Top San Diego Things to Do in September

San Diego’s largest music, comedy, culinary and art festival, KAABOO Del Mar.

This month, San Diego brings you Labor Day celebrations, San Diego Restaurant Week, Kaaboo Del Mar and more. See our list of the top 30+ San Diego things to do in September.

Edited by Brooke Knetzger.


Labor Day Dinner at The Oceanaire
Aug. 30- Sept. 2. For those who want to wrap up the “unofficial end of summer” with a bang, The Oceanaire is the place. This Labor Day enjoy a three-course dinner for two at the Gaslamp Quarter favorite. The meal features two starters, entrées, and desserts paired with a bottle of wine for the table. Take a stroll along Embarcadero Park after dinner to end the last summer long weekend. $70. 400 J St., Gaslamp, 619.858.2277.


U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge
Aug. 31-Sept. 2. One of the most prominent sand sculpting competitions returns! 12 Master Class Sculptors, seven from countries around the world and five from the United States, will compete in San Diego to carve museum-quality sculptures made from only sand and water. Through Labor Day weekend. Broadway Pier and Pavilion, 1000 North Harbor Drive. Tickets


Celebrate Labor Day at North Park’s Louisiana Purchase.

Burlesque + More Celebrations at Louisiana Purchase
Aug. 30, Sept. 2. North Park’s neighborhood restaurant and bar, Louisiana Purchase, is celebrating Labor Day by kicking off the weekend with a Burlesque Night on Friday. There will be two shows (9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.) along with cocktail specials throughout the evening. On Monday, Louisiana Purchase will be a hosting a neighborhood fish fry kicking off at noon, and chef Q will also be cooking up ribs and burgers. 2305 University Avenue, North Park, 619.255.8278.


Labor Day at Maverick’s Beach Club
Aug. 31. Epic San Diego summers deserve epic send-offs and Mavericks Beach Club will be hosting a one-of-a-kind Labor Day Luau. Head to the Pacific Beach popular hangout for entertainment, including the roasting of a full pig and hula dancers, delicious eats and tropical drink specials. Noon- 9 p.m. 860 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach, 858.999.0348.


Miss B’s Coconut Club Labor Day Festivities
Aug. 31- Sept 1. Raise a glass to the final days of summer during Miss B’s Coconut Club’s Labor Day Weekend celebration. On Saturday, enjoy specials on bbq slidersand Juneshine, a San Diego local Kombucha company. On Sunday,  join in for an “All White Brunch” at Miss B’s, because this is technically the last day you can fashionably wear your white attire. Nosh on brunch bites and sip on cocktails like the kale-ribbean Mimosa, with fresh kale, papaya and mango. 3704 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach, 858.381.0855.


Taste of New Orleans
Sept 1. The South meets the West in an epic celebration of New Orleans culture at the inaugural Taste of New Orleans Food & Music Festival. The festival features Cajun cuisine including gumbo, po’boys, red beans & rice and jambalaya, desserts such as beignets and snowballs, and live music. Noon – 6 p.m. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar. Tickets


Del Mar Horse Races
Through Sept. 2. Catch the tail end of thoroughbred racing five days a week. Special events include Friday happy hours, concert series, Tacos & Beers Festival, family weekends and much more. Plus, head to the track on Wednesday to receive free admission. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 858.755.1141. Tickets


Kiss My Aztec!
Premieres Sept. 3. When the Spanish set their sights on Mesoamerica and its riches, they will destroy anyone and anything that keeps them from conquering and claiming it all for themselves. But the Aztecs are like, “Hell, no!” This fresh, irreverent and outrageous satire could only spring forth from the insanely hilarious mind of John Leguizamo, last seen at the Playhouse in his acclaimed one-man show Latin History for Morons. Featuring a fusion of bolero, hip hop, merengue and rap, Kiss My Aztec! celebrates, elevates and commemorates Latinx culture in an uproarious new musical. Through October 13. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla, 858.550.1010.


Kimpton Solamar’s Sip & Savasana rooftop yoga event.

Sip & Savasana 
Sept. 5. Kimpton Solamar is hosting its next Sip & Savasana rooftop yoga event. The light vinyasa flow yoga class will be led by a special guest teacher, Jenn Bodnar of Yoga Digest, and will take place at the hotel’s Upper East Rooftop Bar, overlooking the downtown San Diego skyline. The event will also have a live DJ, complimentary ‘sips’ and plenty of Instagrammable yogi moments. 6-7 p.m. 435 6th Ave., downtown, 619.531.8744.


Sept. 5. With the glorious music of Mozart as a backdrop, Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award winning theatrical tale of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri starts our season on a rousing note. Told in a series of flashbacks laced with humor, intrigue and personal insight, AMADEUS explores two men – one consumed with jealousy and the other blissfully unaware of his extraordinary gifts. Through October 6. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, Solana Beach, 858.481.1055. 


Sunset Poolside Jazz Series with Besos De Coco
Sept. 5. Experience Southern California’s finest Jazz musicians against San Diego’s downtown skyline at sunset. Enjoy signature cocktails, craft beers, wine, tapas and appetizers on The Westgate Hotel’s stunning pool deck. $25+. 6:30 p.m. The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave., Gaslamp. 


Sept. 6. ARTS DISTRICT, It is time to get (((amplified)))! Guests can listen to a free concert from Shane Hall Band, grab a beer in the Craft Beer Garden, shop the Pop-Up Market, enjoy dance performances, see new art exhibitions and so much more! 5-9 p.m. 2640 Historic Decatur Road, Liberty Station. 


The Addams Family- A New Musical Comedy 
Sept. 6. The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy features an original story… and it’s every ghoulish father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. Welk Resorts Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido.


20th Annual Gala in the Garden
Sept. 7. Explore various gardens while savoring fine wine, craft beer, signature cocktails and the best dishes from local restaurants all while enjoying the ongoing live entertainment. Be on the lookout for inter-active educational experiences! This annual gala provides the necessary funding to support the beautiful Encinitas public garden, helping to fulfill its mission of “inspiring people of all ages to connect with plants and nature.”  5 -10 p.m. $250+. San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, 760.436.3036.


JRDN’s first Bubbly and Brunch of the season this September 8.

Bubbly & Brunch: Roederer Estate & Champagne Roederer
Sept. 8. Gather beachside at JRDN in Pacific Beach for some bubbly and brunch with a view. Featuring sparkling wine from Roederer Estate and Champagne Roederer, JRDN’s wine professionals will pour guests selected bubbly perfectly paired with a three-course brunch prepared by Executive Chef Dave Warner.


Wine and Cicchetti 
Sept. 10.  Ambrogio15, in partnership with DOCG Imports, brings you an exclusive wine tasting! Enjoy 8 wine tastings paired with “cicchetti”, traditional Italian small bites. Learn about the rich flavor profiles and origin of their organic biodynamic Italian wines. Two class times available from 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. $49. Little Italy Food Hall, 550 W Date St, Little Italy. Tickets


The Virgin Trial 
Premieres Sept. 11. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, the young princess Elizabeth navigates a labyrinth of political and sexual intrigue in the Tudor court that threatens her freedom – and even her life. After the death of both her parents, 15-year-old Elizabeth must defend herself against cutting accusations of plotting to kill her brother, the king, and having an illicit affair with her stepfather. Through October 6. Old Town Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town, 619.337.1525.


Almost Famous
Premieres Sept. 13. It’s all happening… San Diego, 1973. Led Zeppelin is king, Richard Nixon is President, and idealistic 15-year-old William Miller is an aspiring music journalist. When Rolling Stone magazine hires him to go on the road with an up-and-coming band, William is thrust into the rock-and-roll circus, where his love of music, his longing for friendship, and his integrity as a writer collide. Through October 20. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623.


San Diego’s largest music, comedy, culinary and art festival, KAABOO Del Mar.

Sept. 13-15. Make plans for this three-day “experiential” festival featuring music, comedy, food, wine, art and even spa indulgences. Catch headliners Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews, Mumford & Sons and Duran Duran, plus dozens of other musical acts on multiple stages. Featured chefs include Michael Mina, Richard Blais, Antonia Lofaso and many more. See website for schedule and prices. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.


San Diego Bayfair
Sept. 13-15. Crowds flock to Ski Beach to catch the World Series of Power Boat Racing, featuring intense water competition and some of the fastest powerboats in the world. Racecourse runs between Crown Point and Fiesta Island, Mission Bay.


Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant Celebrates 50 Years
Sept. 15. One of San Diego’s longest-running and family-owned businesses will celebrate 50 years in San Diego with a 300-person event taking over the parking lot and park adjacent to the original restaurant. This all-ages event will take the form of a parillada, or Mexican cookout, with live music, family-friendly activities, and of course food and drink. Tickets will also included a limited edition t-shirt and raffle ticket. Noon-6 p.m. $50. 4050 Adams Ave, Kensington, 619.282.4413.


Russian Ballet Theatre Presents Swan Lake
Sept. 19. Those faithful to the tradition of Swan Lake must see Russian Ballet Theatre’s new production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s timeless classic. Choreographer Nadezhda Kalinina  lovingly retouches the oldest St. Petersburg version of the ballet and adds her vision and something more that undoubtedly will leave audiences flushed with emotion. 7:30- 10:30 p.m.California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd, Escondido. Tickets


San Diego Festival of Beer
Sept. 21. More than 50 breweries from locally and beyond will be pouring up 120 varieties of craft beer at this festival to benefit cancer-related charities. In addition to beer, guests will enjoy waterfront views, upbeat music from three different DJ booths and grub for purchase. Participants include Latitude 33, Boochcraft and Coronado Brewing Co. with bites from Doggos Gus and Stay Cheesy Food Truck. Early entry noon, GA 1-5 p.m. $75 early entry, $40 GA. Port Pavillion on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero. Tickets


Taste of South Park 
Sept. 21. Snack and sip your way through South Park’s eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and pubs, coffee houses and family dining spots with diverse boutique and shops in between bites. Participating restaurants include Buona Forchetta, Communal Coffee, KINDRED and more. Tasting Passports include tastes at all participating locations as well as discounts at local boutiques and other businesses. Noon-4 p.m. $35 advance sale, $40 day-of. Check in at Grape Street Square, intersection of Grape and Fern Streets.


ArtWalk Carlsbad
Sept. 21-22. More than 175 visual artists will show and sell their work, alongside colorful chalk art that will fill the asphalt as you watch street paintings being created before your eyes on the pavement. $8+. Sa 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Su 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Armada Drive (above the Flower Fields off of Palomar Airport). Tickets


Oceanside Harbor Days
Sept. 21-22. Sun, sand, surf and activities — from a sandcastle competition to boat-building contest to a beach volleyball tournament — are all included at this free, family-friendly festival. 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Oceanside Harbor, 


Pacific Islander Festival 
Sept. 21-22. The 25th annual event celebrates the food, art and culture of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Ski Beach, Mission Bay.


Adams Avenue Street Fair
Sept. 21-22. Experience Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival featuring 100 musical acts on seven stages. Expect beer gardens and beer tastings, giant carnival rides, festival foods, and 300 arts and crafts booths. See website for complete schedule of events. Sa 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Su 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Adams Ave., Normal Heights.


San Diego Restaurant Week 
Sept. 22-29. Enjoy fabulous dining for less when over 180 restaurants through the county offer fixed-price, three-course meals. Visit website for a full list of participating restaurants. 

Stay Coastal, and Drink Local Distiller Series at Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa.

Stay Coastal, and Drink Local Distiller Series at Westin Carlsbad
Sept. 26. Stephen George, beverage director at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa, has curated a three-part collaboration series showcasing local distilleries and the stories behind their spirits to celebrate the launch of the resort’s new Locals Only cocktail menu. Tickets include a flight of spirit tasters from Malahat Spirits, light appetizers from 20|Twenty and one Locals Only cocktail of choice. Available for purchase at the door. $25. 6-8 p.m. The Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, 760.827.2800.


Scream Zone 
Sept. 27-28. San Diego County’s largest haunted experience, The Scream Zone, is considered among the goriest, scariest, and screaming-est fright fests to be found in the dark corners of Southern California. Eerie attractions include the Haunted Hayride, the Chamber and the House of Horror. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. 


North County Culinary Tour
Sept. 28. Start your day at the home of Carlsbad’s artisan bakery, Prager Brothers Artisan Breads, where you’ll tour the bakery with one of the Prager brothers and sample fresh baked goods while sipping on a cup of locally roasted coffee from Steady State Coffee Roasters. Roam the farm stand at Cyclops Farms, enjoy a Chef’s Selected Omakase lunch menu from Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub and more on this culinary adventure. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Carlsbad Village Station, 2775 State Street, Carlsbad. Tickets


San Diego Cabrillo Festival 
Sept. 28. The 56th annual festival commemorates Juan Cabrillo’s exploration of the West Coast in 1542 and features cultural performances, food vendors, a beer garden, art show and a re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing on Ballast Point. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Naval Base Point Loma, Point Loma, 

Limited-edition “Yummy Honey” pizza at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill.

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill 
Through September. Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill is gearing up for a month-long promotion to celebrate National Honey Month – and help save the bees all month long! Be sure to swing into any location to try the limited-edition Yummy Honey Pizza. For each pizza sold, a portion of proceeds will go towards the Honey Bee Conservancy. See website for list of locations. 


Photos: Louisiana Purchase & Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza courtesy Alternative Strategies. Kimpton Solamar courtesy Crowe PR. JRDN & Westin Carlsbad courtesy Chemistry PR. Kaaboo Del Mar courtesy Kaaboo Del Mar. 


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