Seasonal Happenings

San Diego County Fair Tips

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Make the most of your trip to the San Diego County Fair with our tips and tricks.


Read For Free Admission

Kids 12 and younger can read 10 books and get into the San Diego Fair FREE any day you decide to go! Make sure to print the certificate and have it signed by a librarian or teacher before you go. 

Kids' Day June 27

Kids 12 and younger are free on Tuesday June 27 

Military Free Day

Military get in free on opening day Friday June 2. Pick up two complimentary tickets per ID card at base ticket offices. 

Best Pass Ever

Purchase a season pass - 26 days for just $26. 

$5 Fair Days 

Enjoy a full day at the fair for just $5 on select days only available at Albertons and Vons. 

Costco Ticket Packs 

Be sure to check your local Costco for discounted family food and tickets packs. 


Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Chicken Sandwich

Ice cream lovers will love this newest upgrade to Chicken Charlie's famous Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich. The fair favorite is back and better than ever with the addition of a generous portion of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a crispy chicken breast and two glazed doughnuts fried to perfection. Oh and if that wasn't enough, sprinkle on some Fruity Pebbles cereal and a dollop of maple syrup and viola! The perfect fair indulgence. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Legs

Vegetarians be warned, Chicken Charlie's is at it again with a new twist on the original chicken legs, now wrapped in a blanket of bacon and fried of course. 

Deep Fried Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

If trying new foods is your thing, you won't want to miss what's cooking at Pignotti's Pasta where two of your favorite foods, buffalo chicken and ravioli join together to make their newest creation. Semi-spicy ravioli is covered in a buffalo hot sauce flavored breading and tossed in the fryer. Choose from a variety of dipping sauces or enjoy as is. 

The annual Farm to Table Dinner offers an unforgettable dining experience featuring locally sourced food paired with award-winning beer and wine. 

TIPS from San Diego Family readers:

Get in Free!

  • Encourage your child to enter a contest for kids like recycled art or best cake and your child gets in free!

Snacks & Drinks

  • Keep snacks handy in your purse or backpack, including little juice boxes. Snacks keep kids happy and distracted while waiting in long lines. 
  • We freeze water bottles the night before and carry one of those grocery freezer shopping totes. It helps keep water cool most of the day, saving you money at the fair.
  • Bring a small cooler bag with fresh treats (sliced apples, string cheese, nuts). Indulge in one major "fair food" treat.

Forget Something?

  • Albertsons and Vons has a General Market inside the fair, located on the concourse at the east end of the grandstand. The market has sunscreen, pain relievers, diapers, stomach relief aids as well as fresh cut fruit, sandwiches, wraps, energy drinks, juices and more.

Getting There & Parking

  • Take the shuttle from a distant parking lot. Kids love to ride the double decker bus!
  • Take the train (Amtrak) and enjoy a relaxing ride before heading to the fair. It drops you off close enough and it helps the environment. So much fun for the entire family.  
  • We park in the dirt parking lot across from the main lot on the other side of Jimmy Durante Blvd. We avoid the traffic and it's only a short walk across the Blvd.


  • I always take a picture with my cell phone so if my kids get lost, I can show what they are wearing. I also write my phone number on them. 
  • Everyone in the family wears the same colored shirt to keep track of each other.
  • Make sure everyone knows where the Red Cross Lost & Found is or assign a designated meeting place.

On Having Fun

  • Give everyone - even the little kids - a disposable camera to take random pictures of the fair through their perspective. Have them write out the highlights of their day with a few of their favorite photos.
  • Visit the collections exhibit. It's not only interesting and educational, but it also gives the kids ideas of fun collections they can start!
  • Go when the fair opens, even on the weekends and it's not so crowded.
  • Don't forget the video camera!
  • As we walk through the art exhibits, whoever can find the first prize winner with their same name wins a prize that is wrapped and waiting at home.

Plan Ahead

  • Find out online what time the shows are. Plan ahead…get there early and have fun. 
  • Purchase tickets ahead of time, the lines can be long for excited kids!
  • Didn't pack enough water bottles? Ran out of diapers? Albertons and Vons are happy to offer a convenient market inside the fair for all your forgotten essentials. You'll find sunscreen, pain relievers, a variety of fresh fruit, wraps, energy drinks and much more.

Family Fun Contests

Contests take place every day in the Infield! Three O’ Clock Fun features old-fashioned games such as sack races, hula hoop contests and Red Light/Green Light, as well as relays. If pie eating isn't your thing, check out a variety of unusual contests like the baby derby, zucchini race or family look alike contest.     

Concerts and Entertainment 

Check the concert and event lineup for more info about concerts, festivals and other entertainment. 

Getting There

Take the Coaster, Sprinter or Breeze bus to the Fair! The Fair Tripper is an easy and inexpensive means to get to and from the Fair. The Fair Tripper tickets include Fair admission and round-trip on the COASTER and SPRINTER trains and the BREEZE bus system.

Did you know…

Girl Scout Day is Wednesday June 14

The San Diego County Fair is celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts in San Diego. Visit the link for more info. 

Every Sunday is Día de la Familia (Day of the Family). Every Sunday, enjoy special performances and activities highlighting Mexican culture. Mexican artisans, games, contests and other activities and attractions fill Fiesta Village in Family Funville.

Updated: May 2017