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Stargazing

Don't underestimate San Diego's stargazing spots

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Last updated: by Nataliia Chaika
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Many would argue that San Diego isn’t the best place to go stargazing. And while it does have limited sky-watching spots, the city and its neighborhood have a little something to offer. Here are the best stargazing places in San Diego that'll take your breath away.

Balboa Park

During the day, Balboa Park serves as one of the city’s top attractions. You can visit a zoo, a history museum, or the air & space gallery. But during the night, having limited light pollution, the park opens its door to all enthusiastic star lovers out there. In addition, folks from the San Diego Astronomy Association come together in Balboa Park for the “Stars in the Park” event, held on the first Wednesday of each month. This way, you’ll be able to watch the pros gazing at the stars and have your own viewing experience alongside, using free telescopes.

Cowles Mountain

Cowles Mountain is San Diego’s highest point, reaching over 1,500 ft (over 400 m). Of course, you’ll have to put some effort into hiking up the mount trail, but the result will pay off. Plus, the trail is thoroughly marked, so it won’t be much trouble getting to the peak even during nighttime. Once you get to the top, you’ll get not only a gorgeous panoramic view of the city but also a nice elevated spot to enjoy constellations in the night sky. Cowles Mountain also has less air pollution compared to the center of San Diego, so you’ll be able to watch the stars without any obstructions.

Palomar Observatory

This research observatory is located on Palomar Mountain. Unfortunately, it closes around the afternoon, but the campground close to the observatory is still open to fellow star chasers. The place is created for stargazing: it has concrete pads for telescopes, so you won’t have to squash up on a small piece of land. Plus, there is a free stargazing event, “Explore the Stars,” held every month during the star observing season. Be sure to check it out before visiting the site.

When to go

The stargazing season in the US is generally all year round. However, some months are better due to weather conditions and the level of light pollution. In San Diego, the stargazing season begins in spring and lasts for approximately six months. But the best time to watch the sky in the city is during the summer months.

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