San Diego County Fair

san diego county fair
The San Diego County Fair is something that you cannot describe - it is something that you experience!

When it comes to rides, games, and a carnival atmosphere, this is about as good as it's ever going to get.

Affectionately called the "Del Mar Fair" because it is held at the Del Mar Fair Grounds, this 3 week event hauls in over a million visitors from San Diego and the surrounding areas. When key celebrities are involved, attendance can be over 100,000 visitors per day!

Fair starts on the first week of June and ends the first week of July.

Grounds open at

Grounds close at
11 am on week days;
10 am on Fri, Sat & Sun.
10 pm on week nights;
11 pm on Fri & Sat;

Photo: Larger than life street entertainer greet you as you enter the San Diego County Fair.
san diego county fair

san diego county fair
Theme of the Year

Every year the Fair has a theme. In the past, these include:
- The Fab Fair (2014)
- Game On (2013)
- Out of This World (2012)
- Race To The Fair (2011)
- Taste the Fun (2010),
- Music Mania (2009),
- Summer of Sports (2008);
- Salute to Heroes (2007),
- Ride the Tide to Fun (2006); and more.

For the San Diego County Fair 2014, the theme is "The Fab Fair". It's a tribute to The Beatles and the "British Invasion". Back then, the Beatles were affectionately known as the Fabulous Four. Two photo exhibits will feature rare images of the Beatles backstage and on tour. Did you know that the Beatles toured San Diego in 1965?

You can learn a little about yourself when you enter the SD County Fair: are you attracted to the rides and games? Or to the food and snacks? What about the animals and livestock? You'll find everything from kitchen gadgets to kitchen counter tops.

Shown: Gems and jewelry for sale. Some gems are on exhibit under glass cases but these shown on the right are on sale by vendors.

san diego county fair

san diego county fair Parking, Tickets, and Entry

There's plenty of parking at the Del Mar fairgrounds so you need not worry. Though it does get very busy and the lineups can be tiresome. Cost is (cash ONLY)
    $10 for motorcycles
    $10 per car
    $20 for RV's
    $20 for preferred parking (closer to entrance)

The San Diego County Fair does not offer same-day-entry privileges: this means if you take your car out of the parking lot, you will have to pay again to go back in.

If you are just dropping someone off, there is a drop-off & pick-up area on the east side of its main parking lot, just inside the main entrance.

You can always take public transportation or park off site and take the free shuttle to get into the Fair. Get details here.

Once parked, proceed to the main entrance and head towards the big sign marked TICKETS. Tickets are:
- $14 for adults,
- $8 for kids and seniors,
- free for children under 5.

Deals include:
  • Value Packs for families.
  • Military and Group discounts.
  • Combine Admission & Ride Value Packs.
  • Enjoy all 24 days of the SD County Fair for just one payment of $24.
  • Get details here.

    san diego county fair
    Children under 5 enter for free. Schools & libraries may offer discounts for children.

    After you have purchased tickets, follow the line of people towards security check. Officers will check your bags and strollers for weapons. Obviously guns, knives and sharp objects are not permitted on the Fair grounds.

    Rides and Games

    There are two areas with rides and games. A Kiddieland which is towards the right; and a FunZone at the far back end of the Fair grounds (see map).

    At Kiddieland, you'll find roller coasters, slides, and rides. Whether they are horses, bumble bees, elephants, cars, or boats - the rides go round-and-round and where they stop, nobody knows!

    Fun houses, scary houses, and pirate houses - they're are all here. Really, there's too many to describe them all.

    san diego county fair

    san diego county fair san diego county fair
    The Fun Zone is geared towards teens and up. There's the usual salt-n-pepper rides and some extreme rides too. Would you bungy jump off a crane? Would you sit in a cage and be flung up and down on giant elastic bands?

    The games and rides are pretty much the same except they are faster, higher, more twirly, and thrilling. Try not to throw up that corn dog you just ate!

    san diego county fair
    The games in Kiddieland and Fun Zone are similar. Throw a ball into the hoop, pop a balloon with a dart, knock down cans in one throw: it's all here, at the San Diego County Fair!

    In Kiddieland, many of the game keepers will give you a small stuffed animal regardless of how you perform: this way, everyone's a winner and no one is left crying.

    Fun Zone has some games that are geared towards the older crowd such as target practice with an air gun and trying to ding the bell with a mighty stoke of a hammer.

    Shows and Exhibits

    It's not all rides and games: there's also shows and exhibits. Why not enter your flowers into the Flower and Garden competition? Children can enter their artwork to win a blue ribbon.

    Other competitions include photography, fine arts, wood arts, gems and jewelry, hobbies (quilts and needlework) and food (beer, wine, cakes, jams, jellies). You can even join the performance competitions (singing, dancing).

    Winners may receive a blue ribbon, cash prize, or simply, the glory of having won at the San Diego County Fair. A processing fee is required for most categories and take note of the application deadline (details here).

    san diego county fair

    san diego county fair

    Animals and Livestock

    What's a fair without livestock? Here you will find prize bulls and roosters. Not to mention goats, pigs, and a variety of wild and domestic animals. Representatives from various animal shelters and groups are present to share information and solicit memberships.

    san diego county fair


    Well, let's put it this way: it's a county fair, it's not a food fair. There's two categories of food at the fair: "Deep Fried" or "Sweets": either way, it can't be good for you!

    san diego county fair

    Seriously though, expect to find:
    corn dogs,
    hot dogs,
    chili dogs,
    BBQ chicken,
    corn on the cob,
    root beer,
    cotton candy,
    ice cream,

    Need I say more?

    Shops and Vendors

    In many ways, the San Diego County Fair is a mish mash of stuff. Vendors will sell you anything from balloons, T-shirts, & hats to hot tubs, garden sculptures, & window paneling. Choose what you want to see and leave the rest. Who knows, maybe you do need a tiki water fountain to adorn your backyard.

    san diego county fair

    San Diego County Fair
    Del Mar Fairgrounds
    2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
    Del Mar, CA 92014

    Starts first week of June and ends first week of July.