The popular “Kids Free San Diego” promotion returns for its 5th year this October. Major San Diego attractions including SeaWorld San Diego, the world-famous San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park will offer free admission to kids throughout the month, along with more than 30 area museums. In addition to free attraction admission, many local hotels and restaurants offer specials throughout October adding up to over 100 offers throughout San Diego County. Complete offer details from hotels, restaurants, attractions and more will be posted at sandiego.org/kidsfree.
During Sep. 2-5, 2016, more than 300 tons of sand will be carved and molded into sculptures for the annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition. Held at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal alongside San Diego Bay, the event features live entertainment, food trucks and a kids zone with activities including a zipline. Also along the bay from Sep. 2-5. The Port of San Diego Festival of Sail, hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, will transform the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park. More than 20 tall ships and other fascinating vessels from around the world will visit San Diego and kick off a parade of tall ships led by the new Spanish Galleon, San Salvador. The parade begins at 1:30 p.m. and can be seen from the Embarcadero, Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado. Festival visitors will enjoy touring the ships, food and drink from dozens of restaurant booths, a petting zoo, kids zone, pirates, cannon battles on the bay, sunset cruises and one of-a-kind items among more than 150 festival vendors.
The Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade soars back into San Diego with the best of the U.S. military on display Sep. 10, 2016. The parade will run the length of San Diego Bay, beginning in Shelter Island with viewing areas along the bayfront, from 12-2 p.m. The event is an opportunity for locals and visitors to come together to celebrate U.S. sailors and see the incredible technology used to keep America safe. For the first time since 2008, amphibious ships, destroyers, Marine counter measure ships, submarines and ships from the Coast Guard as well as the Canadian Navy will participate. In addition there will be amphibious landing craft and demonstrations of SEAL capabilities, Coast Guard Search and Rescue, and a Navy fly-over. On Sep. 10-11, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fair with ship tours, live music, food, static displays and more will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Broadway Pier.
KAABOO Del Mar, an upscale music festival experience held at the seaside Del Mar Fairgrounds, returns Sep. 16-18, 2016, and features seven stages and more than 100 musical acts including headliners ranging from OneRepublic to Lenny Kravitz and emerging artists like Grouplove. The festival will also include a dedicated comedy stage, artwork on display, an after-hours dance party featuring additional performances and award-winning DJs. Food and beverages from local and celebrity chefs, craft breweries and local wineries will round out the festival experience.
The 22nd Annual San Diego Festival of Beer takes place Sep. 23, 2016, on San Diego’s downtown bayfront at The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. More than 60 breweries provide up to 120 types of brews alongside live musical performances, vendors and food.
The San Diego Int’l Film Festival returns Sep. 28–Oct. 2, 2016, to downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter and ArcLight Cinemas in La Jolla. Now in its 15th year, the festival will feature more than 100 film screenings showcasing some of the best in American and international full-length features, documentaries and shorts. Additional activities include Q&A sessions with directors, workshops, panel discussions, guest appearances by film and video artists and more.
On Oct. 1-2, 2016, the CRSSD Fest returns to downtown’s recently opened Waterfront Park on San Diego Bay. An electronic music festival that launched in spring 2015, CRSSD features more than 40 top acts, including Mike Snow, Maya Jane Coles and Felix Da Housecat among others. Performers will appear on three stages during this ticketed, paid-admission event for attendees 21 and older. Craft beer, mixed drinks, local food and a VIP area will be available.