Top San Diego Things to Do in September

Catch surfers on their vintage surfboards at the 25th Annual Classic Longboard Surfing Contest.

This month, San Diego brings you Labor Day celebrations, unique wine and food pairings, art festivals and more. See our list of the top 30+ San Diego things to do in September.

Edited by Eva Scattergood.


619 Distillery & Tasting Room Labor Day Opening Weekend
Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Stop by North Park’s newest addition to the neighborhood, 619 Distillery & Tasting Room, to celebrate their opening and Labor Day.  Enjoy happy hour specials all weekend long with $6 619 cocktails, including the Blood of the Scorpion with 619 Scorpion Pepper Vodka, blood orange, grapefruit juice; Princess Cosmo with 619 Rose Petal Vodka, lime, cranberry; and Cucumber Martini with 619 Cucumber Vodka, simple syrup, lime and mint. F 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sa 9:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Su 9:30 a.m.-midnight. 3015 Lincoln Ave., North Park, 619.255.6028.


Labor Day Weekend at Backyard Kitchen & Tap
Sept. 1-3. Head to Pacific Beach’s Backyard Kitchen & Tap to celebrate Labor Day Weekend right with brunch on Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m., including popular dishes such as biscuits ‘n’ gravy, the chilaquiles burrito and banana loaf French toast, among other delectable specialties. Continue the Labor Day celebration on Monday with 20 percent off for all active or retired military and first responders. 832 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach, 858.859.2593.


Labor Day Luau Pool Party
Sept. 2. Bring your pool towels, grass skirts and best hula moves to this luau pool party to celebrate Labor Day. Listen to music by Lady Dottie & The Diamonds while sipping on beers from Thorn Street Brewing. Tickets include two drinks plus a TJ-style hot dog. Noon-5 p.m. $40 GA, $15 children 13 and under. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., University Heights, 619.296.2101.


Sea 180 Coastal Tavern’s End of Summer Sunset Luau
Sept. 2. Kick off September in beachy style with a sunset luau at Sea 180 Coastal Tavern. Executive Chef Ken Irvine will be serving Huli Huli chicken, coconut shrimp, sweet potatoes, fresh locally caught fish, pineapple fried jasmine rice and a Kalua Pua’a (roasted pig). Pair the South Pacific fare with live music, performances by Polynesian dancers, fire dancers and an unparalleled view of the sunset. Call for reservations. 6-9:30 p.m. $59.95. 800 Seacoast Dr., Imperial Beach, 619.631.4949.


Taste of the Islands Beer Brunch
Sept. 2. Transport your taste buds to paradise at this island-themed beer brunch. Each tropical-inspired dish will be paired with a Second Chance beer, including their 3rd Anniversary collaboration with Maui Brewing—Imperial Pilsner with Jasmine flowers. And no luau would be complete without a pig roast! Come hungry, thirsty and dressed in your favorite tropical attire. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. Second Chance Beer Company, 15378 Avenue of Science #222, Carmel Mountain, 858.705.6250. Tickets


Labor Day BBQ Brunch Cruise
Sept. 3. Sparkling waves and soft breezes set the mood for this relaxing mid-day tour featuring free-flowing bubbly and unbeatable views of San Diego’s sights. The relaxing bay cruise includes a buffet stocked with classic American breakfast dishes, plus plenty of seasonal lunch entrees and decadent desserts. A helpful guide will tell stories and give historical context while cruising past San Diego sights including the Coronado Bay Bridge, the Star of India and the barking sea lions at Point Loma. Boarding 10:30 a.m., cruising 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $69. Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, 619.686.8715.   


“The Heart of Rock & Roll”
Opens Sept. 6. See this world-premiere musical comedy that celebrates the classic songs of Huey Lewis and the News, including hits such as “Workin’ for a Livin’,” “If This Is It” and “The Power of Love.” See website for show times. $39+. Shirley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623.   


“Communicating Doors”
Opens Sept. 7. Witness the story of three women who have business in a hotel suite. One of them has narrowly escaped being murdered, one is about to be murdered and one was murdered two decades before. Impossible? Not when the door in the corner leads back to the same suite 20 years earlier. See website for show times and prices. Scripps Ranch Theatre, 9783 Avenue of Nations, Scripps Ranch, 858.578.7728.


Play on the Bay
Sept. 7. Enjoy spectacular food, drinks, live music, a silent auction and more in an unforgettable evening on the Bay Terrace of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort to support local education. Mike Hess Brewing will be creating two specialty seasonal beers, available for only one night at this event. 6-9 p.m. $100. 4000 Coronado Bay Road, Coronado, 619.424.4000. Tickets


Pups in PB Yappy Hour
Sept. 7. Bring your favorite furry friend to this special yappy hour at The Local Pacific Beach. Sip on drink specials from Tito’s Vodka and Second Chance Beer Co. with a portion of the proceeds from the featured drinks being donated to the Second Chance Dog Rescue. Several dogs will also be available for adoption. 5-8 p.m. 809 Thomas Ave., Pacific Beach, 858.263.7475.


19th Annual Gala in the Garden
Sept. 8. Explore various gardens while enjoying fine wine, craft beer, signature cocktails and the best dishes from local restaurants as well as live entertainment throughout. 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 p.m. $225+. San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, 760.436.3036.


Savor dishes by Joseph Elevado and nine other chefs at 10 Perfect Bites.

10 Perfect Bites
Sept. 9. Taste signature dishes from 10 of San Diego’s most respected chefs at this event benefitting Friendly Feast and Feeding San Diego. Start with the lightest appetizers progressing to heavier dishes before ending with dessert. Featured chefs include JC Colón (Hotel Republic), Joseph Elevado (Prep Kitchen), Jason McLeod (CH Projects) and more. Noon-2 p.m. $60. Hotel Republic, 421 W. B St., downtown. Tickets  


Punch Down at Carruth Cellars
Sept. 9. Want to know what it’s like to be a winemaker during crush season? Head to Carruth Cellars to participate in a punch down for yourself using a long pole to push down the “cap” that floats to the top of the bin during wine’s primary fermentation. No experience is required. Celebrate your hard work with with a glass of wine afterward. Daily 6-7 p.m. (subject to change). 118 S. Cedros Ave. #C, Solana Beach.  


Goldfinch Gathering
Sept. 12. Join this cocktail-style party the second Wednesday of every month at The Patio on Goldfinch. Enjoy discounted drinks, socialize on the patio and snack on small passed bites. 4:30-6:30 p.m. $20 at the door. 4020 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills, 619.501.5090.   


Catch the sunset with a glass of Moet & Chandon at the Sip into Summer Wine Series.

Sip into Summer Wines Series
Sept. 12. Cheers to the last night of TOWER23’s Sip into Summer Wine Series. Watch the sunset as you listen to live music and sip on bubbly by Moet & Chandon. 6-8 p.m. $25. Tower Deck at TOWER23 Hotel, 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.2323. Tickets   


“Bull in a China Shop”
Opens Sept. 13.
 Witness the San Diego premiere of the true story of Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks as they set out to revolutionize women’s education and electrify the suffrage movement. Told with a modern twist, this surprising, whip-smart comedy examines the ambition and desires of two women bent on changing the course of history, and how they ended up changing each other. See website for show times. $15-$55. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. #101, University Heights, 619.220.0097.


Sip & Savasana
Sept. 13. Spend one of your last summer evenings with a yoga class and cocktails on the Kimpton Solamar hotel’s rooftop while watching the sunset. Enjoy a light vinyasa flow yoga class overlooking Petco Park and the downtown San Diego skyline with cocktail specials as well as local vendors showing off goods after the class. 6-8 p.m. Free, bring own yoga mat. 435 Sixth Ave., downtown, 619.819.9500.  


Sit back and relax to enjoy The Westgate Hotel’s Sunset Poolside Jazz Series.

Sunset Poolside Jazz Series
Sept. 13. Jazz enthusiasts can sway and groove to the sounds of Robert Dove poolside at The Westgate Hotel set against the backdrop of the San Diego skyline at sunset. Sip on signature cocktails, wine and beer, plus enjoy a gourmet array of appetizers and tapas. 6:30-9:30 p.m. $25 minimum consumption per person. 1055 Second Ave., downtown, 619.238.1818.


Baja Wines vs. Modern Times Beer Dinner
Sept. 14.
 Baja wines go head to head with Modern Times at Vintana Wine + Dine for a four-course showdown. Executive Chef Deborah Scott will be serving up plates to complement the distinguished flavors of select Baja wines and Modern Times beers, including pan-seared Icelandic cod, venison medallions and more. Each course will be paired with one wine and one beer, leaving the winner of each round in your hands. Call for reservations. 6-9 p.m. $79. 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido, 760.745.7777.  


Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Sept. 14. Texas-native Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears return with a new trio of gritty, punked-up blues and rock-influenced tracks for an extensive North American tour. They will be performing each of the new tracks plus the signature raw blues-based tunes fans have come to love throughout the band’s career. Doors 8:30 p.m., show 9:30 p.m. $22. The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. Tickets  


Sept. 14-16. Make plans for this three-day “experiential” festival featuring music, comedy, food, wine and art. Catch headliners Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry and Robert Plant, plus dozens of other musical acts on multiple stages. Featured chefs include Richard Blais, Brian Malarkey, Ludo Lefebvre and many more. Be sure to explore the variety of murals and art installations on display. See website for schedule and prices. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.


25th Annual Classic Longboard Surfing Contest
Sept. 15. Gather for this nostalgic competition of surf enthusiasts on their vintage surfboards. Proceeds from the event go to benefit Drowning Prevention Foundation of San Diego aka San Diego Junior Lifeguards. 8:15 a.m. Free to attend; $30 surfer early registration, $40 day-of. North of Crystal Pier, 4500 Ocean Blvd., Pacific Beach.


Sample food from a variety of restaurants at Taste of South Park.

Taste of South Park
Sept. 15. 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.


Sunday Asado
Sept. 16.
 Venture to Valley Center to celebrate the Brownwoods’ seasonal wet hop harvest with a Sunday Asado cookout. Nopalito farms will showcase specialty beer collaborations from the best of San Diego’s local breweries, wood-fired dishes from Miho Catering, specialty cocktails in partnership with Old Harbor Distilling Co., live bluegrass music and more. 1-4 p.m. $80. Nopalito Farms, 30321 Castlecrest Dr., Valley Center, 760.651.2150. Tickets


Wine & Bites
Sept. 18. Taste nine exclusive wines from Amici’s reserve cellar including two Robert Parker rated 100 point wines and two 95+ point wines. The wines will be complemented by small bites curated by Amici’s head chef, Rhoelle Gabriel, including braised short rib caramelle with caramelized onion soubise and aged balsamic vinegar; prosciutto wrapped honey roasted fresh fig with Marcona almond and humboldt fog; and more. 6-8 p.m. $49.99. 5980 Village Way #B106, Carmel Valley, 858.847.2740. Tickets


Taste your way through Valle de Guadalupe on Rancho Valencia’s sunset patio at this Wine Dinner.

Valle de Guadalupe Wine Dinner
Sept. 20. Rancho Valencia brings the acclaimed quality and taste of Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe wine region to Rancho Santa Fe during an exclusive dining experience. Enjoy an intimate evening of exotic flavors from four renowned Valle de Guadalupe winemakers—Adobe Guadalupe, Bodegas Henri Lurton, Casa Magoni and Vinas de la Erre—and authentic family-style Mexican cuisine set to the ambiance of a live flamenco guitarist. Call for reservations. 7-10 p.m. $125. Sunset Patio at Rancho Valencia, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6246.


Opens Sept. 21. Starring Keone and Mari in the lead roles, this production is inspired by the classic tale of Romeo & Juliet and current social stories from all over the world. BEYOND BABEL is told entirely through the style of West Coast Urban Dance set to a contemporary soundtrack featuring a cast of 12 elite dancers. See website for show times. $35+. Beyond Babel Theater, 2625 Imperial Ave., Grant Hill, 866.811.4111.


San Diego Festival of Beer
Sept. 22. 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 Belching Beaver, Boochcraft and Absolution Brewing Company 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  


ArtWalk Carlsbad
Sept. 22-23. Peruse art from more than 175 visual artists as they show and sell their work. In addition, approximately 50 chalk artists will be creating temporary masterpieces on the asphalt live at this event. Sa 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Su 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $10 in advance; $12 at the gate; free for children 16 and under. Armada Drive (above the Flower Fields off of Palomar Airport Road).  


Culture & Cocktails
Sept. 27. Celebrate the upcoming exhibition “Javier Marin” at the San Diego Museum of Art. See statues come to life, participate in live figure drawing, watch contortionists twist and bend, indulge in desserts by Home Kitchen Culture and dine al fresco in the park with comfort food from the Fork Yeah Food Truck. 6-10 p.m. Pre-Sale: $5 members, $25 nonmembers; day-of: $10 members, $35 nonmembers. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.232.7931.


San Diego Sake Festival
Sept. 29. Say “Kampai!” to World Sake Day by tasting more than 20 different types of sake with your very own ochoco sake glassware. Meet the local sake brewers and sommeliers to learn everything about sake while sampling hibachi food pairing samples curated by Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop. 2-6 p.m. $35-$40. Quartyard, 1301 Market St., East Village. Tickets


Adams Avenue Street Fair
Sept. 29-30. Experience Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival. 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.  


Header photo courtesy of Chemistry PR. 10 Perfect Bites photo courtesy of H2 Public Relations. Taste of South Park photo by Hale Production Studios. 


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