Del Mar Opening Day & Summer Concert Series Lineup

It’s back! One of San Diego’s favorite summer activities kicks off next week, with Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack on July 18th, and the Del Mar Summer Concert series beginning on July 20th. We’ve got the rundown for you – from how to spend Opening Day to the full concert lineup.

San Diego horse racing takes place where the “turf meets the surf” at the Del Mar Racetrack. Fans flock to the track each summer to wager on their favorite horses during the annual Del Mar Thoroughbred Club racing season, which runs from mid July through early September. Del Mar’s horse racing tradition dates back all the way to 1937, when Bing Crosby greeted the track’s very first guests – and Seabiscuit won by a nose in the infamous race in 1938. The 2018 season features the nation’s top race horses, trainers and jockeys, and plenty of fun in the sun!

Opening Day

Opening Day at the Racetrack kicks off at 11:30am on Wednesday, July 18.

More than 40,000+ race fans are expected to attend what’s defined as one of the most fabulous, fashionable and fun festivities in the west – Opening Day at Del Mar. The day isn’t just about big bets and fast horses, it’s also about celebrating in style! Fashion-minded guests may participate in Del Mar’s annual tradition, the Opening Day Hats Contest; where entrants compete for cash prizes and judged on creativity and style.

Opening Day Hats Contest

Explore your sense of hat creativity and you could win a share of more than $5,000 in total prizes! Strut your stuff between 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM in Plaza de Mexico (located inside the Stretch Run admission gates).

Enter in one of the following five categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Funniest/Most Outrageous, Best Fascinator and Flowers/All Other. There is no fee to participate, and all entrants will receive two free admission passes to return to the races.

The first race of the day kicks off at 2:00pm, so be sure to stick around!

SEE ALSO: More Summer Activities in San Diego!

Del Mar Summer Concert Series Lineup

Summer concerts are free with racetrack admission (Stretch Run general admission is just $6), and the concerts usually begin shortly after the last race (a bit before dusk). Do note that if you arrive AFTER the last race, concert admission is $30. Here’s this year’s lineup!

July 20: Psychedelic Furs

July 21: Iration

July 27: Steel Pulse

July 28: Switchfoot

Aug. 3: Matisyahu

Aug. 10: Aloe Blacc

Aug. 11: Reggae Fest with Ziggy Marley

Aug. 17: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Aug. 24: Tribal Seeds

Aug. 25: Warren G & DJ Quik

Aug. 31: Cafe Tacvba

Sept. 1: Slightly Stoopid

Sept. 2: Ice Cube

Parking and Transportation

  • Concert Parking after the last race is $20
  • Racetrack parking is $10
  • No overnight parking is available
  • Shuttles to public transportation, taxis, and pickup zones are also available

For more information and this year’s complete racing schedule, visit the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s website.

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