13 Fun Things to Do in San Diego This Spring

Celebrate spring with beer tastings, art festivals, tacos by the bay, and more things to do in San Diego.

Belmont in Bloom
Photo courtesy of Belmont Park

Spring has finally arrived in San Diego, bringing picture-perfect weather for long, leisurely days spent at beautiful beaches and balmy nights ideal for scenic sips at a craft brewery or vibey rooftop bar. It’s also time to groove to the hottest bands, chomp the spiciest tacos, explore the trendiest neighborhoods and guzzle the hoppiest IPAs on the planet. Don’t miss out on a single minute of the fun—just consult our handy guide to all the best things to do in San Diego this spring. Grab some sunscreen and get out there!

Belmont in Bloom festival
Photo courtesy of Belmont Park

Through May 31
Mission Beach
Shake off the winter blues for good at the second annual Belmont in Bloom festival at Belmont Park, now through May 31. Towering flowers, colorful murals and Instagrammable floral photo ops transform Belmont into a whimsical playground with live art performances by local artists, live musical entertainment every Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm-5 pm and various community events. Stroll around the park on the weekends for meet and greets with various characters, including flower princesses, stilt walkers and bubble girls, face painters, balloon twisters and caricature artists. There’s also a mobile bubbly cart featuring spritzers and mimosas for a midday pick-me-up and floral-inspired cocktails are available at the boardwalk's oceanfront restaurants Cannonball, Beach House and Draft, plus spring-inspired treats at select food and beverage locations.
Cost: Admission starts at $50.

Mission Fed Art Walk
Photo courtesy of Mission Fed Art Walk

Saturday, April 29–Sunday, April 30
Little Italy
The Mission Fed Art Walk is one of Little Italy’s most popular events, attracting more than 300 fine artists from all over the world, as well as tens of thousands of art lovers from San Diego and beyond. Covering sixteen square blocks, artists in nearly every media type and style show and sell their works, from miniature sculptures and glass art to enormous, wall-sized paintings. It’s a perfect opportunity to purchase affordable, one-of-a-kind art while supporting local artists. After perusing the works, wander through Little Italy’s galleries and shops, or stop in one of the dozens of restaurants, bistros, and tasting rooms for some noshes and libations. Avoid the inevitable parking chaos by getting a free trolley ticket to Little Italy, courtesy of MTS.
Cost: Free admission

Photo Courtesy of City Experiences

Saturday, April 29
Pier 1 City Cruises Landing
Your well-behaved good boy or girl will love brunching on the water with you at San Diego Pet Day on the Bay, a one-hour narrated cruise around San Diego Bay. It includes special doggie treats from local pet store chain Kahoots, drinks and bites for the humans, the opportunity to see over 50 San Diego landmarks, and the best part—dogs ride free! Dress your pup in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, floaties, leis or a cute lifeguard outfit for the costume contest held on each cruise. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Helen Woodward Animal Center, and guests are encouraged to contribute a donation of dry or canned dog food that will benefit the AniMeals Program which helps low-income elderly, homebound, disabled vets, unsheltered people and others to keep pets in their home. Four different on-hour time slots are available; register online to reserve yours.
Cost: Tickets start at $35 for adults

SoCal taco fest
Photo courtesy of SoCal Taco Fest

Saturday, April 29
Waterfront Park
Chow down on unlimited tastings from more than two dozen of San Diego’s best taco slingers at SoCal Taco Fest! There’s also lucha libre wrestling, chihuahua beauty pageants and races, and three stages of live music with headliners like Kool and the Gang, Calibre 50, Mr. Lil One & Mr. Shadow, Sm Familia and more –all at one of San Diego’s most beautiful venues, Waterfront Park. 21+.
Cost: Tickets start at $60.

Saturday, April 29
Linda Vista
The 38th Annual Multi-Cultural Fair & Parade is back, appropriately themed, A Community Love Letter to Linda Vista. Three stages provide a soundtrack of culturally diverse and contemporary music, a Kid’s Zone hosts plenty of activities like inflatable bounce houses, pony rides, magicians, face painting, the Rad Hatters and more, plus a separate Teen Spot features hourly entertainment, rappers, street dancing, and DJ music. There’s also a World Arts Village with multicultural folk and fine crafts artists showing and selling handmade textiles, pottery, jewelry, glasswork, and other visual arts and demonstrating their crafts in hands-on workshops for all ages. Of course, it wouldn’t be a street fair without plenty of food and thrills, so you’ll find Egyptian, Thai, Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, and American fare at the food court and rides like the Scrambler, the Giant Slide, and a few new ones will remain a secret until you show up!
Cost: Free admission

Advertiser Content From

Visit San Diego
Photo courtesy of Visit San Diego

A welcoming wave of new venues and attractions is transforming San Diego into a hotbed of arts, culture, and entertainment just waiting to be visited. Check out The Rady Shell, a breathtaking waterfront venue where you can take in big-time concerts, nationally acclaimed acts, and award-winning Broadway hits. In San Diego’s vibrant mix of unique neighborhoods, you’ll find a constant pulse of energy and excitement driven by everything from music to food to craft beer and beyond. Plan your next trip at sandiego.org.

Saturday, May 6
Golden Hill Park
Get ready for the ultimate taco throwdown at San Diego Reader’s Tacotopia: Land of Unlimited Tacos. Celebrate San Diego’s favorite food at this gathering of the finest taco vendors from SD, Los Angeles, and Tijuana, then cast your ballot for your favorite. General admission includes unlimited taco tastings, live music and games, while the VIP option adds early admission and one free drink ticket. All proceeds from the cash bar benefit The Greater Golden Hill Community Development Corporation. 21+.
Cost: Tickets start at $35.

Gator by the Bay
Photo courtesy of Gator by the Bay

Thursday, May 11–Sunday, May 14
Spanish Landing Park
If a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras wasn’t in the cards this year, here’s your second chance for some Southern vibes. Head to Spanish Landing Park for the Gator By The Bay festival featuring music and a food court full of classic Louisiana dishes like red beans and rice, jambalaya, various gumboes (including gator, dark or light etouffee, boudin, and andouille sausage) and over 10,000 pounds of live crawfish from Louisiana, along with all the sides and desserts you can imagine. Seven stages will keep you entertained with non-stop zydeco, blues, Cajun, swing, salsa, country, and jazz music. Tickets are available for one day or multiple days. Traffic and parking are always challenging in this area, so consider public transportation or ridesharing services.
Cost: Tickets start at $22.

Saturday, May 20
Carmel Mountain
Second Chance Beer Company, one of San Diego’s most dog-friendly breweries, is hosting its third annual Pupapalooza Dog Festival, with more than 20 locally-owned pet vendors, food trucks, live music and plenty of beer. Cute adoptable dogs from The Animal Pad, a San Diego all-breed non-profit rescue organization that helps dogs from all over Southern California and Mexico will be on hand as well. Second Chance is also releasing its first ever beer brewed especially for the festival—Guava Wheat Ale, available on draft and in cans. The event is free, but you can upgrade to Silver or Gold VIP status for additional goodies like a 10-minute photo session for your dog in a setup from Puppy Picnic Co., gift bags and more. Proceeds from the event will be donated to The Animal Pad, and 1% of sales of Second Chance’s core beers Buddy Lager and New Day West Coast IPA that day will be donated to dog rescue organizations.
Cost: Free admission

Friday, June 9–Sunday, June 11
Various locations
San Diego Brewers Guild, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting local craft beer, is hosting the 2nd annual San Diego Beer Weekend (not to be confused with SD Beer Week, which is still happening November 3-12). Breweries throughout San Diego will hold events and offer to-be-determined beer specials that are served in limited-edition commemorative pint glasses featuring San Diego-themed artwork, which will also be available for purchase. Check out which of your favorite breweries are participating here. Boelter, the maker of the glassware, will donate a portion of the proceeds from the pint glass sales back to the non-profit Brewers Guild.
Cost: Prices vary

Taste of Little Italy San Diego
Photo courtesy of Little Italy San Diego

Tuesday, June 20–Wednesday, June 21
Little Italy
The Taste of Little Italy lets you stroll, sip and taste samples from some of Little Italy’s best-loved restaurants. Purchase tickets online in advance, then check in at the Piazza della Famiglia, where you’ll be given a Taste Passport. From there, you can wander from place to place at your leisure, noshing on tastes from up to 20 different restaurants, bars, breweries, dessert shops and more. A list of participating restaurants can be found here, and you can check out our Little Italy dining guide to see some of our favorite restaurants in the area.
Cost: Tickets $50-$55.

Tuesday, June 20–Thursday, August 31
Balboa Park
For more than 40 years, San Diegans have enjoyed a kaleidoscope of musical genres, from disco to Dixieland and big band to bluegrass, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6:30-7:30 pm at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Pack a picnic for a romantic date night, or just sit back and listen to some great music in fabulous surroundings.
Cost: Free

Sunday, June 25
North Park
San Diego resident Daniel Szpak, co-founder of Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream in North Park, wanted to celebrate everyone’s favorite frozen treat and support social change, so he founded Scoop San Diego, a fest that supports San Diego’s underserved communities. Your general admission ticket gets you ten tastings, or choose the VIP option to meet local ice cream and gelato chefs, taste exclusive flavors only available in the shady VIP Lounge, and enjoy an hour of early entry. This year, 100% of the proceeds go to the San Diego Food Bank, San Diego County’s largest hunger-relief organization, which serves, on average, 400,000 people per month.
Cost: Tickets $40-$100.

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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer.