For many San Diegans, a rainy day is the perfect excuse to cozy up indoors, get wrapped up in blankets, and order Mexican takeout while binge watching The Food Network. With an average of less than 12 inches of precipitation each year though, rain seems to induce a sort of hysteria around town especially when news of a tropical storm spreads.
Let’s be honest, we forget how to drive, everyone cancels plans, and many we treat it as a sort of a Southern California snow day preferring to hunker indoors. But before you settle into your bed to enjoy your raincheck, consider these indoor activities to cure your rainy day blues in San Diego.
Bowl a Strike at East Village Tavern + Bowl
Bowling is the perfect rainy day activity, and alleys across San Diego are few and far between, with the exception of Tavern + Bowl. Located in the heart of East Village, Tavern + Bowl offers 12 bowling lanes, a menu filled with pub favorites, and late hours on weekdays, making it an ideal spot to stay dry (and I’m not just talking about the hand dryers on each lane). Reserve your lane in advance for larger groups and busy weekends; otherwise, their standard hourly bowling rate starts at $30/hr.
930 Market St, East Village
Pottery Workshop at the Mudd House
Get centered and create your own clay masterpiece, whether it’s mugs, bowls, vases, or even a hand-built sculpture. The Mudd House in Encinitas provides potters of all levels with a state-of-the-art facility to test your throwing, sculpting, and glazing skills. They offer a variety of DIY throwing on the wheel (starting at $40 per 90 minutes), private lessons ($150), and throwing classes.
810 N Coast Hwy 101 Suite C, Encinitas
Explore the Balboa Museums
What better way to spend a rainy day than exploring the 17 Balboa Park museums open to the public including their latest addition the Comic-Con Museum (opened in November 2021 and costs $25 for adults). San Diego residents can enjoy a unique set of museums for free each Tuesday, including the Fleet Science Center, Natural History Museum, Model Railroad Museum, Air & Space Museum, Veterans Museum, Comic-Con Museum, Museum of Art, Japanese Friendship Garden, Mingei International Museum, The Old Globe, and the Automotive Museum. Check the full resident free days here.
1350 El Prado, Downtown
Drinks and Bites at Liberty Station Market
Find shelter from the downpour and take refuge in a variety of the best local restaurants, craft breweries, wine, and treats all under one roof. The seven-day-a-week market offers a little bit of everything: White Rice Bodega for Filipino food, your ube fix, a hot latte at Westbean, a Hawaiian food platter from Chris Onos, fresh seafood from Wicked Maine Lobster, drinks from Bottlecraft, and a delectable treat from the Mini Donut Company. Liberty Station Public Market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
2820 Historic Decatur Rd, Point Loma
Make a Splash at The Plunge
A day at the pool isn’t just for sunny days. At Plunge San Diego both parents and children can make a splash, practice their backstroke in the lap pool, and relax in heated pools from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week, rain or shine. Consider bringing the whole family(of 4) for $70, which includes unlimited laps around the pool, time in the sauna, and ample time for your kids to beat their record on the floating obstacle course.
3115 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach
Indoor Climbing at Vertical Hold
Chalk up your wet hands and get a grip on some of the best indoor climbing walls in San Diego. Vertical Hold is the perfect place to work on your grip strength with their selection of top rope, bouldering, auto belay, and lead climbing walls. If the crags are calling your name, the climbing gym also offers a yoga studio with classes (Monday through Thursday), free weights, and a slackline to hone your balance.
13026 Stowe Dr, Poway
Karaoke and Golf Simulator at The Hive
End your night of savoring in Convoy’s excellent cuisine by belting out your favorite ballads at The Hive, located in the heart of Convoy. Thankfully for those still working on their high notes, the Hive offers private karaoke rooms starting at $40 per hour (for up to 8 guests). If singing isn’t your jam, the hangout offers classic Korean bites, a bar menu full of beer and soju cocktails, and even a golf simulator($40 per hour) to help you lose a few strokes from your scorecard.
4428 Convoy St Jury Classroom / Gallery, Kearny Mesa
Rage Room and Axe Throwing at Brainy Actz
Had a long day at work, stuck in traffic for hours, or really need some catharsis from the rat race? Head on down to Brainy Actz for some catharsis in the form of a rage room for $40 per 30 minutes with your choice of hammers, baseball bats, and crowbars. Alternatively, channel your inner lumberjack and practice your axe throwing. This eclectic mix of activities also includes escape rooms, a splatter paint room, and a tie dye workshop for some relaxation following your much-needed smash therapy.
10211 Pacific Mesa Blvd Suite #409, Sorrento Valley
Luxurious Movie Experience at The Lot
Kick your feet up at The Lot, where you can enjoy the Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of a leather recliner along with food service. Located at Liberty Station and La Jolla, each theater is equipped with a restaurant, cafe, bar with happy hour, and bakery. Movie-goers can enjoy their food delivered directly to them in the theater. Reserve your ticket online at The Lot’s website and enjoy the Barbie movie in style with a New York strip steak and Sangria in-hand.
7611 Fay Ave, La Jolla
Time Trials at K1 Speed
The next time rain hits the road, practice your drifting skills on a closed indoor kart track instead of the San Diego freeways. Swap out your V8 for one of K1’s zippy 20-horsepower electric karts with a maximum speed of 45 mph and try to beat the lap record of 22.294 seconds. Parties of 8 or more can reserve their spot on the grid for two races starting at $65 per racer, plus catering. Alternatively, singles can hit the track for $27.96 each race.
1709 Main St, Barrio Logan
Ice Skating at UTC Ice
While it may not be snowing in San Diego, there is always Ice at UTC Westfield in La Jolla. Work on your triple axel and crossovers during the skating rink’s open freestyle sessions daily. Consider lacing up and trying out for the UTC Ice’s adult hockey league whose season starts on October 12th, 2023. Plan your skate session 24 hours in advance on Ice’s website to get yourself $5 off.
4545 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122
Indoor Skydiving at iFly
When conditions aren’t ideal for an outdoor jump, consider a skydiving session indoors at iFly. With three locations across San Diego (Mission Valley, Carlsbad, and Oceanside), iFly is the perfect place to experience the sensation of flying in one of the company’s high-powered wind tunnels. While a real skydive from a plane lasts you approximately 45 seconds, sessions in their skydiving simulator last a minute each across two sessions starting at $74.99.
2385 Camino Del Rio N, Carlsbad
Exploring Ocean Life at the Birch Aquarium
When the weather isn’t fit for a day at the beach, consider a trip to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla to explore the fascinating world of local marine life. The Scripps Institute aquarium is home to over 5,000 fish in 60+ aquarium habitats making it a great destination for marine biology enthusiasts, families, and children on a rainy day, with prices starting at $19.95 for children aged 3-17.
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
Explore Surfing History at the California Surf Museum
Do your immune system a favor and quell your rainy day blues with a stroll through surfing history at the California Surfing Museum in Oceanside. Founded in 1986, the space features a timeline of surfboard design, an exhibit explaining the science of surfing, classic surf photography, and more to get your mind surfing. Tickets start at $7 for adults, and kids under 7get free entry.
312 Pier View Wy, Oceanside
Get a Tattoo at Sailor’s Grave
Whether you’re looking to expand your tattoo sleeve, adorn your body with new art, or immortalize a loved one (or pet), swing by Sailor’s Grave in Hillcrest for some new ink. Talented artists will work their magic to decorate your skin to your heart’s content, offering classic Americana designs as well as custom ink from Gary Koblis’ team of tattoo artists. Walk-ins are welcome from 12 to 8 p.m daily.
3958 Fourth Ave, Hillcrest
Fly High at Sky Zone
If skydiving is too high-flying for your preferences, try Sky Zone Trampoline Park for a less intense indoor flying experience. Sky Zone is the ideal place to let loose, offering facilities including a Ninja Warrior obstacle course, parkour blocks, trampoline basketball, dodgeball, and many others. For a brief hop, 90 minute day passes start at $27.99 while the more restless can jump all day for $35.99.
851 District Pl #100, Chula Vista
An Evening at the Old Globe Theatre
Most days, San Diego is graced by the fine theatre performances of the San Diego Old Globe Theater, making it the perfect refuge from the rain. Laugh, cry, and enjoy performances by local theater companies including Cabaret and Dishwasher Dreams, currently on exhibit until October 8th and 15th, respectively.
1363 Old Globe Way, Downtown
Wine Tasting at Bernardo Winery
Gather your tasting notes and head to East County for a relaxing day tasting the finest grapes from San Diego’s local vineyards, just 30 minutes from Downtown. A bottle of red, a bottle of white, why not try them all during a private wine tasting for groups larger than 12 people or walk in for a smaller scale tasting weekdays from 11 to 8 p.m. Comfort yourself with the rich flavors of Bernardo Winery’s grapes, aged in 130 year-old redwood barrels, the next time it’s raining cats and dogs.
13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, Rancho Bernardo
Brewery Tour at Stone Brewing’s World Bistro & Gardens
A one-acre beer garden, giant casks filled with your favorite IPA, and plenty of hops await you at the Stone Brewery World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido. Try favorites like their Delicious IPA or Buenaveza lager, learn about the beer brewing process during their factory tour, and take home a growler of freshly brewed special batch beers to end your rainy night at home in style.
1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido
Indoor Fun and Games at Belmont Park
Belmont isn’t just the perfect place to visit on a sunny San Diego day. With a variety of fun activities like laser tag, mini golf, an arcade, a bowling alley, bumper cars, carnival games, and photo booths, Belmont Park is the perfect rainy day retreat for families looking to have some fun without getting wet.
3146 Mission Blvd, Mission Beach