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Hats, Horses and High Rollers: Opening Day at the Del Mar Races

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack
Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

…and they’re off!

Seventy-five years have passed since Bing Crosby and his friends opened up the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, but the glamour and prestige of Opening Day hasn’t faded with age. Every year, locals and visitors alike flock to the seaside racetrack to soak up the first day of racing action, not to mention gawk at all the elaborate hats on display, and this year’s Opening Day was no exception.

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack

Those looking to visit the Del Mar races this season can embark on the journey car-free; just hop on the North County Transit District’s COASTER commuter train. Ride the train to Solana Beach, then hop on one of the free shuttles that take you directly to the track’s front gate. The best part is the view – it sure beats staring at the cars stuck in traffic!

Ride the Coaster train to the Del Mar Racetrack

No need for a designated driver when you take the Coaster to the racetrack, and the view is outstanding.

While the races are the main event, Opening Day is one heck of a party with plenty of smiling faces under those elaborate hats. It’s best to make a day of it, so dress up, grab a few of your friends and a Del Margarita and settle in for afternoon.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Even after Opening Day has come and gone, the action at the track is just warming up. All season long, the Del Mar racetrack is home to events that appeal to visitors of all ages, like the Gourmet Food Truck Festival on July 28, where more than 50 trucks come to the track to offer a wide range of delicious, fun and funky dining options. Parents can bring the kids out for Family Fun Day on July 22, and dog lovers can cheer on the fastest runners on four legs…four very short legs! The Wienerschnitzel Wiener Dog Nationals take place at the track on Sept. 3. And of course, Fridays are all about music at the track, with Del Mar’s Summer Concert Series. After the races end, race-goers can enjoy free live music from a lineup of performers including Wavves, Dashboard Confessional, Ben Harper and more. Check out the full lineup for information on performances schedules.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Opening Day 2012 broke attendance records, with more than 47,000 people attending

If you’re planning on attending Opening Day next year, or any of the other days this season that feature concerts or special events, be sure to plan on arriving early and give yourself extra travel time.

Suzzanne

This Weekend in San Diego

What to do in San Diego this weekend!

> Find Even More Great Events in San Diego

1. 59th Annual Over-the-Line Tournament – 2nd Weekend

The finals of the Over the Line (OTL) tournament are taking place this weekend, July 21st and 22nd. If you have never seen OTL before, go check it out on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. You will not regret it. Remember, observe the five B’s rule: No Babies, No Bottles, No Bowsers, No Bikes, No Boas. Enjoy!

2. Del Mar Racing

Where the Turf Meets the Surf!

The racing season runs from July 18 – September 5th. This weekend, one of my favorite events is Donut Day. On July 21st from 8:00 – 10:00 am, visitors will get free donuts as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the racetrack and Q & A with trainers and jockeys.

3. Annual LGBT Pride Parade & Festival

San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival

The annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade on July 21st is the 4th largest in the United States attracting over 197,000 cheering spectators and significant media participation. Parade kicks off at 11:00 am and begins at University Ave. and Normal Street, then proceeds west on University Avenue to 6th Avenue, turns south on 6th Avenue, ending at Balboa Drive and Upas Street.

4. Leopard Sharks at the Birch Aquarium

Leopard Sharks at the Birch Aquarium

The Birch Aquarium is dedicating the month of July to on of their local favorites – the Leopard Shark. Thousands of these amazing sharks congregate every year near La Jolla Shores. Events include Leopard-Shark Focused Dive Shows, Talk with a Shark Scientist and SEA Days: Sharks around the Globe.

5. 9th Annual San Diego International Children’s Film Festival

San Diego International Film Festival

Visit the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park to see short films from around the world for children and teens. Over 100 short films from some 20 countries will be screened during the festival. And best of all, the screenings are free!

> Find Even More Great Events in San Diego

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

1. Gourmet Food Truck Festival: Pack your appetite Saturday, August 20 as Del Mar Horse Races hosts the largest Food Truck Festival. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a treasure trove of delicious and eclectic foods from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm served by Southern California”s top food truck chefs. The festival will take place in the concert area and is free with track admission.

Photo courtesy of UT

  1. 35th Annual World Body Surfing Championships: International and U.S. body surfers compete at the Oceanside Pier and Beach August 20 and 21 starting at 6:30 am. Over 300 body surfers will compete and will be judged in how well they perform in their 15 minute heats. There will also be booths from sponsors such as Bud Light, Muscle Milk, and Rockstar.

3. Stone Brewing Anniversary Party: Help Stone Brewing celebrate its 15th Anniversary with fresh kegs, online casino 10 tastings and over 40 guest breweries. Thousands of people are expected to attend and will be held on the California State University, San Marcos campus on August 20.

4. San Diego Polo Club Match: Experience Polo in a whole new way by tailgating. Pack up your car with food, snacks, chairs and sit back and enjoy a polo match. First match starts at 1:00 pm with the featured match starting at 3:00 pm. Don”t forget to partake in the divot stomp at 3:45 pm. This Sunday”s match is the Fernando Gutierrez Memorial Cup Final.

5. San Diego Padres: Ok so we”re not in the penant race, but a Padres game is always fun and this Saturday, following the game Dierks Bently will be performing and Sunday kids will receive Padres backpacks…just in time for school!

Suzzanne

Neighborhood Spotlight: North County Coastal

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on North County Coastal.

North County Coastal is made up of some of San Diego County’s most unique beach communities including Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. With a little bit of everything, visitors can spend the day surfing at some of the best spots in San Diego County, play 18 holes at Torrey Pines, home to the 2008 U.S. Open, and dine at San Diego’s only 5 star restaurant, Addison.

Del Mar

Del Mar: “Where the Surf Meets the Turf.” Just as Del Mar has its two faces—town and country; surf and turf – it also has two seasons – summer and the rest of the year. Summer is a lively, fast-paced, crowded time with the fair running from June through the beginning of July and then the Del Mar Race Season. Races run every day except Tuesdays with concerts on Saturdays and Sundays.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach: Known for its rocky cliffs, Solana Beach is a shoppers heaven. For original art, handmade furniture and other one-of-a-kind items, visit the South Cedros shopping district. After a day of shopping Cedros, be sure to hang around and check out the Belly Up Tavern, also on South Cedros Avenue, one of San Diego’s best live music venues.

Encinitas

Encinitas: The coolest thing about Encinitas isn’t the beach itself, but the pervasive beach culture. A child of the ’60s that grew up to become a real estate gold mine, Encinitas offers the best of both worlds: the refined tastes and civic responsibility that come with prosperity and the energy and vitality that come from free-spirited ideals and attitudes.

Discover North County Coastal for yourself with our “Enjoy the Grand Life in San Diego’s North County” sweepstakes. Unwind during a two-night stay at The Grand Del Mar, one of San Diego’s most exclusive luxury resorts. Discover the dramatic North County coastline by air on “The Unforgettable” scenic helicopter ride for two from Corporate Helicopters of San Diego.