San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

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2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
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With plenty of opportunities to eat, shop, and explore, the San Diego County Fair is an annual event that offers something new every year!
San Diego County Fair
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Highlights

Explore the Fairgrounds of San Diego

The San Diego County Fair is a must-see for anyone visiting the city in the summer. Located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, it’s also commonly referred to as the Del Mar Fair, though the many vendors and attractions are representations of the entirety of San Diego.

The County Fair is packed with fun things to do! Sample from the wide variety of food stalls, find the perfect souvenir in one of the three large shopping halls, check out the landscape displays in the garden walk, and watch a pig race or band performance. There are also plenty of kid-friendly attractions like the ferris wheel, carousel, and pony rides.

Each year, the San Diego County Fair focuses on a certain theme. For 2021, this theme was HOME*GROWN*FUN. This theme reflects the scaled-back nature of this year’s fair while still emphasizing a strong sense of rebuilding the community and celebrating local culture.

The Del Mar Fair runs from June 11th to July 4th 2021, excluding Mondays and Tuesdays. Fairground gates are open from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Admission Prices and How to Buy Tickets to the Fair

Admission to this year’s fair is just $10, which is half the usual price for a full day of fun. Kids under 5 are allowed in for free. Tickets must be purchased in advance and online through the official San Diego County Fair site.

You can help cut down on trip costs even further by taking advantage of discounts like those offered with the Go San Diego Pass, which lets you bundle admission and gear rentals for various local attractions for one low rate. Consider taking advantage of the All-inclusive option to see as many attractions as you like during your visit, and pre-purchase a Go San Diego Pass through us for an additional savings!

Attractions near the fairgrounds that are applicable for Go Pass discounts include SeaWorld San Diego and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. You can also save on surfboard and kayak rentals for use at one of the many gorgeous Del Mar beaches.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay nearby, consider booking a room at the L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, which includes many amenities such as pool and beach access, fitness equipment, and a business center. You can also check out our list of the best family-friendly hotels if you’re planning on enjoying the fairgrounds with your kids.

Explore Everything There Is to See at the San Diego County Fair

With such a diverse array of local vendors, there’s always something new and exciting at the fair. In addition to food stalls, there are also hundreds of different sellers in the shopping halls. Don’t forget to stop by the garden walk as well!

Sample Local Cuisine and Fair Foods

Like any good fair, the Del Mar Fair is full of plenty of meals, snacks, and dessert options you’ll want to take full advantage of.

You’re sure to have eyes bigger than your stomach when you see the wide array of fair food vendors. From local specialties to deep-fried fair classics and everything in between, including sweet treats and salty snacks, one thing is for sure: you won’t be leaving hungry!

Shop Til You Drop

There are over 250 different vendors in the fair’s shopping halls, so there’s sure to be something to interest everyone. Many vendors are locals selling homemade wares, while other stalls are run by big-name brands like Vitamix and CutCo.

Walk Through the Garden

Landscape displays have long since been a time-honored fair tradition. The garden walk shows off the best of the best local flora no matter the scale of the event. The garden walk provides a nice reprieve from the busier areas of the fair so you can enjoy the landscape.

Live Music, Animal Races, and Other Shows

The County Fair is filled to the brim with fun events each week. These include animal shows, fireworks, and plenty of local bands.

Races and Other Animal Shows

The fair is just as much about fauna as it is about flora. One popular event that runs throughout the day is the Swifty Swine Pig Race. Watch as the adorable piglets race down the track and see who is crowned top hog.

Looking for more entertainment with furry friends? Check out the Extreme Dogs show, where canines display incredible feats of skill and agility as they run, jump, and perform daring tricks. This is a great show for kids and adults alike.

Local San Diego wildlife takes the spotlight in the Wild About Home*Grown*Fun show. You can get up close and personal with a number of animal ambassadors, from fuzzy critters to keen-eyed birds of prey. The show is presented by a volunteer who aims to educate and emphasize the importance of conservation.

Local Tips
Pay in Advance
Admission tickets and parking passes are limited and need to be purchased online in advance. No ticket sales will be available at the event. To avoid overcrowding and help ensure easy and safe access, daily admission capacities are limited.

Fourth of July Celebrations

On July 4th, the park goes full-on patriotic. Enjoy holiday-themed fair foods like apple funnel cake, check out the shops for patriotic souvenirs, and have a truly unforgettable Independence Day. End the holiday on the right foot with a fireworks display that’s sure to dazzle.

Bands

Every year, the San Diego County Fair features dozens of performances by well-known local bands. These shows are part of the Home*Grown music series, which seeks to highlight the wonderful musicians who call San Diego their home.

Live performances run every day the fair is in operation, so you can always stop by to hear a song or two as you explore the fairgrounds.

Entertaining and Educational Attractions for Kids

The San Diego County Fair is a family-friendly event with plenty of ways for kids to enjoy their visit. Young ones will enjoy the pony rides and the educational agri-land, as well as shows from local performers.

Pony Rides

For young kids, the fair provides the opportunity for their first experience riding a horse of any kind. The slow and steady pace of the ponies helps keep the attraction safe for young kids while still providing plenty of fun, as well as a great photo opportunity.

Note that admission for pony rides is a separate charge on top of admission, and tickets must be purchased in person, directly from the vendor.

Agri-Land

If you’re looking for a great, accessible way to introduce your kids to eco-friendly farming, look no further than Agri-Land. Here, kids can ride pint-sized tractors, watch a demonstration of milking a cow, and even plant and take home their own seeds to watch the fruits of their labor grow in front of their very eyes.

Family-Friendly Performers

Kids will be enraptured by the entertaining acts at the fair. From dazzling magicians to energetic jugglers and comedians, the Paddock area offers plenty of performances for children to enjoy.

Fair Rides for All Ages

No fair is complete without some carnival rides. Be sure to stop by the carousel and ferris wheel, especially in the later afternoon and early evening when the lines are a little shorter.

Carousel

The carousel seats both children and adults. It’s a favorite of fair-goers across the nation, and San Diego is no different. Choose a horse or exotic animal decked out in vibrant, multi-colored paint and saddle up for the ride!

All carousel rides require their own tickets, which you can purchase separately at the fairgrounds. Tickets must be paid for with credit or debit, as vendors do not accept cash.

Ferris Wheel

The ferris wheel is the defining symbol of any great fair or carnival. You can spot it from just about any area of the County Fair, which makes riding the carousel a stand-out moment for many visitors. With its truly impressive height, it offers an incredible view of the fairgrounds that spans from the Coast-to-Crest trail all the way out to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Like the carousel, tickets for the ferris wheel must be purchased separately and in-person. Only credit and debit payments are accepted.

Local Tips
Pay in Advance
Admission tickets and parking passes are limited and need to be purchased online in advance. No ticket sales will be available at the event. To avoid overcrowding and help ensure easy and safe access, daily admission capacities are limited.

Directions and Hassle-Free Parking

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Del Mar, CA 92014. It is about 20 miles north of San Diego, so it’s not exactly an easy walk if you’re flying into the San Diego International Airport. Follow Interstate 5 until you reach the Via de la Valle exit, then head west and turn onto Jimmy Durante Boulevard to arrive at the main entrance.

Paid parking is offered at the lot just outside the fairgrounds at a rate of $12 for the whole day. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you may need to park further away. Horse Park, which is about two and a half miles to the east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, is a popular choice thanks to its free parking and all-day shuttle services.

You may also prefer to leave the car at a hotel and use San Diego’s public transportation options to get to the fairgrounds. You can travel by trolley, coaster, public bus, or ride share for an easy and convenient way to get around the city.

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Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

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Important Tips Before You Go to the Fair

Lot Parking
Lot Parking

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Admission buys you access to an entire day at the fair, which means you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun. Gear up with sunscreen and shady hats, and make sure to stay hydrated.

Buy Local

There are a lot of local vendors whose products are only available to you while you’re in town, so use the opportunity to support local San Diego businesses. Don’t be afraid to try unusual foods and wares, as you might just find something you love!

Take Advantage of Kids Days

If you’re bringing the whole family to the fair, you can save some money by going on Friday, when kids under 12 get in for free. However, the fair is usually more crowded on the weekends, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.

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Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego - Del Mar
Near Torrey Pines
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Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego - Del Mar
from $140 / night
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Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Del Mar
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Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Del Mar
from $161 / night
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L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
Luxury Hotel
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L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
from $288 / night
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Best Western Premier Del Mar Inn Hotel
Near Torrey Pines
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Best Western Premier Del Mar Inn Hotel
from $136 / night
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