either at these two places or their Portside neighbors, Miguel's Cocina and Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar. And then savor the spectacular sunsets over San Diego Bay and Point Loma.

mount soledad sunset

Mount Soledad

La Jolla

For a single vantage point that takes in miles of coastline and urban landmarks plus the endless blue Pacific, nothing beats Mount Soledad. The 823-foot-high promontory stands less than a mile from the beach in La Jolla, rendering the Scripps Pier and distant palm trees in miniature. From this elevated perspective, the sun makes an unhurried arc to the horizon, giving you plenty of time to appreciate some of the plaques honoring thousands of service members at this national veterans memorial.

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Get out and explore more of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods, attractions, and experiences. View more Sunny 7’s here.

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