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San Diego's 2012 Calendar of Events

San Diego offers an extraordinary range of colorful street festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, specialty fairs and much more.

San Diego is a year-round travel destination offering a plethora of annual events. No matter what time of year, visitors can travel to San Diego and find an extraordinary range of colorful street festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, specialty fairs and much more. For up-to-the-minute event listings and changes, visit


Jan. 15-20
San Diego Restaurant Week

More than 180 of San Diego's finest restaurants participate in a celebration of the local dining scene with prix fixed menus.

Jan. 22
Carlsbad San Diego Marathon and Half-Marathon

The second-oldest marathon on the U.S. West Coast also features a Kids' Marathon Mile the day before the big race, as well as a Health and Fitness Expo.

Jan. 23-29
Farmers Insurance Open
The annual PGA Tour men's golf tournament is played at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, home of the 2008 U.S. Open.


Wildflowers Bloom in the Desert

Depending on the timing and amount of winter rainfall, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego's East County turns into a wonderland of color when the spring wildflowers bloom.

Feb. 21
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Quarter
This is the biggest Fat Tuesday celebration on the U.S. West Coast. Parades, music and beads take over downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter.


Mar. 1–May 13
Flower Fields Ranunculus Season

Fifty acres of beautiful Tecolote Giant Ranunculus come into bloom every spring at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.

Mar. 8-18
19th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival

San Diego's proximity to Mexico makes it a natural venue for this prestigious film festival, focusing on works by Latinos or about the Latino experience, held at the UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center in Mission Valley.

Mar. 17
Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival

'Tis the luck of the Irish for San Diego when the St. Patrick's Day Parade sets off from Juniper and 6th Street by Balboa Park. An Irish festival with traditional dancers, music, a beer garden and Celtic village follows the parade.

Mar. 24-25
Spring Busker Festival
Seaport Village along San Diego Bay comes alive with a celebration of street performers in a battle of entertainment and one-of-a-kind performances by jugglers, sword swallowers, comedic stuntmen and more.

Mar. 31
Ford California Half-Ironman Triathlon
Athletes from all over the world swim 1.2 miles in Oceanside Harbor, bike 56 miles through Camp Pendleton and run 13.1 miles back to the finish line at Oceanside Pier in the San Diego North County city of Oceanside.

Mar. 31–Apr. 1
39th Annual San Diego Crew Classic Regatta

Rowers from across the country come to Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay to participate in one of the most distinguished rowing competitions in the U.S.


San Diego Padres Season

The San Diego Padres step up to the plate and begin another exciting, six-month season of Major League Baseball, played in PETCO Park in downtown San Diego.

Apr. 1
La Jolla Concours D'Elegance Motor Car Classic
Paying tribute to some of the world's finest automobiles, the Motor Car Classic highlights over 30 juried classes of automobiles; vintage auto aficionados and collectors compete against the best vehicles in automotive history.

Apr. 15
Fallbrook Avocado Festival

Since the 1960s, tens of thousands of avocado lovers converge in Fallbrook, located in San Diego's North County, to sample avocados, check-out the crazy cooking contest entries, buy funky avocado-themed gifts and enjoy bands, live entertainment and friendly beer gardens.

Apr. 19–May 6
Annual Del Mar National Horse Show

The most prestigious horse show in Southern California offers more than $300,000 in prize money and attracts more than 3,000 horses to the equestrian complex at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in coastal Del Mar.

Apr. 20-22
48h Annual Lakeside Rodeo

Bareback bronco rides, calf roping and other traditional rodeo competitions, along with food and crafts, bring the Wild West to life in the San Diego East County town of Lakeside.

Apr. 21-22
87th Annual Coronado Flower Show

The nation's largest flower show under a tent takes place in Spreckels Park on the "island" of Coronado. Flower exhibits are placed around a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for live entertainment and trophy presentations.

Apr. 21-22
San Diego Adams Avenue Roots & Folk Festival

Guests enjoy vintage blues, folk, Appalachian, country, bluegrass and Celtic music performed by roots artists on seven outdoor stages. Held at Adams Park in University Heights, the free event also includes a beer garden, food and crafts.

Apr. 22
Annual San Diego Earth Fair

Set in Balboa Park, the celebration of planet Earth features a children's parade, booths, educational exhibits, music and earth-friendly food.

Apr. 28-29
Mission Federal ArtWalk

This free visual and performing arts celebration takes place in downtown San Diego's colorful Little Italy neighborhood and is the largest art event in San Diego.


May 4-6
Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo

A celebration of Mexican spirit and culture, the Fiesta Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, the birthplace of San Diego, features music, food and entertainment for the entire family.

May 6
Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

One of the largest one-day street fairs in California features hundreds of exhibitors, international food and children's rides in the downtown village of Carlsbad.

May 11-13
Gator by the Bay, Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival

Knee-slapping good times abound at Spanish Landing on Harbor Island. The event features 25 bands on five stages, dance lessons, Cajun cooking demonstrations and delicious crawfish.

May 20
19th Annual Sicilian Festival

The music, dance, culture and cuisine of Sicily come to the streets of downtown San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood with four performance stages, a parade of costumed dancers, musicians and more.


June 2-3
17th Annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show
San Diego's biggest civilian air show includes re-enactments of WWII and Vietnam War aerial battles with pyrotechnic and aircraft displays, along with live entertainment, a Kidz Zone, food and more.

June 3
Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon
It's a 26.2-mile race and block party all in one! The marathon begins at Balboa Park and finishes at SeaWorld San Diego on Mission Bay. Live music and cheer squads line the route, while a killer post-race party and headliner concert celebrates everyone's victory.

June 3–Sept. 30
The Old Globe Theatre's Summer Shakespeare Festival

Three dynamic Shakespeare productions are performed in nightly rotation in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre of the Tony Award ®-winning Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park.

June 8–July 4
San Diego County Fair

The annual county fair features outlandish foods, garden shows, livestock tents and a midway complete with carnival rides and concerts, held throughout the beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds in oceanfront Del Mar.

June 23-24
Annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts and Food Faire

Held on the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla, the event includes award-winning artists, gourmet cuisine, contemporary music and entertainment.

June 16
7th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition

Dozens of dogs take to the waves at Imperial Beach to compete in small dog, large dog and tandem surfing heats.


San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Season

Summer performances are held under the stars in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay; fireworks occur on some nights.

July 4
Fourth of July Celebrations

Fireworks, festivals and patriotic parades are held in numerous communities throughout San Diego County. The most notable celebration is in Coronado with a two-hour parade, the largest on the U.S. West Coast; art-in-the-park; afternoon concert in Spreckels Park; rough water swim, and spectacular fireworks display.

July 12-15
Comic-Con International

The largest comics and pop culture event in the United States attracts thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, movie memorabilia and all things related to pop culture to the San Diego Convention Center in downtown San Diego.

July 13-15
Festival of the Bells

The festival celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in California.

July 14-15 & 21-22
59th Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament

A San Diego original, this boisterous, fast-paced beach softball event is played at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay.

July 18–Sep. 5
Del Mar Racing

Horses and fans alike meet for live thoroughbred racing five days a week at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in oceanfront Del Mar.

July 21-22
San Diego LGBT Pride Parade, Rally and Festival

One of the city's largest grassroots organizations, San Diego LGBT Pride sponsors a weekend of festivities including a headlining parade through Hillcrest and two-day festival in Balboa Park.

July 31-Aug. 24
SummerFest 2012
The La Jolla Music Society presents classical and new compositions with renowned artists and ensembles from around the world, held at various locations in La Jolla and San Diego.


Aug. 12
Hillcrest Cityfest 2012

Arts, crafts, food and entertainment are featured at this popular annual street festival, held along Fifth Avenue in the eclectic neighborhood of Hillcrest.

Aug. 16-19
Julian Star Fest
Guests can explore the world of astronomy during this four-day festival, the second biggest in California, with exhibition areas, guest speakers, an astronomy equipment swap meet and more, held at Menghini Winery in Julian.

Aug. 18-19
36th Annual World Body Surfing Championships

International and U.S. body surfers compete at the Oceanside Pier and Beach in San Diego's North County.


Annual Julian Fall Apple Harvest
Local residents and guests celebrate autumn with music, art shows, cider and delicious apple pies in the charming mountain town of Julian.

San Diego Chargers Season

The San Diego Chargers "bolt" into action during home games at SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley, while fans gather in the parking lot for tailgate parties before catching the excitement inside the stadium.

Sept. 8-10
23rd Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation presents a traditional celebration featuring Indian song, dance, arts and crafts, games and food.

Sept. 9
La Jolla Rough Water Swim
The largest rough-water swimming competition in the U.S. takes place at picturesque La Jolla Cove in La Jolla.

Sept. 14-16
San Diego Bayfair

This thrilling event features thunderboat racing, tunnel hulls, drag boats, hydroplanes, fireworks and concerts, as well as specialty vendors and food, along and on the waters of Mission Bay.

Sept. 16-21
San Diego Restaurant Week
More than 180 of San Diego's finest restaurants participate in a celebration of the local dining scene with prix fixed menus.

Sept. 22-23
18th Annual Pacific Islander Festival

The cultures, foods, crafts and customs of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia are showcased at Ski Beach on Mission Bay.

Sept. 26-30
San Diego Film Festival

This annual festival offers a fresh take on film premieres, featuring American and international features, thought-provoking documentaries, short films and music videos.

Sept. 30
Cabrillo Festival
The exploration of the U.S. West Coast by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 is commemorated at Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.


Oct. 5-7
Oktoberfest in La Mesa

This traditional German celebration features dancing, food, Bavarian bands, arts and crafts and commercial booths in the San Diego East County city of La Mesa.

Oct. 7-8
Julian Apple Days Festival

This two-day festival at Menghini Winery in Julian features music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children's games, gold panning demonstrations, apple-related contests and more.

Oct. 12-14
MCAS Miramar Air Show
An award-winning, world-class air show features the best military and civilian pilots in the world, including the U.S. Navy's famous Blue Angels.

Oct. 14
18th Annual Little Italy Precious Festa

This colorful Italian celebration features music, fine food and "Gesso Italiano," a traditional Italian street-painting festival, in downtown San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.

Oct. 18-26
13th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival
The largest exhibition of Asian-American and Asian international cinema in North America showcases over 140 premiers from around the world at the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinema in Hazard Center in Mission Valley.

Oct. 26-28
Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival
Weekend activities include arts and crafts, a parade and the Miss Borrego Springs Pageant in the East County desert town of Borrego Springs.


November–December TBA
Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

This annual holiday musical jumps right off the pages of the classic Dr. Seuss book and onto the stage of The Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park.

Nov. 2–12
San Diego Beer Week
Hundreds of beer-centric events take place throughout the county during this 10-day festival that highlights San Diego's award-winning craft beer, breweries and pubs.

Nov. 14-18
9th San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Wine and food enthusiasts gather for this five-day event, the region's largest wine and culinary extravaganza, held at several venues throughout downtown San Diego.

Nov. 18
Annual Mother Goose Parade

San Diego East County's annual holiday kick-off celebration features celebrity appearances, whimsical floats, clowns, bands, equestrians and more.

Nov. 21-25
San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival

A jazz celebration that lasts throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, the festival features world-class bands at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

Nov. 22–Jan. 1
Holiday of Lights at Del Mar
The public is invited to drive their cars around the infield racetrack of the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar to view more than 350 dazzling holiday light displays.


Whale Watching

The majestic California gray whales make their annual migration from the Arctic waters to the warm lagoons in the Gulf of California for breeding. These "peaceful giants of the sea" come within miles of San Diego's coastline and can be viewed on daily whale watching excursions and from Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.

Dec. 2
La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival
Marching bands, floats, equestrians, vintage automobiles and more parade down the streets of La Jolla. The parade ends with a holiday festival featuring craft booths, carnival rides, food, entertainment and a tree lighting ceremony.

Dec. 7-8
Balboa Park December Nights
This celebration of the holiday season is the largest free community festival in San Diego, featuring foods and crafts from around the world, music and events at Balboa Park's diverse museums.

Dec. 9 & 16
41st Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
This colorfully unique San Diego holiday tradition features more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights, sailing along the waters of San Diego Bay.

Dec. 20
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego's annual pre-Christmas bowl game is played at SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley and matches teams from the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences. The nationally recognized event features all the pomp and circumstance of a major college post-season football game.

Dec. 27
Big Bay Balloon Parade and Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

A harbor side parade in downtown San Diego is followed by a major college bowl game at SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley featuring teams from the Pac-10 and Big 12 Conferences. The exciting gridiron action is augmented by spectacular pregame and halftime pageantry.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau's Web site,, or call (619) 236-1212.

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