Even though San Diego's seasons don't particularly have a definitive "beginning" or "end," it's safe to say that summer is now over. To usher in the fall, keep doing exactly what you've been doing (minus those beloved summer Fridays) and just pencil in these events on your calendar. As if you'd miss San Diego Beer or Restaurant Week anyway.
The Tower Deck at TOWER23 Hotel is a prime spot for taking in the beachfront sunset. A $25 ticket will get you a chance to try a curated selection of wines from Napa Valley winery Domaine Carneros during the last date of its Sip Into Summer beverage series. Wine tastings will be happening from 6pm until sunset.
If you’ve ever wanted to eat at all of South Park's restaurants in one night, here’s your chance. Get a Tasting Passport so you can peruse the neighborhood shops and cruise the streets tasting bites from places like Buona Forchetta, Big Kitchen Café, and Hamilton's Tavern from noon to 4pm. Buy tickets online (or the day of), then pick up your Tasting Passport, plus a map of participating locations, at the booth on the corner of Grape and Fern, and get to tasting.
The Cabrillo Festival is a free, family-friendly event featuring educational activities, cultural demonstrations, and folkloric performances. From 11am to 4pm there will be music, dancing, and foods of Native Americans, Mexico, Portugal and Spain; a display of Kumeyaay hunting and fishing artifacts; and a 16th-century Spanish soldiers living history encampment. A re-enactment of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1542 landing on Ballast Point, using the San Salvador galleon, begins at 1pm.
Jam out with two stages of reggae performers and partake in some craft beer drinking at Harrah’s Resort SoCal during the fourth annual Hop Heads and Dreads Craft Beer & Reggae Festival. With all of that skanking, you'll definitely work up an appetite; good thing local food trucks will be on-site. Tickets will get you unlimited beer tasters from dozens of local craft breweries, a souvenir glass, and a festival T-shirt.
For eight glorious days, more than 180 eateries all over the county will be participating in the bi-annual San Diego Restaurant Week. There are delicious options for everyone and every budget -- restaurant offerings will include two-course prix fixe lunch menus, ranging from $10-$20, and three-course prix fixe dinner offerings for $20, $30, $40, or $50. Be sure to make reservations at your favorite participating places, because tables are sure to fill up quickly.
San Diego’s favorite electronic music festival is back by the bay this fall. CRSSD Festival is taking over Waterfront Park for two days from noon to midnight with three stages of world-renowned DJs to get you dancing.
Just when you thought the beach couldn’t get any more fun, there’s Pacific Beachfest. The day starts early with a pro volleyball tournament, surf competition, and 5K race at 8:30am. From 11am to sunset, the rest of the festivities will include live music, a Best of the Beach Fish Taco Contest, a beer garden with local craft beers, and vendor booths.
Take a stroll down Girard Ave from 10am-7pm on Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sunday for some art and vino supporting a good cause, during the eighth annual La Jolla Art and Wine Festival. The free event will host 150 artists and craftsmen from San Diego and beyond. There will be a silent auction, live entertainment, a gourmet marketplace, plus a wine and beer garden. All proceeds will go to support the arts programs at local elementary and middle schools.
At the annual Bulls of Sant'Agata Charge Little Italy you can eyeball over 40 classic and rare “Italian bulls,” also known as Lamborghinis. The spectacular autos will fill West Fir Street, between India Street and Kettner Boulevard, from 6pm to 11pm for an evening of souped up rides and musical entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines is hosting the 15th annual Celebrate the Craft event. From 11:30am-3pm, growers, vintners, brewers, and culinary artisans from California will all come together to share their talent and love of foods grown and created regionally with other SD food mavens.
It’s time to cash in those vacation days you’ve been hoarding, because this is the best 10 days for beer drinking in SD. San Diego Beer Week kicks off on the 3rd with events happening at breweries and beer bars all over town, and with over 120 participating breweries, that’s a lot of hop-centered celebrating. Check the SDBW website to get updates on events happening all week long.
The biggest beer bash in the city gets SDBW started with a bang. San Diego Brewers Guild Festival is two days of beer tasting at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. The VIP Brewer Takeover event happens on the 3rd from 6-9pm where you can try unlimited bites from local restaurants, unlimited samples of rare and specialty beers from local breweries, and also meet some of the award-winning brewers who created them. On the 4th from 2-5pm, get your commemorative cup and sample unlimited brews along with food from local restaurants and food trucks while enjoying the tunes from SD’s best bands.
Three blocks of the historic Gaslamp Quarter will be transformed into the Old West from 11am-4pm during the family friendly Fall Back Festival. The neighborhood's going all out with traditional Western storefronts, a sarsaparilla saloon, museums, a penny candy store, a town jail, and live historical recreations. The streets will also be filled with food booths, caricatures, vintage cars, arts & crafts, and contests.
Just in time for some fall beer drinking, Stone has combined two of its most popular festivals, the Pour it Black and Oakquinox, for a celebration of the best deep, dark, barrel-aged and wood-infused brews. Drop by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido from 10am-2pm for a selection of more than 100 dark brews, from stouts to black IPAs. Tickets will get you a commemorative glass and 15 3-ounce tasters to go in it. Naturally, the event's 21+ only, and valid ID is required.
It’s the perfect time to break in those stretchy pants before Thanksgiving, because the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is back again. The seven-day event begins on the 12th with a golf invitational at the Maderas Golf Club, and peaks on the 18th with the much-awaited grand tasting at the Embarcadero Marina Park North, where there will be 150 wine and spirit vendors along with 60 of SD’s top chefs. Make sure you reserve your table for this year’s dinner with the Culinary Masters on the 17th, featuring William Bradley, who received the designation of Grand Chef from Relais & Châteaux in 2010 -- he's one of only 160 chefs on five continents to hold this title, and the only member in San Diego.
Before you eat yourself into a coma on Thanksgiving, start the day off by helping those less fortunate. The 16th annual Thanksgiving Day 5K turkey trot benefits Father Joe’s Villages by helping raise the funds to prepare and serve over one million meals to the homeless. Get up bright and early because registration is at 6:30am at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The 5K course will take runners from Sixth and Laurel through Balboa Park, ending with a post-race festival featuring live music, a beer garden, costume contest, and an awards ceremony.
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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago, Cleveland and Baltimore. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting various vegetables and beverages, reading cookbooks and traveling through Mexico. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.
Sara Norris is a writer and photographer who would only run a 5K if she was being chased by zombies, but loves a good swim-up bar. Catch her chillin' @saraknorris.