Alison

San Diego County Fair Deals and Discounts – 2013

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It’s “Game On” at the San Diego County Fair! This year, the Fair will spotlight classic and nostalgic games and show how these have evolved over the years; from board games and pinball, to television, videos and computers, technology has enhanced the gaming culture beyond our dreams.

Are you ready to hit start? Play at the Fair and save plenty of gold coins (a.k.a cash) with these deals and discounts:

Admission to the Fair

Adult admission to the San Diego County Fair costs $14 – but deals abound:

  • For super fans, the “Best Pass Ever” can’t be beat. It includes daily admission – all 24 days of the fair – for just $24. You’ll need a school or government-issued photo ID to use the pass.
  • Tuesdays are the magic day for kids 6-12 years old. They get in free. (Kids 5 and younger get in free everyday.) Youngsters 12 and younger can get in free any day if they read 10 books and have it verified by their teacher or librarian. The certificate you’ll need to get signed can be downloaded in English or Spanish.
  • Adults can get $4 admission on Tuesday, June 11 or June 18. You’ll need a ticket available with any $10 purchase at Albertsons/SavOn stores. (Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the fair.)
  • Been laid off in the past year? Present an unemployment check stub and a photo ID at the will-call window on June 18 or 25 to get free admission for yourself and a guest.
  • County auto dealers are in on the action this year, starting June 1. Visit a Toyota dealership to get a coupon valid for two adult admissions for the price of one. Visit a Ford dealership to get a 4-tickets-for-$32 coupon.

Once Inside the Fair

Concerts

Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Headliners offering free unreserved seats this year include the Beach Boys,  REO Speedwagon, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Switchfoot, Chubby Checker, Colbie Caillat and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón.

Rides

Love the rides? On “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” days, spend $35 for a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kiddieland rides from noon until 8:00 PM.  The deal is valid June 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 26 and 27. On valid Wednesdays or Thursdays, wristbands are for sale at the fair; on other valid days, they must be purchased online (You’ll buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online; there’s an additional $2.50 fee for online purchases.)

Food

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe - San Diego County Fair

This year, try the new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe at the San Diego County Fair!

Food? On Tuesdays, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, more than 100 food vendors offer smaller portions for $2. Or bring your own picnic; there are six designated picnic areas. (No alcohol, glass containers or metal utensils are allowed on the fairgrounds.)

Getting to the San Diego County Fair

Parking

Avoid the fair’s $10 parking fee by opting for free parking at Horsepark, about 2 miles east of the fairgrounds, at 14550 El Camino Real; a free shuttle will get you to the front gate. On weekends and July 4 there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus.

Public Transportation

Taking public transportation to the fair is a super deal. For $15, travel roundtrip on the Coaster and get free fair admission. The “Fair Tripper” is valid for any age, but those 62 and older save more by buying fair admission and Coaster tickets separately. Kids 5 and younger ride the Coaster free and get free fair admission.

> Find More Exciting Things to Do this Summer in San Diego

Know of any other great San Diego County Fair deals or savings? Let us and others know in the comments below. Even if you don’t know of any, tell us what deep-fried treat you are most looking forward to trying.

Candice

San Diego Restaurant Week 2013 Preview

Was your New Year’s resolution to start feeding that piggy bank? If you’re like me, you want to save money without feeling like you’re missing out on the good things in life, like fine dining. January is always a great time of year for money-saving travel to San Diego, when hotel rates and airfares have dropped from their peak holiday prices. And thanks to San Diego Restaurant Week, you really can live the good life in San Diego without breaking the bank.

From January 13 – 18, 2013, diners can enjoy a six-day exploration of the region’s exciting dining scene for a fraction of the normal expense.  More than 180 participation restaurants will offer special three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30 or $40 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included) and two-course, prix-fixe lunch menus for just $10, $15 or $20 per person. Here’s a sneak peek at some notable menus:

100 Wines Hillcrest

100 Wines Hillcrest San Diego Restaurant Week

100 Wines Hillcrest

100 Wines Hillcrest will be serving up their signature crispy cauliflower with pancetta, parmesan cheese and a balsamic port reduction. Follow that up with a proscuitto pizza creatively topped with house made mozzarella and green grapes.

Gaijin Noodle + Sake House

Gaijin Noodle and Sake House San Diego Restaurant Week

Ramen at Gaijin Noodle + Sake House

Gaijin Noodle + Sake House in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter offers one of the tastiest deals with a starter, two yakitori skewers, half bowl of ramen and dessert (like their bacon s’more) all for only $20.

Terra American Bistro

Terra American Bistro San Diego Restaurant Week

Pumpkin soup and lamb at Terra American Bistro (Photo by Paul Body as it appears in “From Terra’s Table,” Chefs Press, 2010)

For diners who want maximum menu options, Terra American Bistro in La Mesa has you covered with more than 10 appetizer options and seven entrée options, including their Karl Strauss Amber Lager braised pot roast and sinful lobster mac ‘n cheese.

California Restaurant Month

San Diego Restaurant Week is part of California Restaurant Month, occurring January 2013, when 30 destinations across California are hosting restaurant week events.  Details are available online at www.visitcalifornia.com/restaurantmonth.

What restaurants are you excited to try out during Restaurant Week?

Candice

San Diego Restaurant Week: Gaslamp Quarter Best Bets

Frugal foodies, rejoice – San Diego Restaurant Week is back! Kicking off on Jan. 15 and running through Jan. 20, Restaurant Week offers visitors and locals alike the chance to enjoy a full three-course dinner or two-course lunch at a super discounted price. More than 180 restaurants around San Diego County participate in Restaurant Week, so choosing which spots to visit can be daunting. If dining amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown excites your palate, here are three Gaslamp Quarter venues sure to offer a can’t-miss meal:

Nobu San Diego

Nobu

Nobu is known nationally for its Japanese fusion cuisine, but the high-end dining experience can quickly add up to a high-end bill on a normal night. During Restaurant Week, you can enjoy fresh yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, yuzu soy, cilantro, and serrano chili followed by their steamed Chilean sea bass in black bean sauce with julienned ginger, chives and baby bok choy and still only pay $40 per person for the meal.

Bice San Diego

Bice

Bice’s elegant dining room and sophisticated Italian dishes make it the perfect date-night restaurant. Their Restaurant Week menu includes a creative soft asparagus flan appetizer with cheese Fondue and wild mushrooms, plus offers diners the option to add on additional sides, like their delectable potato gnocchi in a creamy crab and corn sauce, as well as wine and cocktail pairings.

Saltbox San Diego

Saltbox

One of downtown’s newest additions, Saltbox lept onto the dining scene as the signature restaurant of the Hotel Palomar. Their beef cheek tacos have been the talk of the town since the hotspot opened up this fall. During Restaurant Week, their many offerings include flash-fried shishito peppers and beef short ribs slow cooked in a coconut porter. Splurge by adding one of their fresh cocktail concoctions – mixologist Erin Williams doesn’t disappoint.

Candice

Restaurant Week Picks: Fabulous French Fare

Restaurant Week is great time to branch out and try something a little unexpected. San Diego may be best known for the fish taco, but why not explore the culinary landscape with a little taste of France? From downtown to North County, French delicacies aren’t hard to find in San Diego during this Restaurant Week:

Cafe Chloe charms diners in the East Village

Café Chloe

You may have a view of downtown’s East Village, but at this elegant yet casual bistro, you’ll swear you’re dining just off a Parisian sidewalk. Prepared to be perfectly authentic, their steak frites paired with herbes de provence butter, green beans, yellow wax beans and honey onions followed by their famous chocolate pot de crème is the ideal meal when you can’t decide between haute cuisine and comfort food.

Cavaillon's dining room, smoked salmon and warm chocolate moelleux

Cavaillon

This warm and friendly French hideaway in the North County neighborhood of Santaluz recently welcomed new chef Michael von Euw. Sample von Euw’s fresh updates on classic dishes with Cavaillon’s Restaurant Week offerings, including a delicate smoked salmon appetizer, sumptuous beef tenderloin and sinfully decadent warm chocolate moelleux for dessert, and you’ll be delighted to have made his acquaintance.

Bleu Boheme in Kensington - try the escargots!

Bleu Boheme

I love this restaurant so much, I married it! Well, that’s not exactly true, but I did have my wedding there. The rustic French farmhouse setting is just as charming as the traditional peasant-style dishes. One bite of their melt-in-your-mouth coq au vin, and you’ll fall in love, too. Be brave and try the escargots – you’ll be glad you did.

Katie S.

Restaurant Week and The Ultimate Foodie Slumber Party

San Diego Restaurant Week is just around the corner. The foodie in my is screaming, “YAAAY! Think of all the things I get to try this year,” while the sensible money-saver in me is screaming, “YAAY!! Three-course meals for only $20-$40 per person!” SO basically, every little part of me wins this battle.

San Diego Restaurant Weeek takes place twice a year, once in January and once in September. It runs from 9/19 through 9/24 and includes over 180 of the city’s best restaurants. Everything from the waterfront Marine Room in La Jolla to the hip Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar is offering these amazing deals. In January I went to Pacific Coast Grill in Solana Beach where you can not only bring your doggie to dine on their outdoor patio, but where I ate fish tacos that were literally to die for, come back to life again and continue eating good, and only $30.

The other great thing about Restaurant Week is that most hotels are offering deals, so you can literally hop on the train from L.A., eat a delicious meal, spend the night at a hip, downtown hotel and then hop back on the next day. I think of this as the ultimate foodie slumber party.

Since Restaurant Week hosts some of the most popular restaurants, it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance (are you on your phone yet?).

Bon Apetit!