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8+ Outdoor Events That Will Make You Feel Like Spring Has Arrived

These upcoming San Diego area festivals will have you beating the winter blues in no time

Image Credits Lakehouse Hotel & Resort: Courtesy of Lakehouse Hotel & Resort; Shamrock: Eric Scire; The Lodge at Torrey Pines: Courtesy of The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Because it has been a long, wet winter, few things sound more appealing than breaking out and partying in the sunshine. These upcoming San Diego area festivals will have you beating the winter blues in no time. 

1. Lakehouse Food & Wine Festival | March 11, 11am-4pm

It’s tough to beat a day of fantastic food and drinks from purveyors around the county enjoyed on a grassy lakeside shore. Which is exactly why we’re excited that the Lakehouse Food & Wine Festival is back for a second year at the adorable Lakehouse Hotel & Resort in San Marcos.

The list of participating local eateries, breweries, and wineries is long and impressive, a few of which are Amalfi Cucina ItalianaHandel’s Ice Cream, Ranch 45Nectarine GroveLeucadia Co. (the folks behind Moto Deli, Hamburger Hut, and Valentina), Grand Del MarThe Golden DoorCalifino TequilaForgotten Barrel WineryKarl Strauss Brewing CompanyBoochcraftKookslams Hard SeltzerBurgeon Beer Company, and Daou Vineyards

General admission tickets are $85 and include all-you-can-taste sips and bites, and of course, there’s also a VIP option.  As a VIP ticket holder ($175), you’ll experience a boat ride to Lakehouse Island for a private sushi tasting from Cannonball Sushi, oyster shucking, a private bar, and a VIP lounge area. All tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.

2. ShamRock St. Paddy’s Day Music + Beer Festival | March 17, 4-11pm
A green beacon of light between Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the finest examples of outdoor revelry, and San Diego embraces the holiday with aplomb. ShamRock St. Paddy’s Day Music & Beer Festival features three stages hosting everything from traditional Irish music and dancing to tribute bands to DJs to — our favorite — shenanigans, where partygoers participate in games and competitions for prizes. All the while, green beverages (not just beer) will flow. Tickets are $49, with a $99 VIP option that includes dedicated entry, entry in the Lucky Leprechaun VIP Irish Pub including four free drinks and $1 off additional beverages, and more.

3. East Village Opening Weekend Block Party | April 1, 10am-5pm
Because spring also means baseball, what better way to usher in the Padres season than at the 11th annual East Village Opening Weekend Block Party? Free to attend, the festival will take place on J Street from 7th to 10th Avenue in front of Petco Park and features everything we love about a good outdoor party:  live music and entertainment, tasty bites, beer and cocktails (including the debut of a Musgrove Mango hard seltzer from Ashland Hard Seltzer), local retail vendors, a Dryvebox golf simulator experience, photo opportunities, and a variety of fun family-friendly activities. Make a day (and night of it) with tickets to the Saturday game of the  Padres vs. Rockies opening series, with first pitch at 5:40pm and capped off with post-game fireworks.

4. Celebrate the Craft | April 16
The Lodge at Torrey Pines presents the 20th Celebrate the Craft culinary festival, a premier showcase of California’s agricultural bounty and epicurean craftsmanship. From 11:30am-3pm, Celebrate the Craft will bring together dozens of the region’s finest chefs and food artisans (Kelli CrossonRoberto AlcocerJason KnibbDrew Deckman, and more), farmers, ranchers, fishmongers, wineries (including DaouDuckhornSilver OakFar Niente), distilleries, and breweries in one stunning outdoor setting: The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ Arroyo Terrace overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Tickets include extensive offerings of food tastings, wine, craft beer, and complimentary valet and self-parking. A portion of all ticket proceeds will be donated to The Ecology Center

5. Taste of Leucadia | April 20
The Leucadia 101 Main Street Association presents its annual Taste of Leucadia street festival in a celebration of all that makes this community of Encinitas so unique. Tickets start at $50 and include tastes from local restaurants, beverages samples, “Sip Stops” inside Leucadia businesses, live music, free shuttle service with stops between La Costa Ave. Park and Ride and Coastal Animal Hospital, a Leucadia 101 plant-based, and a reusable silverware kit to cut down on waste. The event takes place from 5-8pm, with (required) check-in available beginning at 4:45pm. Don’t forget an ID — all vendors serving alcohol will be checking. All event proceeds benefit the nonprofit Leucadia 101 Main Street Association.

6. Padres Beerfest | Multiple Dates
What’s better than one day of fun? A whole series, of course. Enter: Padres Beerfest, a pregame, happy hour tailgate-style party with live music and $5 beer specials from local and national breweries. Taking place inside the gates at Petco Park’s Park at the Park, Gallagher Square, Beerfest is included with your game ticket and kicks off select Friday night Padres games nights early, with beer tasting commencing at 4:30pm and continuing until just before the first pitch at 6:40pm. The 2023 Beerfest schedule includes the following games/dates: March 31 vs. Colorado Rockies, April 14 vs. Milwaukee Brewers, May 19 vs. Boston Red Sox, June 16, vs. Tampa Bay Rays “Star Wars Beerfest,” June 23 vs. Washington Nationals “CervezaFest,” July 28 vs. Texas Rangers, and August 18 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks.

7. Tequila & Taco Music Festival | April 22-23
Speaking of multi-day events, California’s largest traveling Tequila & Taco Music Festival is coming back to San Diego, also at Gallagher Square in Petco Park. The weekend will feature top-shelf tequila sampling complemented by gourmet street tacos plus live music (including Lil Jon on Sunday, April 23), margaritas, craft beer, and additional vendorsHours for Saturday, April 22 will be 1-9pm; Sunday, April 23 will be 12-6pm. General admission tickets get you inside, while 2-Person Margarita Experience tickets come with two margaritas, and Tequila Experience tickets each include admission, a souvenir cup, and top shelf tastings.

8. Gator by the Bay | May 11-14 
The 20th annual Gator by the Bay by the Bon Temps Social Club of San Diego brings the music of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou to Spanish Landing Park with live Zydeco, blues, roots, Creole & Cajun, rockabilly, salsa and New Orleans Jazz, as well as strolling buskers, kids’ activities, and daily Mardi Gras parades. The four-day festival will feature more than 100 performances including two-time GRAMMY award-winner and eighth generation Louisiana Creole Terrance Simien on May 11, while visitors are enticed by an array of offerings of Louisiana cuisine at The French Quarter Food Court: Po’Boys, beignets, boudin and andouille sausage, hushpuppies, red beans and rice, Jambalaya, gumbo (gator and chicken), etouffee, gator on a stick and a staggering 10,000 pounds of crawfish. Single and multi-day tickets are available, with early bird pricing available for a limited time on advance ticket purchases.


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