Top San Diego Things to Do in October

Indulge in dishes featuring California spiny lobster at Grant Grill’s tasting dinner.

This month, San Diego brings you Oktoberfest celebrations, dog-friendly festivities, decadent dinners and more. See our list of the top 30+ San Diego things to do in October.

Edited by Eva Scattergood.


Sept. 28-Oct. 7. Raise your stein as Liberty Public Market transforms into the great drinking halls of Munich. The 10-day fest includes Beer Olympics, a Flower Crown Making Station, stein giveaways, drinking games and festive evenings of live music on the patio. Enjoy authentic German food like Olala’s savory crepes filled with German sausage, mustard, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and spinach, washed down with Schneider Weisse and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. See website for complete schedule of events. 2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, 619.487.9346.


Oct. 1-31. Belmont Park transforms with festive fall thrills and chills throughout the beachfront amusement park. For the month of October every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m.-close plus Wednesday, October 31, all wristbands will be half-off. Guests can enjoy unlimited fun on Halloween-themed rides and attractions like the Spooky Coaster where guests can dip back to a spooky time on the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, take down zombies at Zombie Laser Tag or play where pirates slay as Pirates Takeover Mini Golf. Additional activities include trick-or-treating, family costume contests and pumpkin painting. See website for park hours. Free entry to the park. 3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach, 858.228.9283.


Oktoberfest at Draft Republic
Oct. 1-7. Celebrate like a Bavarian at Draft Republic with German specials all week long. Enjoy a foot-long bacon-wrapped housemade bratwurst topped with caramelized onions and whole-grain beer mustard and a select Oktoberfest beer for $15.95. Or, opt for an Oktoberfest sampler featuring three types of wurst, Bavarian pretzel sticks, sauerkraut, potato salad and IPA whole-grain mustard for $19.95. Competitive spirits can participate in a stein-holding contest on Monday and Thursday during NFL halftime. See website for hours. 4282 Esplanade Ct., La Jolla, 858.450.1400; 5958 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, 760.448.4627.


Try Puesto’s October Taco of the Month featuring squash from Imperfect Produce.

Save a Squash
Oct. 1-31. Imperfect Produce is partnering with Puesto for its October Taco of the Month. The Save a Squash taco utilizes Imperfect Produce to create an autumnal vegetarian taco featuring squash in mojo do ajo and braised greens from the service, as well as queso enchilado, warm chipotle squash salsa, cilantro and pepitas. Guests can also receive a free Taco of the Month on National Taco Day (Oct. 4) by following Puesto on Instagram and mentioning the special to their server. See website for hours. 789 W. Harbor Dr., Seaport, 619.233.8880; 1026 Wall St., La Jolla, 858.454.1260.


Herb & Wood’s Guest Chef Dinner: Sam Talbot
Oct. 3. Herb & Wood welcomes Chef Sam Talbot for the launch of their guest chef dinners. The five-course dinner will feature two courses from chefs Malarkey and Talbot, tray-passed appetizers, a dessert from Herb & Wood’s Executive Pastry Chef Adrian Mendoza and some family-style courses. Additionally, there will be beverage pairings with each course along with a 15-minute demo by Chef Talbot and Chef Malarkey. 10 percent of ticket sales will go to Sam’s Beyond Type 1 foundation. 6:30-9 p.m. $150. Herb & Wood Gallery Space, 2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.955.8495. Tickets


Northern Italian Wine Dinner
Oct. 3. For this wine-paired dinner menu, Batasiolo Wines representative Stefano Poggi has selected four varietals from Italy’s Piemonte region to pair with four courses crafted by Chef Marco Maestoso. Featured dishes include Pinsa in Piemonte; Risotto al Nebbiolo con Ossobuco; and Cioccolato, Nocciole e Frutta al Vino. Call to make reservations. Available between 5-10 p.m. $59. Maestoso, 1040 University Ave., Suite B101, Hillcrest, 619.642.0777.


Find a variety of items on True Food Kitchen’s Fall Menu including this butternut squash pizza.

True Food Kitchen’s Fall Menu
Available Oct. 3. True Food Kitchen has crafted a variety of new dishes and drinks just in time for fall. Try out the butternut squash pizza with caramelized onion, organic kale, vegan almond ricotta and dried cranberry; roasted Brussels sprouts with Asian mushrooms, miso sesame vinaigrette, toasted sesame seeds; or the dashi ramen with sweet potato glass noodles, bok choy, portobello mushroom, charred onion, radish, corn, black bean and sesame chili oil. New drinks include the Forbidden Root made with lemon-infused vodka, apple, red beet and rosemary; Cinnamon Vanilla Latte served hot or with cold brew; and more. See website for hours. 4303 La Jolla Village Dr., Suite 2100, UTC; 7007 Friars Road, Suite 394, Fashion Valley.


National Taco Day at Death by Tequila
Oct. 4. Get a taste of Baja in North County this National Taco Day. Enjoy a featured taco of roasted carrots from local farm, JR Organics, topped with almond hummus, quinoa, avocado, watermelon radish and Meyer lemon or try out one of Death by Tequila’s signature tacos including spicy mole made with purple potatoes, guacamole, queso fresco and cilantro; carnitas topped with pineapple, chipotle, pickled onion and aged cheese; and market fish made with coriander, mustard aïoli, pickled onion and kaffir salt. 5 p.m. $12 for three featured tacos. 569 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas, 760.782.2240.


Viva Los Tacos at Curadero
Oct. 4. Enjoy happy hour-priced tacos all day in celebration of National Taco Day. Try Chef Brad Kraten’s Chicken Tinga ($3) with tomato and chipotle braised chicken, onion, cilantro crema and queso fresco; Suadero ($3) with braised short rib, marinated onions, chipotle peanut sauce and cilantro; and Pescado ($4) with beer battered fish, chipotle mayo, iceberg slaw and cilantro crema. Just for National Taco Day, Chef Brad will be serving a flavorful vegetarian option: Taco de Jamaica with hibiscus flowers, jalapeño, cactus and onion. See website for hours. 1047 Fifth Ave., downtown, 619.515.3003.


Good Food Community Fair
Oct. 6. Experience Slow Food Urban San Diego’s largest annual event, bringing together the people and organizations desiring a good, clean and fair food system. Highlights include culinary demos, family-friendly activities, expert panel discussions, garden activities and, of course, food! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Encouraged donation of $7 pre-sale, $10 at the door. WorldBeat Cultural Center, 2100 Park Blvd., Balboa Park.


Feel like you’re in Italy at the immersive Solo Italiano: Dinner in Rosso.

Solo Italiano: Dinner in Rosso
Oct. 6. Be transported to Tuscany for this curated and immersive dining experience in the recently opened Piazza della Famiglia. Come dressed in your best red attire, and enjoy an authentic Italian experience featuring a family-style dinner with endless courses, sips of Italian beverages, strolling Italian entertainment, interactive performances, Gesso Italiano (Chalk Art), dancing and more. 4-10 p.m. $200. 523 W. Date St., Little Italy.


Taste of Oceanside
Oct. 6. Stroll through downtown Oceanside or take the Taste Trolley to nibble on tantalizing food samples from 29 different taste stops. For $10 more, you can also sample beer and wine at 11 sip stops along the way. Participants include 333 Pacific, Petite Madeline, Jalisco Cantina, Barrel Republic, Oceanside Brewing Co. and more. 2-5 p.m. $30 food tasting, $40 food and drink tasting. See website for route map.


West Coast Oktoberfest
Oct. 6-7. Inspired by the world’s largest and most revered beer festival in Germany, Music Box will be partnering with local nonprofit and member-based organization, Downtown San Diego Partnership, to throw their very own West Coast Oktoberfest. Expect German music, booths serving up Bavarian pretzels and bratwursts, themed contests and plenty of beer to go around, with the added option to purchase a German beer stein to take home. Sa noon-10 p.m., Su noon-7 p.m. $15 GA advance sale; $20 GA at the door; $50 VIP; discounts for those with the zip code 92101. India St. between Ash St. and A St.  


Fig Tree Cafe’s 10th Anniversary
Oct. 9. This neighborhood staple has been around for 10 years and they are celebrating with specials all day long including a fig pancake for $1, plus $10 bottles of champagne with orange juice. Additionally, the first 144 guests who order a beer, large kombucha, iced tea or soda will receive a special anniversary pint glass, all for only $1. Anniversary t-shirts will also be for sale while supplies last. 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 5119 Cass St., Pacific Beach, 858.274.2233.


Veneration Plant-Based Pairing Dinner
Oct. 10. Join Bagby Beer Company for a five-course dinner highlighting thoughtfully composed dishes by Executive Chef Robert Gaffney that showcase locally-sourced ingredients. Each course will be paired with a Bagby Beer, as well as a natural wine, cocktail or spirit. This dinner is not only for those who have already embraced eating plant-based, but also for those who are interested in learning that a fulfilling, satisfying meal can be entirely plant-based. 21+. 6-9 p.m. $85. 601 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside. Tickets


San Diego International Film Festival
Oct. 10-14. The region’s premier film event features more than 100 feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the world. Expect filmmaker meet-and-greets, industry panels, film premieres, celebrity appearances and exclusive VIP events. Head downtown to Balboa Theater for opening night, with additional screenings at Regal Cinema Horton Plaza and ArcLight La Jolla. See website for full schedule of events, locations and prices.  


Grgich Hills Wine Dinner
Oct. 11. Indulge in a five-course tasting menu paired with Grgich Hills wines. Menu highlights include foie and scallop pâté en croûtepaired with chardonnay; roasted leg of duck paired with merlot; and oxtail and veal cheek bourguignon paired with cabernet sauvignon. Reservations required. 6-9 p.m. $125. La Valencia, 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla, 855.476.6870.


Pooch Prom
Oct. 11. Dress up your furry friends for this event benefiting The Animal Pad, a local non-profit, all-breed dog rescue that focuses on saving dogs from high kill shelters and the streets of Mexico. Enjoy dancing to classic prom music, small bites, cocktails and raffle items. Vendors will also be on-hand with retail items for purchase. 6-10 p.m. $20 GA, $45 VIP. Lot 8, 1201 Hotel Circle S., Mission Valley. Tickets


California Spiny Lobster Tasting Dinner
Oct. 11-20. Treat yourself to Grant Grill’s final installment of their Special Ingredient Series crafted by Executive Chef Mark Kropczynski. The menu pays tribute to one of the Golden State’s most precious ingredients—the California spiny lobster—with dishes including spiny lobster and octopus cioppino; butter poached “sous vide” spiny lobster; and lobster pistachio beignets. 5:30-10 p.m. $80. 326 Broadway, downtown, 619.744.2077.  


Ocean Beach Oktoberfest
Oct. 12-13. The two-day festival kicks off at the beach with live music, a beer garden, contests, an Oktoberfest beer tasting and the infamous Sausage Toss. Highlights include bratwurst-eating, stein-holding contests and the outrageous balloon blow with a cornhole tournament and OB BrewFest on Saturday. F 3-11 p.m., Sa 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $5 Beer Garden admission, $35 BrewFest ticket. Where Newport Ave. meets the beach.   


Oct. 13. Raise a glass for a good cause at Oceanside’s second annual Surftoberfest. Tickets include a tasting glass and unlimited tastings with proceeds going to provide healthy back surgery and health alternatives to veterans, economically disadvantaged persons and animals. Expect live music and German-style food for purchase. 2-6 p.m. $30 for one, $50 for two. Hello Betty Fish House, 211 Mission Ave., Oceanside.


Junior League of San Diego Gala
Oct. 13. Come dressed in black-tie attire and 1920s-inspired costumes and step back in time to enjoy champagne and cocktails, a gourmet dinner, silent and live auctions, and live music under the night sky. This third annual gala will support youth transitioning out of foster care, combat human trafficking in San Diego and empower women to become strong volunteer leaders in the community. 21+. 6-11 p.m. $160 per person, $1,400 table of 10. Morgan Run Country Club, 5690 Cancha de Golf, Rancho Santa Fe. Tickets


Lieu Dit Wine Dinner
Oct. 17. Spend your evening at a four-course wine pairing dinner featuring Lieu Dit wines from the Central Coast of California at BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant. Menu highlights include Dungeness crab and shrimp cake with potato chip crust, apple slaw and caper remoulade paired with 2016 Lieu Dit Chenin Blanc; Moroccan-braised lamb with saffron couscous, shaved almonds and pomegranate jus paired with 2017 Lieu Dit Cabernet Franc; and a dark chocolate mousse with vanilla-poached raspberries and Chantilly whipped cream paired with 2016 Lieu Dit Gamay. Call for reservations. 6 p.m. $79. 2202 Fourth Ave., Bankers Hill, 619.231.0222.


“Holmes & Watson”
Oct. 17-Nov. 18. See if you can solve the riddle at the West Coast premiere of Holmes & Watson in which Dr. Watson must discern which of three men is the missing Sherlock Holmes. Conceived by Jeffrey Hatcher, this show is fast-paced, thrilling, and full of twists and turns. See website for show times. $42+; discounts for seniors, students, military and educators. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach, 858.481.1055.      


Sample Monzu’s Neapolitan Scarpariello during their Pasta Day celebrations.

National and World Pasta Day at Monzu Fresh Pasta
Oct. 17-25. Find a new pasta dish highlighted each day from National Pasta Day to World Pasta Day. Each one is an authentic recipe from a distinct region in Italy, such as Neapolitan Scarpariello from Naples, Ligurian pesto from Liguria, Roman-style cacio e pepe and beyond. Flavorful pastas are made in-house using organic flour, cage-free eggs, and a blend of Italian and Californian ingredients. See website for hours. 455 Tenth Ave., downtown.


Extreme Sailing Series
Oct. 18-21. Experience the only U.S. stop on the action-packed global tour that plays host to a fleet of elite international sailing teams, including one USA squad. Spectators can enjoy live music, entertainment, bars, food stalls and expert commentary of the racing, and also take advantage of the perfect viewing spot from the free-to-enter public Race Village located on Harbor Island. See website for full schedule of events.


Haunted Tales
Oct. 20, 27. Calling all aspiring ghosts, goblins, pirates and princesses to gather on the Star of India for some ghostly haunted tales. Enjoy lantern led tours around the ship and listen to eerie legends from the Star of India’s past. Hear the tales of how young John Campbell fell to his death from the rigging and more creepy events. 6-10 p.m. Included with general admission. Maritime Museum, 1492 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, 619.234.9153.


South Park Fall Walkabout
Oct. 20. Join this evening festival that showcases all the unique and independent businesses within South Park. Enjoy complimentary treats, live entertainment and special offers. Kids and dogs welcome. 6-10 p.m. Free. Fern St. & Kalmia to 30th & Beech St., South Park.


Westgate Fall Literary Tea with Kristina McMorris
Oct. 20. Bask in the company of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Kristina McMorris, for her new book, Sold on a Monday, while enjoying an exquisite three-course afternoon tea with champagne in the Le Fontainebleau Room at The Westgate Hotel. Sold on a Monday captures the desperation sweeping through the country in the year of 1931 telling the story of a journey of ambition, love and the far-reaching effects of our actions. 2-4:30 p.m. $45. 1055 Second Ave., downtown, 619.328.1818.


Take your furry friends with you for a day out on the bay on the Bow Wow Brunch Cruise.

Bow Wow Brunch Cruise
Oct. 21. Bring your pup along for this special brunch cruise benefitting Helen Woodward Animal Center. Enjoy Hornblower’s delicious and bountiful buffet with unlimited champagne and desserts, plus Fido gets a pet buffet to choose from along with a dog area set up on the sun deck. Special guests Chopper the Biker Dog will be making an appearance for photo opportunities, and Darris Cooper, Petco Pawsitive Dog Training expert, will be on hand for training tips. Reservations are required. Boarding 11:30 a.m., cruising noon-2 p.m. $94 adults, $58.40 children ages 4-12. Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, 619.686.8715.  


Nickel Fortunes
Oct. 22. Take part in this immersive cocktail experience at neighborhood gem Madison on Park. Guests will receive a personal tarot reading by Gypsy Destini and enjoy food including goat stew and potato latkes. Cards of fate will determine the two cocktails served to each guest. Be sure to enter through the back alley entrance. 7-11 p.m. $33. 4622 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.269.6566. Tickets  


Pumpkin Carving Contest at The Pearl Hotel
Oct. 23. Come with your best design ideas to carve a pumpkin while sipping on a seasonal cocktail by Bar Manager TJ Majeske and watching a Halloween-themed movie projected on the hotel’s poolside big screen. Tickets include a pumpkin with all the carving supplies, and the winner will receive a one-night stay at the hotel. Email to RSVP. 7-9 p.m. $15. 1410 Rosecrans St., Point Loma, 619.226.6100.    


WCKD Village
Oct. 27. Prepare to enter a realm of electrifying adventures as Monster Halloween Bash returns with a new WCKD twist. Six blocks in the East Village will transform into one of the most epic Halloween events in San Diego featuring four stages of non-stop live performances—including headliners Cheat Codes, Michael Calfan and special guest E-40—immersive themed areas, over $5k in costume contest prizes and all new interactive features. 6 p.m.-midnight. See website for ticket prices. 7th Ave. between Market St. and J St., East Village. Tickets


Bubbly & Brunch on the Beach
Oct. 28. Add a little sparkle to your Sunday brunch as you enjoy three courses perfectly paired with sparkling wines from Iron Horse Winery at JRDN’s oceanfront setting. Iron Horse is located in Sonoma County in the Green Valley appellation within the Russian River Valley and produces 12 different vintage cuvées that are all estate bottled. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $70. JRDN at Tower23 Hotel, 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.2323. Tickets


Join the regions finest chefs, wineries and craft breweries at Celebrate the Craft.

Celebrate the Craft
Oct. 28. This 16th annual festival brings together Southern California’s finest chefs, food artisans, produce, wine and craft beer for a celebration of the region’s thriving culinary community. Helmed by The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ Executive Chef Jeff Jackson, this year’s culinary talent includes Kelli Crosson (A.R. Valentien), Jason Knibb (NINE-TEN) and Tim Kolanko (Blue Bridge Hospitality). The Lodge’s sommelier Paul Krikorian curated a collection of esteemed vintners including Frog’s Leap Winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard and ZD Wines. San Diego’s vibrant beer industry will be represented by AleSmith Brewing Company and Bitter Brothers Brewing Co., and local spirits will be provided by You & Yours Distilling Co. Each ticket includes all tastings, as well as complimentary valet parking. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $145. 11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla.   


Halloween at the Station
Oct. 28. Bring the whole family to this Halloween celebration complete with daytime festivities including trick-or-treating throughout the district, music and live entertainment, spooky games, an inflatable obstacle course, a Hollywood car show and more. Ghouls and goblins of all ages are welcome to participate in the costume contest, where the most elaborate costume will take home a special prize. Noon-4 p.m. Free. Liberty Station North Promenade, 2848 Dewey Road, Point Loma.   


Grant Grill photo courtesy of J Public Relations. Save a Squash photo courtesy of Bread & Butter. True Food Kitchen photo courtesy of Raluca State. Solo Italiano photo courtesy of Olive Creative Strategies. Monzu photo courtesy of Contour PR. Bow Wow Brunch Cruise photo courtesy of Hornblower. Celebrate the Craft photo courtesy of Evans Hotels. 



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