Food Fairs & Film Fests: 15 Things to Do in San Diego This September

things to do in san diego this september

Just because Labor Day is around the corner doesn’t mean there’s any less to look forward to — fall in San Diego brings a whole host of new activities to the table! From Julian Apple Days to “Taste of Downtown” and multiple film festivals and outdoor street fairs, you’ll want to check out all 15 of these things to do in San Diego this September. And as always please be sure to check *ticket availability prior to attending any event.

Julian Grape Stomp Festa

September 5.
Celebrate the harvest of the grapes with a real, old-world style grape stomp and fiesta at the Menghini Winery. This grape stomp out-does all others by providing two barrels for stomping – one for adults and one for children. Tons of grapes are blessed then poured into the barrels. The atmosphere is created with Italian music by Roman Holiday, dancing, Bocce Ball competitions, stomping, wine tasting, a Jumbo Jump for the kids and a variety of food and crafts for sale will keep you busy. 1150 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian 92036.

Festival of Sail

September 5 – 7.
Festival of Sail is the largest Tall Ship festival on the west coast and is hosted at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, transforming the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park for 4 adventure-filled days. During the festival, enjoy the visiting ships and crew, kids petting zoo, kids craft activities, face painting, Tall ship cannon battles, a special 30 minute Festival of Sail bay cruise, beer garden, on stage entertainment, Naval reenactors, photo ops with Captain Sunny and Pirates, and a multitude of food options. 1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego 92101.

things to do in san diego

La Costa Film Festival

September 10-13
The third annual La Costa Film Festival will feature more than 45 films, galas, red carpet events, free panels, and exclusive world premieres at the beautiful Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad and Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas. From extreme sports films to documentaries and even shorts, this film festival has it all – and don’t miss the Sip & Savor Gala on Thursday  to officially kick off the weekend! 2100 Costa Del Mar Rd, Carlsbad 92009.

Taste of Downtown

September 10.
Enjoy tastes from more than 50 Restaurants located throughout the Gaslamp Quarter, Headquarters, Financial District and East Village neighborhoods! From 5pm-9pm, stroll through downtown and sample delicious cuisine from places like Blush Ice Bar, The Blind Burro, La Puerta, Parq Restaurant, Tin Roof, Rustic Root, Bottega Americano, Eddie V’s, and tons more. Tickets are $30 and there will be a complimentary shuttle service running throughout the event.

SEE ALSO: Summer Bucket List: High Tide Dinner at The Marine Room

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

September 11-13
The Horrible Imaginings Film Festival returns to San Diego for the sixth time this September, this time in a new venue – the Museum of Photographic Arts. The festival will once again showcase art and film that explores the darker or more macabre sides of the human condition. The festival will celebrate horror and its various sub-genres by showcasing new and independent artists, as well as reviving classic horror films. If you love horror, these are films you won’t want to miss. 1649 El Prado, San Diego 92103.

things to do in san diego this september

La Jolla Rough Water Swim

September 13
A La Jolla summertime tradition since 1916, the annual Rough Water Swim has become a beloved aquatic event in San Diego. The swim consists of three course variations: the Junior, the Masters/Amateur, and the Gatorman, the most technical and challenging of the three options. All courses begin and end at the La Jolla Cove. 1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla 92037.

21st Annual San Diego Festival of Beer

September 18.
The indoor/outdoor event will feature live music and nearly 60 different breweries serving up 120 varieties of tasty brews. Each ticket includes admission into the event, unlimited (2 oz) beer tastes and the first 1,500 guests receive a free souvenir event logo tasting mug that is theirs to use throughout the evening and to keep when they go home. The San Diego Festival of Beer is the largest fundraiser of San Diego Professionals Against Cancer. 1000 North Harbor Drive, San Diego.things to do in san diego this september

San Diego Bayfair

September 18 – 20.
Bayfair is San Diego’s largest annual family festival and sports competition and features some of the most high-powered racing boats in the country, though it’s also well known for its family festival atmosphere, interactive exhibits, vendors and specialty foods, nightly live entertainment and Saturday night fireworks extravaganza. Bayfair attracts more powerboat racing classes than any other site in the world (think H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix West Supercharged Hydroplanes) and is known as the hallmark event in the nation. 1404 Vacation Rd, San Diego 92109.

Encinitas Oktoberfest

September 20
The 20th Annual Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest will be held from 10am to 6pm. The event entertainment feature The Bluebirds, a German-American Band, Bavarian dancers and a street craft faire featuring over 200 vendors including artisans with unusual arts and craft items. The family food and refreshment tent will be serving authentic German food and beers from national & local breweries, and there will be a family fun zone with children’s games, family oriented activities and more. Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real, Encinitas 92024.

things to do in san diego this september

San Diego Restaurant Week

September 20 – 27.
For one week only, indulge on dishes, compiled of local products and ingredients, at more than 180 participating restaurants. Dinner will be served as a three-course, prix-fixe menu for just $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and lunch will be served as a two-course prix-fixe menu for only $10, $15 or $20 per person. Join over 150,000 fellow diners to celebrate San Diego’s thriving culinary scene and homegrown, local businesses. Reservations are highly recommended! See SDRW’s website for a complete list of participating restaurants.

SEE ALSO: Woholle Juice Box To Open At La Jolla Shores

Oceanside Harbor Days

September 26 & 27
The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce presents Oceanside Harbor Days at the Oceanside Harbor! The event will feature arts and craft exhibits, great food and fun activities for the entire family. Two event-filled days of sun, sand, and surf provide an outstanding opportunity for residents and neighbors to experience fun activities including the new Sandcastle competition, Entertainment Stage, Arts, Crafts and Food booth areas, Nail ‘n’ Sail Competition, Military, Public Safety displays, and more. The festival is free to the public.

Adams Avenue Street Fair

September 26 & 27
Come out to Normal Heights for Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival! The event will feature 110 musical acts on 8 different stages, four beer gardens and beer tastings, giant carnival rides, exotic foods and more than 350 arts and crafts booths. Beer connoisseurs will enjoy the Street Fair’s Craft Beer Taste, (from noon to 4:00 PM Saturday only), across from the Starbucks Stage. Four additional beer gardens are open throughout the two-day run of the street fair featuring full pour servings of San Diego’s best craft beer selection.

things to do in san diego this september

Julian Apple Days

September 26 & 27
As part of Julian’s Apple Days Celebration, a two-day Apple Days Festival will be held September 26 & 27, 2015 at Menghini Winery featuring apple displays, music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children’s games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, food and merchandise vendors, contests, and, of course, apple pie! There will also be a variety of other events throughout the town and surrounding areas this weekend. 1150 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian 92036.

San Diego Blues Festival

September 26 & 27
The annual San Diego Blues Festival will feature members of the Blues Hall of Fame, Grammy Award winners and many other blues acts including James Cotton, Booker T Jones, Marcia Ball, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials. The lineup covers a wide spectrum of blues music. All proceeds benefit the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank to fight hunger in San Diego County. Embarcadero Marina Park North; 400 Kettner Blvd., 92101.

San Diego Film Festival

Sept 30 – Oct 4
Bask in the light of the glitz and glamour, the parties and the premieres, the artists and aficionados, and celebrities that travel from LA, New York, London or Sydney to be a part of San Diego’s five-day festival extravaganza! The San Diego Film Festival brings a new wave of international culture to San Diego- experience studio premieres, award-winning indies, interviews with directors and actors, and the opportunity to meet other film lovers!

*Please double check venue websites for ticket information before heading out to any ticketed event – some of these events do sell out quickly and tickets may not be available on-site.


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Emily Ruchlewicz

Emily Ruchlewicz

News & Feature Writer at
Emily Ruchlewicz is a News and Feature writer at Blue Book Publishers and has written more than 100 La Jolla-related articles. Follow her blogs to stay informed about new businesses, read exclusive interviews with local business owners, and keep up with community events. (

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