San Diego in California is a vibrant city that hosts several exciting festivals and events throughout the year. These events depict the cultural and traditional country’s rich history to its visitors, providing them with the opportunity to participate in the local way of life.
From the colorful Brazil Carnival celebration, iconic La Jolla automobiles display, and thriving arts community to the electrifying San Diego Bayfest music festival, there’s always something for everyone in San Diego that keeps its celebrations non-stop.
Keeping it all, in this article, we’ll explore the 10 best festivals and events in San Diego, California, and why they’re worth experiencing.
List of Best Events in San Diego and San Diego Festivals 2023
From without walls theatre art workshops to Pride Festival, there’s always something happening in this lively city. So, without wasting time, check out our listed San Diego events and festivals.
1. San Diego Brazil Carnival
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South (Approximately 2 miles from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Usually held in February/March
Why Visit: The Brazil Carnival celebrated in San Diego is an energizing and the most exciting celebration that brings the vibrant spirit of Brazil to the heart of California.
The festival pulsates with infectious energy, as samba dancers adorned in extravagant costumes take to the streets, accompanied by lively rhythms and the joyful atmosphere of carnival.
This event brings the vibrant spirit of Brazil to the West Coast, offering visitors a taste of the world-famous Rio Carnival.
What To Expect: This vibrant event captures the essence of Rio de Janeiro’s famous carnival, right in the heart of San Diego.
Visitors can expect an explosion of colors, and authentic Brazilian cuisine, sip on refreshing caipirinhas, watch captivating performances, and have the opportunity to join in the festivities through dance night away to the infectious beats of samba and bossa nova and music workshops.
The air is filled with infectious energy as locals and visitors join together in a colorful spectacle of feathers, sequins, and joy.
2. Coronado Flower Show
Location: Spreckels Park Coronado (a short ferry ride from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held in April
Why Visit: For nature lovers and gardening enthusiasts, the Coronado Flower Show is a flower feast that showcases the region’s remarkable flora.
Held in the picturesque Spreckels Park, this event showcases stunning floral displays, breathtaking arrangements, and unique plant varieties.
This two-day event is the largest tented flower show in the United States and features breathtaking displays of colorful blooms, exquisite arrangements, and imaginative landscapes.
What To Expect: Whether you’re a floral lover or simply an admirer of nature’s beauty, the Coronado Flower Show promises a delightful experience.
It offers educational exhibits, horticultural demonstrations, and a marketplace where you can purchase plants and unique gardening accessories.
From rare orchids to majestic roses, attendees can admire the beauty and diversity of nature. The park is transformed into a floral paradise, with meticulously designed exhibits featuring a wide variety of blooms.
3. San Diego County Fair
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds (approximately 20 miles from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held in June and July
Why Visit: The San Diego County Fair is a beloved summer tradition that draws crowds with its exciting attractions, thrilling rides, live entertainment, and mouthwatering culinary delights.
Held at the sprawling Del Mar Fairgrounds, this fair offers a perfect blend of classic American carnival, entertainment, culinary delights, and thrilling rides while adding a unique San Diego twist.
From indulging in deep-fried treats to experiencing heart-pounding attractions, this fair promises a fun-filled adventure for all ages.
What To Expect: The fairgrounds come alive with a lively atmosphere, featuring live concerts, interactive exhibits, and captivating performances.
Visitors can indulge in a gastronomic journey through the fair’s diverse culinary offerings, classic fair foods, and cotton candy, or explore the diverse culinary offerings at the international food pavilion.
So, google the impressive agricultural exhibits, enjoy live music performances, and immerse yourself in the festive ambiance.
4. San Diego Bayfest
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park North (located 2 miles from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held in June and July
Why Visit: San Diego Bayfest offers its visitors a unique blend of music, entertainment, and family-friendly activities that makes it one of the most famous festivals in San Diego.
This festival exhibits the breathtaking waterfront setting, where attendees can soak up the picturesque views of San Diego Bay while enjoying live music performances from varied local and renounced artists.
What To Expect: From displaying the city’s maritime history to displaying live performances by popular brands visitors can get a truly memorable experience visiting the place’s lively atmosphere.
The festival also hosts renowned concerts in San Diego, both local and international, catering to various genres and tastes. Along with that people can also enjoy interactive activities by participating in art and dance activities.
5. Without Walls (WOW) Festival
Location: La Jolla Playhouse (located approximately 15 miles from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held and celebrated in October
Why Visit: The WOW (Without Walls) Festival is a must-visit for the art fest. For art enthusiasts, especially for those who are seeking immersive and unique experiences.
As a boundary-pushing performing arts festival, WOW brings together international and local talents, showcasing interactive and innovative performances in a completely non-traditional space.
From thought-provoking theater productions to mesmerizing dance performances and captivating installations, the festival challenges traditional notions of art and engages the audience on a profound level.
What To Expect: The without walls is a festival that takes its visitors to the realm of the theater world where you can explore next-level creativity and storytelling, through the act of artists.
From interactive installations to immersive performances, the WOW Festival encourages attendees to become active participants in the artistic process, fostering a deep connection between performers and audiences.
6. San Diego Pride
Location: At Hillcrest neighborhood (located 3 miles north of downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held in July, month long celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and diversity.
Why Visit: San Diego Pride is not only a festival but also a platform for education, advocacy, and empowerment. Welcoming and empowering all sexes around the world.
The festival features vibrant parades, live music, dance performances, and educational programs that promote acceptance and equality.
It’s a joyful and empowering event where visitors can join hands with the LGBTQ+ community and stand in solidarity.
What To Expect: If you are visiting this place for the first time you can expect an explosion of colors, and costumes, as the Pride Parade winds through the streets of Hillcrest, spreading love and acceptance.
The Pride Fest. is one of the best festivals in San Diego where visitors can expect a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, filled with parades, live performances, cultural exhibits, and educational workshops.
7. San Diego Greek Festival
Location: Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church (located in North Park, just a short distance from downtown San Diego)
When Celebrated: Held in June
Why Visit: As the name explains itself “Greek Festival” is a festival that offers its visitor the taste and environment of Greece, where you can have the traditional taste of delicious Greek cuisine, live music, and dance fun.
You can experience the warmth and friendliness of the Greek community as they showcase their rich heritage, inviting visitors to indulge in mouthwatering delicacies and participate in cultural activities.
What To Expect: When you visit San Diego’s Greek Festival you get a chance to stroll through the marketplace offering Greek products and crafts and learn about the customs and traditions of Greece.
So, don’t miss this delightful opportunity to experience the Mediterranean charm where you can immerse yourself in a lively celebration of Greek culture.
8. Scoop San Diego Ice Cream Festival
Location: North Park, San Diego (approximately 5 miles from downtown)
When Celebrated: July and August
Why Visit: The Scoop San Diego Ice Cream Festival is a delightful summer event that brings together ice cream enthusiasts from near and far.
It showcases the finest local ice cream vendors, offering a variety of unique flavors and frozen treats.
This festival is a haven for both young and old, offering a wide range of unique flavors and innovative ice cream creations.
What To Expect: The festival features tastings, competitions, and even educational workshops on the art of making ice cream.
Renowned ice cream brands and Local creameries can showcase their best creations, allowing attendees to sample a diverse range of flavors and textures.
Visitors can expect a lively atmosphere filled with music, entertainment, and, of course, plenty of ice cream.
9. CRSSD Festival Concert San Diego
Location: Waterfront Park, San Diego (in the heart of downtown)
When Celebrated: March and October
Why Visit: The CRSSD Festival Concert is a must-see occasion for San Diego music fans.
This two-day festival creates an unforgettable experience for its visitors featuring renowned DJs and electronic music artists along with a stunning waterfront backdrop.
The festival’s diverse music genres, such as techno, house, and indie electronic, draw a mixed crowd with a love of modern sounds and energized performances.
What To Expect: Visitors can expect a thrilling musical trip with stunning live sets and anticipating performances from both renounced and new talent at the CRSSD Festival Concert.
So, get ready and prepare to be immersed in the buzzing beats and energizing vibes of the CRSSD Festival Concert.
10. San Diego International Film Festival
Location: Celebrated in various venues in downtown San Diego
When Celebrated: October
Why Visit: If you binge watching movies and are a film lover, then it’s a sign for you to visit San Diego International Film Festival.
This prestigious event attracts renowned filmmakers, industry professionals, and avid film enthusiasts alike.
It’s a chance to meet new talent, participate in thought-provoking debates, and learn about all aspects of film and the movie world.
What To Expect: From thought-provoking dramas to heartwarming comedies, the festival presents a curated selection of films that entertain, inspire, and provoke meaningful conversations.
Visitors can expect red-carpet premieres, exclusive screenings, and captivating Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors.
The festival also hosts industry panels and workshops, providing insights into the art and business of filmmaking.
San Diego, California is home to a diverse range of festivals and events that cater to different interests and cultures. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, there is something for everyone to enjoy. When visiting San Diego, California for any of these events, renting a property is an excellent option to experience the festival like a local.
Sunsets PM, a property management company, can help visitors rent properties that offer comfort and convenience during their stay. By renting a property with the help of Sunsets PM, visitors can enjoy the festival and the city’s attractions without any worries.
If you want to get a bite of the most delectable scrumptious food you would ever taste, then you can check out the best restaurants in Little Italy. The city is known for its food and beverages and is just a few hours’ drive away from San Diego.