Del Mar Things to Do Tips by lmkluque Top 5 Page for this destination
Del Mar Things to Do: 25 reviews and 28 photos
It was 1880 when San Diego had its first agricultural fair at Kimbal Park in National City, and since that time many things, unique, funny and not so funny, have occured to give added color to this event.
October 1936 the permanent location for the San Diego County Fair opened it's doors in Del Mar. Today the San Diego County Fairgrounds at Del Mar shares the space with the very popular and successful Del Mar Thoroughbred Club which begins it's season just after the Fair ends.
Originally, County Fairs offered farmers and ranchers the opportunity of showing off their best results throughout the year's work. The 4-H club for young people played a part in county fairs, children who won prizes on their animal or agricultural project were featured and the county fair was a big social event for citizens of the area. Today, however, the county fair offers all this and more. Food, carnival rides, the newest models of everything one can think of as well as local handicrafts, agricultural and farm animal successes.
The SD County Fair takes place in the summer and it would be a great place to take the kids if you happen to be in town. If you visit at other times of the year and still would like to see the fair grounds/racetrack, check the newspaper for any odd event offered at this location, such as Orchid shows, which are held here often.
Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard
Phone: (858) 755-1161
Seagrove Park is at the foot of Fifteenth Street just a block west of the main village area. It is at the top of a cliff along the beach. This morning the marine layer--thick heavy clouds--obscure the summer sun for the moment, by noon the sun will have burned off the clouds and it will be brilliantly warm.
It is a simple park with trees (Torrey Pines) for shade, benches to sit on and a picnic table, however a blanket on the grass is a perfect spot to enjoy the view, the sea air and a quiet moment.
A picnic, an hour's rest or a full family gathering can be quite pleasant here overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This park is adjacent to the Powerhouse Community Center Park which gradually slope's down to the sandy beach.
Address: Fifteenth Street and Coast Boulevard
Phone: (858) 755-1524
Del Mar is a resort city which means that people with money tend to flock here. However, there are plenty of simple pleasures that cost nothing or very little and The San Diego County Library in Del Mar is one such place. Lectures are sometimes offered and they have a children's story hour Wednesday mornings.
If architecture is your thing, the Craftman-style building that now houses the library has won an Orchid Award for Historic Preservation from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.
History buffs or "star gazers" might like to know that it was originally built as Saint James Catholic Church where Jimmy Durante and Desi Arnaz attended and where Bing Crosby and Pat O’Brien served as ushers.
Address: 1309 Camino Del Mar
Phone: (858) 755-1666
Horse racing is the historical and time-honored sport of Kings, Queens, Presidents and even Dictators. While in San Diego, why not spend a day at one of the best race tracks in the country, Del Mar Racetrack?
The famous crooner, Bing Crosby, actor Pat O'Brien and the very funny, Jimmy Durante found the perfect plot of land near the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar for their racetrack. The next year, 1938, Seabiscuit--did you see the movie?--won by a nose, against a horse called Ligaroti. In the 1950's, Bill Shoemaker won record-numbers of races--one time it was 94 races he won in 41 days--and this track holds some of the most prestigious stakes events in California racing.
The track was closed during WWII, however, by 1989 Del Mar became the leading track in the country. In recent years it has gone through a restoration that has accentuated the beautiful Spanish style architecture of the buildings and added glorious landscaping.
In short, Del Mar Racetrack is one of the best in the United States and it is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. It has two tracks and the season usually runs from July--just after the Del Mar Fair--until September. Opening day of the season has the added enchantment of race goers wearing competitively fantastic hats.
Betting on the horses is not a requirement, but it's fun to put a bit on and take your chances.
Admission only: Stretch Run $6.00, Clubhouse $10.00 without a seat and goes up from there and there is a fee for parking in the lot, they offer valet service, which costs a bit more. Make sure you pay the extra charge for a seat unless you want to spend the whole time standing.
Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard
Phone: (858) 755-1141
Before Del Mar Plaza, before the Race Track, before the Resort Hotels even before the tent city there was the beach.
This stretch of coastline is a combination of flat sandy beach and craggy bluffs which adds to the charm. Activities at Del Mar beach include surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, sun bathing, picnicing and at certain times of the year you can bring your dog for a run in the water.
The city of Del Mar has more restrictions at their beach than other cities and parking is not free in all areas and often not easy to find.
Lifeguards are on-duty especially during the summer and weekends.
Address: 1700 Coast Boulevard
Reflecting Pool at Del Mar Plaza
This is a relatively new addition to the City of Del Mar and to my way of thinking, it is more than a shopping mall.
Wandering around the Del Mar Plaza, which was designed with "hill-town markets" of Europe in mind, you'll find many little surprises, including imp statues, placed in the most unusual spots.
There are three shopping levels accessed by cobblestone stairs, an ocean view that is inspiring, excellent restaurants and many interesting shops offering unique items.
The main objective of my visits here is lunch on the terrace level. There are a couple of fine restaurants to choose from and Il Fornaio is my favorite.
If you are on a budget, window shopping is free and it is okay to just enjoy the view of the Pacific from the terrace.
Address: 1555 Camino Del Mar
Directions: Convenient parking available below the Plaza.
Phone: (858) 259-4756
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