Parent's Guide to the SD Fair: GENERAL INFO, GUEST SERVICES & FOOD

OK, I'll get right to all the details that (I think) parents want to know. Here's an outline that I'll be updating over the next few days...

INTRO <--click here


TICKETS & DISCOUNTS <--click here

PARKING -<--click here

KIDS RIDE GUIDE <--click here

KIDS ACTIVITIES <--click here


When you decide to go to the Fair, don't go on a day when they're CLOSED! Yes, the Fair is closed some days during the week. Fun Zone (ride) Hours are different than Gate Hours. Note there are FOUR different Gate Entrances and a Security Checkpoint at each entry. Find all of these details below under "General Information".

The Fair is so considerate of all the Guest Services they offer! From FREE Kids ID bracelets, sensory rooms, stroller/wagon rentals, phone chargers and more. Details below under "Guest Services".

Did you know you can BYO Food into the Fair?!?! There are some restrictions, especially about liquids and drinks. Some food booths offer Kids Meal Deals, there's a Healthy Eating food booth, Sample Bites are offered once a week and a Mystery Bar to find. Details below under "Food".

Most of this information comes directly from the Fair's website:



May 31st - July 4th


Every Monday & Tuesday in June is CLOSED! They’re open Monday July 1st & Tuesday July 2nd.


Gate hours are when you can enter the grounds. The Fair stays open after the gates close for the night; see Fun Zone hours for those approximate closing times. These times are subject to change. Please check back a day or so before you attend for the most accurate information.

Friday May 31st: 4-11pm

Wednesdays & Thursdays: 11am-10pm

Fridays: 11am-11pm

Saturdays: 11am-11pm

Sundays: 11am-10pm

Monday July 1st: 11am-10pm

Tuesday July 2nd: 11am-10pm

Wednesday July 3rd: 11am-10pm

Thursday July 4th: 10am-11pm


The Kids’ Zone ride area closes one hour earlier than times listed above. Closing time varies according to demand. These times are subject to change. Please check back a day or so before you attend for the most accurate information.


There are 4 entrance gates so remember which one you entered so you’re not walking around for an hour trying to find your car. TIP: I like to take pictures of where I parked (parking lanes are marked) and which entrance I came in through.

  1. Durante Gate

  2. (Del Mar) Arena Gate

  3. O’Brien Gate - main entrance

  4. West Gate - back entrance


Make sure you get in the right line. There are TWO lines. One for those WITH TICKETS already and one for those who NEED TICKETS.

​We stood in line for 5 minutes before I realized we were in the line for those who already have tickets... We went over to the ticket booth to get my Best Pass Ever ticket; which had zero lines. When we walked back over to the line for those with tickets, the lines were already short again so we really didn’t have to wait long at all despite being in the wrong line to begin with.


There are TWO lines. One for those WITH STROLLERS and one for those WITHOUT STROLLERS. Guards were good about directing people accordingly at the time we were there, but just make sure you’re in the right line.

Everyone will go through security. Empty everything from your pockets and walk through the scanner.


You may bring backpacks, diaper bags, tote bags and other large bags with you. All bags and parcels will be inspected as you enter the Fair. You will need to unzip (unsnap, untie, etc.) all compartments so security personnel can look inside.


Before you go through security, make sure all water bottles and sippy cups are EMPTY. Bring them in empty and you can fill them up once you get inside. You can bring in FACTORY SEALED drinks though, just make sure they’re not opened before you go through security.