Summer in San Diego is synonymous with sun, surf, and the much-anticipated San Diego County Fair. Each year, this iconic event draws visitors from all over California and beyond, eager to indulge in a unique blend of entertainment, culinary delights, and community spirit. The 2024 edition promises to be more spectacular than ever, with a host of new attractions, beloved traditions, and surprises in store. Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect at this year’s fair and some ideas on where to stay if you’re vacationing in the area.

A Rich Tradition of Fun and Festivity

The San Diego County Fair, held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, has been a staple of summer since its inception in 1880. It offers a perfect mix of nostalgia and modern excitement, catering to all ages with its diverse array of activities. From thrilling rides and games to agricultural exhibits and live performances, the fairgrounds transform into a playground for everyone.

Theme of 2024: “Let’s Go Retro”

With a nod to nostalgia and a focus on fun, the 2024 Fair will give our yesteryears another moment in the San Diego sun. Bop your way around the happy days of the ‘50s. Twist, shout, and shake it into the bewitching ‘60s. Move and groove through the disco nights of the ‘70s. Moonwalk it back to the gnarly age of big hair, shoulder pads, and parachute pants of the ‘80s. And enjoy the era of flannel and floppy drives of the ‘90s. When we look back on today, what will stand the test of time to be considered “retro” to future San Diegans?

Must-See Attractions

1. The Grand Ferris Wheel

The iconic Ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the fairgrounds. Whether you’re looking to snap the perfect Instagram photo or simply enjoy a serene ride, this is a must-do.

2. Concert Series

The fair’s concert series always draws big names, and 2024 is no exception. With a lineup featuring popular artists across genres, there’s something for every music lover. Keep an eye out for announcements and be sure to grab your tickets early to see talent such as Kolohe Kai, TLC and Ludacris among others.

3. Animal Exhibits

From petting zoos to impressive livestock displays, the fair’s animal exhibits are both educational and entertaining. Young visitors will especially enjoy the interactive experiences with farm animals.

4. Food and Drink

One of the main highlights of the San Diego County Fair is the food. Let’s Go Retro! What does that mean for food? Think of those nostalgic dishes of your youth — were they made with Velveeta, Funyuns or Jell-O? Maybe they were served in a casserole dish, crock pot or Pyrex bowl. Or maybe they include a retro candy, cereal or drink; such as Pop Rocks, Lucky Charms or Tang.

5. Rides and Games

No fair experience is complete without the thrill of carnival rides and games. Whether you’re a daredevil looking for adrenaline-pumping rides or prefer the nostalgia of classic midway games, the fair has it all.

Tips for a Great Visit

  • Plan Ahead: With so much to see and do, planning your visit can help ensure you make the most of your time at the fair. Check the schedule of events and map out your must-see attractions.
  • Beat the Crowds: Weekdays and early hours are typically less crowded, making it easier to explore and enjoy the fair.
  • Stay Hydrated: Summer in San Diego can get hot, so make sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks in shaded areas.
  • Budget-Friendly Fun: Look for discounted tickets and special promotions to save on admission and rides.

Oceanfront vacation rentals – Seascape Sur and Seascape Oro with the fair in the distance.

Where To Stay

Planning a trip to the San Diego County Fair and looking for the perfect place to stay? Vacation rentals can offer a comfortable, home-like experience, often with more space and amenities than a hotel.

Haustay has a number of coastal vacation rentals to choose from that are within walking distance or a short drive to the San Diego Fair. Check out our Del Mar and Solana Beach rentals here and book soon as they’re filling up for the summer!

Embrace the Magic of the Fair

The 2024 San Diego County Fair is set to be a memorable experience, offering something magical for everyone. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor from afar, this event captures the essence of summer fun and community spirit. Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family, and get ready to create unforgettable memories at this year’s fair. See you there!

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the official San Diego County Fair website.


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