The historic Del Mar Fair in North San Diego County has been a staple event for residents of San Diego and all the neighboring cities for generations. This year the 2011 Del Mar Fair has been renamed the San Diego Fair however the event is unchanged year over year and is located on the same fair grounds and the same time of the year as in years past.
As in years past parking at the San Diego Fair is always a challenge. There is onsite parking but depending on the time of day and day of the week you show up the parking situation on site is very tight and will take you a very long time to get into and out of. This parking is off of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and the parking lots on either side of the road will cost you $10 per vehicle and $15 per RV.
You can enter this parking from the freeway exit at Del Mar off of the interstate 5 or from the coastal Del Mar surface streets including Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). If you don’t want to deal with the traffic and problems associated with parking right at the fairgrounds then you can also park east of the fair grounds and take a free shuttle run by the San Diego Fair to the main gate of the fair grounds.
The main free-offsite parking to the East is located at Horsepark, 14550 El Camino Real, Del Mar but there are other locations as well. You can park and ride for free from the MiraCosta College's San Elijo Campus and Torrey Pines High School. Each of these locations requires a bit of wait time for shuttle to pickup and drop off as well as drive time but can be worth it if you are on a tight budget.
The San Diego Fair parking lots are officially free but some non-event sponsored parking lots and shuttles cost money. These are run by independent companies providing more convenient parking and shuttle trips to and from the fair for a premium price. This may not be ideal for the average fair attendee but it may be something to consider if you are strapped for time. After all, many people have been known to go to the fair on certain days for just one event. A quick entrance and exit can be helpful in times like this.
The San Diego Fair runs from June 10 to July 4, 2011 and the parking and shuttle services are complimentary at all times during the month long event. You do not need to call in advance to use the parking and shuttle services provided but you will have to pay admission at the gates to the fair.
This is one area where it would behoove you to plan in advance. The 2011 Del Mar Fair admission rate at the gate is higher than if you buy your tickets in advance at one of the many grocery stores in the area. Make sure to ask your local grocery store if they have advance tickets for the fair for sale as these will almost always cost less than buying your tickets at the gate.