50+ Top San Diego Events in September

San Diego Festival of Sail

Don’t miss these 50+ top San Diego events this month.

Edited by Lisa Kelley

September is that unique month that transitions from the delights of summer to all the fun things to do in fall. While San Diego’s (almost) always sunny and 75, it still knows how to welcome in the fall season with plenty of food festivals, stunning theater performances, concerts and celebrations of the city’s diverse cultures.
Tchaikovsky Spectacular
Sept. 2-4. The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights wraps its summer series with its annual Labor Day performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, set to a fireworks finale. Embarcadero Marina Park South, 200 Marina Park Way, San Diego Marina. sandiegosymphony.org

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo
Sept. 2-5. Master sculptors from all over the world compete to create gorgeous and intricate sand sculptures. The weekend-long event will feature 11 master sculptures, dimensional art exposition (with works made of metal, wood, glass, fabrics, etc.), family fun zone, live entertainment, gourmet food trucks and a wine and beer garden. B Street Pier, 1140 North Harbor Dr., San Diego Embarcadero. ussandsculpting.com

US Sand Sculpting Challenge

Sweet Charity
Sept. 2-Nov. 20. In this new musical by Cy Coleman, Charity wants something so badly that she tries too hard to get it. She wants to be loved so much that she has lost sight of who she is. Charity sings, dances, laughs and cries her way through romances with the “animal magnetism” hero, the “ultra-chic continental” hero and the “impossible-to believe-but-he’s-better-than-nothing” hero. 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr., Escondido, 888.802.7469. welkresorts.com

San Diego Bacon Festival
Sept. 3. In honor of international bacon day, San Diegan’s will flock to Liberty Station to celebrate this porky holiday. Tickets include unlimited food and beverage samples from more than 50 local eateries, breweries, distilleries and more. $60/pp. 2-5:30 p.m. Treble Field at NTC Park, Liberty Station. sdbaconfest.com

San Diego Festival of Sail
Sept. 3-5. The Maritime Museum hosts the launch of Cabrillo’s San Salvador Pacific Heritage Tour as part of the Labor Day celebration during San Diego’s Festival of Sail. The vessel will continue on a two-month maiden voyage with three additional port stops along the West Coast. Guests of the largest tall ship festival on the West Coast will enjoy touring ships and exhibits, demonstrations, kids zone and beer garden. 1492 North Harbor Dr., San Diego Marina, 619.234.9153. sdmaritime.org

Polo on the Beach
Sept. 3-4. Equestrian athletes compete on the beach for two days of beach polo at Hotel del Coronado. The event features two polo games, a meet-and-greet with the players, dining options from Hotel del, fashion show, polo lessons and more. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 760.668.6093. poloamerica.com

Ballast Point 20th Anniversary Fest
Sept. 4. One of San Diego’s flagship breweries celebrates 20 years of making noteworthy brews. Their anniversary party at the Del Mar Racetrack will feature ten 4 oz. tasters, a specialty tasting glass, racetrack admission and live entertainment from The Roots, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds and The Creepy Creeps. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. ballastpoint.com

Tiger Style
Sept. 6-Oct. 2. As they struggle with adulthood, siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen go on a journey from California to China in this cheeky new comedy. Potiker Theatre at the La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla, 858.550.1010. lajollaplayhouse.org

The Cocktail Hour
Sept. 7-Oct. 2. Mix two upper-class New Englanders, their over-privileged adult children and endless cocktails for an intoxicating evening of comedy. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach, 858.481.1055. northcoastrep.org

Disney’s The Lion King
Sept. 7-Oct. 2. The popular musical spectacular features stunning visuals, dazzling choreography and hit Broadway music, crafted by Elton John and Tim Rice. Broadway/San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown, 619.570.1100. sandiegotheatres.org

Disney’s The Lion King at Broadway/San Diego Civic Theatre

Taste of Del Mar
Sept. 8. Enjoy tastes from more than 20 top eateries in the Del Mar Village as well as “sip stops” of local beer, wine, cider, mead and distilled spirits. The event also features live music by local bands throughout the event. Various locations, Del Mar. visitdelmarvillage.com

October Sky
Sept. 10-Oct. 23. Based on the beloved film, this uplifting musical portrait of small-town Americana is packed with youthful exuberance and a sweeping, unforgettable new score. Shirley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623. theoldglobe.org

San Diego Blues Festival
Sept. 10. The San Diego Embarcadero Marina Park North is the backdrop for the fourth annual San Diego Blues Festival. The live music event features performances from Grammy Award-winners Los Lobos, as well as artists like Bobby Rush, Nikki Hill, Watermelon Slim and more. Noon-8 p.m. $25/pp. 400 Kettner Blvd., San Diego Embarcadero. sdbluesfest.com

Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade
Sept. 10. The U.S. military puts on a memorable event with appearances and demonstrations from cruisers, amphibious ships, destroyers, frigates, submarines, landing craft, a fly-over of contemporary Navy and World War II aircraft and more. The action can be watched along the San Diego Bay waterfront. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. fleetweeksandiego.org

$5 Food Festival
Sept. 10. Stock up on five-dollar bills for this food festival where every dish is $5. The event also features face painting for the kids, special guest DJ Nykko and live music performance from Rock Lobster. Waterfront Park, Pacific Hwy., San Diego Marina. fivedollarfoodfest.com

Santee Bluegrass Festival
Sept. 10. Head east on Hwy 8 to experience Santee’s famous bluegrass festival. The event features live music by The Homesick Hitchers and MohaviSoul, food sampling, beer and wine tasting, a silent auction and more. 5:30-9:30 p.m. $50/pp. 550 Park Center Dr., Santee. cityofsanteeca.gov

Burgers & Beer Festival
Sept. 10. Eat your weight in burgers at the inaugural festival where everyone can vote for San Diego’s best burger. Tickets include unlimited food samples from more than 30 top restaurants including Waypoint Public, Slater’s 50/50, Jake’s Del Mar, Backyard Kitchen + Tap and more, plus three drink tickets. $55/pp. Golden Hill Park, 2590 Golden Hill Dr., Golden Hill. sandiegoreaderevents.com

Carlsbad Brewfest
Sept. 10. North County is a beer lover’s home for hops during the Carlsbad Brew Fest. Attendees receive a tasting cup and unlimited samples from over 68 top brews. 12-4:30 p.m. $50/pp. Holiday Park, 3400 Pio Pico Dr., Carlsbad. carlsbadbrewfest.org

Cardiff Greek Festival
Sept. 10-11. Sample authentic Greek food and heavenly pastries while watching award-winning Greek folk dance performances at the Cardiff Greek Festival. The festivities will also include cooking demonstrations, musical performances, dancing and more. 3459 Manchester Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea, 760.942.0920. cardiffgreekfestival.com

Brazilian Day Festival
Sept. 10. As the largest Brazilian festival on the West Coast, San Diego’s highly anticipated event takes over Mission Beach’s Belmont Park. The free event includes cultural dances, brilliant costumes, live music, sports, food and more. 3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach. braziliandaysandiego.com

Dierks Bentley
Sept. 11. Country superstar takes the stage at San Diego’s outdoor music venue, Sleep Train Amphitheatre. Bentley is joined by artists Randy Houser, Cam and Tucker Boatyard. 2050 Entertainment Cir., Chula Vista, dierks.com

The Addams Family
Sept. 14-Oct. 1. They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. Yes, they’re the Addams Family coming to life in a new macabre musical comedy. Join Gomez and Morticia Addams for a morbid family gathering when daughter Wednesday brings home her “normal” boyfriend and his uptight parents. Moonlight Amphitheatre, 1200 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista, 760.724.2110. moonlightstage.com

The Heart of PB Restaurant Walk
Sept. 14. Stroll down Dawes and Lamont Streets in Pacific Beach while sampling food from local restaurants. Participating restaurants include Mr. Frostie, The Patio on Lamont, Cerveza Jack’s, The Fish Shop, Costa Brava and more. $25/pp. 4-9 p.m. Various locations. heartwalk16.bpt.me

Heart of Pacific Beach Restaurant Walk

Taste of Downtown
Sept. 15. Enjoy tantalizing tastes from more than 40 restaurants throughout the Gaslamp Quarter, Headquarters, Core District and East Village neighborhoods at the annual Taste of Downtown. A complimentary shuttle service runs between locations. $30/pp. 5-9 p.m. Various locations. downtownsandiego.org

Manifest Destinis
Sept. 15-Oct. 9. A modern adaptation of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid, this world-premiere comedy mixes political satire, romantic triangles, double entendres and mistaken identities. San Diego Rep, Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown, 619.544.1000. sdrep.org

Sept. 16-18. The three-day “experiential” festival features live music, comedy, food, wine and art. Catch headliners Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, Jack Johnson and Fallout Boy, plus more than 100 acts on seven stages. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. kaaboodelmar.com

San Diego Bayfair
Sept. 16-18. Crowds flock to Ski Beach to catch the world series of power boat racing, which features an intense water competition and the fastest powerboats in the world. Crown Point to Fiesta Island, Mission Bay, 858.578.7454. sandiegobayfair.org

Carrie Underwood
Sept. 16. Country music superstar and former American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood brings her Storyteller Tour to San Diego. Opening acts include Eastin Corbin and The Swon Brothers. 7 p.m. Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District, 619.224.4171. carrieunderwoodofficial.com

San Diego Gourmet Pizza Fest
Sept. 17. The quest for the county’s best gourmet pizza can give rise to heated debate, so the San Diego Gourmet Pizza Fest has decided to solve the mystery once and for all and the attendees get to vote. Enjoy pizza samples, craft beer, music, dancing and more. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $35/pp. NTC Liberty Station Ingram Plaza, 2640 Historic Decatur Rd., Liberty Station. sandiegopizzafest.com

Luke Bryan: Kill the Lights Tour
Sept. 17. As part of Sleep Train Amphitheatre’s summer concert series, country music heavy hitter, Luke Bryan, takes the Chula Vista stage. Luke’s Kill the Lights Tour features Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch as openers. 2050 Entertainment Cir., Chula Vista. lukebryan.com

Taste of South Park
Sept. 17. South Park is known for its eclectic and delicious dining scene and now attendees to Taste of South Park can satisfy their foodie cravings all in one day. Tasting passport holders will sup and sip their way along 30th St. and Fern St. corridor. $30/pp. Noon-4 p.m. Various locations, South Park. southparksd.com

Taste of the Port
Sept. 22. The Port of San Diego hosts an event that focuses on sustainable, local food, wine and beer from top restaurants and purveyors. Attendees will pair those tastes and sips with live music and beautiful views of San Diego Bay. Three chefs compete with mystery ingredients and sustainable cooking techniques to win the award of 2016 Greenest Chef. Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego Embarcadero. portofsandiego.org

San Diego Festival of Beer
Sept. 23. The 22nd annual event features live music and samples from nearly 60 different microbreweries. The event will also feature live music by Lady Dottie and the Diamonds. The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr., downtown. sdbeerfest.org

San Diego Festival of Beer

Poway Rodeo
Sept. 23-24. Time to pull on those cowboy boots and head to Poway for their annual rodeo performance. Catch bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, and even mutton bustin’. 14336 Tierra Bonita Rd., Poway, 866.776.7633. powayrodeo.com

MCAS Miramar Air Show
Sept. 23-25. Viewers watch in awe at the annual MCAS Miramar Air Show, as pilots perform intricate training stunts and flight patterns. Participating teams include the Golden Knights parachuters, the US Navy Leap Frogs parachuters, Marine Air-Ground task force demo, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and many more. The free event will also feature other military and civilian aircraft that attendees can walk around on the ground. Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar. miramarairshow.com

Del Mar Mud Run
Sept. 24. Perhaps the messiest of all 5Ks, the 5th annual Del Mar Mud Run introduces 15 obstacles to overcome. With names like pig’s paradise, serpentine pit, slick and slide and swamp thing, these obstacles are all about getting the contestants as muddy as possible. Participants will receive a free beer at the finish line, a post-race foam fest and plenty of entertainment. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, delmarmudrun.com

San Diego Zoo Food Wine & Brew Celebration
Sept. 24. Enjoy a wild evening of food and drinks from more than 150 restaurants, wineries and breweries at the San Diego Zoo. At the center of the event is the celebration of the zoo’s centennial. Throughout the zoo, enjoy seeing exotic animals up close, bands, DJs, food stations, drinks and more. 6:30-10:30 p.m. $125/pp. 2920 Zoo Dr., Balboa Park, 619.231.1515. zoofoodandwine.com

Tour de Fat
Sept. 24. The perfect festival for a slightly less serious cyclist, the Tour de Fat starts with a costumed bicycle parade that ends in a festival at Golden Hill Park, complete with yo-yo performers, bike contests, live music and vaudeville acts. 2590 Golden Hill Dr., Golden Hill. newbelgium.com

Pacific Islander Festival
Sept. 24-25. The 22nd annual event celebrates the food, art and culture of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Ski Beach, Mission Bay, 619.699.8797. pifasandiego.com

Pacific Islander Festival. Photo Courtesy of JB Photography

Adams Avenue Street Fair
Sept. 24-25. The 35th annual event, one of SoCal’s largest free music festivals, features more than 100 musical acts on eight stages, plus carnival rides, beer gardens, craft and food vendors and more. Adams Ave., between 32nd and 35th streets, Normal Heights, 619.282.7329. adamsavenuebusiness.com

Oceanside Harbor Days
Sept. 24-25. Enjoy sun, sand, surf and activities such as a sandcastle competition and boat-building contests. Oceanside Harbor, 760.722.1534. oceansidechamber.com

San Diego Restaurant Week
Sept. 25-Oct. 2. Enjoy fabulous dining for less when nearly 200 restaurants throughout the county offer fixed-price, three-course meals. Visit website for participating restaurants and deals. sandiegorestaurantweek.com

Cabrillo Festival
Sept. 26-27. Special events commemorate Juan Cabrillo’s exploration of the West Coast in 1542 at this 52nd annual festival. Cabrillo National Monument (Sept. 26) and Ballast Point, Naval Base Point Loma (Sept. 27), Point Loma, 619.225.8909. cabrillofestival.org

San Diego International Film Festival
Sept. 28-Oct. 2. The five-day bonanza showcases more than 100 independent feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the world. Plus filmmaker meet-and-greets, industry panels, film premieres, celebrity appearances and exclusive V.I.P. events. Various locations. sdfilmfest.com

Seven Guitars
Sept. 28-Nove. 6. Part bawdy comedy, part dark elegy and part mystery, this lyrical play is the fifth in August Wilson’s 10-play cycle that charts the African-American experience through each decade of the 20th century. Cygnet Theatre in Old Town, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town, 619.337.1525. cygnettheatre.com

King Hedley II
Sept. 29-Nov. 6. August Wilson’s ninth play in his 10-play cycle examining the African-American experience tells the story of King, a man recently released from prison, who attempts to rebuild his life amid changing times. Cygnet Theatre in Old Town, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town, 619.337.1525. cygnettheatre.com

Lizard Boy
Sept. 29-Oct. 30. This indi-folk-rock-concert-coming-of-age-love-story about the power of individuality challenges the notion of what a musical can be. Unlikely hero, Trevor, embarks on a crazy adventurous night and is challenged to transform from freak to hero. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., #101, University Heights, 619. 220.0097. diversionary.org

Fashion Week San Diego
Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Fashion Week San Diego has gained some serious traction in the last couple years and this season’s events will feature gorgeous new venues, talented designers, entertainment and more. The weekend will include designer runway show, trunk shows, fashion awards and an art and beauty behind fashion runway show. Various locations. sandiego.org

Fashion Week San Diego

The Lion
Sept. 29-Oct. 30. Benjamin Schemer uses his guitar—actually six guitars-—n this original musical experience that tells one man’s gripping coming-of-age story and his discovery of the redemptive power of music. White Theatre at the Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623. theoldglobe.org

La Mesa Oktoberfest
Sept. 30-Oct. 2. This 43rd annual family-friendly event brings the best of German culture, food, dance and more to the San Diego community. The event is free to the public and features a street festival atmosphere with over 100 vendors, activities and live entertainment. La Mesa Blvd., between Spring St. and Fourth St., La Mesa. thelamesaoktoberfest.com



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