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Best San Diego Brewery Tours – Recommended by a Local

May 22, 2023 By: Maria Haase This article may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you buy through our links.

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San Diego is a beer lovers' paradise! To get a real feel for the California beer culture, join one of these San Diego brewery tours! 3 beer glasses in the front with beer kegs in the background - Text overlay: Best Brewery Tours in San Diego

When you think of San Diego , you probably think of white sand beaches and bright blue skies, but the city has so much more to offer, including its fantastic breweries. With over 150 breweries, it’s home to more breweries than anywhere else in California. It’s no wonder San Diego is classified as a beer enthusiast’s paradise.

My husband Greg and I love beer. We have been brewing beer at home for many years. We also love checking out new breweries as well as hanging out at our local favorites here in San Diego. Over the years, we have done a few brewery tours in San Diego as well. We love that we don’t have to worry about a designated driver and how easy it is to organize. We have wasted precious time trying to decide which breweries to go to, in which order, and guestimating how much an Uber or Lift is going to cost etc. With a tour, you just hop on the bus and enjoy and you know exactly how much it will cost before you go.

group of young people at a pub crawl

🥇Best Rated San Diego Beer Tour

Don’t have time to read the whole article? Book the highest-rated San Diego Beer Tour with 53 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Star ratings on Viator!

Whether looking to tour multiple breweries where you can sample many beers throughout San Diego, or a local tour to a lesser-known establishment that specializes in craft beer, you’re spoiled for choice.

To get a real feel for the California beer culture, join one of these San Diego brewery tours that offer unforgettable days out.

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The Best San Diego Brewery Tours

North park beerucation tour.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 53 Star Reviews “Such a fun experience! The tour is thorough and delicious. Would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to have a locals experience of North Park breweries.”

The San Diego neighborhood of North Park is referred to as a mecca for lovers of one or two brews. North Park was once a district filled with dirty old street cars, but it has received much rejuvenation over the years. The introduction of ample hipsters looking to leave their footprint on the area has resulted in a huge increase in breweries popping up. Nobody’s complaining.

Embark on a beer-tasting experience like no other! Try different craft brews at three to four award-winning breweries, all of which are known for their version of the good stuff. A local beer expert will be by your side at all times. The guide will provide a wide range of knowledge and supply delicious snacks that complement each drink. Nothing goes better with a pint than a tasty bite to eat.

One thing you can’t complain about on this beer tour in San Diego is that all beverages and snacks are included. Drink up, folks, this is definitely one of the best brewery tours in San Diego!

The North Park Beerucation Tour lasts approximately three hours. Don’t be afraid to ask your guide any questions, they know everything there is to know about San Diego beer. It’s not just all about drinking, you know.

Unfortunately, there’s no pick-up included with this tour. Although, fortunately, there’s a central meeting point that suits all parties at University Avenue.

Flight of craft beer in various colors on a table

Small Group Brewery Hopping Tour

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 39 Star Reviews “Best time ever celebrated my daughters bday with family. Mike was awesome. We are locals but our city has a lot to offer so gota take advantage of site seeing what we forget is here. Thx Mike”

Learn about San Diego’s craft brew scene by signing up for this small group brewery tour of San Diego. You’ll be taken to three unique, local breweries to learn about the work that goes into making their special product. To make things even better, one flight of beer samples at each bar will be included in your reservation. Yes, you heard that correctly.

The four-hour San Diego beer tour has space for up to ten people. If you have a decent number of people looking to learn all about craft breweries, this is the one for you.

You’ll be picked up by an enthusiastic driver/tour guide who knows a thing or two about beer. Their vehicle isn’t just any vehicle, it’s an open-air motor. Therefore, expect the fresh sea breeze to hit your face when driving down the coast. Fresh bottled water will be provided during your journey, but who wants that when there’s booze waiting ahead?

Open air convertable van with seats in the back, no roof full of people who take part in a San diego Brewery tour

Usually, the time spent at each brewery varies. During this beer tour of San Diego you’ll spend roughly an hour in the first spot, 45 minutes in the second, and finish off in the final spot with the remaining time. There’s a huge possibility you’ll forget what time it is by then.

By choosing this tour, there’s a possibility you could end up at some of the best breweries in San Diego. Mike Hess, Belching Beaver, Fall Brewing, Rip Current Brewing, Modern Times, Thorn St Brewery, Half Door Brewery, and Ballast Point are among the options. 

Pickup from various hotels in San Diego is available upon request. Alternatively, the meeting point is in front of the Whiskey Girl bar, an easy location that everyone can get to.

beer safari san diego

Cruise And Booze Through North Coast’s Craft Breweries

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Star Reviews “WOW! What a fun day! Seriously, I cannot stress this enough… WHAT A FUN DAY!”

Take off on a drinking journey to see North County’s most exciting craft breweries. Enjoy a half-day San Diego brewery tour in a vintage VW Vanagon and visit three noteworthy craft establishments.

Your brewery tour in San Diego will either begin at one of the agreed-upon meeting points or if your hotel is on the pickup list, you’re in luck. The first stop will be Wild Barrel Brewing. Here your guide will take you on a tour of the vicinity and there will be time to order some beers at the site’s bar. It’s going to be hard to get you guys out of there.

6 people standing in front of vintage yellow VW bus for San Diego Brewery Tours

Next up is Wildbrew Vista. Allow your guide to take you to the cold room and catch a glimpse of the equipment used to maintain quality. It’s an eye-opening experience that gives you a good idea of the work that goes into keeping the product at the proper temperature at all times.

Finally, visit the award-winning Jacked Up Brewery owned by a lovely guy named Michale. Explore the facility while listening to his favorite music, and finish things up with a flight of beers produced by Michale’s brewery on the tour operator. Beers to that, folks!

Some alcohol, snacks, and water are included with your booking. Although at the breweries, you’ll have to do beer tastings at your own expense. Please note that at the first two places you stop, you’ll have to pay for an admission fee ticket.

This private San Diego brewery tour lasts for four and a half hours. Once finished, you’ll be dropped back at the meeting point, where you can continue drinking beer.

beer safari san diego

All-Inclusive Brewery Tour In A Fire Truck

This brewery tour can be fully customized to your needs and is a fun choice whether you’re having a bachelor party or looking to organize a corporate team-building day out. You choose a time and what breweries you’d like to visit, and the company does all of the work.

Hotel pick-up is available from various properties in San Diego. Just be sure to check out the list to make sure yours is on it before booking. Once the company confirms it, you’re good to go. On the day of the excursion, your guide will arrive in a flashy red fire truck with some welcome beers and bottled water to kick things off the right way.

If you haven’t got much knowledge about breweries in San Diego, the tour company will provide you with a couple of itineraries, and you can decide which ones you’d like to go to out of the suggestions. 

There’s an exciting route on their tour description, which includes a visit to Mission Brewery, which was once a Wonderbread Factory. Then you’ll head on to the Belching Beaver North Park, famed for its peanut butter stout, before finishing up for a round of beers at Thorn Street Brewery.

All alcoholic beverages are included in the price. If you have somebody in your group under the age of 21, they can still come along but won’t be able to consume any alcohol.

Beer Tasting And Brewery Tour In San Diego By Motorcycle Sidecar

Dive deep into San Diego’s beer scene by joining this two-and-a-half-hour brewery tour by motorcycle sidecar. Zoom through the city streets between three breweries accompanied by an experienced driver who knows the city streets like nobody else. Start at Stone Brewing Tap Room – Kettner, where the brewery’s host will look after you. 

Learn about its interesting background history and enjoy a flight of beers poured right in front of you. Afterward, your driver will escort you to Ballast Point Brewing in Little Italy, known for their massive selection of local beers. Of course, you’ll get to try some out for yourselves. Finally, you’ll end up at the Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room to chat with some of the company’s brewers over some of their beer. Feel free to ask them all the questions you have about the industry.

The private tour departs from out the front of Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa. Your driver will be parked there waiting for you. All transport and beers are included in the price, so the only other expense you could have is if you want to grab some food at one of the breweries.

It’s possible to tailor the itinerary in whatever way you like. You can contact the company for more information.

Whether local or enjoying a trip to San Diego, any of these San Diego beer tours is a great way to spend an afternoon. With so many fun San Diego brewery tours to choose from, which will you join first!?

We have only scratched the surface regarding brewery tours in San Diego. It’s well-known that the city takes real pride in its beer and breweries. So whichever of our picks you choose from our list, you’re in for a great experience where you’ll learn a lot and have the chance to try out a couple of new beers you can add to your shopping list.

Up for more libations? Check out the Best Distilleries in San Diego or the Best San Diego Wineries and these interesting California Beer Stats .

Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Anastasia Rybina

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About Maria Haase

Maria Haase has been a travel writer since 2007, stumbling into this profession during an internship in China. She grew up in Germany, but has lived in San Diego since 2006. Maria is a globetrotter, but also adores to explore her own back yard whenever she is home. She loves to share her favorite spots, help visitors plan their trips and share helpful tips about her chosen hometown San Diego.

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Trip Advisor

Craft Beer Brewery Tours in San Diego

beer safari san diego


beer safari san diego


beer safari san diego


beer safari san diego


Transportation for beer education.

Enjoy a day sampling a variety of award winning beers made in America's Finest City. Since 2007 Brewery Tours of San Diego's knowledgeable staff has been dedicated to educating guests on the unique histories and processes of San Diego's popular breweries.

It is no surprise that San Diego takes pride in their craft beer. With over 100 craft breweries in San Diego county, a beer enthusiast culture is thriving. Brewery Tours of San Diego provides a fun and safe way to visit San Diego's breweries, and taste many of their award winning beers.

beer safari san diego


Join other beer enthusiasts to go on the ultimate San Diego brewery experience. Learn about the  brewing process and taste a variety of great San Diego beers.

beer safari san diego


Tour San Diego breweries with your own private vehicle. Our driver will take your group of friends on a unique brewery adventure full of fun and beer tasting.

beer safari san diego


Treat your organization to San Diego’s finest beers as they tour the areas breweries. We can provide private brewery tours for larger groups and organizations.


We have a variety of tours to choose from!


Choose a tour route and join a group of other beer enthusiasts.

Private Tours

Book a custom brewery tour on a private bus for your group. Great for celebrating with friends or for corporate gatherings.

Beer Bus Activities

Book a private bus to get to and from other events and activities in San Diego.

Brewery Partners

Check out the many San Diego craft breweries we visit on our tours!

beer safari san diego

beer safari san diego

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San diego brewery tours.

San Diego brewery tour

San Diego harbors the highest number of breweries in California and one of the top ranks in the USA. With almost 200 craft breweries, this county qualifies as one of the most treasured beer lovers’ paradise.

That’s why most beer lovers yearn to knock on every brewery’s doors and have a taste of this favorite, delicious, and indigenous drink. However, not all San Diego breweries will give you the ultimate taste and feel of your kind of beer. But with over 100 breweries, how do you intend to pick the best from the average? That’s whereSan Diego brewery tours come in handy.

Table of contents

Brewery tours of san diego, social cycle, san diego brew tours, san diego brewery trolley tour, hotshots brewery tours, gold coast town services, turista libre, san diego brewery tours you have to try.

Each San Diego craft brewery tour works under specific conditions and provides unique packages. We conducted thorough research to develop a list of nine of the best brewery tours that will meet every need.

Besides, San Diego is a blessed county and an excellent place to spend your vacation. With the county’s stunning geography, perfect weather, exciting attractions, and rich nightlife. You can lose yourself to the magnificent views of the over 650 animal species at the San Diego Zoo, spend some quality time at some of the best  breweries in La Jolla , or visit the Museum of Us. 

The Scavengers take you to the  best breweries in North County, San Diego , and Downtown through a safari of three local breweries and conclude your adventure with a delicious BBQ lunch. Their open-air Swiss Army military auto, acquainted with bench seating, enables you to enjoy the refreshing breezes throughout your tour.

Their package includes:

  • One behind-the-scenes excursion.
  • 3-4 tasters during every stop.
  • A branded souvenir tasting glass.
  • A knowledgeable tour guide.
  • A BBQ serving.

Each of their trips constitutes up to 12 people.

  • Phone: (760) 208-3739
  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Available from Monday to Sunday

It’s time to enjoy sampling a variety of beers alongside a knowledgeable San Diego breweries staff dedicated to ensuring that you understand even the finest details of this favorite drink. 

Being a family-owned business, the Brewery Tours of San Diego treats their guests as part of their household with maximum respect and compassion. You can choose a route and book your seat alongside your fellow beer enthusiasts to join the public trips.

Also, they have private buses you can consider if you need your space with family or doing the tours as a corporate. Their prices are relatively fair, and they offer fun and safest North County San Diego brewery tours.

  • Phone: 619-961-7999
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Available from Mondays to Sundays.

Brew Hop offers the most professional and unique beer brewery tours and leads as the best partner to consider for private hires. Similarly, they have some of the most competent tour guides who will ensure that you build lasting memories.

  • Phone: 1-858-361-8457
  • Hours: 8 am to 9 pm

It’s fun to ride on Social Cycle’s 16-passenger bikes, making the whole experience touring some of the best North Park and Downtown San Diego breweries outstanding.

They offer hourly private bookings and public sessions. Every public trip commences after filling eight seats in the bikes. The private hirers, on the other hand, have more control. The company doesn’t care how many people ride in the bikes, provided they don’t exceed the maximum and each session is over two hours. 

  • Downtown, North Park, Little Italy, Hillcrest, & Pacific Beach
  • Phone: 619-210-0202
  • Hours: 10am to 10pm

Here’s a great option, especially if you want to enjoy beer along the Surfridge Brewery and North County IPA Brewery routes, and San Diego brewery walking tour   doesn’t work for you. Their package includes a behind-the-scenes brewery tour, a keepsake glass, and lunch at the Gastro Truck, Green Flash.

Similarly, their tours come with three stops at Green Flash, Ballast Point Scripps Ranch, and AlesSmith, all with flights. They are also the best option if you’re looking for a more personalized private tour.

  • Phone: 619-869-5188
  • Hours: 9 am to 6 pm

Treat yourself and friends to the best  San Diego breweries  offer while also making the experience adventurous and unique. These brewery tour experts bring in a whole new experience to the process of sampling different beers by using trolleys in their Downtown San Diego rides.

Enjoy up to 5.5 hours of fun, accompanied by four local VIP tastings, light lunch, beer flights at each stop, and a behind-the-scenes view of the beer-making procedures.

  • Phone: (858)551-5115
  • Open Monday to Sunday

Enjoy the best San Diego brewery tours with fully paid beer flights, a souvenir, lunch, and a behind-the-scenes view of the beer-making procedure. Similarly, HotShots Brewery Tours offers a competent tour guide to provide answers and help you understand every section of the process.

Again, they allow you to pick your destination and offer both 25 and 14-seater vehicles. Their vehicles are comfortable and in the right state and contain numerous technical add-ons to enhance your experience. They also provide other chauffeur services, including bachelor and bachelorette parties.

  • Phone: 619-869-5268

Make your San Diego walking tour memorable with fully customizable rides. Gold Coast Town Services provides top-notch transportation and brewery tours to every stop you desire across the East and North County of San Diego and Hawaii Island.

They also have experienced guides to help you decide on the best San Diego brewery tour routes to take, especially if you’re new to the region.

  • Phone: (616) 717-0808

Turista Libre is the partner to turn to if you’re unsure of the routes to take with your San Diego brewery tour. 

They have an updated list with the finest stops along the Baja California route. However, the motive is to ensure you get the best experience. Thus, the guide in your tour may gauge your group’s desire to branch off the path and take on some new adventures or add extra stops to your list.

  • Hours: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Open Mondays to Sundays

Your experience sampling beer across the numerous San Diego breweries relies on the kind of brewery tours you choose. There are several options, but not all of them will offer you the same results. As a result, it’s essential to read reviews of different San Diego brewery tours before settling on your final choice.

Note: The banner photo is courtesy of coronadobrewing.com.

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Ultimate Safari

$710 & up*.

*Per person. Admission is separate and required.

At A Glance

  • $710 & up per person
  • 5 hours or 7 hours

Ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by a paid adult. Special arrangements for children younger than 3 years of age can be made; please inquire when making reservations.

Selfie Sticks are not permitted on this tour and must be stowed away. Some selected tours may have additional safety restrictions.

Change/Cancellation: Reservations may be changed up to 3 days before the program. Changes made 3 days or less prior to the program are not permitted.  Cancellations received more than 3 days before the scheduled program are subject to a $200 Cancellation Fee. Cancellations made 3 days or less prior to program, payment is non-refundable.


The ultimate way to experience the Safari Park! Our team of professionals will customize your visit to suit your needs and interests. Looking for a journey to some of the most exclusive areas of the Safari Park? The Ultimate Safari is your key to habitat areas, animal interactions, and the very best in personalized service. Choose either a 5-hour or 7-hour Ultimate Safari, and enjoy exploring the Park with your own personal tour guide. Each Ultimate Safari is tailored to your interests and includes a sit-down lunch.

This very popular tour requires advance reservations (minimum 72 hours) and is subject to availability. Call 619-718-3000 to reserve your Ultimate Safari. If you prefer to be contacted, please complete this form . Ultimate Safari tours are priced per person. Admission is separate and required.

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Customizable:  The Safari experience of a lifetime! All Ultimate Safaris are customized to your specifications. Great for birthdays and other special occasions. Ask us how we can help plan your special day!


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San Diego Brewery Tours | Craft Beer Tasting


For exclusive transportation to San Diego’s award-winning breweries , San Diego Brewery tour offers signature packages . Our signature packages covers pick up, drop off and everything in-between for clients who want to visit their favorite craft breweries with ease. Our private services can transport large groups of over 100 down to 2 people. All of our vehicles are rigorously inspected and serviced to ensure a smooth and dependable ride. Our signature packages will give you stress-free, enjoyable transportation for any special occasion.

We are dedicated to providing our clients with unmatched luxury transportation and a memorable brewery tour experience. With a fleet of luxury vehicles that can accommodate any private tour driving needs, we are confident in our ability to get you to where you want to be, in the most enjoyable manner possible!

Ultimately what sets us apart as a brewery tour service in San Diego is our unyielding dedication to the satisfaction of our customers. All of our cars are meticulously serviced and cleaned for each client to ensure a faultless, pristine ride. All of our chauffeurs have years of experience and training, so you are ensured a safe trip no matter what your destination. If you want to learn more about our offers, please call and speak to one of our friendly representatives ( or request a free quote )—we look forward to hearing from you!

A common misconception associated with Brewery Tours in San Diego is that they are only for the rich or famous, however this can’t be farther from the truth. The trick to keep in mind is that you should be familiar with your San Diego Brewery Tour options and not simply opt in for the first service that you might come across.

What others are saying

I used them for a birthday brewery tour and it was great! They got us a good deal on a big bus to hold 25+ people and the booking process was very easy. Our driver, Roni, was very professional and really helped us plan our day to make the most of our time. He arrived on time and made sure everyone was having fun. …I would use them again any time! Jaimee L.
We took a San Diego brewery tour and we had a great time! Our driver Michele was really friendly and professional. I would definitely use them again and would recommend it to friends! Melissa M.
We used San Diego Brewery Tour for our friends birthday and couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. The driver Chad showed up right on time to pick us up and had a very professional attitude. He dropped us off downtown and showed back to pick us up right on time once again.I will defiantly be using them again in the future and would recommend them to anyone. Nick G.

Book Your San Diego Brewery Tour today!

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San Diego’s Most Novel Craft Beer Experiences

San Diego has established itself as a city fit for beer enthusiasts, with a wide variety of breweries, tours, and other experiences. Here, we highlight a handful that you’d be wise to check out, from gluten-free breweries to one that houses a sports museum.

Six-Wheel Beer Safaris

Ditch the utility van or bus as your typical beer tour transport. With Brewery Tours San Diego , you’ll travel in a vehicle you’d never expect to see bounding down the streets of San Diego: a Pinzgauer, a burly, six-wheeled, open-air, vintage Swiss safari vehicle that accommodates up to 12 passengers. Named “One of America’s Most Unique Beer Tours” by Forbes Travel , the 4.5-hour experience includes craft beer while you cruise, stops at three breweries of your choice (selected from a provided list), three to four tastings at each stop, and a hearty meal from Phil’s BBQ mid-tour. Sure, you could order a glass of wine to go with your mustard-glazed salmon, but that probably isn’t what the chef at Spike Africa’s would suggest. In fact, in addition to its menu of the freshest seafood around, this iconic Gaslamp restaurant is known for its robust selection of local craft beer. Still leery of the idea of consuming seafood and beer together? Let them convince you with one of their special seafood and beer pairing dinners – check out their calendar of events to see if they’ll be hosting one during your next vacation.

Beer with Bubbles

Modern Times’s Lomaland Fermentorium feels less like a tasting room, and more like some funky modern art gallery. From the 40-foot wall covered with comic book pages to the funky chandelier made up of LED lights to the 10,900 Post-It notes that make up a mosaic depicting Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, Bubbles, you could say that they achieved their stated goal of “super weird” decor. There are 32 beers on tap at any given time, but if you’re forced to choose just one, we’d recommend the Black House, a funky oatmeal coffee stout with a 96% rating on RateBeer .

Gluten Allergies Welcome

We’ve become more aware of gluten sensitivities as a society and restaurants have shifted their menus accordingly. But for Amplified Ale Works , the consideration starts at the core of everything they do, because one of their assistant brewers has celiac disease. So, all the beers that come out of their seven-barrel brewery are gluten reduced so that everyone can enjoy them. And they’re really good: Try the Whammy Bar Wheat, which took home the gold in the American Wheat category at the World Beer Cup.

A Tasting Room that Pays Tribute

It’s one thing to see sports memorabilia on the walls of a tasting room. But it’s a whole other thing to house an actual sports museum. That’s precisely what AleSmith Brewing Company set out to do when they opened their new 100,000-square-foot space – billed as San Diego County’s largest brewery tasting room – in 2015. In the following year, they premiered the Tony Gwynn Museum in the northwest corner of the facility, which honors the San Diego Padres slugger and houses hundreds of pieces of memorabilia collected by Gwynn’s widow over the course of his four-decade career. It adds yet another unique claim to this already highly acclaimed brewery: In 2014, RateBeer named AleSmith the “Best Brewery in the World.” That’s right, not the United States, not California, not San Diego – the world. Kona Kai Resort & Spa

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Where’s the Best Place to Eat at San Diego Safari Park?

Surprise! There’s a sit-down restaurant at Safari Park with appetizing food, full bar & amazing views. But it may not be the best choice for kids, breakfast, vegans, or eating nearby before or after your visit. So which one’s best for you?

The best restaurant in San Diego Safari Park is The Watering Hole at Kijamii Overlook. They’ve got a wide menu of appetizers, sandwiches, and salads. Prices are moderate at $15 – $20 for lunch per person with full table service and bar. Entrees are big enough to share. And the view is outstanding!

If you make purchases through the links in this post, I may be compensated. Read my Advertising Disclosure for more info. Thanks! ~ Nancy

* Save with a secret promo code on each San Diego Zoo or Safari Park 1-Day Pass. Go any day. Go directly to the gate. Click  HERE  to get your code, instructions & discounted tickets by email. By clicking the link above you agree to receive an automated email message. Valid only at aRes Travel , San Diego’s local authorized ticket seller. Read my full privacy policy .

Where's the best places to eat in San Diego Safari Park?

Read on for more of what to expect from The Watering Hole . But good as it is, it can’t be the best choice for everyone. So I’ve also collected info on the other eateries within San Diego Safari Park and nearby.

(Going to San Diego Zoo too? Here’s an article that I wrote on where to find the best food at the Zoo .)

IMPORTANT: All of the park’s restaurants can close early or may never open depending upon how many people are attending that day. Call 760-747-8702 on the morning of your visit to make sure that your eatery choice will be open for you.

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Why the Watering Hole is the Best Place to Eat at Safari Park

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The View is Spectacular at the Watering Hole

This restaurant has some of the most spectacular scenery in San Diego. There are 180-degree views overlooking Safari Park’s African Plains enclosure. No fence blocks your sightlines to rhinos, giraffes, wildebeest, many different types of antelope, and the Cape buffalo bachelor herd. Want to see more animals while you’re dining? Go to Africa.

Our waiter pointed out the Thompson’s gazelles. He called them “Cheetos” because they’re the cheetah’s favorite snack in the wild. 

There are no elephants out there. According to the FDA, the Safari Park needs to maintain a certain percentage of shade trees for the animals. The elephants would knock that percentage down to zero within a week. That’s why they are confined to Elephant Valley .

Delicious food at The Watering Hole in San Diego Safari Park. Beef and Cheddar, open-faced tuna sandwich, chips, mac-n-cheese.

Watering Hole at Kijamii Overlook Food is Unexpectedly Good, but Pricey

You’ll have a much better meal at the Watering Hole at Kijamii Overlook than you’d expect at a major tourist attraction. It’s tasty, solid, adult fare, and definitely not fast food. There’s a full bar. The staff is attentive and friendly. But it is not cheap. Like everything else at Safari Park, any profits go towards animal conservation and care. Consider the extra cost as a way to make the planet a better place.

My favorite thing at the Watering Hole is the house-fried potato chips (aka “crisps” to my friends across the pond). They’re hot, thin, crispy, and oh so crunchy. And the portion is big enough to make a rhino happy. Ok, that was just a slight exaggeration to emphasize that the serving is large. This side dish makes any of the sandwiches served here special.

Watering Hole Insider’s Tip:

This restaurant is popular. To avoid a long wait, make reservations on Open Table especially on weekends.

The Watering Hole opens at 11:00 AM:

Here’s a shortlist of dishes that I copied from their menu (see their latest posted menu here ). This list WILL CHANGE so don’t howl at me like a gibbon if you don’t see your favorite on the menu when you go to eat there:

  • Nachos – tortilla chips with chili, lime, salt seasonings, chipotle queso, nopales salsa, cotija cheese, black beans, corn, peppers, cilantro. Messy but good. Chicke option
  • Burrata and merinaded olives
  • Rhino-sized Pretzel with Pub Mustard and Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
  • Upscale sandwiches: pulled pork, beef and cheddar, open faced tuna. Served with fresh-made potato chips.
  • Salads: Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad, Caesar, wedge salad
  • Vegan: Beyond Sausage Sandwich – peppers, onions, marinated tomatoes, spicy pepperoncinis on an Italian roll
  • Kids meal – Mac ‘N’ Cheese or turkey sandwich, crackers, carrots, beverage
  • Desserts – Flourless Chocolate Torte, Sugar-crusted Brulee Cheesecake.

Ask your waiter for vegan and gluten-free options.

Rhino-sized pretzel with bacon beer cheese dip at The Watering Hole in San Diego Safari Park.

The Watering Hole has a full bar. The Baobab Tree Bar (see the photos below in the building and decor section) has a good selection of local craft beers, some on draft & wine.

Check out the special cocktails made just for that location. They had a Serengeti Sunset with coconut rum, orange juice, pineapple, and grenadine that looked tasty. But if you’re going to watch rhinos from your table, you might want one of their Charging Rhino drinks (California citrus vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and kiwi puree) instead.

The Watering Hole’s medium priced…for San Diego

Expect to spend between $15 – 20 for lunch per person for entrees unless you’re going to split them. And most of the plates are big enough for two. It will cost more if you order wine, craft beer, or cocktails.

It’s uncrowded, but accessible

It’s midway through the park and away from the heaviest crowds. It’s relatively easy for people with mobility issues to get to. Take an ADA bus from the Ranger Base (at map marker #2). The bus will let you off by Lion Camp. There’s a slight downhill and then a mild incline up to The Watering Hole.

There’s full table service

The servers are friendly and knowledgeable about the food, drinks and animals outside. All seating is under a breezy open-air pavilion. The covered patio construction provides plenty of shade. In the heat of summer there are water misters and fans to keep you cool.  

It’s kid-friendly

The grassy area in front of the restaurant between the covered eating area and the animal exhibit will keep your small critters corralled. They can run around like crazy without driving you there. 

The building and decor are exotically beautiful

The building was designed by Hubble and Hubble , an architectural company established by San Diego artist James Hubble and his son. They specialize in green structures that honor the earth and use natural, local materials whenever possible. 

The Watering Hole at San Diego Safari Park exterior and interior details. The Baobab Tree Bar is on the left side of the image.

The architectural style is modeled on traditional Cameroon African mud brick thatched huts. The (few) walls look as if they were hand formed with the occasional hand print embedded in the rough surface. 

Belly up to the Baobab Tree Bar for a beer. The building’s designers modeled it on some real trees in Africa and Australia with hollow insides that are used as meeting places.

If you look up once you’re inside the Watering Hole you’ll see polished timbers holding up a steeply pitched wood. There’s a “thatch” roof outside. It’s not really straw or reeds. No one at Safari Park is crazy enough to make roofs with dried grass in Escondido. That would be like building a roof with unlit matchsticks.

There are gender-neutral bathrooms. There’s also a large family bathroom for changing babies.

Summary-Why The Watering Hole’s the Best Food at Safari Park

The food at The Watering Hole is definitely the best at Safari Park, but it’s not 5 stars outstanding. However, you aren’t paying top dollar either. Service can be slow, but it’s always friendly. Kids may be noisily running everywhere. But there’s usually enough room to allow you to pick a seat away from the noisier groups. 

But most people that go to The Watering Hole to eat would go back again. There’s something magical about sharing a meal with rhinos…

NOTE: The Watering Hole is popular for weddings and corporate events so definitely check to see if it will be open when you get there. Make your reservations on Open Table .

The Best Places to Eat Breakfast in Safari Park

Thorntree Terrace Restaurant at Safari Park. Eat breakfast burritos and watch the binturongs

  • Thorntree Terrace

People eat at Thorntree Terrace because it is close to the park entrance with plenty of shaded seating around the restaurant. They have a limited selection of breakfast, lunch, and family-sized selections. Check out their menu here .

A variety of burgers with fries is served all day. The selection includes variations on cheese, bacon, and even a vegan one.

Breakfast’s served until 10:30 AM. You’ll find breakfast burritos, bowls with English muffins. Bob & I split a breakfast burrito and country potatoes. We were full afterward and we’re both tall people.

Thorntree Terrace lunch entrees are served starting at 11:00 AM. They have a decent Mandarin Orange Chicken salad and rice bowls. There’s also a family meal special with two rice bowls, drinks, and two kid’s meals.

INSIDERS TIP : Do you smell buttered popcorn while eating on the patio in the back of Thorntree Terrace? Don’t look around for a snack cart, look up and search for binturongs. They’re gray, arboreal omnivores with prehensile tails whose urine contains 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, the chemical compound that gives popcorn its aroma. They’re nicknamed ‘bearcats’. Find a table at the back of the restaurant and watch the sisters bask in the sunny treetops. Most visitors to Safari Park don’t even know these girls are there and miss out on a fun experience.

Safari Coffee Outpost

San Diego Safari Park's Safari Coffee Outpost. Say hi to Max the salmon-crested cockatoo.

You can buy espresso drinks, nitro coffee, mini donuts, and snacks here. Sometimes the public is allowed inside up to this point before the official park opening.

And if you happen to succumb to the temptation of coffee and sweets, great! Remember that when you buy at Safari Park you’re a ‘hero for wildlife.’ So toss the diet out the window. Buy two of everything!

Sit at the tables behind the Outpost and say hi to Max the Salmon-crested Cockatoo. He loves it when people talk to him. His squawks sound like he’s laughing with you.

The Best Places to Have Lunch in Safari Park

If you’re arriving around lunchtime.

  • Thorntree Terrace . Close to the park entrance at Safari Base Camp. Lunch menu: Rice bowls, salads, wraps, burgers, salads, and a selection of local craft beers, some on draft. 
  • Congo Kitchen . My second choice at the Base Camp. They often have an outdoor grill cooking up some tasty street tacos and nachos. 
  • Barking Deer Pizza & Beer . The name says it all. They serve a variety of hand-tossed Napoliano style pizza. But there’s no seating. Find a table behind Thorntree Terrace and watch the coati as you devour your pie.

If you’re halfway through Safari Park try these eateries

Choose The Watering Hole if you’re looking for the best experience . It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but the food is the best at the park and the ambiance can’t be beaten. 

San Diego Safari Park's Mombasa Cooker restaurant entrance. BBQ, burgers, salads, kids meals, corn dog, craft beers.

What can you eat at Mombasa Cooker? Grilled or breaded chicken tenders with 4 different types of sauce with fries or tots. Two adults can make a meal out of the 5-piece plate. You can also find hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads at this location. Their menu is shown here .

San Diego Safari Park's Okavango Outpost restaurant. Exterior, interior and artwork for sale.

Why do people eat at Okavango Outpost? Panini, wraps, chicken strips, salads, nachos, kids’ meals, and local craft beers (see their menu here). If you like the artwork, masks & baskets hanging on the walls, buy them! Check for price tags or ask the counter workers.

My favorite here is the Kilimanjaro Rotisserie Club sandwich. It’s served on a croissant and stuffed with chicken, bacon, and swiss cheese. There’s also a side of garlicky aioli.

Plant-based eaters, there’s something here for you too. Ask for the Artisan Salad to be made vegan style, which is without the usual feta cheese.

There’s some inside seating in this restaurant. But try the outdoor patio seats because they overlook the African Loop lagoon. In the spring and early summer, the trees are loaded with nesting white egrets. Some trees have so many nests that they look snow-covered from a distance. The egrets are local freeloaders who’ve come to hatch their young by the good fishing grounds provided by the park. 

Alcoholic drinks at Okavango Outpost at San Diego Safari Park

Drinks at Okavango Outpost. Are you an adventurous beer lover? Try the mega-sized beer float with chocolate sauce decadently spread over ice cream and whipped cream floating in a hearty dark ale. 

Coffee drinks!  For those who want the ice cream float without the booze, try the coffee float instead. It’s a rich and chilly caffeine buzz that’s big enough for two, but you probably won’t want to share.

For something a little different, try the Chimango drink. It’s mango sorbet, chamoy sauce, lime juice, and chili powder. Slightly spicy and altogether delicious on a hot day. Chimango is definitely a San Diego thing.

3 Best Places at Safari Park to Eat with Kids

These 3 Safari park restaurants and food stands have adjacent playgrounds. You can sit down and leisurely enjoy your meal while watching your little critters burn off calories.

Mawazo Kitchen – The best thing about Mawazo Kitchen is that it overlooks the Mawazo Woods Discovery Area (or Jungle Gym) playground. Feed the kiddos a Kids Meal or a burger then send them off to play. You can keep an eye on them while you’re sitting in the shade, eating a relaxed meal, and sipping a cold beverage or craft beer.

Entrees include various south of the border dishes, tacos, quesadillas, loaded salads, and a decent vegan black bean burger. Here’s their menu . The title says Samburu Terrace, which is what this restaurant used to be called. Location: At map marker #8.

Kibo Cones and Snacks – Grab some hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, churros, and snacks for the kids. Then head over to the nearby Oasis Deli for sandwiches, salads, coffee, beer, and wine for the grown-ups. There’s limited indoor seating at Oasis Deli ( menu ) and lots of comfy outdoor patio furniture where the adults can watch the kids eat and play pirate on the Amani Likoni. It’s a play structure built in the shape of an ancient Egyptian barge. Location: Close to map marker #6.

beer safari san diego

Lion Camp Slush and Snacks – Choose this one if the weather is beastly hot. It’s right next to the Savanna Cool Zone where the kids (and maybe you also) can play among the animal statue water fountains. The Cool Zone surface is soft, squishy, and wet so children can play safely. The menu is limited to hot dogs and salty snacks like pretzels and popcorn. Cold drinks like build-your-own slushies, carbonated beverages, and beer make this a favorite stop for those who need a break from the heat. Location: Close to map marker #14.

Eating Cheap (on a Budget) at Safari Park

Can you bring food into safari park.

YES! If you’re on a budget you can bring your own food and beverages into San Diego Safari Park. Carry them in backpacks, purses, or in your child’s stroller or wagon. No coolers, straws, glass bottles, or alcohol allowed. 

All Safari Park food venues will gladly refill your water bottles for free.

5 Tips to save if you can’t bring your own food

Safari Park cheap fountain drink refills

  • Buy a Fountain Beverage or Iced Tea at any of the food stations and keep the cup & straw all day. Refills are about $2. 
  • Congo Kitchen and Lion Camp Slush and Snacks have hot dogs and a decent pretzel. They’re cheaper than most options in the park and the kids will love them.
  • Look for the Family Meal deals. They are usually meant for 4 people and include 2 kids meals.
  • Share plates. Most entree, wraps and salad plates at Safari Park can feed two. 
  • Drink a couple of cups of water before your meal. It will fill you up and help you stay hydrated in the Escondido heat.

Best Outdoor Dining at Safari Park

Landscape views.

The best views at Safari park restaurants are at The Watering Hole and the Rift Sand Bar .

San Diego Safari Park's Rift Sand Bar with a great view

The Rift Sand Bar is a small snack shop located at the top of the elevators that take you down to Africa Woods and Lion Camp. There are a few shaded tables. The menu is limited to basic snacks, some sandwich wraps, and wine & spirits. But the high elevation view of most of the Park and the San Pasqual Valley is drool-worthy. 

Water views

Safari Park's Mombasa Lagoon eating areas. Oil pastel effect filter on photo.

The best places to eat with a water view in Safari Park are behind Mombasa Cooker and Kibo Cones and Snacks . Order your food and walk around to the sunny tables in the back.

Want shade? There are also plenty of tables inside the Mombasa Pavilion. Most of the time you can get a spot overlooking the lagoon and the island where a pair of shoebill storks live.

San Diego Safari Park Mombasa Lagoon sign with a black-crowned night heron perched on it.

The water in Mombasa Lagoon is teeming with birds from the African ducks and geese to the freeloading local coots, mallards, and egrets. 

Do They Serve Alcohol at Safari Park?

All of these dining venues at San Diego Zoo Safari Park serve draft/craft beers:

  • Thorntree Terrace 
  • Barking Deer Pizza & Beer
  • Congo Kitchen 
  • Mombasa Cooker
  • Macan Market
  • Sheared Sheep
  • Watering Hole at Kajamii Overlook (full bar)
  • Raptor’s Nest (also wine & spirits)
  • Mawazo Kitchen
  • Rift Sand Bar
  • Lion Camp Slush & Snacks
  • Okavango Outpost

There’s Gluten-free and Vegan Food at San Diego Safari Park

7 restaurants offer both vegan and gluten-free menu choices at Safari Park. They are scattered throughout the park. Since they also serve other food, these are good choices for everyone in your group.

  • Watering Hole at Kijamii Overlook

Valentines Day Dinner at Safari Park

beer safari san diego

Have a wildly romantic time at the annual Valentine’s Day Dinner at San Diego Safari Park. This exotic couples’ dinner usually takes place under the vaulted faux thatched roof of Hunte Nairobi Pavilion. Turn left at map marker #2.

You can expect a visit from one of the animal ambassadors (sometimes a cheetah), a no-host bar, and a four-course gourmet meal prepared by the Safari Park Chef. 

Check-in usually begins shortly after 5 PM. Expect to pay around $120 per couple. This event always sells out. Starting in mid-January check online at the Safari Park Dining Events page or call 619-718-3000 for information. 

Best Restaurants Near San Diego Safari Park

Fast food nearby.

The closest fast-food restaurants are located in the Westfield North County Mall.

  • Burger King
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Potato Corner (various styles of fries, chicken tenders & wings)

Cross Highway 15 and turn right into the Plaza del Lago Center and you’ll find:

  • Chito’s Taco Shop
  • Rock on Pizza

Best breakfast place close to Safari Park

Broken Yolk Cafe in Westfield Mall – The mall is right off Highway 15, so it’s very convenient. And parking is easy.

I’ll eat their Golden State Benedict anytime I can get it. It has the usual poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. But they add tomato, avocado (this IS San Diego, after all…), applewood smoked bacon and a zippy sriracha drizzle. Bob likes their chicken fried steak breakfast.

Nearby restaurants with great lunches

Personally, I’d go into Safari Park and order lunch at The Watering Hole, Okavango Outpost, or Thorntree Terrace and consider the little extra expense my gift to wildlife worldwide. But if you’re hungry before you get to the park or want something very different afterward try these:

Burger Bench – Unhinge your jaw-thick burgers with fresh local ingredients. You can upgrade to Impossible, Halal, or grass-fed Wagyu beef patties. Slurp down creatively flavored hand-made milkshakes. You must try the truffle fries or tots.

Chan Dara Thai Café – Large tasty portions for a reasonable price tucked away in an anonymous strip mall. Lunch specials for under $10. Try the See-Eyew Noodles, Phad Thai,  and their yellow curry. 

The unusual Angel Wings are worth a try. They’re chicken wings without the bones, stuffed with crab meat, ground chicken, and noodles. They’re deep-fried and served with cucumbers in a sweet plum sauce.

Careful with the spices at this restaurant. Level 4 is jalapeno, which is too much for me. 

Best Restaurants for Dinner near Safari Park

Cordiano Winery a restaurant close to San Diego Safari Park. Great views, pizza and wine.

Cordiano Winery – It’s a smidgen less than 2 miles as the crow flies from Safari Park. 9.5 miles on twisty country roads if you don’t have wings and have to get there by car. But the views, the pizza ($16-18), and wines are worth the drive. 

The rest of the entrees are also generously proportioned. Pasta plates are $13-14 each. They’ve also got appetizers and desserts. Unfortunately, they’re only open Thursday thru Sunday. 

Vintana Wine + Dine – It’s a bit expensive but perfect for a special night out. You enter through a Lexus dealership and go to an elevator which deposits you in the restaurant’s bar. There are great views both from the inside and out on the patio. 

But the food’s the real star. Delicious from appetizers to dessert. Try the Brie Wheel. Steak & lobster cooked just right. The key lime tarts are just tart enough. And they make popovers ! It’s taken me years to get mine to pop consistently, and doing it hundreds of times every night? Respect! 

Go See Wolves and Eat Pie in Julian

Go visit the Julian Pie Company in Julian, CA. The drive is beautiful. And it’s not just the pies that are delightful. There are about a dozen little eateries packed into three short blocks. If you can’t find good food there, you aren’t hungry. Then visit the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA (read my article HERE ). You’ll see gray wolves and the very endangered Mexican gray wolf up close.

Closing Thoughts

Never worry about finding something that you’ll enjoy eating at Safari Park. There are plenty of options for everyone. Click on the following page link if you’re wondering what to see and do at Safari Park when you’re not eating. Bon Appétit San Diego Safari Park style!

Nancy Ulrich

I'm nuts...about animals, polymer clay, mixed media art & husband Bob. Happily planted in San Diego among good friends, family that I would have chosen if given the choice and optimism for a bountiful future for us all.

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San Diego weekend things to do: Parks after Dark, the OB Street Fair and a Lao food festival

Looking for some fun plans to celebrate the first official weekend of summer? We've got you covered.

🍻 San Diego Beer Weekend

Drink to our celebrated beer industry by visiting breweries across the county, each with limited-edition commemorative glassware available.

  • When and where: Independent brewery locations during regular hours all weekend.

🎭 San Diego Black Arts Festival

Amplify Black art with a showcase of visual displays, staged readings and original plays.

  • When and where: Fri. and Sat. 8pm, Sun. 2pm at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre

🎉 Parks After Dark

Enjoy outdoor activities for kids and teens in a safe environment at public parks.

  • When and where: 5-8pm Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 17 at five city parks

🍜 Lao Food Festival

Indulge in traditional Lao food at this festival with live music, food contests and cultural performances.

  • When and where: 11am-9pm at Mira Mesa Community Park
  • Cost: Tickets are $6+ and free for kids

🛼 Groove at the Del

Show off your roller skating skills at the Disco Fever theme night at Hotel Del Coronado's retro rink.

  • When and where: 6-10pm by the main entrance and valet, not beachside.

😋 OB Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Rock out at an all-day beachfront party with great local bands like Space Hall Sound Machine , Band of Gringos , Cappo Kelley , and the Kyle Merrill Band.

  • When and where: 10am-8pm on Newport Avenue near the pier

🎸 Summer Fun on the 101

Jam with the fam at this low-key music festival.

  • When and where: 11:30am-8pm at Leucadia Roadside Park near Beacon's Beach in Encinitas

🎶 Horizon music festival

Dance the day away with Tiesto, Lost Kings, Illenium and Jai Wolf at this 2-day EDM festival downtown.

  • When and where: 3-11pm on Saturday and Sunday at Waterfront Park
  • Cost: $105 for GA single day tickets , plus VIP and 2-day passes available

🍦 Scoop ice cream festival

Sample San Diego's best ice cream and gelato while raising money for the San Diego Food Bank.

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🎷 Smooth Jazz Festival

See the world's best smooth jazz artists at a two-day festival at San Diego's iconic music venue.

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🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Highland Games

Test your strength and skills at these traditional Scottish competitions. Or enjoy the bagpipes, stone toss and sword dances from the sidelines with Scotch whisky in hand.

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Get the rundown of the biggest stories of the day with Axios Daily Essentials.

San Diego weekend things to do: Parks after Dark, the OB Street Fair and a Lao food festival

Times of San Diego

Times of San Diego

Local News and Opinion for San Diego

Raise Pint – or Two – As SD Beer Weekend Celebrates Craft Beer Scene

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Craft beer

SD Beer Weekend , the prelude to San Diego Beer Week in the fall, begins Friday at breweries throughout the region.

San Diego Brewers Guild is hosting the third annual celebration through Sunday, this year focusing on the community of craft and the individuals, breweries, beer bars, retailers and neighborhoods that make up the scene.

Events include Mission Brewing ‘s 17th anniversary party – with limited-edition glassware, new brews, barrel releases, discounts and live music – and the Sunday Bluegrass Jam at Duck Foot Brewing Co .

Visit the Brewers Guild’s  calendar  for more.

The guild is also hosting a social media contest each day of the weekend. To enter, snap a photo while enjoying a favorite San Diego craft beer, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #drinksdbeer and tag @sdbrewers.

Prizes include packs from  Dogleg Brewing Co.  on Friday,  Puesto  on Saturday and  Barley & Sword Brewing Company  on Sunday.

The brewers guild promotes awareness and seeks to increase the visibility of fresh locally brewed beer through education and participation in community events. The region is home to more than 150 independent craft beer manufacturers.

San Diego Beer Week is set to begin Nov. 1.

San Diego Union-Tribune

Where to go for Fourth of July fireworks,…

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Where to go for Fourth of July fireworks, parades and festivities: a guide for San Diego County

From the big bay boom to star spangled extravaganza and a host of firework shows and parades, here are dozens of ways to celebrate the fourth of july in san diego county.

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Camp Pendleton

4th of July beach celebration: Fireworks at 9 p.m. July 4 at the Marine Corps base’s Del Mar Beach for authorized military and their families. Also, there will be a family fun zone from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and live DJ entertainment from 4 to 7 p.m. Concessions and vendors will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Military ID card required. Visit pendleton.usmc-mccs.org/4th-of-july-at-del-mar-beach .

Legoland’s “Red, White and BOOM!”: Throughout the day on July 4, kids of all ages can participate in themed entertainment. lawn games, building activities and DJ dance parties at Legoland California, 1 Legoland Drive. The evening fireworks show at 8:45 p.m. combines music with fireworks; included with cost of park admission. The fireworks display will explode into 3D Lego bricks with special viewing glasses. Visit legoland.com .

Chula Vista

Fireworks and celebration: Hosted by the city of Chula Vista and Seven Mile Casino at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, 2800 Olympic Parkway, gates open at 7 p.m. July 4. Fireworks shoot off at 9 p.m. with a custom bilingual soundtrack on Amor 102.9. Bring a blanket or chair. Food trucks will be there. Parking is free at the center and the adjacent New Hope Community Church, 2720 Olympic Parkway. Another recommended viewing location is at Mountain Hawk Park, 1475 Lake Crest Drive. Admission is free. Visit chulavistaca.gov/4thfest .

Fireworks, parades and a slew of festivities are ready to take off for Independence Day. Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Fireworks: 9 p.m. July 4 over Glorietta Bay, near Stingray Point, and San Diego Fireworks over San Diego Bay can be viewed at the Ferry Landing. Visit coronadofourthofjuly.com/schedule .

Independence Day Parade: 10 a.m. to noon July 4 going south on Orange Avenue, beginning at First Street and Orange and ending at Churchill Place and Ocean Boulevard. Pre-parade entertainment is from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Orange Avenue.

Fourth of July concerts: Public Kids Concert is from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. with Katleen Dugas performing children’s songs at Spreckels Park, 601 Orange Ave.; Coronado Concert Band will perform a Patriotic Concert from 4 to 5 p.m. at Spreckels Park; a public concert featuring The Mighty Untouchables is from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. at Spreckels Park. Visit coronadofourthofjuly.com/schedule .

Crown City Classic 12K & 5K Run: 7 to 9 a.m. July 4, starting and finishing at Coronado Tidelands Park, 2000 Mullinex Drive. Register at crowncityrun.com .

Navy Leap Frogs demonstration: 2 p.m. July 4 at the Coronado Golf Course 16th Fairway.

“Star Wars”: Adrian Empire Demonstration and San Diego Star Wars Society photo-op from 12:30 to 2 p.m. July 4 at Star Park, 1030 Park Place.

Fourth Of July BBQ: Independence Day celebration at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Chef-curated barbecue buffet is from 4 to 7 p.m. at the resort’s Bay Terrace. The festivities include live “yacht rock” music by Band Overboard and Big Bay Boom fireworks in the distance. Barbecue tickets are $90 per adult, $45 per child. Visit loewshotels.com/coronado-bay-resort/discover/resort-happenings .

Fourth of July celebration at San Diego County Fair: Patriotic celebration all day on July 4 topped off with fireworks at 9 p.m., which can be viewed throughout the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. On-site parking is $15, if purchased in advance online; $20 at gate. Free parking at Canyon Crest Academy and $10 parking at Del Mar Horsepark, with free shuttles. Admission is $12-$20 for ages 6 and older. Visit  sdfair.com .

Star Spangled Extravaganza: Free live entertainment featuring a DJ and family games starting at 3 p.m. July 4 at Kennedy Park, 1675 E. Madison Ave., with fireworks at 9 p.m. Pack a picnic. Visit elcajon.gov or call (619) 441-1676.

Independence Day concert and fireworks: 4 to 10 p.m. July 4 at Grape Day Park, 321 Broadway, hosted by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Live music on the Great Green in the park features Daring Greatly, Ian Moore and the Navy Band Southwest’s 32nd Street Brass Band. The event culminates in the fireworks display at 9 p.m., which can be seen from central Escondido. There will be food trucks, an artisan market and games along with craft beer. The center also hosts free outdoor concerts July 5-7 with food vendors. Visit artcenter.org/event/59th-annual-independence-day-festival .

Pancake breakfast and celebration: Rotary Club of Fallbrook’s pancake breakfast is from 8 to 11 a.m. July 4 at the Fallbrook Community Center, 341 Heald Lane. Tickets are $12; $5 for children ages 4-12; free, ages 3 and younger. Proceeds benefit community programs. A dog show is from 11 a.m. to noon and a Fourth of July celebration is from noon to 3 p.m. with live music, entertainment, including ballet folklorico, a display of fire and police vehicles, and food vendors. Visit fallbrookrotary.org .

Imperial Beach

Fireworks and live music:  The fireworks show will start at 9 p.m. off the Imperial Beach Pier. Live music  is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. featuring the Marine Band San Diego. Seacoast Drive will be closed from Imperial Beach Boulevard to Palm Avenue starting at 5 p.m. for the community event. Parking will be provided at the South Bay Union School District, 601 Elm Ave., Mar Vista High School, 505 Elm Ave., and IB Charter Elementary, 650 Imperial Beach Blvd. ADA parking lot on Seacoast and Palm Avenue. There will be a shuttle provided from parking lots to the beach. Visit imperialbeachca.gov .

Parade: Noon July 4 on Main Street. The theme is “Soar Like an Eagle,” recognizing the Julian Union High School District as the grand marshal. Attendees can join in carrying a huge American flag down Main Street before the start of the parade. Pre-parade activities start at 9:30 a.m. including a western re-enactment, musical performances and pie-eating contests. The flyover by vintage aircraft will be at noon to kick off the parade. After the parade, head over to the American Legion for a deep-pit barbecue, live music and dancing. Visit the Julian Town Hall for the Julian Woman’s Club Quilt Show; shops will be open. Visitors should come early to find parking near Main Street, which will be closed after 9 a.m. Visit julianparade.com .

Drone show: Independence Day performance, hosted by La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and LJ STEAM Foundation, featuring 200 drones soaring 350 feet above the shoreline with patriotic imagery will launch at 9 p.m. July 4 with the main viewing of the show at the south end of Kellogg Park, 8277 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Cove. Free to the public. Visit ljshoreshotel.com/july4droneshow .

Fireworks show: The fireworks show on July 3 starts at 9 p.m. over Wangenheim Middle School, 9230 Gold Coast Drive. A community picnic starts at 4 p.m. at Hourglass Field Community Park, leading up to the fireworks. Visit miramesafireworks.org .

National City

Fourth of July Carnival: The National City Lions Club is hosting its annual Fourth of July Carnival from July 3-7 at Kimball Park, 12th and D streets, with fireworks at the park at 9 p.m. July 6. The carnival, featuring food, rides and games, is open from 5 to 11 p.m. July 3, 1 to 11 p.m. July 4, 5 to 11 p.m. July 5 and 1 to 11 p.m. July 6-7. Visit nationalcityca.gov .

Fireworks celebrate city’s 136th birthday: 9 p.m. July 3 at SoCal Soccer Complex at El Corazon, 3300 El Corazon Drive. Gates open at 4 p.m. and there will be family-friendly lawn games and crafts along with food vendors. Live music will begin at 7 p.m. Parking at the SoCal Soccer lot for $15 per car; parking lot entry closes 8:30 p.m. Free parking at Ocean Ranch Business Park. RVs and buses not permitted. Gates open at 5 p.m. No alcohol or dogs. Call (760) 435-5041 or visit ci.oceanside.ca.us .

Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade: Boat parade starts at 1 p.m. July 4 in the Oceanside Harbor at the Oceanside Yacht Club and continues on to the south end of the harbor. Decorate a patriotic dinghy 12 feet and under and enter the parade. No entry fee; trophies will be awarded. Register at skippers meeting at 10 a.m. July 4 at the yacht club, 1950 Harbor Drive North. Entry fee is $5. Call (760) 722-5751 or visit oceansideyc.net .

Oceanside beach and pier:  Additional vendors will be open selling food and beverages and renting water sports equipment in Pier Plaza and in the parking lot south of the Junior Seau Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre. The Strand roadway by the beach will be closed to cars from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4. Visit mainstreetoceanside.com .

Fireworks show at Grace Church:  7 to 10 p.m. July 3 with live music, food vendors and bounce houses, face painting and a free raffle at 1602 S. El Camino Real. Bring a beach chair. Parking lot opens at 6 p.m.; fireworks are at 9 p.m. Visit gracesd.tv or call (760) 433-9922.

Independence Parade:  The 28th annual parade starts at 10 a.m. June 29 at the intersection of North Coast Highway and Wisconsin Avenue and will head north on Coast Highway to Civic Center Drive. More than 100 parade entries are expected to march, roll, walk and drive down historic Highway 101. This year’s parade theme is “Celebrating Our Heritage,” highlighting the community’s cultural roots. To participate or volunteer, visit mainstreetoceanside.com/independence-parade .

Fireworks:  Two Independence Day fireworks displays will run simultaneously starting at 9 p.m. July 4 from Poway High School, 15500 Espola Road, in the school’s football field and the Sportsplex in the Poway Business Park, 12349 McIvers Court. The Poway Sportsplex will not be open for fireworks viewing, but there is street parking throughout the South Poway Business Park and fireworks can be seen throughout the valley. Gates open at the Poway High School football field at 6 p.m., with games, activities and a DJ. Entry costs $6 per person at the gate; free for children 11 and younger. Lake Poway is open to the public on July 4 and will stay open for the fireworks, but viewing is limited because the ballfield is temporarily closed. Parking is $10 for nonresidents; free for residents and military with ID. A parking map for areas around both fireworks is at poway.org/fireworks-map .

“Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration”:  The annual event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 4 at Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road, with patriotic entertainment, old-fashioned games, children’s crafts and model train displays. Treats and train rides will be sold. VFW Post 7907 and the Poway Veterans Park Committee host a ceremony honoring service members at Veterans Park (adjacent to Old Poway Park) beginning at 11 a.m. Free shuttles available starting at 9:30 a.m. from Poway Adult School and Poway City Hall. Visit poway.org .

Family Picnic and Fireworks: The grounds open at 4 p.m. July 4 in the back field behind Olive Peirce Middle School, 1521 Hanson Lane, and fireworks are at 9 p.m. There will be entertainment, carnival games and food vendors. Bring chairs and blankets. Service dogs only. Visit ramonachamber.com/fireworks .

Fireworks, parades and a slew of festivities are ready to take off for Independence Day.(Photo by Michael Goulding/Contributing Photographer)

Rancho Bernardo

Spirit of the Fourth Community Fair: Starts at 9 a.m. in Webb Park, themed “Volunteers are the SPARK of our community.” Highlights include Patriotic Pet Contest, games and activities for the kids, Quilts of Valor display, Wheels of Freedom Motor Show and food trucks and food booths, along with a parade from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Visit  spiritofthefourth.org .

Fireworks:  Spirit of the Fourth Fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. July 4 at Rancho Bernardo High School/Bernardo Heights Middle School athletic fields, 13010 Paseo Lucido. Musical entertainment is from 6 to 8:45 p.m. Donation of $10 per person or $20 for a family to offset event expenses. Free parking is available in the student lot off Avenida Venusto. Visit spiritofthefourth.org .

Independence Day Ceremony: The Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial Association will host its annual Independence Day Ceremony from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. July 4 at the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial, Webb Park, 11666 Avena Place. The keynote speaker is San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert. Boy Scouts Troop 685, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and members of the Brigadier General J.P. Holland Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars are supporting this event. Bring lawn chairs. Visit rbvma.org .

Rancho Santa Fe

Independence Day Parade: Starts at 1 p.m. July 4 and runs along Paseo Delicias and other downtown streets featuring vintage cars, horses, firetrucks, parade princesses and decorated floats. A barbecue lunch starts at 11 a.m. on the Village Green with hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches and ice cream for sale by The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe to benefit the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center. Parade participants should line up at 12:15 p.m. in the R. Roger Rowe School parking lot, 5927 La Granada.

Big Bay Boom: The free fireworks show will be displayed simultaneously from four barges on San Diego Bay at 9 p.m. July 4. Barge locations will be off the shorelines of Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero and South Embarcadero. Bring lawn chairs or get in a boat to watch. The 20-minute fireworks will be telecast live on Fox 5 San Diego and affiliates in Los Angeles and on Fox 40 in Sacramento, starting at 8 p.m. A musical simulcast will be broadcast live on 100.7 BIG FM radio, starting at 9 p.m. The Metropolitan Transit System will increase train, trolley and bus services, and it will offer “Friends Ride Free,” where a friend may ride free with a fare-paying customer on MTS routes on July 4. Visit bigbayboom.com .

Maritime Museum fireworks viewing: There will be July 4 fireworks viewing on the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s Berkeley, moored by the North Embarcadero. The Maritime Museum is open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4 and reopens at 7 p.m. for the July 4 barbecue dinner on the upper McKinney deck of the Victorian-era steam ferry boat Berkeley. Guests can watch fireworks from the Berkeley or barge behind the Berkeley. All other vessels in the museum fleet will be closed for this event. Daytime options also include 45-minute bay cruises aboard Pilot, which are $10 extra with purchase of general admission at 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. The 75-minute Naval History Bay tours aboard the PCF 816 Swift boat are an extra $15 with purchase of general admission at 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Visit sdmaritime.org .

Fireworks viewing from cruises: Hornblower’s Fourth of July dinner cruises on the yacht with buffet dinner, DJ entertainment and sky deck viewing; visit cityexperiences.com/san-diego . Also, among the options, Flagship offers the Stars & Stripes Spectator Cruise; reserve at flagshipsd.com/cruises/4th-july-fireworks-cruises .

SeaWorld fireworks: SeaWorld San Diego puts on an 18-minute fireworks to salute the country’s service members starting at 9 p.m. July 4. The park offers entertainment ranging from the “So Much More to Sea” 60th Anniversary Parade to light displays, shows and a summer concert series. The Enchanted Wonders Fireworks spectacular is nightly 10 minutes before the park closes through Aug. 11 with fireworks in sync with music and video highlighting the past 60 years of SeaWorld. Visit seaworldsandiego.com .

Fireworks on Mission Bay: Takes place at Mission Bay around 9 p.m. July 3, in partnership with SeaWorld. Radio station partner 101.5 KGB will provide a custom soundtrack. Public viewing areas include Sunset Point Park, Santa Clara Point to Fanuel Street Park, and along Rivera Drive and the shoreline areas with a view of Sail Bay. Boaters can get out on the water from several areas in Mission Bay or reserve a spot on the William D. Evans sternwheeler cruising Mission Bay. Visit fireworksonmissionbay.com .

Old Town Fourth of July: Festivities are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4, including a patriotic flag-raising ceremony, live music, games, wheelbarrow and sack races, crafts such as morse code bracelets, and demonstrations of blacksmithing and weaving at Old Town State Historic Park as part of an “old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration” like what early San Diego residents did in the 1800s. The park will offer its usual museums and living history demonstrations. Admission is free; fees for some activities. Visit parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego .

Fireworks and music fest: San Diego Lake Murray Music Fest and Fireworks is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 4 at Lake Murray Community Park, 7001 Murray Park Drive, in San Carlos, and the fireworks can be seen from La Mesa to Del Cerro and beyond. The fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. Visit lakemurrayfireworks.org .

Belmont Park summer fun: The historic beachfront amusement park, which turns 99 on July 4, will be open with old-fashioned summer fun and newer activities from classic roller coasters like the Giant Dipper to merry-go-rounds, bumper cars and arcade games to laser tag and a zip line. Visit belmontpark.com .

Fireworks, parades and a slew of festivities are ready to take off for Independence Day.(Photo by Michael Goulding/Contributing Photographer)

Red, White & Boom: Entertainment starts at 6 p.m. and fireworks go off at 9 p.m. July 4 at Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Drive. Festivities include live music by Detroit Underground at  6 p.m., jumpers and food sales. Bring beach chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Visit www.san-marcos.net/july4th .

Fourth of July at Lake San Marcos: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4. A patriotic kickoff program at 10 a.m. with the Freedom Choir leading the Americana singalong. Veterans will be recognized and there will be guest speakers. A patriotic dog contest will be at 11 a.m., and a carnival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with children’s games, a bounce house, food and drinks. Entry fee after 11 a.m. is $5, free for ages 10 and younger. The annual July 4 Yacht Club Boat Parade will be at 4 p.m. on the lake. The event is sponsored by Lakehouse Resort, Lake Church, Lake San Marcos Community Association and Lake San Marcos Kiwanis. Visit lsmkiwanis.org or thelakehouseresort.com/4th-of-july-carnival .

Fourth of July Carnival: Festivities kick off with a patriotic presentation at 10 a.m. July 4 followed by the patriotic dog contest at 11 a.m. on the Lakeside Lawn of the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort, 1105 La Bonita Drive. Highlights include a carnival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with classic games such as ring toss, balloon darts and a rock wall and Fourth of July-themed games with patriotic twists along with mechanical bull and barbecued treats. Admission is $5; free for kids younger than 10. Visit thelakehouseresort.com .

Santee Salutes: The Fourth of July celebration is from 2 to 10 p.m. July 4 at Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive. Carnival rides and parking lots open at 2 p.m. Food vendors and Riverwalk Grill open at 4 p.m., and the U.S. Marine Corps Band, Popular Music Group will perform. A patriotic ceremony is at 6 p.m., and Whiskey Ridge country music is at 6:30 p.m. The event caps off with fireworks at 9 p.m. Bring chairs, blankets and canopies. The area around Fields 3 and 4 will be closed. Wristbands for unlimited rides are $20 on-site. Parking is limited and must be purchased in advance online for $10 at santeespecialevents.com .

Scripps Ranch

Parade: The Scripps Ranch Civic Association Fourth of July Parade, themed “Scripps Ranch – America’s Patriotic Cul de Sac,” begins at 10 a.m. July 4 at Red Cedar Drive and Ironwood Road and ends at Scripps Ranch Boulevard and Aviary Drive by Hoyt Park. After-parade festivities are at 11 a.m. at Hoyt Park. Free admission; donations appreciated. Visit scrippsranch.org/join .

Scripps Ranch Old Pro 4th of July Run and Ride: The event includes a 10K race and 2-mile Fun Run, along with 12-mile and 35-mile bike rides, as well as a 22.5-mile Gravel Ride. Visit runride.org .

University City

5K and 1-mile Fun Run-UC Celebration: Walk-up sign-ups for 5K and 1-mile Fun Run start at 6:30 a.m. July 4 with runs beginning at 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. at Standley Recreation Center, 3585 Governor Drive. Highlights include a pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., a bike and pet parade, Troop 11 color guard and the national anthem, live music, a fun zone for kids and food. The last music performance is at 5 p.m. Visit uccelebration.com .

Independence Day celebration with fireworks: Fireworks will go off at 9 p.m. July 4 at Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive. The park will open at 7 a.m. There will be live music by the Cassie B Project at 7:35 p.m. and after the fireworks. Admission to the Moonlight Amphitheatre is $5 per person at the entrance starting at 5 p.m. No advance online ticket sales. The Moonlight’s Bread and Cheese eatery will sell a variety of food, refreshments, beer and wine. Alcohol cannot be brought into the park. Free parking. Visit cityofvista.com/july4 .

If you would like to add a communitywide Independence Day activity, email [email protected].

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NBC 7 San Diego

‘I went through everything alone,' teen tells Oceanside man who killed family members in DUI crash

Mason fish got 15 years for taking the lives of three relatives and injuring three others, by jackie crea • published june 20, 2024 • updated on june 20, 2024 at 6:49 pm.

In a Vista courtroom on Thursday, justice was served after five long years.

In 2019, three people were killed and three others — all from the same family — were injured in a car crash. The man responsible, Mason Fish, faced sentencing Thursday.

24/7 San Diego news stream: Watch NBC 7 free wherever you are

NBC 7 was there as both parties shared their grief.

“He is sentenced to 15 years in prison,” a judge read aloud.

Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.

Mason had pleaded guilty to several charges as the driver in that crash. His Toyota Tacoma truck broadsided a Mazda sedan at an Oceanside intersection.

Thirteen-year-old Kelly Velasco, who was a passenger in the car, read a victim impact statement to the court.

“Every single person in my family has been broken because of this car accident, especially me,” Kelly said.

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“I forgive this young man’s mistake he made,” said another relative during a separate victim impact statement. "However, God and his divine justice can see that justice be done."

Kelly lost her mother, 40-year-old Petra Arango; her aunt Eloina Arango, 56; and 74-year-old grandmother Rufina Rodriguez; in the crash.

Kelly, along with her father and grandfather, survived.

“I went through everything alone," Kelly told the court, "every single day when people talk about their mom going with them to go prom-dress shopping, through everything, graduation — I didn’t have that person. Instead I would sit in my room and cry because his mistake made me lose a lot of people that were important to me."

Prosecutors allege Fish had multiple drugs in his system. Fish said, in his apology letter and during testimony in past hearings, that he was distraught over the death of his grandmother.

On Thursday, he apologized in person.

“I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart," Fish said. "I hope you can begin to heal. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I will carry the weight of your loss with me for the rest of my days."

“No matter what the sentence is, three lives were lost and will never be returned,” said the judge.

Fish was convicted of several counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, DUI causing injury, drug possession and driving without a license.

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