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Fun Things to Do in San Diego This Summer

June 6, 2019

San Diego is awesome year-round, but the summer offers even more opportunities for fun-in-the-sun (and shade…and darkness). From beach bonfires to beer festivals to rooftop cinema nights, there are enjoyable options for everyone.

Here are 10 fun things to do in the summer in San Diego!


1. Outdoor Movies

Take advantage of San Diego’s warm summer evenings by catching a flick at one of the city’s outdoor movie venues. Summer Movies in the Park offers free family-friendly movies at dozens of parks around the county; check out their movie schedule here.

For those looking for a more adult-friendly event, head to the Rooftop Cinema Club, located on the 4th floor terrace of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Movies are viewed in comfy deck chairs and moviegoers are given wireless headphones. This summer’s movies include A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Goonies, Friday, and more!

Rooftop Cinema Club outdoor movie theater in San Diego, CA
Photo credit: Rooftop Cinema Club

2. San Diego International Beer Festival

Hop in an Uber or Lyft (See what we did there?) and head to the annual San Diego International Beer Festival, the largest beer festival on the West Coast. This year, the event takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from June 14th – 16th, 2019 (and your ticket to the event also gets you in to the San Diego County Fair!). Attendees can sample beers from over 23 states and 20 countries, catch an educational demonstration, and partake in some delicious food pairings. Tickets are $60 or $115 for VIP.

San Diego International Beer Festival, man pouring beer
Photo credit: Evan Dvorkin / Unsplash

3. OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off

This year marks the 40th annual OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off, a yearly event featuring live music, a chili cook-off, handcrafted and unique art, a beachside beer garden, kids zone, and more. The event will take place on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and there is a small fee for chili tastings.

Ocean Beach San Diego OB Street Fair Chili Cook Off
Photo credit: Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association

4. Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Watch dozens of “surFURS” catch waves at the Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition, taking place on August 10, 2019 at the IB Pier. The competition runs between 8:15 a.m. and 2 p.m., with an awards ceremony at 2 p.m. Partial event proceeds and all fundraising proceeds go into the San Diego Humane Society.

Surf Dog Events in Imperial Beach San Diego, Ca
Photo credit: Surf Dog Events / Facebook

5. San Diego Pride

This year, San Diego’s Pride weekend runs from Friday, July 12th to Sunday, July 14th. The parade begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. and snakes through the main streets of Hillcrest. The Festival takes place at Balboa Park on Saturday and Sunday and features multiple stages for entertainment, dozens of vendor booths, cultural presentations, and more.

Fun Fact: San Diego’s Pride parade is the biggest single-day civic event in the region, attracting over 200,000 people each year.

San Diego LGBT Pride Parade in Hillcrest San Diego
Photo credit: San Diego Pride / Facebook

6. Beach Bonfires

There are few better ways to spend a summer evening than huddled around a bonfire. Luckily, you don’t have to travel too far to have a beachside bonfire in San Diego! Many of the city’s beaches have firepits.

There are firepits at La Jolla Shores, Tourmaline Beach, Shelter Island Shoreline Park, Glorietta Bay Park Beach in Coronado, and several parks in Mission Bay. Farther north, options include Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, Oceanside Harbor Beach, and Oceanside Pier View South Beach.

Be sure to follow these safety guidelines from the City of San Diego!

Hotel del Coronado s'mores roast bonfire on the beach
Photo credit: Hotel del Coronado / Facebook

7. Food Truck Fridays at Balboa Park

Clear at least one Friday evening this summer and head to Balboa Park for Food Truck Fridays. The weekly event, which will run between May 31st and September 27th this year, features a rotating selection of over a dozen food trucks along with musical performers, DJs, hands-on activities, and crafts for kids.

Balboa Park Conservancy Food Truck Fridays
Photo credit: Balboa Park Conservancy

8. Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Every summer the world-famous San Diego Zoo keeps its doors open until 9 p.m., giving visitors more time to see their favorite animals, as well as some animals you may not see during the day. Nighttime Zoo, which caters to visitors of all ages, also features live entertainment and up-close animal encounters (not too close, we hope).

In addition to Nighttime Zoo, the zoo offers Wild Night Out, a 21-and-up event featuring meet-and-greets with animal trainers, encounters with animal ambassadors, musical entertainment, and cocktails. Wild Night out takes place on June 13 from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Tiger at San Diego Zoo
Photo credit: Jessica Weiler / Unsplash

9. Comic-Con International San Diego

Whether you have tickets or not, Comic Con provides loads of entertainment for visitors. Every year, over 150,000 people converge on the city, turning downtown San Diego into a sea of colorful weirdness. In 2019, Comic Con will run from July 18–21. Some prime people-watching venues include Rockin Baja Lobster, UNION Kitchen & Tap, Café Sevilla, and Volcano Rabbit, all on Fifth Avenue.

San Diego Comic Con Game Of Thrones Cast
Photo credit: Comic-Con Internationl / Facebook

10. Wonderspaces San Diego

Traveling interactive art show Wonderspaces returns to San Diego in the summer of 2019. This year’s show, called in common, addresses how we are shaped by the experiences, environments, and relationships in our lives. Purchasing tickets online in advance is highly recommended as many entry times sell out. Adult tickets are $24 during the week and $27 on weekends.

Wonderspaces San Diego
Photo credit: Wonderspaces SD / Facebook

Written by Whitney Currier for Knockaround.



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