Parent's Guide to the SD Fair: PARKING

June 6, 2019

 

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

GENERAL INFORMATION, GUEST SERVICES & FOOD <--click here

TICKETS & DISCOUNTS <--click here

PARKING <--you are here

KIDS RIDE GUIDE <--click here

KIDS ACTIVITIES <--click here

 

 

Parking at the Fair can be c-r-a-z-y-! But before you even get to the parking lot, keep in mind the exit lanes on the freeway can back up 1-2 miles ahead, especially on weekends. Be sure to get into the exit lane early so you don’t have to cut in line later on. I say this from experience because I was rear-ended by someone who cut in line behind me and damaged my car. Ok that’s all I’m going to say about that... 

 

Sooo, after you get to the parking lot entrance, there may be a little wait to pay. More about costs below. Once you pay, you may have to park in the back, walk 20 minutes to the gate and then wait in line at the gate. Geez, I’m making this sound like a pretty fun experience already, huh?! But don’t be discouraged, you can still have a fun day at the fair. I just want you to know ahead of time what to potentially expect. There are a few tips I can share to help make this arrival process a little bit easier and less stressful. One tip would be to park Off-Site for FREE and let the shuttle driver take you straight to the gate entrance! Details below!

 

 

BRING YOUR PATIENCE

Play some word games in the car with the kids while you’re waiting in line. 

 

 

GET THERE EARLY or at opening if you can.

You’ll get a closer parking spot up front so you don’t have to walk as far, both ways….especially at the end of the day when the little feet are tired and ask to be carried.

 

I arrived at the parking lot entrance at 11:20am (thanks to the fender bender I was in that set me back 20 minutes). The fair gates opened at 11am that day and I still got a parking spot 10 stalls away from the entrance! And this was on opening day weekend at that. So get there early or close to gate opening times and you *should* be okay.

 

 

PARKING LOT TRAMS

If you end up parking in the verrrry back, or anywhere else for that matter, there are trams that will take you right to the gate entrance. Strollers do have to be folded up though.

 

 

TIP

Before you lock the car and head toward the Fair, make sure you have EVERYTHING you need. You don’t want to go alll the way back to your car once you get up to the gate. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, cell phone (power charger!), wallet, TICKETS?!, kids? 

 

 

DRINKS

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.

 

 

GATE ENTRANCE

Oh and one more comment about the entrance…make sure you get in the right line. This applies both to entry and security. 

 

 

​ENTRY LINES

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.

 

 

SECURITY LINES

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.

 

 

 

OK, HERE’S THE PARKING SITUATION 

(All of this information is from the Fair’s website: sdfair.com)

 

You can either park ON-SITE or OFF-SITE.

 

Tune your radio to channel AM 1680 for real-time parking updates!! (But it was so staticky on my old car radio that I couldn’t even hear it…)

 

 

ON-SITE PARKING COST:

General: $17

(if you get there early you can *usually* get a good spot up front so you may not need to pay for preferred parking if you want to park up close)

 

Preferred: $27 

 

Payment: cash & credit cards accepted

 

Car Size: vehicles must be no longer than 27 feet to fit into a single parking space. No RV’s or oversized vehicles. 

 

 

ON-SITE PARKING HOURS:

Opens at 9am (2 hours before the gates open). Except on July 4th it opens at 8am.

 

Closes 1 hour after the fair grounds close 

 

 

OFF-SITE PARKING:

You’ll save a lot of money by parking off-site and taking a free shuttle to the O’Brien Gate. Maybe enough to buy yourself a deep fried Oreo. ;) Free shuttles run frequently to/from the fair and the off-site parking lot. This might be worth it just to avoid having to drive in traffic as you get closer to the fair…just let the tram drivers deal with it while you sit back and relax. 

 

 

ON-SITE PARKING COST & LOCATIONS:

North of Del Mar: Mira Costa College San Elijo - FREE

 

South of Del Mar: Torrey Pines High School - FREE

 

East of Del Mar: Horsepark - $5

(This is right at Via De La Valle and El Camino Real near the Polo Fields)

 

 

OFF-SITE PARKING HOURS:

These off-site parking lots close 1 hour after the Fair closes.

 

Note that some Off-Site lots are NOT OPEN on certain days or the opening times differ. Scroll to the bottom for Off-Site parking hours. 

 

 

PARKING TIPS:

 

AVAILABILITY

Parking at the off-site lots is only on a space available basis. So if the North and South off-site lots are full, you may want to try the Horsepark lot; which is just East of the Fair, or even end up parking on-site if you can’t find any spaces there either.

 

 

DISABLED PARKING

Every lot has disabled parking available. 

 

 

CAR SIZE

Cars must be no longer than 27 feet to fit into a single parking space. No RV’s or oversized vehicles. 

 

 

HELP!

If you get locked out or return to a dead battery because your kids turned on the interior lights in your car…no sweat...The Auto Club of SoCal will rescue you! They’ll be onsite from noon-8pm every day to help out! They’ll get you into your locked out car or jump your dead battery for you. 

 

 

PARKING TRAM/SHUTTLE TIPS:

 

TRAMS

There are trams that service the entire parking lot, so if you do have to park in the back, just walk over to the nearest tram stop and wait for the next one. My kids actually LOVE riding the tram so it’s not too bad even if we end up parking far away.

 

 

STROLLERS/WAGONS

These need to be folded up while on the trams. 

 

 

DISABILITIES

These can accommodate wheelchairs & guests with disabilities. 

 

 

TRAM RULES

No smoking, drinking or eating while on the shuttles. 

 

 

THE BIGGEST PARKING TIP IS THIS

Know what’s allowed into the fair before you lock your car and start walking. You don’t want to have to walk all the way back to put something away.

 

 

 

OFF-SITE PARKING HOURS:

 

EAST of Del Mar: Horsepark ($5)

(This is right at Via De La Valle and El Camino Real near the Polo Fields)

Friday, May 31: 1:00PM-closing

Saturdays: 9:00AM-closing

Sundays: 9:00AM-closing

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 5-14): 9:00AM-closing

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 19-28): 9:00AM-closing

Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3: 9:00AM-closing

Thursday, July 4: 8:00AM-closing

 

 

 

SOUTH of Del Mar: Torrey Pines High School (Free)

Friday, May 31: not available

Saturdays: 9:00AM-closing

Sundays: 9:00AM-closing

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 5-14): not available

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 19-28): Noon-closing

Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3: 9:00AM-closing

Thursday, July 4: 9:00AM-closing

 

 

 

NORTH of Del Mar: MiraCosta College San Elijo (Free)

Friday, May 31: not available

Saturdays: 9:00AM-closing

Sundays: 9:00AM-closing

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 5-14): not available

Wednesdays-Fridays (June 19-28): not available

Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3: 9:00AM-closing

Thursday, July 4: 9:00AM-closing

 

---

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

Organic Apple Picking in Julian

September 13, 2020

1/10
Please reload

Recent Posts

April 5, 2020

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square