Food & Drink
During the Fair, food is one of the main reasons people visit. Not only do we have the traditional "Fair fare," but we also offer some surprising upscale dining and sipping experiences, plus food "events."
Fair mobile app with searchable shopping database
Fairgoers will be able to use their smart devices to search for food and products while at the Fair. This new feature is coming soon.
Enjoy a gourmet or casual meal with table service
Casual dining: 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.
The new U-T San Diego Paddock Lounge (also called 17 Hands), is 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, plus Monday, July 2. Choose one Taco and a specialty draft beer for $8.
Also, you can enjoy a sit-down meal in air-conditioned comfort at Surfside Race Place, near the Del Mar Arena, Thursdays through Sundays. The Saddle Club is open for lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays; and lunch and dinner on Saturdays. For specific hours, please see the Surfside Race Place page.
Concert gourmet dinner packages: Enjoy a gourmet meal in the famed Turf Club, followed by a concert in the Grandstand. Many shows this year have a dinner package.
See the Toyota Summer Concert Series listings for more information.
San Diego International Beer Festival
Sample from more than 300 beers entered into the San Diego International Beer Festival competition, Friday through Sunday, June 22-24. See the San Diego International Beer Festival page for additional information.
Taste of the Fair
For you 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 (11:00AM–5:00PM) you can buy a taster's portion of a featured Fair food item for $2 at each food booth.
Albertsons General Store
Our presenting sponsor, Albertsons/Sav-on, has a great food booth for those of you who crave some healthy eating. The Albertsons General Store, located on Wyland Way between the Theme Exhibit and AgriFair, has fruit bowls, salads, juice, nuts, baked chips, and more.
For those on gluten-free diets, we have falafel and salad at the Roxy booth near Bing Crosby Hall, grilled corn on the cob in several locations, grilled vegetables at Pan Fried Chicken on Spud Shack, both on the Avenue of the Palms; several items at the Albertsons / Sav-on Rejuvenation Station, and chicken kabobs at Chicken Charlies. We recommend those on restricted diets bring food with them (see below).
Ways to save on food and beverages
Every Friday is PennySaver Value Day, where each Fairgoer receives a booklet loaded with discounts at more than 60 Fair food and product vendors.
Buy the Passport to Savings coupon book for $5 any day of the Fair (or online before the Fair for $4). This coupon book has more than 100 offers totalling more than $1,000 in savings! See the the Passport to Savings page for more info.
Also, look for the Kids' Meal Deal signs throughout the Fair at participating food vendors. The $5.99 meal includes an entrée, side dish and drink, plus a child's admission to each of the following venues with a paid adult admission, valid after July 5: Chula Vista Nature Center, Birch Aquarium, The New Children's Museum, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum and the U.S.S. Midway Museum.
Did you know you can 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 and what isn't.
Beer gardens and bars
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.
Tuesday through Friday from 5:00PM to 7:00PM is Happy Hour at all beer gardens and the Grandstand. $2 off all draft beer, house wine, call cocktails and $5 12oz. margaritas. Located at all Beer Gardens and Grandstand Bars.
Beer gardens and their locations are:
Del Mar Arena, west side: Concessions and Beer
Infield: 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
Tequila Bar: Flower & Garden Show
Paddock: Beer and Wine
Red Star Café (Paddock Area): Full Bar
Plaza de Mexico: Beer
Activity Bar: Inside the Theme Exhibit building
U-T San Diego Paddock Lounge (17 Hands): (Paddock Area) Full Bar and 20 different Micro Beers
Big Bite Bacon Fest
Big Bite Bacon Fest, presented by Farmer John, is a fun-filled, walk-around tasting event featuring creative bacon dishes from the best chefs and competitive cooks in the county.
Each bacon booth will prepare and serve small plates of bacon-y deliciousness that will range from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. You will also be able to quench your thirst with refreshing bacon-based and bacon-inspired cocktails and brews.
The first annual Big Bite Bacon Fest takes place on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013.
To be announced soon.
Wine Tasting, Culinary Series
Each day in the Infield are two food events: The Culinary Series, where local chefs demonstrate how to create a special dish; and Wine Tasting, sponsored by the San Diego County Vintners Association. Please see the Infield page for additional information.