Top San Diego Things to Do in September

View amazing sand creations as artists compete against each other.
Top sand sculptors from around the world will compete against each other at the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.

From scenic dinners to beer festivals and end-of-summer events, check out the top San Diego things to do in September.

Edited by Madelyn Harris.

1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular
Sept. 1-3. Enjoy the symphony by the bay with Tchaikovksy’s famous 1812 Overture. Plus, enjoy fireworks at the end of the show as a culmination of summer. 7:30-10 p.m. $24+. Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Park Way.

Head to the Hotel Del to watch four polo matches along with fashion modeling and boutique shopping. Head to the Hotel Del to watch four polo matches. Plus, enjoy fashion modeling and boutique shopping.

Beach Polo Cup
Sept. 1-3. Get ready for a weekend of elegance at Hotel Del Coronado’s 2nd Annual Beach Polo Cup, hosted on the property’s private beach. You’ll be able to catch four polo matches, experience a lavish multi-terraced VIP tent, view fashion modeling, shop from unique boutiques and more. View website for complete schedule. $35-250. Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 800.468.3533.

Chill Charters
Sept. 1-4. This Labor Day, experience San Diego’s beauty with a private charter tour. Chill Charters provides custom, private boat excursions in San Diego Bay for up to 6 people. Whether you’re looking to relax, party, or explore, there are options for everyone. Get on board and soak in the sun. Visit website for list of charter options and prices.

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge
Sept. 1-4. Watch as top sculptors from all over the world compete against each other to create astonishing sand sculptures. Plus, enjoy live entertainment, free activities in the kids zone and more. Visit website for full schedule. Free. Port of San Diego’s Broadway Pier and Landing.

Festival of Sail
Sept. 1-4. Hosted by the Maritime Museum, Festival of Sail is the largest Tail Ship festival on the west coast. Activities include visiting ships and crew, a kids activity zone, cannon battles, a bay cruise, beer garden, on-stage entertainment and more. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. $11 adults, $5 kids. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N Harbor Dr. 619.234.9153.

Bacon Fest
Sept. 2. Calling all bacon fanatics…this event is for you. Delight in unlimited samples of bacon and brews from some of the city’s most renowned vendors. 1:30-5 p.m. $55-90. Preble Field, Liberty Station, 2600 Cushing Rd.

KGB Sky Show
Sept. 2. Get ready to witness a synchronized firework production combining lighting, video and special effects into one amazing display. Tune into the radio from your own location or head to the stadium to enjoy additional lasers, stage lighting, sky divers, movie special effects, propane flame effects, famous sport celebrities and more. 5:30 p.m. (directly after the SDSU Aztecs football game). $18-62. Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Road.

Julian Apple Harvest
Sept 1.-Oct. 31. Enjoy autumn foliage, art, entertainment and seasonal foods, such as apple cider and pie. Take part in special events on weekends, including the Julian Grape Stomp Festa on September 2, and the Julian Apple Days Festival on September 23-24. Julian.

Head to the Civic Theatre for this Tony Award-winning musical about an American solider
Head to the Civic Theatre for Tony Award-winning musical An American in Paris.

An American in Paris
Sept. 5-10. The Tony Award-winning musical about an American solider, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city features unforgettable songs from George and Ira Gershwin. Visit website for complete schedule. $22+. Broadway/San Diego, Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown.

Wild Goose Dreams
Sept. 5-Oct. 1. A North Korean defector who has left her family behind and a lonely South Korean feather start an unlikely online romance as they each attempt to allay their fears and alienation in this inventive and darkly humorous piece. Visit website for complete schedule. $35+. Mandell Weiss Forum at the La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers
Sept. 6-Oct. 1. Middle-aged and overworked Barney Cashman tries to “spice up” his bland life with attempts at seduction in this hilarious and witty Neil Simon play. Various performances. $42+. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach.

Roz and Ray
Sept. 7-Oct. 1. Set in San Diego, this time-bending play sheds light on a little-known chapter in medical history during the onset of the AIDS crisis and offers a profound story of love, trust, sacrifice and healing. Various performances. $20+. San Diego Rep, Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.

Benny & Joon
Sept. 7-Oct. 22. With unforgettable characters and a tuneful score, this world-premiere musical­­–—based on the beloved offbeat 90s romantic comedy movie–—explores what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and take a leap toward love. View website for shows and prices. Shiley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park.

Sorrento Valley Beer Festival
Sept. 8. Kick off your Friday evening with an exclusive beer festival. A 500 guest limit allows for one-on-one interaction with brew experts and vendors. Guests will enjoy cold craft beer, delicious food, live music, fire pits, games and plenty of comfortable seating. 5-8:30 p.m. $10-35.  Party Pals, 10427 Roselle St.

4th Annual Carlsbad Brewfest
Sept. 9. Head to Carlsbad for the city’s 3rd annual brew fest, which celebrates craft beer with tastings from over 30 local and national breweries. Plus, enjoy entertainment, games and food vendors. 12-4:30 p.m. $10-40. 21+. Holiday Park, 3400 Pio Pico Dr., Carlsbad.

Homos, Or Everyone in America
Sept. 14-Oct. 15. As the pendulum of progress continues to swing, a Brooklyn couple attempts to navigate the complexities of contemporary gay life together in this brave, cutting-edge new play that confronts the lingering dangers and interconnected values of our nation. View website for full schedule and prices. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. #101, University Heights.

Kaaboo Del Mar 
Sept. 15-17. Three-day “experiential” festival features live music, comedy, food, wine and art. Catch headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Muse and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, plus dozens of other music acts on multiple stages. View website for full lineup. $119+. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

San Diego Bayfair
Sept. 15-17. Crowds flock to Ski Beach to catch the World Series of Power Boat Racing, featuring intense water competition and fastest power-boats in the world. View website for full racing schedule. $20+. Racecourse runs between Crown Point & Fiesta Island. Mission Bay.

Oceanside Harbor Days
Sept. 16-17. Sun, sand, surf and lots of activities, from a sandcastle-building competition to boat-building contests, are all included at this free, family-friendly festival. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oceanside Harbor.

Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’
Sept. 19-24. In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above in this musical performance featuring unforgettable classics such as “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” View website for full schedule. Broadway/San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown.

Enjoy samples from nearly 60 different microbreweries at the San Diego Festival of Beer.
Enjoy samples from nearly 60 different microbreweries at the San Diego Festival of Beer.

San Diego Festival of Beer
Sept. 22. The 23rd annual festival features live music and nearly 60 different microbreweries. 6-10 p.m. $40+. Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Drive, downtown.

Haunted Hotel
Sept. 22-23, 29-30; Oct. 1-22. Not for the faint of heart, this spooky maze will have everyone screaming. $19. 424 Market St., Gaslamp.

Pacific Islander Festival
Sept. 23-24. The 23rd annual event celebrates the food, art and culture of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. All day, free. Ski Beach, Mission Bay.

San Diego Restaurant Week
Sept. 24-Oct. 1. Enjoy fabulous dining for less when over 180 restaurants throughout the county offer fixed-price, three-course meals. Visit website for participating restaurants.

Cabrillo Festival
Sept. 29-30. Special events commemorate Juan Cabrillo’s exploration of the west coast in 1542 at this 54th annual festival. Cabrillo National Monument (Sept. 29) and Naval Base Point Loma (Sept. 30). Point Loma.

Head to La Mesa for San Diego County's largest Oktoberfest celebration. Head to La Mesa for San Diego County’s largest Oktoberfest celebration.

Oktoberfest La Mesa
Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The largest Oktoberfest celebration in San Diego County features hundreds of vendors, plus several beer gardens, food courts, carnival games and rides, live music and dance performances and a children’s area. La Mesa Blvd. F 4-10:30 p.m.; Sa 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Su 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free.

Haunted Trail
Sept. 29-Oct. 22. No ordinary walk in the park, this mile-long scary trail features spine-tingling and shriek-inducing sights (not suitable for kids under 10), as well as an additional terrifying maze called The Experiment. 7-11 p.m. $25. Balboa Park, Corner of Balboa Drive and Juniper at Marston Point.

Adams Avenue Street Fair
Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The 36th annual event—one of SoCal’s largest free musical festivals—features 90 musical acts on six stages, plus carnival rides, beer gardens, craft and food vendors and more. Adams Ave. between 32rd and 35th streets, Normal Heights.

Scream Zone
Sept. 30-Oct. 16. Eerie attractions include the Haunted Hayride, Zombie Boot Camp and the House of Horror. $16.50+. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

The Explorers Club
Through Sept. 24. A hilarious send up of a Victorian men’s club best by women, poisonous snakes, exotic plants, bartending savages and crazed Irishmen. Various performances. $74. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon-Marigolds
Through Sept. 24. Set in the 1960s, this Pulitzer Prize-winning lyrical drama tells the story of a wounded family unraveling at the age of innocence and one child’s search for hope and resilience. Various performances. $41. Cygnet Theatre in Old Town, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town.



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