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San Diego: What's on When

Each year, San Diego hosts an impressive number of festivals and events, including Comic-Con International, the world-class Miramar Air Show, holiday marches and parades and art, film, food and beer festivals.

With such a wide variety of events, there's something to suit every visitor's tastes. The award-winning travel team at will make sure you don't miss out on the festivities, with the lowest possible rates on San Diego flights, hotels and car rental.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade
Each year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated with a parade through the streets of downtown San Diego. This popular event is in fact one of the largest parades held in honour of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States. Expect to see drill teams, marching bands, dazzling floats and antique cars fill the streets. The parade is organised by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. - the oldest African American fraternity in America, of which Dr. King was a member.


Brazil Carnival
San Diego's official Mardi Gras Ball first took place in 1993. Held in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, this annual party has grown into downtown San Diego's largest annual event. The block party is spread across a number of stages, and features sultry samba performances, electrifying Capoeira exhibits, non-stop music from live bands and DJs, a dazzling parade, and a costume contest.


St Patrick's Day Parade and Irish Festival
This is one of the most popular annual events in San Diego, as well as one of the largest single-day events in the city. The parade sees more than 120 entries each year, including colourful floats, marching bands, clowns, horses, rollerskaters, dance troupes, bagpipe contingents, drill teams and antique cars, as well as representatives from Ireland and the reigning Miss Colleen and Smiling Irishman.
The parade is held in conjunction with a festival. Festival attractions include live entertainment on two stages, food and craft booths, beer gardens, and a Celtic Village, which hosts authentic fighting demonstrations, Irish dance displays and story-telling.


Coronado Flower Show
Each year San Diego hosts the largest tented flower show in the USA. The Coronado Flower Show, which has been an institution since 1922, welcomes thousands of gardening and flower enthusiasts each year. Spread out across Coronado’s Spreckels Park, the weekend-long event features landscape and flower exhibits (with awards and trophies for the best displays) as well as live entertainment, wine events, lectures, plant sales and food and beer stalls.


Cinco de Mayo
Old Town hosts the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration north of the Mexican border. Also known as “Fiesta Old Town”, this popular event consists of three days of music, food and entertainment, including live flamenco and mariachi stages, shopping areas, beer gardens, tequila sampling stands, and more than 20 food locations.
Going strong for over 30 years, the fiesta also includes a battle re-enactment and a march by uniformed troops, to commemorate the victory of Mexican soldiers over the French at the battle of Puebla in 1862.


Taste of Gaslamp
This annual fair showcases some of the best food on the West Coast. The self-guided culinary walking tour takes diners through the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where they can sample specialties from over 40 restaurants, bistros and "gastropubs" in the area. Food on offer includes seafood, bar snacks, tapas, Mexican, Italian and Indian cuisine.


Comic-Con International
San Diego is home to the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world – Comic-Con International. Each year the conference celebrates the contribution of comics to art and culture, and plays host to thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books from around the world. The convention is held over an entire weekend and features auctions, celebrity appearances, film screenings, seminars, Q&A sessions and plenty of shopping opportunities.


ArtWalk NTC @ Liberty Station
This fine art festival, formerly known as ArtWalk on the Bay, takes place in San Diego’s arts and culture district, NTC @ Liberty Station. The festival features more than 200 local, regional and international artists, musical performers, street food, beer and wine, and art activities for kids to enjoy. Art on display includes oil paintings, photographic prints and jewellery.


San Diego Film Festival

Each September, San Diego hosts The San Diego Latino Film Festival, The San Diego Asian Film Festival and The San Diego Film Festival. Taking place over 5 days in downtown San Diego, The San Diego Film Festival includes screenings of over a hundred features, shorts, documentaries and music videos from around the world. There are also educational panels and interviews with directors and actors, as well as cocktail parties as part of the festival.


Miramar Air Show
Held at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where the 1980s action-drama Top Gun was filmed, the Miramar Air Show is considered one of the best air shows in the world; as well as the largest military air show in the United States. The event takes place over three days and features aerobatic performances by military and civilian aircraft – with pyrotechnic and firework displays on Saturday evening – as well as a large number of static displays of Military, Navy, Army, Air Force, civilian and historic aircraft.


San Diego Beer Week
San Diego is home to more than 100 breweries and is world-renowned for its award-winning craft beers. In fact, San Diego County won medals in the categories Rye Beer, Pale Ale, Aged Beer, Old/Strong Ale and Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout at the 2014 World Beer Cup, and took home a whopping 19 medals at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. San Diego Beer Week is a 10-day celebration of this burgeoning beer culture, with beer-centric events taking place across the county. The closing-day event, which pairs top chefs with local brew masters, is a highlight.


Mission Bay Boat Parade of Lights
This annual event is held in San Diego Bay over two Sundays, and has been a local festive institution for over 40 years. Widely considered one of the most spectacular boat displays in California, the event includes a parade of more than 80 boats, decked out in Christmas decorations. The parade commences at the south-west end of Shelter Island and concludes at the navy carrier turning basin. For the best view of the parade head to either Crown Point, on the east side of Vacation Island, or the west side of Fiesta Island, or book a table at a restaurant on the waterfront at Seaport Village. With, you can book your dream holiday to San Diego now! We receive new deals on San Diego flights, hotels, holidays and car hire daily, enabling us to offer great low prices.

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