San Diego may be the perfect year-round destination, but summer casts its own special spell with this series of signature happenings.
San Diego County Fair
When: June 7 – July 4, 2023
Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Marking the unofficial start of summer in San Diego, this signature event — one of the biggest county fairs in the country — draws a million-plus people to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for rides, music, art, agricultural exhibits and, of course, an amazing variety of food. This year’s theme is “Get Out There!,” an invitation to enjoy the great outdoors in San Diego.
Big Bay Boom
When: July 4, 2023
Where: View from numerous locations around San Diego Bay
There’s no place like beautiful San Diego Bay to celebrate Independence Day, as the night sky comes alive with the massive and spectacular Big Bay Boom. Fireworks are discharged from barges arrayed all around the harbor, creating an unforgettable, 18-minute pyrotechnic celebration. And there are numerous places around the bay to settle in and enjoy this eye-popping rite of summertime.
San Diego Pride
When: July 15-16, 2023
Where: Hillcrest and environs
One of the largest Pride events in the nation takes place right here in San Diego each July, as San Diego Pride hosts a two-day festival that includes a hugely popular parade (the biggest single-day event in the San Diego region), a 5K run/walk through beautiful Balboa Park and the Hillcrest community, a series of concerts and much more.
Comic-Con International: San Diego
When: July 20-23, 2023
Where: San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
It’s the big one, the comics juggernaut, the veritable King of Cons. When Comic-Con International: San Diego takes the grand stage at the San Diego Convention Center each summer, pretty much the whole pop-culture world stops to pay attention — and pay homage. The Con is a very hot ticket (passes regularly sell out within minutes) and a very happening spectacle, with big-name movie stars pushing the latest Hollywood blockbusters while comic-book purveyors, action-figure makers and artists of all stripes take over the convention center floor. And then of course there are the costumes: A good portion of the more than 130,000 Con attendees show up fully decked out as their favorite characters from comics, movies and more, offering plenty of peak people-watching.
Del Mar Summer Racing Season
When: July 21 – Sept. 10, 2023
Where: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
The seaside Del Mar Racetrack is the place “Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” and it has been a mecca for racing fans since Bing Crosby co-founded the place in 1937. The track’s summer season is the perfect time to relax trackside or in the grandstand, with racing form in one hand and cool drink in the other, and take in all the sights, sounds and excitement of the Sport of Kings.
San Diego Padres and Petco Park Concerts
When: All summer long
Where: Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
It’s game on in San Diego come summer, as the resurgent Padres host exciting MLB action in Petco Park — deemed America’s Best Ballpark by USA Today. Petco offers the full ballpark experience, with great local food and beverages to match top-notch baseball, all of it in close proximity to everything that San Diego’s vibrant Gaslamp Quarter has to offer. And when there’s no game happening, Petco hosts a concert series loaded with talent: This summer’s lineup includes Morgan Wallen, Weezer, the Pixies and many more top acts.
Summer Concerts at the Shell
When: All summer long
Where: The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 200 Marina Park Way, San Diego, CA 92101
The San Diego Symphony’s stunning bayfront venue, which opened in 2021, offers something for everyone in its summer concert series, which this year spotlights music luminaries from Earth, Wind & Fire to the Beach Boys to Michael Franti, along with a string of symphonic performances such as Beethoven by the Bay. It’s a matchless place to take in a show as the sun goes down over the water.