If your little night owls are ready for a hoot long after sundown, we’ve got a thrilling bucket list of activities to do with your kids at night in San Diego. From the County Fair and Fleet Science family nights to cool sleepovers on the USS Midway and Zoo Safari Park, read on and plan a family night out on the town.
San Diego County Fair
Kick off your summer evening with a trip to the San Diego County Fair held a the Del Mar Racetrack now-July 4! The magic of the fair begins at twilight with the sparkling lights, crazy-fun carnival rides and creative fair food. This year's theme is “Oz-some” world inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Save a few bucks and check out what's happening with our San Diego Fair Guide.
San Diego County Fair
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, CA 92014
USS Midway Movie Night Sleepover
Permission to board! Grab the crew and watch a movie like "Aquaman" or "The Little Mermaid" on the flight deck of the historic USS Midway Museum. Even more, there will be plenty of other activities like a bounce house and face painting. Then it's time to don those pajamas and sleep in the enlisted berthing spaces of true Midway Sailors. In the morning, enjoy a quick breakfast and return ashore.
USS Midway Museum
910 N. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA
Family Nights at the Fleet
Come for the food truck Fridays, then stay and play at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park this summer. Get hands-on with the Retro-Active Science exhibits, head up to Kid City and light it up with It's Electric. What's more, you can sit outside and enjoy free music performances on the Craveology patio. Check out our other STEM learning spots.
The Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
Roll it out with the crew in the evening at Skateworld. Show your kids your favorite moves from when you were little. You'll find disco lights, great music and lots of laughs.
6907 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Full Moon Pier Walk
Curious about what scientists do at Scripps Pier? If so, then this walk is for your water babes. This moonlit stroll down the pier is designed with older kids in mind (you have to be nine years-old to partake with your family). Normally closed to the public, you'll discover the 100-year history, collect plankton and engage in other hands-on activities.
Cost: $30/person (9 years old and up)
Family Bowling Night
Whether you hit the lanes and enjoy the disco lights or you try a roll at cosmic bowling, the bowling alley at Kearney Mesa Bowl in San Diego and Bowlero in San Marcos are two fam faves for a little kid-friendly competition all while grabbing a bite to eat.
945 San Marcos Blvd.
San Marcos, CA 92069
Kearney Mesa Bowl
7585 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Tag you're it! Little game players love tagging each other in the foggy darkness lit up with laser lights. Parents love the laser tag at Belmont Park where the laser vest must fit comfortably to play. Even more nighttime adventure awaits at this beachside carnival. Twirl around in the new ice cream cone-themed pods on the Tilt a Whirl or defy gravity and take a dive on Zero Gravity, the new space-themed ride.
3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
Kids' Wild Night at The San Diego Zoo
Maybe no more monkeys are jumping on the bed... but the wild fun continues after dark at the San Diego Zoo. From June 16- Sept. 7 the zoo stays open until 9 p.m. Eat outside in the warm night air and catch the latest trampoline show.
The San Diego Zoo
2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, CA
S’mores on the Beach
No need to pack up the towels and sand toys just because the sun is setting. Instead, break out the marshmallows and skewers for s’mores beachside! Many beaches have fire pits available on a first come, first serve basis, including Coronado Beach and San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff. Fires have to be out by midnight, but the little ones will be fast asleep by then.
838 Ocean Blvd.
Coronado, CA 92118
San Elijo State Beach
2050 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
Drive-in movies aren’t just a thing of the past! Places like the Santee Drive-In and South Bay Drive-In offer current releases—several are family-friendly—from the comfort of your own car. Bring food with you or buy snacks from the concession stand. Make sure everyone takes a nap because they often show double features!
10990 N. Woodside Ave.
Santee, CA 92071
South Bay Drive-In
2170 Coronado Ave.
San Diego, CA 92154
What could be more magical than spending the evening gazing at stars with your little astronomers? There are plenty of opportunities for “star parties” with the San Diego Astronomy Association, which has an observation site in East County — although you’ll need your own equipment. And check out these top sites around the county, ideal for stargazing.
Click here for a list of all of our favorite spots to stargaze in San Diego.
San Diego Astronomy Association
San Diego Zoo Safari Park Roar & Snore
Camping next to a rhinoceros? Brushing your teeth with a giraffe? Well, not quite, but the Safari Park does offer overnight excursions appropriate for all ages. Sleep in one of the park’s tents and enjoy after-hours tours of wildlife, camp activities, guided walks, dinner and breakfast the next morning. Who knows, you may even get to hear a lion roar, as the event title suggests!
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, CA 92027
––Michelle Franklin, Beth Shea & Nikki Walsh
featured photo: San Diego County Fair