Climb aboard for an unforgettable ride on Thomas the Train, celebrate Dia de los Muertos at festive events all over the city from Old Town to Escondido, party like a rock star at School of Rock, and have a Sunday fun-day at the Fall Back Festival downtown. Read on for where to live in the moment this weekend before it’s time to set those clocks back!

photo: via Pixabay


Dia de los Muertos at the Safari Park
Head to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to celebrate a wild Dia de los Muertos. Nov. 1-3 you’ll get free admission for kids 11 and younger when accompanied by an adult. Ride the Spanish language African tram and enjoy bilingual animal experiences. Nov. 2 & 3 there will also be crafts, festive foods, mariachis, dancing, and more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Dia de los Muertos Festival
Celebrate with the community at California Center for the Arts Escondido’s annual Día de los Muertos Festival. Guests are invited to participate by making altars in honor of their loved ones in a special area created by artist Eloy Tarcisio. Enjoy music, art, ballet folklórico, face painting, arts and crafts and more. There will also be handmade goods and food for purchase. On Nov. 2, local brand The Movement will bring back Cultura Fest: Noche de Muertos, featuring over 40 Latinx artists and vendors. The night will conclude with a special performance in the Center’s Concert Hall with Tributo a la Reina, un Homenaje a Celia Cruz. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Balboa Park

School of Rock the Musical
Based on the hit movie, School of Rock is the story of wannabe rock star Dewey Finn, who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. When he discovers his students’ musical talents, he enlists them to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. This Junior Theatre premiere is suitable for all audiences. Fri. Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. is Rock ‘n’ Roll Night! Dress like the rock star you are and take home an awesome prize! ASL-interpreted performance on Sat., Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. Showtimes vary by day. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Day of the Dead at Copley Plaza
Celebrate the great Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) with this AXIS event, featuring unique activities, artistic expression, and the premiere of a community-generated theatre piece developed in a coLAB workshop. Community participants and local artists will share their community and traditions in this premiere performance, hosted by a professional guest director. There will be music for singing and dancing, a display of community altars, face painting, and sugar-skull decorating. Sun. Event details.

Liberty Station

First Friday Arts District
San Diego’s biggest monthly free art walk on the First Friday of every month. Meet working artists, make art, see new exhibitions, enjoy dance, theatre and music performances, discover public art and more! Wander and explore the 28 acre campus with galleries, museums, artist studios, distinctive shops and dining at historic Liberty Station. Fri. Event details.

Various Locations

Halloween Candy Buy Back
For the 15th year, The Super Dentists are participating in the long-standing Halloween Candy Buy-Back program again this year, helping kids turn candy into cash. From Nov. 1-8, kids can bring in candy to any of The Super Dentists’ five offices and exchange it for cash. Kids receive $1 for each pound of candy they bring in. (Cash paid Nov. 1-8 only). The Super Dentists will donate the thousands of pounds of candy they collect to Active Duty Service Members to enjoy. Click here for buy-back locations. Fri. Event details.

Seaport Village

Studio by the Bay Family Days
In collaboration with The New Children’s Museum, Seaport Village presents Studio by the Bay Family Days! Featuring art-making with two artists-in-residence, Kurosh Yahyai and Jose Venegas, children and families are invited to stop by the colorful waterfront studio and enjoy free monthly workshops and play-based experiences. In honor of Dia De Los Muertos, guests are invited to celebrate Day of the Dead and honor loved ones with art projects using skulls, paper flowers, paint and other colorful materials. Sat. Event details.

Old Town

Day of the Dead Old Town
This community-wide commemoration, which honors ancestors and other deceased loved ones with special menus, music, dancing and crafts, includes Day of the Dead sugar skull decorating, mask and paper flower making, a giant skeleton puppet and stilt walker, face painting and much more. Immerse yourself in the culture with live music, dancing, tamale carts, mariachis, authentic food, piñatas, storytelling, complimentary Mexican hot chocolate––the list goes on and on! Don’t miss this fantastic celebration. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Fall Back Festival
It’s a free Sunday fun-day for the entire family at the 19th Annual Fall Back Festival! This free children’s historical street faire is in the heart of downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, with the lively festivities taking place in front of the Davis-Horton House on 4th and Island Avenue. Rally the gang and combine a day of play and educational fun as history comes alive while kids pan for gold with actual prospectors, observe a blacksmith displaying his trade, or saddle up for an adventurous pony ride! Sun. Event details.


Day Out with Thomas: Steam Team Tour
Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour is a fun-filled event that provides kids of all ages the opportunity to climb aboard and take a ride with Thomas and Percy as well as participate in tons of Thomas & Friends activities. Advance tickets are recommended. There are several timed departures each day of the event. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

––Beth Shea