2016 Calendar of Events for San Diego
January 17 - 24
San Diego Restaurant Week
More than 180 of San Diego's finest restaurants participate in a celebration of the local dining scene with prix fixe menus.
Carlsbad Marathon and Half-Marathon
The second-oldest marathon on the U.S. West Coast also features a Kids' Marathon Mile on the day before the big race, as well as a Health and Fitness Expo.
January 28 - 31
Farmers Insurance Open
The annual PGA Tour men's golf tournament is played at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, home of the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Open.
February 1 - 29
San Diego Museum Month
Throughout February, San Diego visitors can experience the region's rich cultural offerings at half-price during San Diego Museum Month. Guests can participate by picking up a free San Diego Museum Month Pass at participating Macy's locations; with the pass, they can receive half-price admission for up to four guests per visit at 42 of San Diego's museums, cultural attractions and historical sites.
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Quarter
This is the biggest Fat Tuesday celebration on the U.S. West Coast. Parades, music and beads take over downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter.
February 13 - 14
34th Annual Chinese New Year and Cultural Fair
Festivities in downtown San Diego include Asian cuisine, martial arts and cooking demonstrations, cultural exhibits and traditional Lion and Dragon dances.
February – April
Wildflowers Bloom in the Desert
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego's East County turns into a wonderland of color when the spring wildflowers bloom. Blooms depend on timing and amount of winter rainfall, but visitors can call the wildflower hotline for updates: (760) 767-4684.
March 5 - 6
More than 15,000 fans will gather at downtown San Diego's new Waterfront Park to enjoy craft beer, gourmet food, impeccable daytime vibes and world-class musical talent at this annual electronic music festival.
March 5 - 6
Spring Busker Festival
Seaport Village along San Diego Bay comes alive with a celebration of street performers in a battle of entertainment and one-of-a-kind performances by jugglers, sword swallowers, comedic stuntmen and more.
March 10 - 23
San Diego Latino Film Festival
San Diego's proximity to Mexico makes it a natural venue for this prestigious film festival, focusing on acclaimed movies by Latinos or about the Latino experience, held at the UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center in Mission Valley and at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. The festival includes parties, workshops, art exhibitions and the opportunity to mingle with international movie and television stars.
Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
'Tis the luck of the Irish for San Diego when the St. Patrick's Day Parade sets off from Juniper and 6th Street by Balboa Park. An Irish festival with traditional dancers, music, a beer garden and Celtic village follows the parade.
With 40,000 sq. ft. of Astroturf, downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter turns into the rolling hills of Ireland from 4 p.m. to midnight. This St. Patrick's Day party includes Irish rock bands and pints of green beer; guests must be 21 years or older to attend this ticketed event.
March – October
San Diego Padres Season
The San Diego Padres step up to the plate and begin another exciting, six-month season of Major League Baseball, played in Petco Park in the heart of downtown San Diego.
Flower Fields Ranunculus Season
Fifty acres of beautiful Tecolote Giant Ranunculus come into bloom every spring at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.
Ironman 70.3 California
Athletes from all over the world swim 1.2 miles in Oceanside Harbor, bike 56 miles through neighboring Camp Pendleton and run 13.1 miles back to the finish line at Oceanside Pier in the San Diego North County city of Oceanside.
April 2 - 3
43rd Annual San Diego Crew Classic Regatta
Rowers from across the country come to Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay to participate in one of the most distinguished rowing competitions in the U.S.
April 8 - 10
La Jolla Concours D'Elegance Motor Car Classic
Paying tribute to some of the world's finest automobiles, the Motor Car Classic highlights over 30 juried classes of automobiles; vintage auto aficionados and collectors compete alongside the best vehicles in automotive history.
April 16 - 17
Coronado Flower Show
The nation's largest flower show under a tent takes place in Spreckels Park in Coronado. Flower exhibits are placed around a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for live entertainment and trophy presentations.
Fallbrook Avocado Festival
Since the 1960s, tens of thousands of avocado lovers converge in Fallbrook, located in San Diego's North County, to sample avocados, check-out the crazy cooking contest entries, buy funky avocado-themed gifts and enjoy bands, live entertainment and friendly beer gardens.
San Diego Earth Fair
The world's largest annual environmental fair and Earth Day Celebration takes place in Balboa Park and features more than 300 exhibitors, special theme areas, food pavilion, children's activity area, five entertainment venues, the Children's Earth Parade, the eARTh Gallery art show, and the Cleaner Car Concourse.
April 21 – May 8
Del Mar National Horse Show
The most prestigious horse show in Southern California offers more than $350,000 in prize money and attracts more than 3,000 horses to the equestrian complex at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in coastal Del Mar.
Chicano Park Day
In the early 1970s, the Latino community established Chicano Park, the world's largest collection of Chicano murals, beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge overpass. This free annual event celebrates the art and culture of San Diego's Latino residents with traditional music, dance, a lowrider car show, vendor booths, kids' arts workshops and more.
April 30 – May 1
Mission Federal ArtWalk
The free visual and performing arts celebration takes place in downtown San Diego's colorful Little Italy neighborhood and is the largest art event in San Diego.
Adams Avenue Unplugged Festival
The free, two-day festival features 180 musical performances of acoustic music, held on four outdoor stages and 22 indoor stages along a two-mile expanse along Adams Avenue, from the neighborhoods of Kensington to North Park.
April 22 - 24
Bareback bronco rides, calf roping and other traditional rodeo competitions, along with food and crafts, bring the Wild West to life in Lakeside in San Diego's East County.
May 5 - 8
Gator by the Bay, Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival
Knee-slapping good times abound at Spanish Landing on Harbor Island. The event features 25 bands on five stages, dance lessons, Cajun cooking demonstrations and delicious crawfish.
May 7 - 8
Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo
A celebration of Mexican spirit and culture, the Fiesta Cinco de Mayo is held in Old Town, the birthplace of San Diego, and features music, food and entertainment for the entire family.
Amgen Tour of California
A Tour de France-style cycling road race, the Amgen Tour of California kicks off in San Diego, where the world's top professional cycling teams will depart for a race covering hundreds of miles along the state's coastline and highways.
June 3 - 5
Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
It's a 26.2-mile race and block party all in one! The marathon begins at Balboa Park and finishes at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Live music and cheer squads line the route, while a killer post-race party and headliner concert celebrates everyone's victory.
June 3 – July 4
San Diego County Fair
The annual county fair features outlandish foods, garden shows, livestock tents and a midway complete with carnival rides and concerts, held at the beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds in oceanfront Del Mar.
June 11 - 12
Airshow San Diego
Formerly known as “Wings of Gillespi,” San Diego's biggest civilian air show includes re-enactments of WWII and Vietnam War aerial battles with pyrotechnic and aircraft displays, along with live entertainment, a kids zone, food and more.
June 11 - 12
Annual San Diego Festival of the Arts – Formerly La Jolla Festival of the Arts
For 29 years, the La Jolla Festival of the Arts has brought established and emerging artists to the region, celebrating the best across multiple visual arts categories. For the event's 30th anniversary in 2016, it is getting both a new name, becoming the San Diego Festival of the Arts, and a new location. The Festival will be held at the Waterfront Park in Downtown San Diego. Boasting interactive fountains, intimate gardens, harbor views and excellent access to public transit, Waterfront Park has emerged as a quintessential destination for residents and visitors alike. The 2016 San Diego Festival of the Arts will be the first art event held at the venue.
June – September
The Old Globe Theatre's Summer Shakespeare Festival
Along with many other quality theater productions during the same months, there will be two dynamic Shakespeare productions performed in nightly rotation in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre of the Tony Award ®-winning Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park.
Fourth of July Celebrations
Fireworks, festivals and patriotic parades are held in numerous communities throughout San Diego County. Coronado's popular Independence Day celebration features a two-hour parade followed by a family concert in Spreckels Park. The Port of San Diego celebrates with its Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza over San Diego Bay, the largest fireworks display in the county.
July 15 - 17
San Diego LGBT Pride Parade, Rally and Festival
One of the city's largest grassroots organizations, San Diego LGBT Pride sponsors a weekend of festivities including a headlining parade through Hillcrest and two-day festival in Balboa Park.
July 21 - 24
The largest comics and pop culture event in the United States attracts thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, movie memorabilia and all things related to pop culture to the San Diego Convention Center in downtown San Diego.
July – August
The La Jolla Music Society presents classical and new compositions with renowned artists and ensembles from around the world, held at various locations in La Jolla and San Diego.
July – September
San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Season
Summer performances are held under the stars in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay; fireworks occur on some nights.
July – September
Del Mar Racing
Horses and fans alike meet for live thoroughbred racing, held five days a week at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in oceanfront Del Mar.
Festival of the Bells
The festival celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in California.
World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament
A San Diego original, this boisterous, rowdy, fast-paced beach softball event is played at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay.
40th Annual World Body Surfing Championships
International and U.S. body surfers compete at the Oceanside pier and beach in San Diego's North County.
Julian Star Fest
Guests can explore the world of astronomy during this three-day festival, the second biggest in California, with exhibition areas, guest speakers, an astronomy equipment swap meet and more, held at Menghini Winery in the San Diego East County town of Julian.
September 2 - 5
U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition
Guests can watch over 300 tons of sand be carved and molded into beautiful sculptures. Held at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal alongside San Diego Bay, the summer event features live entertainment, food trucks and unique rides for kids including a zipline that flies over the show.
September 3 - 5
Festival of Sail
The Maritime Museum hosts more than 20 tall ships and other marine vessels from around the world that sail into San Diego Bay for the event. Guest tour the tall ships, enjoy live entertainment, sample food and drink, enjoy a family activity area, and shop for one-of-a-kind items among more than 150 festival vendors.
September 16 - 18
KAABOO Del Mar
An upscale music festival experience held at the seaside Del Mar Fairgrounds, KAABOO will feature seven stages and more than 100 musical acts plus a dedicated comedy stage and food and beverages from local and celebrity chefs, craft breweries and local wineries.
September 18 - 20
San Diego Bayfair
This thrilling event features thunderboat racing, tunnel hulls, drag boats, hydroplanes, fireworks and concerts, as well as specialty vendors and food, along and on the waters of Mission Bay.
September 23 - 25
MCAS Miramar Air Show
This award-winning, world-class air show features the best military and civilian pilots in the world, including the U.S. Navy's famous Blue Angels.
September 24 - 25
Julian Apple Days Festival
This two-day festival at Menghini Winery in Julian features music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children's games, gold panning demonstrations, apple-related contests and more.
September 28 – October 2
San Diego Film Festival
This annual festival offers a fresh take on film premieres, featuring American and international features, thought-provoking documentaries, short films and music videos.
September – October
Annual Julian Fall Apple Harvest
Local residents and guests celebrate autumn with music, art shows, cider and delicious apple pies in the charming San Diego East County mountain town of Julian.
September – December
San Diego Chargers Season
The San Diego Chargers “bolt” into action during home games at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, while fans gather in the parking lot for tailgate parties before catching the excitement inside the stadium.
September – TBD
The exploration of the U.S. West Coast by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 is commemorated at Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.
September – TBD
100th Annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim
A tradition since 1916, the largest rough-water swimming competition in the U.S. takes place at picturesque La Jolla Cove in La Jolla.
September – TBD
Annual Pacific Islander Festival
The cultures, foods, crafts and customs of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia are showcased at Ski Beach on Mission Bay.
35th Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair
One of the largest free music street fairs in California, the event features over 70 live musical acts, held on six stages, along with three beer gardens, giant carnival rides and 300 craft and food vendors.
October – November
Del Mar Racing Extended Season
Horses and fans alike meet for live thoroughbred racing, held Thursdays through Sundays, at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in oceanfront Del Mar.
October – TBD
Oktoberfest in La Mesa
This traditional German celebration features dancing, food, Bavarian bands, arts and crafts and commercial booths in the San Diego East County city of La Mesa.
Little Italy FESTA!
This colorful Italian celebration features music, fine food and "Gesso Italiano," a traditional Italian street-painting festival, held in downtown San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Borrego Days Desert Festival
Weekend activities include arts and crafts, a parade and the Miss Borrego Springs Pageant in the East County desert town of Borrego Springs.
November 4 - 13
San Diego Beer Week
Hundreds of beer-centric events take place throughout the county during this 10-day festival that highlights San Diego's award-winning craft beer, breweries and pubs.
November 13 - 19
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
Wine and food enthusiasts gather for this five-day event, the region's largest wine and culinary extravaganza, held at several venues throughout downtown San Diego.
November 23 - 27
San Diego Jazz Festival
A jazz celebration that lasts throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, the festival features world-class bands at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley.
November 7 – December 26
Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
This annual holiday musical jumps right off the pages of the classic Dr. Seuss book and onto the stage of The Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park.
San Diego Asian Film Festival
The largest exhibition of Asian-American and Asian cinema in North America showcases over 140 premiers from around the world at the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinema in Hazard Center in Mission Valley.
December 2 - 3
Balboa Park December Nights
This celebration of the holiday season is the largest free community festival in San Diego and features foods and crafts from around the world, music and events in Balboa Park's diverse museums.
December – April
The majestic California gray whales make their annual migration from the Arctic waters to the warm lagoons in the Gulf of California for breeding. These "peaceful giants of the sea" come within miles of San Diego's coastline and can be viewed on daily whale watching excursions and from Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.
La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival
Marching bands, floats, equestrians, vintage automobiles and more parade down the streets of La Jolla. The parade ends with a holiday festival featuring craft booths, carnival rides, food, entertainment and a tree lighting ceremony.
45th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
This colorfully unique San Diego holiday tradition features more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights, sailing along the waters of San Diego Bay.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
San Diego's annual pre-Christmas bowl game is played at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley and matches teams from the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences. The nationally recognized event features all the pomp and circumstance of a major college post-season football game.
Big Bay Balloon Parade and National University Education Holiday Bowl
A popular parade along downtown San Diego's waterfront is followed by a major college bowl game at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, featuring teams from the Pac-10 and Big 12 Conferences. The exciting gridiron action is augmented by spectacular pregame and halftime pageantry.