The Best Events in San Diego: When to Go and What to See

The Best Events in San Diego: When to Go and What to See

San Diego boasts a comprehensive calendar of annual events to keep visitors of all ages entertained. People may want to plan their visits to the city to take advantage of those events of most interest to them. We take a look at some of the highlights.


January marks the arrival of the annual PGA Tour event with the Farmers Insurance Open Golf Tournamentat Torrey Pines. Servpro Fan Village offers prime views of the action. The Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck feature is the ideal spot to take refreshments, offering panoramic views of the course as spectators sip signature Torrey Breeze cocktails.



The Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Grasis a carnival of color. Featuring authentic New Orleans cuisine and carnival-inspired cocktails, this annual event takes place in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. It is a celebration of Brazilian music, dance and culture.

The 2018 Mardi Gras featured live entertainment from Circus Mafia, with jugglers, acrobats and stilt walkers. The Beads, Bites and Booze Tour takes place at various locations throughout Downtown San Diego. It offers visitors the opportunity to take part in a unique tasting event with a tantalizing offering of Mardi Gras-inspired bites.

February is also San Diego Museum Month, when visitors receive a 50 percent discount on admission. From nature lovers to art aficionados, there is something for everyone at San Diego’s 40-plus museums.


The San Diego Bird Festivaltakes place at the Marina Village Conference Centre. The 2019 guest speakers include Cape May Bird Observatory Director David La Puma and Karan Odom of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

March 3 marks the event’s Family Day. Children are entertained with workshops and live bird presentations. This promotes interest in ornithology from a young age.



The Crew Classic, revered by rowers for generations, is San Diego’s premier rowing regatta. The 2019 event, held on April 6 and 7, marks the start of the Mission Bay rowing season. Athletes from over 100 US sports programs, clubs, and universities compete in this major rowing event.


The 2019 Gator by the Bay-Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festivalwill take place from May 9 to 12 at the Bon Temps Social Club. This renowned festival features four days of live music in the biggest Louisiana-themed festival to be found west of the Mississippi.

The event will feature classic Southern dishes such as jambalaya, gumbo, and over 10,000 pounds of crawfish. There will also be more than 100 live musical performances.


San Diego County Fairtakes place throughout the month of June. The 2019 event, inspired by the Wizard of Oz, is a whirlwind of carnival rides and educational exhibits designed to keep the whole family entertained.

Featuring over 4,000 unique attractions, the event draws over 1.5 million visitors a year. With more than 1,800 concerts spread over 27 days, San Diego County Fair draws music lovers from all over California and beyond.


Comic-Con International is the biggest comic and movie memorabilia event  in the United States. It attracts thousands of celebrities, artists, and comic book fans in a celebration of all things pop culture.

Visitors can attend seminars, workshops and even meet their favorite celebrities. Attendees can also preview upcoming films and attend award ceremonies.


Julian StarFest is a celebration of astronomy that takes place in Julian, a mountain town famed for its dark skies. Julian is regarded by many as one of the best stargazing locations in all of the United States.


The event features talks from some of the world’s leading astronomers. There is also a free public Star Party featuring a swap meet, exhibition area and raffle.


San Diego Bayfairtakes place in Mission Bay Park each September. It celebrates San Diego’s long boat racing history.

The City of San Diego first set up a special water racecourse between Fiesta Island and East Vacation Island in 1958. The 2.5-mile course is specially adapted to dissipate waves from hydroplanes and motorboats.

Each year, more than 5 million spectators arrive at Mission Bay to watch the boat racing. They can also enjoy aerial acrobatics and live musical performances.


The 2019 ANOC World Beach Games are set to take place in Mission Bay and surrounding beaches from October 9 to 15. The fixture attracts youngsters from across the county in a celebration of the beach lifestyle, surfing, and extreme sports.



The San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festivaltakes place every November at various venues throughout the city. This weeklong celebration of local food, wine and culture features events held by local wineries and craft beer producers. Attendees are also treated to appearances from some of the world’s most celebrated chefs, culminating in a Grand Tasting Finale at the Embarcadero.


The holiday season marks the start of whale-watching season in San Diego. Cruisers can experience colossal grey whales from close range as more than 20,000 of the creatures migrate to California from Alaska.

Hornblower Cruises charter a number of expeditions, allowing visitors a rare glimpse of these magnificent creatures up close. It also offers dolphin and blue whale-watching expeditions.

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