Content Produced in Partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
While native Californian and Instagrammer Aida Mollenkamp can go on and on about major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, but she says you really have to visit the smaller towns to get a sense of things. Be it a former Gold Rush town up north or a beachside hamlet down south, every few miles there’s another place with a personality all its own. And when it comes to sunny beach towns, Del Mar is high on the list.
Set in northern San Diego county, Del Mar is far enough away from things that you feel like you’ve escaped the city but close enough to things that you can get a taste for it all. Del Mar is a small town so even if you only stay a few days, you’ll feel like you already belong.
11AM HIT THE TRACK
JIMMY DURANTE BOULEVARD, DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA
Mention Del Mar and probably the first thing anyone will mention are the horse races. The famed Del Mar Thoroughbred Club dates back to 1937 and the race tracks draw in their own right. The Del Mar racing season runs from through the summer (with a second shorter season around the end of the year) so you’ll want to plan your stay accordingly if you want to catch a race.
2PM SHOPPING (AND EATING) BIKE CRAWL
CAMINO DEL MAR, DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA
Another easy way to get to know downtown Del Mar is to grab a bike and peddle around. If you’re there on a Saturday, stop by the small but quaint Del Mar Farmers Market which runs from 1-4pm, then stop by the boutiques such as Annmarie D’Ercole for jewelry or Pebbles By The Beach for beachwear. After all that exploring, you'll have worked up quite the appetite and PrepKitchen is perfect spot for a filling, late afternoon lunch.
5PM SURF AT DEL MAR BEACH
CAMINO DEL MAR, DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA
For a beginner to intermediate surfer, Del Mar’s waves couldn’t be more friendly. If you stay at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, they can arrange a full beach day for you including transportation, gear, and arrange any sort of water lessons (from stand up paddle to surf) you may want. Plus, they'll tell you the perfect time to get to the beach for sunset.
11AM LET'S TACO 'BOUT BRUNCH IN LA JOLLA
AVENIDA DE LA PLAYA, LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA
For even more beach time, head over to La Jolla. The quaint beach community is just about 10 minutes south of Del Mar and has some great beaches for morning walks or the more advanced surfer. Head to Galaxy Tacos for a unique spin on brunch with their famous street tacos, then stop byBird Rock Coffee roasters for a cup of coffee.
1PM GET CULTURED IN SAN DIEGO’S LITTLE ITALY
LITTLE ITALY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
If you want to head down into San Diego, we’d recommend planning an afternoon shopping session and leading into dinner down in the Little Italy neighborhood. This neighborhood has majorly grown up in the last few years and has everything from craft brewers to boutique shopping and some of the best restaurants in San Diego.
5PM TREAT YOURSELF AT ADDISON
GRAND DEL MAR WAY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Speaking of top restaurants in San Diego, locals will tell you that one of the best in the county is Addison at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. The wine list alone gives any wine lover major envy but the sophisticated food makes for an experience that places Addison on a level all its own.
WHERE TO STAY: FAIRMONT GRAND DEL MAR
GRAND DEL MAR COURT, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is an escape all on its own, especially for explorers who prefer their adventure with a side of luxe. You can get in some time on the tennis courts, take an easy hike, or head out on horses, but don't forget to make time for some pampering afterward. book a session at their spa — one of only 27 Five-Star spas in the country. The signature Renaissance treatment from the five-star spa (with a floating bed, a mud-wrap, and a rosemary-infused shower) is our pick!