It’s the season for spooky fun, and the San Diego area has so much to offer for a Halloween-inspired night out. Read on for my recommendations and a stop-by-stop itinerary for a perfect spooky date night, friends’ night, or girls’ night out.
Stop #1: The Whaley House
Start the night with some San Diego history and a paranormal adventure at the world-famous Whaley House, known as The Most Haunted House in America. This iconic San Diego attraction was built by Thomas Whaley in 1857 and served as his family home after he arrived in California during the famous California Gold Rush. The home became a community staple because it was also San Diego’s first commercial theater, the second county courthouse, and a bilingual general store. What makes this historic landmark a great stop for your Halloween-themed night out is its eerie past. Over the years, numerous descendants of the Whaley family died in the house, but many believed it was destined to be haunted before construction even began since it was built on the site of the town gallows were many had been publicly executed. This legacy continues through paranormal and spiritual encounters that many still discover today. Book a 30- to 40-minute guided tour through the Whaley House and its surrounding grounds to hear tales of the spirits from the past and perhaps even experience the paranormal yourself.
Stop #2: Drinks at Oculto 477
Just a 2-minute walk from the Whaley House, you’ll find a hidden, prohibition-style speakeasy adjacent to a cemetery – Oculto 477. You’ll need a reservation in advance, but the unique atmosphere and eclectic menu are worth it! Learn more by reading my blog with everything you need to know about Oculto 477 here.
Stop #3: The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
Just 10-minutes away from Oculto 477, you'll find The Haunted Trail of Balboa. This haunted attraction has been terrifying visitors since 2000, and this year features two different experiences: the 3,500 square foot eXperiment Maze and a mile-long terrifying outdoor Trail through twisted pines and gnarled oaks.
This isn’t your typical haunted house experience – it has been named by CNN to its Top 5 Best Haunted Attractions, and has been featured by the Travel Channel on its show, America's Scariest Halloween Attractions. True to its reputation, these haunts are not for children under 10 or the faint of heart.
The VIP ticket option is highly recommended, since it allows you to arrive anytime during hours of operation on your selected day, and provides expedited entry to the maze and trail, significantly reducing wait times compared to other ticket options.
Stop #4 - Finish the Night with a Scary Movie
There’s no better way to end your spooky evening than with a scary movie. You might head to San Diego's premier outdoor theatre, Cinema Under the Stars (less than 10 minutes by car from Balboa Park), for a screening of a spooky film classic like Young Frankenstein or Alfred Hitchock’s The Birds, both with weekend showing dates from mid to late October. Or, if you’re looking for something new, catch the final chapter of Halloween – Halloween Ends – which opens in theaters October 14. The LOT Liberty Station is also about a 10-minute drive from Balboa Park.
I hope you enjoy your Halloween-themed adventure!