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San Diego Summer Guide 2016

We scoured the city for the most-anticipated summer events. The result: A curated list of 42 ways to soak up the season, from beer festivals and outdoor movies to concerts, cooking classes, and rooftop pool parties. Get ready—it’s going to be your best summer ever.


  • Arts + Culture
  • Music + Movies
  • Food + Drink
  • Active + Outdoors


July 2

Ahead of the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, revisit the original during Comickaze’s outdoor screening at NTC Park in Liberty Station.


Through July 4

It’s your last chance for concerts and coasters at this year’s Alice in Wonderland–themed San Diego County Fair.
Adults $16, children and seniors $9, free for children 5 and under

July 4

Dine at the Maritime Museum’s Picnic Dinner and Fireworks Viewing. Head to the historic steam ferry’s observation deck for the best views.
Dinner, $35 for adults, $18 for children 3–12

July 8–12

Play ball! The 87th annual MLB All-Star Week lands at Petco Park. Get all the details here.
Prices vary

July 9

Only 50 tickets are allotted for the Westgate Hotel’s French Riviera Soirée & Swim Club, inspired by Saint-Tropez pool parties, with cabanas, music, and a raw seafood bar (also August 13 and September 10).
$25, with food and beverage à la carte

July 13

Make a variety of fruit spreads and butters at Bake Sale Bakery’s Come Jam With Us class.

July 14

Fete Bastille Day at one of the most Francophilic spots in town, as Bleu Bohème celebrates its ninth birthday with a très deluxe prix-fixe menu.

July 15–17

Celebrate love and freedom at San Diego Pride in Hillcrest, including a music festival, rally, parade, and 5K.
Prices vary

July 16

Play mixologist for the day during Rancho Valencia’s Tonics & Elixirs Workshop, where you’ll make tonics like cucumber ginger lemonade.
Free for members, $50 for non-members

Pitch in for Mother Earth during Rubio’s CoastFest, the annual trash cleanup with free Rubio’s tacos, kid-friendly activities, and paddleboard and surf lessons.

July 20

Settle into True Food Kitchen’s private dining room to feast while learning about sustainable cooking during the Educational Community Dinner Series.

July 21–24

Tickets may be sold out, but the opportunities to people-watch are aplenty during Comic-Con International at the Convention Center.

July 22

The San Diego and Coronado Yacht Clubs host the Dutch Shoe Marathon, with sailors of all ages crossing the San Diego Bay in the sabot distance race.

July 23

Beat the summer heat with a cold one—or five—during the San Diego Brew Fest at Liberty Station, benefitting Noah’s Bark Pet Rescue.

Pay tribute to your favorite Marvel character in a costume contest while sipping beer samples during the Heroes Brew Festival at Waterfront Park.

Take in the sights of Valle de Guadalupe atop a two-wheeler during the Ruta del Vino Bicycle Ride & Wine Festival, the 31-mile course through the scenic Baja region.

July 23–24

At the Insect and Ladybug Festival at the San Diego Botanic Garden, kids can practice bug collecting and taste cooked, teriyaki-flavored mealworm larvae.
Free with admission

July 27

Sing along to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt on her Dig Deep Tour at the Civic Theatre.
From $50

July 28

It’s brushstrokes and beer at the San Diego Museum of Art’s Painting on Tap, taking aspiring Picassos through the Quilts and Color exhibit before they create their own works, with refreshments from Panama66.
$40 for members, $50 for nonmembers; includes supplies

Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition

July 30

You haven’t seen cute surfers until you’ve seen the pooches participating in the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition at Imperial Beach, with canine agility courses, dog adoptions, and an off-leash play area.




Check out San Diego Museum of Art’s Film in the Garden series with movies tied to SDMA exhibits, held for the first time on the Botanical Lawn in Balboa Park. That means more space, booze until 8 p.m., and dogs allowed!

August 4

Kenny Chesney

Jam to country crooner Kenny Chesney at Sleep Train Amphitheatre. Plus, we're giving away five pairs of tickets! Click here to enter. Yee-haw!
Prices vary

August 5–7

The Latin American Festival returns to Old Town with folk art, jewelry, Mexican clothing, and food and entertainment at Bazaar del Mundo.

August 13–14

More than 100 artists will show off their work alongside music and gourmet bites at the 10th annual ArtWalk NTC at Liberty Station.

August 13

Get pretty in pink at Cucina Enoteca Del Mar’s Summer in Pink party, an afternoon soiree on their garden patio with five rosé tastings and an antipasto spread.

August 14

Spend a night with the Bard during Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, staged at the Old Globe through September 18 and directed by Tony winner Kathleen Marshall.
From $29

August 17–September 3

Titanic: The Musical makes its regional premiere at Moonlight Amphitheatre.

August 19–20

Taste more than 100 beers, plus one-off editions from Stone Brewing Co. at the Stone 20th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival at Cal State San Marcos, with all proceeds benefiting local charities.

August 21

Race from Cabrillo National Monument to Balboa Park in the America’s Finest City Half Marathon and 5K.

August 26

Enjoy unlimited tastings of the top food, brews, and cocktails in San Diego at the Best of San Diego Party at NTC Park in Liberty Station.

August 27

The annual Imperial Avenue Street Festival brings together art, food, and Grammy winner Poncho Sanchez.



September 2–5

See world master sand sculptors at the fifth annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge on the B Street Pier downtown, with food, fun, and entertainment.
Price TBA

Beach Polo Cup

September 3–4

Hotel del Coronado hosts the first West Coast Beach Polo event during the Beach Polo Cup, benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital.
$250 per day; $2,500 for tables of 10 per day


All Summer Long

Through September 1

Listen to swing, salsa, a Beatles tribute band, and more at Spreckels Organ Pavilion during their Twilight in the Park summer concert series.

Through September 1

Get free access to the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla during Shore Thing on Thursday nights, with tours, live music, light bites, and a cash bar.

Through September 4

The Summer Pops, now dubbed Bayside Summer Nights, brings its outdoor concert series with a lineup that includes the 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular and a new Thursday night jazz series, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
From $16

Through September 4

At Hotel Palomar's SummerSalt Pool and Lounge, dive into Half-Day Fridays, with half off Champs bottles; Uncovered Saturdays, featuring drink specials and DJs; and Reggae Sundays, with live bands and tiki cocktails.

Through September 5

Beginning July 15, it’s off to where the surf meets the turf for the Del Mar Racetrack’s summer season. Giddy up!
Tickets start at $5

Through September 5

Explore animals after hours during Nighttime at the Zoo, when the San Diego Zoo keeps doors open until 9 p.m. for live music and special events to celebrate the zoo’s centennial.
$50 one-day pass

Through September 7

Tower23 Hotel’s upstairs deck hosts a Sip Into Summer tasting. Every Wednesday highlights a different libation, with Modern Times and Domaine Carneros wine among the mix. 

Through September 25

With 21 cabanas, eight hot tubs, a swim-up bar, and a 400-foot lazy river, Harrah’s Resort is ground zero for pool party pleasures, including the SoundDiego Summer Splash Series July 16 and August 20, and Dive After Dark night Fridays and Saturdays.
Prices vary

Through October 29

More than 120 movies, like Kung Fu Panda 3, screen outdoors across the county in parks, softball fields, and at the USS Midway Museum.

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