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."
This is information from the 2016 San Diego County Fair.
Please check back next spring, when we will have information for the 2017 Fair!
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. You'll find information on the new food items in the What's New section of this website, plus a map that lists the new foods and where to find them.
Indoor Restaurants and Table Service
The Paddock Tavern is an indoor restaurant on the east side of the Paddock. It serves sandwiches and salads (prices $10-$12), along with craft beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. Sponsored by Ballast Point.
17 Hands Restaurant & Cantina is an indoor eatery just off Plaza de Mexico. It features 20 taps of local craft beers 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.
Surfside Race Place, near the Del Mar Arena, provides a sit-down meal in air-conditioned comfort Thursdays through Sundays. The Carving Stand offers hand-carved sandwiches, salads and daily lunch specials. The Saddle Club is open for lunch, serving soups, appetizers, salads, burgers and more. For specific hours, please see the Surfside Race Place page.
Concert Dining Experiences
Several shows in the Toyota Summer Concert Series offer a gourmet dinner package. Most concerts in the Ford Dealers Paddock Concert Series offer a VIP package called Cocktails and a Concert. This includes a cocktail-and-appetizer reception before the show and the best seats in the house.
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 21 and 28, 11:00AM-5:00PM) you can buy a taster's portion of a featured Fair food item for $3 at each food booth.
2016 Taste of the Fair offerings [PDF document will open in a new window]
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
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 Coors Rock On Bar is restricted to age 21 and older after 8:00PM.
Alcohol events are open to adults 21 and older.
Tuesday-Friday, 5:00PM to 7:00PM
$2.00 off all draft beer, house wine, call cocktails
At beer gardens, Grandstand bars, 17 Hands Restaurant & Cantina, Ballast Point Jockey Box and Paddock Tavern.
Daily, 4:00PM and 5:00PM
Taste wine in the Paul Ecke Jr. Flower and Garden Show's Wine Garden Bar. $5.00 glass fee.
Hosted by the San Diego County Vintners Association.
Beer and Wine Garden Locations
17 Hands Restaurant & Cantina: (Paddock area) Full bar and craft beer; authentic Mexican food, indoors.
NEW! Ballast Point Bar: outside of Bing Crosby Hall on the north side. Plenty of seating and shade. Stop by to enjoy one of their specialty craft beers.
Ballast Point Jockey Box: 2nd floor of the Grandstand, east of Home and Hobby, indoors.
Coors Rock On Stage Beer Garden: Plenty of shade and seating.
Del Mar Arena: West side; cold beer and cocktails.
Dos XX Cantina: Located in Family Funville (infield of the racetrack).
Drink Me Bar: Inside the Theme Exhibit building, serving the "Topsy Turvy" specialty cocktail in a glorious glowing glass
Grandstand: Concessions stands with food, bars, and beer/wine during concerts
The Cantina: between Exhibit Hall and Seaside Pavilion
Paddock Tavern: Craft beer, wine, and cocktails
Plaza de Mexico: Beer, wine and cocktails
Wine Garden Bar: Flower & Garden Show, serving award winners from the 2016 Toast of the Coast wine competition.
The Toast of the Coast Wine Festival
Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show
At this one-day event, you can sample fine wines from the United States and Baja California wineries, including many that are tough to find in stores. You can buy bottles of the wines you like!
More on The Toast of the Coast Wine Competition & Festival
San Diego International Beer Festival
Del Mar Arena
Five sessions. Four hundred beers. One glass,
More on the San Diego International Beer Festival
Distilled: Spirit & Cocktail Festival
This festival features distilled beverages.
More on Distilled: Spirit & Cocktail Festival