Sun and Fun: Celebrate Summer in San Diego

San Diego is a fantastic destination year-round, but the variety of summer events really make this SoCal city shine. An ideal destination offering a nearly perfect climate, 70 miles of sparkling beaches, popular annual events, family attractions at its world-famous theme parks and a dazzling array of visual and performing arts make summer in San Diego an experience not to be missed.

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Whether planning a weekend getaway or a long leisurely stay, visitors to San Diego have plenty of fun-filled activities to enjoy this summer.

Major Events

  • The San Diego County Fair takes place June 5–July 5 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This year’s theme, “A Fair to Remember: A Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Park,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held in Balboa Park and the great traditions and inventions arising from fairs. The fair is the largest annual event in San Diego County and features top performing artists and popular attractions like the International Beer Festival, creative assortments of deep-fried food novelties, livestock exhibits, home and hobby displays, woodworking and an award-winning flower show.
  • San Diego celebrates Independence Day with a variety of Fourth of July celebrationsthroughout the county. Coronado’s popular Independence Day Celebration features a two-hour parade followed by a family concert in Spreckels Park and spectacular fireworks over Glorietta Bay. The Port of San Diego celebrates with its Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza over San Diego Bay, the largest fireworks display in the county. LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad celebrates July 4th with Red, White and BOOM! Special family activities are available throughout the day with the fireworks starting at 8:30 p.m.
  • Visitors can be superheroes for a day at Comic-Con International, July 9–12 at the San Diego Convention Center. Comic-Con has become a signature summertime event for San Diego; it is the largest comics and pop culture event in the United States, attracting tens of thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, and features movie and TV memorabilia and all things related to pop culture.

Festivals and Fairs

  • The Taste of Little Italy in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood occurs from 5-9 p.m. on June 17 and offers a chance to sample many of the hottest new and landmark restaurants in this colorful neighborhood. Appetizers, desserts and specialty beverages are offered as guests stroll through the district and enjoy live musical entertainment.
  • Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in California, celebrates its establishment and the beginning of Christianity in the western United States during the Festival of the Bells , July 18–19. The event features food, entertainment, dancing and the blessing of the bells. All five mission bells, including an original bell dating back to 1802, are rung during the weekend festivities.
  • Residents and visitors alike celebrate with pride during The Annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, July 1819. The second largest event of its kind on the West Coast, San Diego’s Pride Festival includes a mile-long parade through Hillcrest and two-day music festival in Balboa Park. The celebration will begin the evening of July 17 with dance stages and a big street party at The Pride of Hillcrest Block Party.
  • During Sept. 47, more than 300 tons of sand will be carved and molded into beautiful sculptures for the annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition. Held at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal alongside San Diego Bay, the event features live entertainment, food trucks and unique rides for kids, including a zipline that flies over the show.
  • The 21st Annual San Diego Festival of Beer takes place Sept. 18 on San Diego’s downtown bayfront at The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. More than 60 breweries provide up to 120 samples and tastings of brews alongside live musical performances, vendors and food.

At the Attractions

  • Summer Nights at SeaWorld features extended park hours, “Into the Blue” fireworks and special nighttime animal shows including Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up the Night and the sea lion and otter comedy show, Sea Lions Tonite. Summer Nights take place on selected days, May 23–Sept7.
  • Aquatica San Diego,SeaWorld’s waterpark, is ready for its summer season with water slides and attractions, wave pools, up-close animal encounters with flamingos and turtles and the high-speed water slide Taumata Racer, which debuted in 2014. The park is open only for the summer season on selected days from May 23–Sept. 27.
  • During June 21–Sept.7, the San Diego Zoo allows guests to roam the park until 9 p.m. forNighttime Zoo. Besides having the opportunity to view the San Diego Zoo residents at night when many of them are more active, visitors can also enjoy special performances, entertainers, acrobats and unique family activities.
  • Guests can enjoy a Summer Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, June 29–Aug. 16. This festive celebration will spotlight Asia with music, special dances, drums and acrobats. Also, visitors can stay until 7 p.m. to enjoy a diverse array of wildlife including the new Tiger Trail, giraffe and rhino on the African Tram Safari, lemurs at Lemur Walk, a cheetah reaching full sprinting speed at Cheetah Run, and unique and amazing birds at the Frequent Flyers Bird Show.

Theater and Art

  • The Tony Award®-winning Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park celebrates its 80th year with its annual Summer Shakespeare Festival, June 21–Sept 20, featuring Shakespeare onstage and in film. Guests can watch Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors performed in The Old Globe’s outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. The Globe will also present a series of free Monday night films relating to Shakespeare through the eras, including Henry VChimes at MidnightMuch Ado About Nothing and West Side Story.
  • On June 2021, the 29th Annual La Jolla Festival of Arts hosts nearly 200 award-winning local and national artists displaying paintings, sculptures, fine jewelry, photography and more in a coastal setting. Guests can also enjoy a variety of cuisines in the festival’s food area and listen to live entertainment.

Sporting a Good Time

  • The San Diego Padres’ season sizzles during the summer months. Baseball fans can watch the pros in action at the Padres’ downtown Petco Park ballpark, featuring 46,000 seats, garden terraces, spacious concourses, state-of-the-art amenities and unique, local dining options.
  • San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on May 31 is one of the most entertaining marathons in the United States, featuring live music and regional bands playing everything from rock to rhythm and blues on 26 different stages located along its scenic 26.2-mile route.
  • The 62nd Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament takes place on Mission Bay’s Fiesta Island, July 1112 and July 1819. A San Diego original, this boisterous, fast-paced beach softball event is open to the public; games begin at 7:30 a.m. each morning and end at dusk.
  • The “turf meets the surf” at the Del Mar Racetrack, where fans flock to wager on their favorite horses during the popular Del Mar Thoroughbred Club summer racing season, July 16–Sept. 7. The races run Wednesday through Sunday weekly. There will be racing on Labor Day. Every Friday, guests can catch 4 O’Clock Fridays, a free concert following the day’s last race.
  • During Aug. 22–23, the 39th Annual World Bodysurfing Championship showcases international and U.S. bodysurfers competing to be “the world’s best.” The event takes place at the Oceanside Pier and beach in San Diego’s North County.

Concerts and Movies

  • Debuting Sept. 18–20, Kaaboo is a new three-day music festival featuring 100 music acts on seven stages at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds. The event will also showcase a comedy stage, contemporary art exhibitions, and food, wine and craft beer tastings. The lineup includes No Doubt, The Killers, Zac Brown Band, Counting Crows, The Roots, 311 and many more.
  • Occurring every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. from May 26–Sept. 21, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens—–Liberty Station hosts Stone Movie Nights, showing films in the courtyard. Guests bring lawn chairs and blankets and settle in for a night of mostly family friendly outdoor cinema. Every Thursday, beginning June 15, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido hostsLive Music in the Gardens from 5-7 p.m. Both events are free and craft beer and snacks are available for purchase.
  • The popular 33rd Annual Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay features top name entertainers performing on an outdoor stage adjacent to a picturesque marina at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites on Shelter Island, April–Oct. This year’s performers include Interpol, Steely Dan, RIDE, Diana Krall, The Piano Guys, Joe Bonamassa, Beach Boys, Mark Knopfler and more.
  • Music is in the air with unique summertime concert experiences throughout San Diego. Birch Aquarium offers the Annual Green Flash Concert Series at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla on the third Wednesday of every month during May–Sept. Balboa Park features two free concert series: the Centennial International Organ Festival Concert from June 22Aug. 31 and the Twilight in the Park Summer Concerts held June 16–Aug. 27 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The San Diego Symphony’s Summer Popstakes place at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on June 27–Sept. 6 with performances by Leann Rimes, Burt Bacharach and many more.
  • Fashion film professionals from around the world meet at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla to attend the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival, July 24–25. Top fashion film directors, producers and filmmakers join the public in nightly screenings, after-parties, seminars, art installations and more.
  • During Aug. 5–28, the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2015 features more than 85 world-class classical artists and ensembles performing diverse concerts at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org or call 619-236-1212.

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