San Diego County Fair 2023: What to know before you go

The 2023 fair kicks off Wednesday, June 7, and runs through the Fourth of July in Del Mar.

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

There’s nothing quite like the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar.

Table of Contents

The Big Wheel. The high-flying entertainment. The wild, fried fare. The summer concerts on the Grandstand Stage. The San Diego County Fair is coming, y’all — returning to the Del Mar Fairgrounds Wednesday, June 7-Tuesday, July 4.

The summertime staple began as an agricultural fair in 1880 and moved to its current seaside location in 1936. Today, it’s one of the largest county fairs in the US. We’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of your visit — let’s get out there.

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

The fair’s midway has it all — performers, food, rides, and more.

Hours, tickets, parking

  • The 2023 fair is open Wednesdays-Sundays, beginning at 11 a.m. It’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays, except Monday, July 3, and the Fourth of July.
  • Get tickets online; kids age 12 and younger get in free every Friday, and kids age 5 and younger get in free every day. Pro tip: Peep these admission deals.
  • Buy parking ahead of time to save $5, or park for free at Torrey Pines High School and take a free shuttle to the fairgrounds.
  • Try using the Fair Tripper deal, which includes fair admission and a ride to the fairgrounds via MTS Trolley or Bus services, or NCTD’s trains.
SD San Diego County Fair 2023

Who’s the fairest of them all?

The food

This year, the fair’s midway will offer 100+ food vendors including:

  • Funnel Cake Express
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs
  • Olde Tyme Ice Cream
  • Northgate Guacamole
  • Tasti Chips
  • Dole Whip
  • Wood Pit BBQ
  • Bacon A-Fair
  • Linda’s Pizza
  • Fried A Fair
  • Ricky’s California Corn Dog
  • Australian Battered Potatoes

Of course, fair favorite Chicken Charlie’s will be there, offering its fair menu featuring Deep-Fried Oreos, Fried Avocados, the Maui Chicken Pineapple Bowl, the Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger, and more.

Pro tip: Look for the Secret ‘Stache Speakeasy — it’s not on the map — you mustache a bartender for hints to the secret spot.

Oh, and for even more fun fair food, check out this year’s Fair-tastic Food Competition.

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

The concerts are a big draw at the San Diego County Fair.

The concerts

Big names are headlining the Toyota Summer Concert Series. All shows include same-day fair admission and most start at 7:30 p.m.

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

There are dozens of rides and games at the fair.

The rides

The fair boasts dozens of rides and games. For the kids, try the Bumper Boats, Little Dipper, or Flying Jumbo. For the thrill-seekers, try the Crazy Mouse, Slingshot, Searay, Storm, or Mega Drop. If you’re looking for great views of Del Mar, try the Big Wheel or Sky Ride.

The theme

This year’s theme is “Get Out There!” — a call to explore the great outdoors. Pro tip: Join the “Get Out There!” Challenge by taking and sharing photos of yourself enjoying time outside and you could win some green.

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

We’re fairly certain, this is gonna be good.

The festivals

Festivals are a big part of the San Diego County Fair. Pencil these in:

SD San Diego County Fair 2023

The San Diego County Fair in all its glory in June 2022.

The exhibits

The fair is known for its many competitive exhibits spanning all kinds of interests. Head to the halls, Mission Tower, or Grandstand East or West to explore student artwork, fine art, woodworking, photography, homemade crafts, and gems and minerals. Find your way around with this map.

Pro tip: The Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show features gorgeous plant displays and inspiration for your own garden projects — don’t miss this one.