Food and Drink
Food is a primary attraction for Fairgoers. Not only does the San Diego County Fair offer traditional "Fair fare," but we also offer some surprising upscale dining and sipping experiences, plus food "events."
Information on this page is subject to change; please check back later for updates.
Here are examples of what is typically offered during the Fair for your culinary enjoyment.
There's always something new to eat at the San Diego County Fair. We're famous for deep-frying all sorts of foods, but we also have treats that are both tasty and healthy. In mid-May, we will let you know what types of new food we'll have (What's New section of the website), and post a Food Finder map. Please check back.
Dates and times are subject to change; please check back later this spring.
Head to the Heineken Red Star Café any evening from 5:00-8:30PM for wait-served meals of salads, sandwiches, upscale Mexican food and appetizers. The café is located on the second-floor outdoor patio on the west side of the Paddock. It overlooks the Plaza de México on one side and the Paddock on the other. Tuesday through Friday from 5:00PM to 7:00PM is Happy Hour at the Heineken Red Star Café.
17 Hands Restaurant & Cantina, an indoor eatery open from noon to 10:00PM, just off Plaza de Mexico. It features 20 taps of local and imported quality beers and a full bar in a roughhewn, warm atmosphere. Authentic Mexican food includes sopes and tacos with perfectly distinct flavors: Barbacoa, Adobada and Pollo Desebrado. Open-air rail bars and communal tables give a front-row view of the varied Paddock events. Happy Hour is 5:00-7:00PM, Tuesday through Friday.
Surfside Race Place, near the Del Mar Arena, provides a sit-down meal in air-conditioned comfort Thursdays through Sundays. The Saddle Club is open for lunch on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For specific hours, please see the Surfside Race Place page.
NEW for 2015! Cocktails and a Concert
We've upgraded the experience at our Ford Dealers Paddock Concert Series, adding the opportunity to buy reserved seats, and adding a cool new VIP package, Cocktails and a Concert. This includes a cocktail-and-appetizer reception before the show, Fair admission, and the best seats in the house. See the Ford Dealers Paddock Concert Series page for details and prices.
Taste of the Fair
For light eaters, or those who can't narrow down the list of foods they want to try, Taste of the Fair is for you. Each Tuesday the Fair is open (June 23 and 30, 11:00AM–5:00PM) you can buy a taster's portion of a featured Fair food item for $2 at each food booth.
Albertsons | Vons General Store
Albertsons | Vons, our presenting sponsor, has a great food booth for those of you who crave some healthy eating. The Albertsons | Vons General Store, located on Wyland Way between the Theme Exhibit and AgriFair, has fruit bowls, salads, juice, nuts, baked chips, and more.
Ways to save on food
PennySaver Value Day
Every Friday is PennySaver Value Day, where each Fairgoer receives a booklet loaded with discounts at more than 60 Fair food and product vendors.
Passport to Savings
Buy the Passport to Savings coupon book for $5 any day of the Fair. This coupon book has more than 100 offers totaling more than $1,000 in savings!
Kids' Meal Deal
Look for the Kids' Meal Deal signs throughout the Fair at participating food booths. The meal includes an entrée, side dish and drink, plus a child's admission to various local attractions after the Fair ends (with a paid adult admission).
Bring your own food!
If you have special dietary needs (or your child will eat only jelly sandwiches), you may bring food and non-alcoholic beverages. Please see the Guest Services page Can I Bring...? for more information on what is allowed.
Beer, wine, and more
Alcohol is served in several beer gardens throughout the Fairgrounds. All ages may enter these areas; however, adults 21 and older must have photo ID to order and consume alcohol. The La Playa Bar is restricted to age 21 and older after 8:00PM, as is the Coors Light Rock On Stage.
These exclusive adult beverage events are held at 2:00PM in the 17 Hands Restaurant & Cantina. More information to come.
5:00PM to 7:00PM
$2 off all draft beer, house wine, call cocktails
$5, 12 oz. margaritas
At beer gardens and Grandstand bars
Information subject to change.
Beer garden locations:
Del Mar Arena: westside, Concessions and Beer
Family Funville: Beach-Bar and Wine Tasting in the San Diego Pavilion
Grandstand: Concessions stands with food, bars, and beer/wine during concerts
Coors Rock On Stage Beer Garden
La Playa Bar: between Exhibit Hall and Seaside Pavilion
Bing's Beer: outside of Bing Crosby Hall
Wine Bar: Flower & Garden Show
Paddock: Beer and Wine
Red Star Café: (2nd level overlooking the Paddock area) Full Bar
Plaza de Mexico: Beer
Activity Bar: Inside the Theme Exhibit building
17 Hands: (Paddock area) Full Bar and Micro Beers
San Diego International Beer Festival
June 19-21, Del Mar Arena
Five sessions. Four hundred beers. One glass,
The Toast of the Coast Wine Festival
June 13, Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show
Sample fine wines from California and Baja California wineries, including many that are tough to find in stores. You can buy bottles of the wines you like!
Distilled: San Diego Spirit & Cocktail Festival
This new festival is modeled after our successful beer and wine festival/competitions, but will feature distilled beverages.