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Del Mar

Del Mar
This San Diego County beach town is home to blissful ocean views, but it also knows how to throw a party

Despite Del Mar’s idyllic ocean-front setting, this little town just north of San Diego was, in many ways, born around horses. The Del Mar Racetrack was co-founded in the late 1930s by Bing Crosby, whose star power attracted an influx of his Hollywood peers and helped put the town on the map—sometimes rather literally. The road leading to the course and fairground entrance is Jimmy Durante Boulevard, a homage to the raspy-voiced character actor who loved the place.

Racing takes place during the summer season, as well as during November’s short Bing Crosby Season. Opening Day in mid-July is one of the few times around mellow San Diego when you'll see locals dressed to the nines, including a parade of fabulously impractical hats. For the rest of the year, the track’s turf hosts festivals such as June’s county fair and September’s rock-meets-foodie festival Kaaboo.

Take a short walk from the fairground to Viewpoint Brewing Co., Del Mar's first local brewery, where the tasting menu includes the house’s Red Rye IPA and the Mandarina Pale Ale, paired with small plates; while here, enjoy watching the sunset over the lagoon or playing lawn games next to the outdoor patio. 

The mile-long heart of Del Mar runs along State Highway 101, just south of the track, with a mix of Tudor- and Spanish-style buildings. Along the way you’ll find plenty of places to eat, drink and relax, with live music and cocktails at Zel’s, the Cal-Mex dishes at open-air En Fuego Cantina & Grill, and seasonal comfort food at Prep Kitchen. For sunset views, grab a seat at the shopping-and-restaurant-lined Del Mar Plaza (anchored by foodie-magnet Pacifica Del Mar), with its huge, elevated seating area. 

The luxury L’Auberge Del Mar hotel sits at the centre of town, a short walk from grassy Powerhouse Park and its adjacent surf-friendly beach. While the interior of the hotel’s Kitchen 1540 restaurant is undergoing a revamp, executive chef Nathan Lingle and his team continue to showcase the bounty of local in-season produce at their waterfront al fresco restaurant, Coastline. Lingle and his team introduced Patio at Night, a 'pop-up' concept that highlights the freshest, in-season produce in surprising ways—everything from an inventive corn-based funnel cake (think across between a doughnut and churros) to the simple 'perfect fruit', a sampling of the best fruit they tasted at the farmers' market that week. Order the $50 family meal to taste the kitchen's freshest farm-to-table dishes.

Restaurants on the sand are a relative rarity on California’s public beaches, but Del Mar Beach is home to Jake’s Del Mar and Poseidon on the Beach, two well-established favourites. 'What really attracts people to Del Mar is its quaint village feel,' says K. C. Vafiadis, the chair of the Del Mar Village Association. 'It will never grow too much because, geographically, its borders are the lagoons to the north and south, the freeway to the east and, of course, the ocean to the west. People like the familiarity, which they return for year after year.'

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Windansea Beach by Myles McGuinness

Southern California

Discover San Diego County

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21
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
22°
High
15°
Low
Dec - Feb
18°
High
9°
Low
Mar - May
19°
High
13°
Low
June - Aug
23°
High
18°
Low

Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean and a year-round daily forecast of 21°C and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of California is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and LEGOLAND California Resort.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla . Enjoy world class golf at Torrey Pines and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

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Stretching 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the Pacific Ocean.
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