2024 San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Eat, shop, enjoy live music, experience a pig race or ride one of many fair rides - there’s something for everyone at the annual 2024 San Diego County Fair.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
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Explore the Fairgrounds of San Diego

Pretty Fair Decorations at the San Diego County FairBattered Potatoes at the San Diego County Fair

If you’re planning to be in San Diego in June or the beginning of July, I think you should consider checking out the San Diego County Fair!

Located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar neighborhood, the annual event is 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 for the entire family! 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.

Entering the San Diego County Fair
Entering the San Diego County Fair

2024’s San Diego County Fair’s Theme

The San Diego County Fair is themed around something new each year!

For 2024 the theme is “Let’s Go Retro”. Different parts of the fair will be themed around the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, so attendees of all ages can experience nostalgia and share their memories of bygone decades with the younger generations.

Cyclone Fair Ride at the San Diego County Fair
Cyclone Fair Ride at the San Diego County Fair

Official Dates for the Fair in 2024

The Del Mar Fair runs from June 12th to July 7th 2024, excluding Mondays and Tuesdays. Fairground gates are open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

The 5-star, luxury accommodations of L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa make it the perfect fit for any couples' vacation or upscale getaway. Watch as Todd tours its ocean view pool and soothing spa.

Stay at the L'Auberge Del Mar Resort & Spa

Admission Prices and How to Buy Tickets to the Fair

Prices for fair tickets differ depending on the day you plan to attend. Here are the prices for kids, adults, and seniors.

Adults (13-61)

  • Wednesday & Thursday: $16 advance, $20 day of event
  • Friday: $20 advance, $25 day of event
  • Saturday, Sunday, & July 4th: $20 advance, $25 day of event

Seniors (62+)

  • Wednesday & Thursday: $13 advance, $17 day of event
  • Friday: $17 advance, $22 day of event
  • Saturday, Sunday, & July 4th: $17 advance, $22 day of event

Youths (6-12)

  • Wednesday & Thursday: $13 advance, $17 day of event
  • Friday: FREE
  • Saturday, Sunday, & July 4th: $17 advance, $22 day of event

Wristbands and ride credits can also be purchased online in advance for a discount, as well as tickets for special events.

Kids 5 and under are allowed in for free. Tickets must be purchased in advance and online through the official San Diego County Fair website.

Kids Petting a Cow at the San Diego County Fair
Kids Petting a Cow at the San Diego County Fair

Save When You Visit

You can help cut down on your trip costs even further by taking advantage of discounts like those offered with the Go City San Diego pass, which lets you bundle admission and gear rentals for various local attractions for one low rate.

I often share with our loyal readers that the All-inclusive pass option is ideal for most families that want to see multiple premier San Diego attractions. Pre-purchase a Go City San Diego pass through us for an additional savings - just use discount code GVSD5OFF!

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.

Attractions & Activities Nearby that We’d Recommend

Attractions near the fairgrounds that are applicable for Go City San Diego 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.

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

Delicious Food at the San Diego County Fair
Delicious Food at the San Diego County Fair

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

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.

Pig Races at the San Diego County Fair
Pig Races at the San Diego County Fair

Races and Other Animal Shows

The fair is just as much about fauna as it is about flora. Previous years have had events like the Swifty Swine Pig Race and the Extreme Dogs show, both of which are family-friendly and tons of fun to watch.

Presentations at the San Diego County Fair have also highlighted the importance of conservation in the past, through the Wild About Home*Grown*Fun show’s animal ambassadors.

Each year also features a Junior Livestock Auction, where members of 4-H, FFA and Grange show animals they’ve hand-raised and compete to win a blue ribbon.

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 and Live Music

Every year, the San Diego County Fair features dozens of performances by well-known local bands.

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.

In 2024, the fair announced their Toyota Summer Concert Series, where famous musicians and comedians will take the Corona Grandstand Stage.

Here’s this year’s line-up:

  • Kolohe Kai (6/12)
  • Old Dominion (6/13)
  • TLC (6/14)
  • Pepe Aguilar (6/16)
  • Whiskey Myers (6/19)
  • Kings of Late Night: Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, and Arsenio Hall (6/21)
  • Little Big Town (6/27)
  • Ludacris (6/28)
  • Los Tucanes de Tijuana (6/30)
  • Yung Gravy and Tayler Holder (7/3)
  • Hombres G (7/7)

Fair Toys at the San Diego County Fair
Fair Toys at the San Diego County Fair

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.

My kid’s love Chicken Charlie’s! His is one of the most popular food vendors at the San Diego County Fair and of course he is back this year as well.

One thing is for sure: you won’t be leaving hungry!

Hand Carved Wood Vendor at the San Diego County Fair
Hand Carved Wood Vendor at the San Diego County Fair

Exhibitions and Competitions

The fair hosts a number of displays for artists of different mediums, from traditional fine art, woodworking, and photography to landscaping, floral arrangements, handcrafted goods, and gemwork. Highlights include Paul Ecke Jr. Garden and Flower Shows, and the Design in Wood exhibition presented by the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association.

Come marvel at these curated collections and watch award ceremonies to see whose work is crowned this year’s winner. You can even watch beer and wine competitions for commercially-licensed breweries and wineries.

Vendors at the San Diego County Fair
Vendors at the San Diego County Fair

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.

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Local Tips
What attractions are included with a Go City San Diego pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Entertainment and Fair Rides for All Ages

Pony Ride at the San Diego County Fair
Pony Ride at the San Diego County Fair

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.

The San Diego County Fair is a family-friendly event with plenty of ways for kids to enjoy their visit!

The fair also features kid-friendly shows from local performers.

Fair Toys at the San Diego County Fair
Fair Toys at the San Diego County Fair

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.

Wave Swinger next to the Ferris Wheel at the San Diego County Fair
Wave Swinger next to the Ferris Wheel at the San Diego County Fair

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.

Father and Son with Mascot at the San Diego County Fair
Father and Son with Mascot at the San Diego County Fair

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.

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Directions & Hassle-Free Parking at the Fair

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 (SAN). 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 $20 for General Parking and $50 for Preferred Parking that gets you closer so you don't have to walk so far to get into the fair. Please note that oversized vehicles, buses, RV's are not permitted.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you may need to park further away. Horsepark Parking, which is about two and a half miles to the east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, is a popular choice for $10 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.

Important Things to Consider Before You Go to the San Diego Fair

I’ve visited the fair for many years. Below are a few things I think you should consider before you arrive.

My Favorite Hotel Near the Fair Grounds

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.

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.

Chuckwagon Food Stand at the San Diego County Fair
Chuckwagon Food Stand at the San Diego County Fair

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!

Kid Eating An Ice Cream Cone at the San Diego County Fair
Kid Eating An Ice Cream Cone at the San Diego County Fair

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 12 and under 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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