May means that summer is almost here! Let's all focus on keeping the gray away and wish for our beautiful San Diego weather so that we can enjoy all the amazing events coming this month. From Cinco de Mayo celebrations, to a ramen eating contest, more beer fests and dinners, tacos galore, a poke festival, and so much more, we have all the top events coming to America's Finest City this May 2016.
Below we run down all the fun and delicious happenings coming to San Diego this May. We update this article throughout the month as more events pop up on our radar, so be sure to check back. Get your tickets, make your reservations, and live life to the fullest with these top events.
May 1, 6th Annual Chef Celebration Festival - 14 Breweries and 14 Chefs offer tastings from 12-3pm at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station to benefit culinary scholarships for local chefs-in-training, essentially benefitting the future of San Diego food. Attendees can enjoy live entertainment while they sip and savor small dishes created by a number of outstanding local chefs alongside local brews paired by “Certified Cicerone” and Stone Brewing Co. Craft Beer Ambassador Dr. Bill Sysak. Tickets are $49 per person.
May 3, Tres Amigos el Tres de Mayo at The Patio on Lamont - Head to Pacific Beach and enjoy five courses of authentic Mexican cuisine paired with wines from Baja's famed Valle de Guadalupe. Attending winemakers include Paolo Paoloni of Villa Montefiore & Paoloni Wines, Ray Magnussen of Lechuza Vineyard and Jorge Maciel of Cava Maciel. Tickets are $70.
May 3, Chef Celebration Dinner at University Club Atop Symphony Towers - In the final meal of the 2016 Chef Celebration Dinner series, Chef Lance Repp of the University Club atop Symphony Towers will be joined by Phillip Esteban of Cork & Craft, Chris Gentile of Double Standard, David Roshensky & Mark Kropczynski of US Grant Grill and Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen at Marriott Marquis and cook up a 5-course dinner. The event is $65 per person and reservations can be made by contacting the restaurant at 619.234.5200.
May 3, Bite of Point Loma - The Point Loma High School Pointer Association and several local restaurants in Liberty Station will be hosting this 3rd annual event to raise critically needed funds for much needed programs. Participating restaurants include Fireside, Fig Tree Cafe, Luna Grill, Tender Greens, Solare, Von's, Slater's 50/50, Mess Hall, Panera Bread, Cecilia's Taqueria, Point Loma Tea, Oggi's, Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks Coffee. Tickets start at $20.
May 4, Horton Plaza Park Grand Opening - The official grand opening of Downtown San Diego’s highly anticipated Horton Plaza Park is open to the public, free to attend, and hosted by Mayor Kevin Faulconer with special performances, beer gardens, food trucks, offerings from the Park Pavilions, and live art. Horton Plaza Park will also welcome installation artist, musician and visionary William Close & The Earth Harp Collective, who will be constructing an Earth Harp that extends over the crowd for a special performance commemorating the first of many live events to come.
May 4, Tacos Perla Guest Taco Night 005 w/ Chef Diego Hernández - North Park's Tacos Perla will welcome Ensenada's very own, Chef Diego Hernández, of Valle de Guadalupe's acclaimed Corazón de Tierra, which debuted in Latin America 50 Best Restaurants at #30. Chef Diego will take over Perla's open kitchen for one night only, offering "limited edition" tacos starting at $3.95 a piece, including at least 1 vegetarian offering. The event runs from 5-9pm There are no advance tickets. There will also be beer specials by local and Baja craft breweries and music throughout the night.
May 5, 4 Seasons, 4 Italian Chefs Wine Dinner at Solare - Organized by Stefano Poggi of Batasiolo Winery in Piemonte, this dinner will feature 3 restaurants and 4 chefs collaborating to offer diners a culinary extravaganza. Participating chefs include Cassineri Mario and Francesca Penoncelli from Bice San Diego, Stefano Ceresoli from Piazza 1909 and Accursio Lota from Solare Ristorante. And of course, Stefano will be pouring Batasiolo wines including their incredible Barolo 2011. This is the second in a series of events celebrating the seasons like only true, authentic Italians can. The dinner is $89 plus tax and gratuity and reservations can be made by contacting Solare directly.
May 5, Cincoteca Dos at The Headquarters - Following their blow out Cinco de Mayo event from last year, Puesto will again transform the courtyard of the Headquarters into a Cinco de Mayo party called Cincoteca Dos. This free event includes live music, tacos, margaritas and beer on Thursday. Cincoteca Dos at Puesto will also feature TJ’s legendary Nortec Collective along with special guests Javiera Mena and Gepe. In addition to Puesto having taco carts set up in the courtyard to feed hungry revelers, there will also be margarita and beer specials from Casa Noble Tequila and Modelo Especial. The free show starts at 3:30 pm and all ages are welcome.
May 5-8, Gator By The Bay - The Louisiana-themed Zydeco, Blues and Crawfish festival returns to San Diego for its 15th year. Gator By The Bay is the largest Louisiana-themed music and food festival this side of the bayou, taking place at Spanish Landing Park across from the San Diego International Airport. Presented by San Diego’s Bon Temps Social Club, the event features four days of live music with over 90 musical acts and special performances on seven stages, along with 10,000 pounds of crawfish trucked from Louisiana, non-stop dancing, shopping, playing and eating on the beautiful San Diego Bay. Tickets range in price from $25 to $120.
May 6, Mama's Day Fundraiser & Tasting Event - Mama's Kitchen recently donated its 8 millionth meal in San Diego County, due in large part to the support it receives at its annual fundraiser tasting extravaganza - Mama's Day! The 25th annual Mama’s Day will take place at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. Often touted as the original San Diego tasting event, Mama's Day is held the Friday evening before Mother’s Day and features more than 55 chefs from San Diego’s finest restaurants, hotels and catering companies who graciously prepare delicious samples for nearly 600 attendees. Tickets start at $150 per person.
May 7, San Diego Beer & Music Festival - The third annual San Diego Beer and Music Festival will take over its new venue at Liberty Station's NTC Park in Point Loma on Saturday, May 7, from 7-10pm (6pm for VIP), for an evening of craft beer and live music to raise funds for the San Diego Hunger Coalition. Presented by #RockStarBeer Productions, FM 94/9, and many area breweries, the festival will showcase over 100 craft beers from more than 50 local and regional breweries as well as local bands and DJ's and will also include a food truck pavilion and private after party. This tribute edition is headlined by No Doubt, AC/DC and Nirvana cover bands. We are raffling off a pair of VIP passes to attend as well as offering promo code SDVILLE for $5 off any ticket.
May 7, 7th Annual Asian Cultural Festival of San Diego - Held at the Mira Mesa Community Park this free, family friendly event offers plenty of entertainment, including martial arts, ethnic dances, cultural exhibitions, entertainment, games, and of course, food. Expect new things this year, like the first ever beer garden, the video game tent, a photo booth, cooking demos, and even a ramen eating contest.
May 7, Westfield UTC Uncorked - Savor some of Temecula Valley’s finest vintages while tasting bites from Westfield UTC’s favorite restaurants and listening to live acoustic performances from top local Plaza Unplugged artists at this 4th annual event. Ticket holders can enjoy a self-guided wine walk to 4 wine gardens throughout Westfield UTC where inside each garden there will be 3 wineries and 1-2 restaurants. For $20, fill up on unlimited bites and ten 1oz pours, a branded tasting glass, a tasting guide and a gift bag filled with retailer offers and giveaways.
May 7, Beer & Bacon Pairing at Culture Brewing Ocean Beach - They are a match made in heaven! Culture Brewing Co. Ocean Beach will be pairing 3 of their favorite brews with 3 different kinds of delicious bacon - Mosaic IPA paired with Slightly spicy Serrano and honey soaked bacon salad, Imperial Stout paired with sweet and savory pepper coated bacon and loquat crostini and Hefe paired with decadent banana bread bars topped with brown butter frosting and maple drenched bacon. Tickets are $20.
May 7, Junior League of San Diego Food & Wine Festival - Over 50 of San Diego’s best restaurants and beverage purveyors will offer exquisite bites, flavorful wines, top craft and micro brews, and exotic cocktail tastings to exclusive guests at Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. At this year’s festival, organizers will celebrate the Kentucky Derby, and guests are invited to dress for the part, donning your best hats and seersucker suits and cheering on the Run for the Roses! Tickets start at $85.
May 7, San Diego Paella & Wine Festival - The 2nd Annual San Diego Paella & Wine Festival boasts that it will feature the largest Paella ever made in California, offering ticket holders unlimited tastings of paella. Over 2,000 guests are expected to attend. In addition to food and wine samples, guests will also watch as Paella chefs and their teams from across the globe face off for honors. Tickets start at $65.
May 8, Mother's Day Specials - Spring is in full bloom and that means it’s time to celebrate Mom. Show the most important lady in your life how much she means to you with a delicious Mother’s Day brunch, dinner, or a special treat. Whatever culinary creation Mom wants on her special day, San Diego restaurants, hotels and businesses have all of the bases covered. Check out our curated round up of Mother's Day specials from all over San Diego County.
May 9, Abnormal Dinner Series No. 15 with Council Brewing Co. at The Cork & Craft - For the 15th installment of their popular Abnormal Dinner Series, Rancho Bernardo's dual concept The Cork & Craft and Abnormal Beer are inviting guests to a 7 course beer pairing dinner with guest brewery Council Brewing Co. They will be putting together an exquisite seafood dinner, with ingredients provided by Catalina Offshore Products. All seafood will be fresh caught the weekend prior. Tickets are $99 per person.
May 10, Re:Source Unwasted Food Pop-Up Dinner at Land & Water Co. - San Diego Food System Alliance’s Re:Source initiative features four-course menus using kitchen scrap ingredients that would normally be discarded. The goal is to inspire chefs and diners to reduce food waste with creative recipes. In this second dinner in the series, Chef Rob Ruiz and Heather Dane invite diners to an educational, responsibly sourced dining experience at Land & Water in Carlsbad. Tickets are only $40.
May 12, Saiko Sake Brewer's Dinner - North Park's Saiko Sake & Sushi Bar will host an elite lineup of sake brewing insiders for this multi-course sake paired dinner. Limited details are currently available, but this should be an event not to miss at one of San Diego's most talked about sushi restaurants. Tickets are $85
May 14, San Diego Reader TacoTopia - So there are two taco festivals in May, but we left the other out of this list because this is the one worth going to and we feel that it was bad form for the other event to try and jump on the established goodwill of this fantastic festival. For the second year, the San Diego Reader is on the search to find the best taco in San Diego and has invited over 40 of the top eateries in America's Finest City to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. The best part about Tacotopia is that attendees pick the champion. After trying signature tacos from as many restaurants as possible, each attendee will place their token in a voting box on the table of their favorite vendor. The vendor who receives the most tokens wins the title of "Best Taco in San Diego" and $1,000! We're giving away 2 sold out VIP tickets to this nearly-sold-out event and also offering promo code SDVILLE for $5 savings per ticket. GA tickets may be still available at the cost of $40.
May 15, Cowboy Star 8 Year Anniversary Dinner - Cowboy Star is celebrating 8 years in San Diego's East Village with an 8 course dinner paired with Macallan Scotch! The popular San Diego steakhouse and restaurant will welcome Chef Phillip Esteban of The Cork & Craft and Macallan Fine Spirits to present an 8 course tasting menu paired with Macallan's line of fine scotch selections. Tickets are $225 per person.
May 15, Sausage Fest at Quartyard - S&M Sausage and Meats is teaming up with Mastiff Sausages for a day devoted to tube meat. Enjoy a variety of unique house-made sausages, as well as a pickling class, a sauerkraut class, and a sausage eating competition. This event is FREE to attend but sausages and activities are an additional cost.
May 15, Stone Belgian Fest at Stone World Bistro Liberty Station - This second annual event will feature lambics, gueuzes, dubbels, tripels, quadrupels, wits, saisons and Flanders-style red ales. Attendees won't know whether they're in Brussels, Bruges or San Diego. Stone will offer a wide selection of Belgian and Belgian-style beers, including their own Belgian-inspired creations. The $65 ticket includes fifteen 3oz tasters, a commemorative glass, and Belgian-inspired dishes. Food stations will be set up throughout the gardens, with tray-passed dishes offered.
May 16, Baja Med Exchange at Kettner Exchange - This cross border special event at Kettner Exchange will feature legendary Baja Mediterranean Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero of the world famous La Esperanza restaurant in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, as he collaborates with award winning Chef Brian Redzikowski to grill + smoke fresh farm to table & seafood dishes upstairs on the outdoor patio, paired with the finest Baja wines. Tickets are $125 per person & include 6 courses with wine pairing.
May 16, Groundswell Brewing Beer Dinner at The Safehouse - Head to North Park for this 3 course beer pairing inner featuring Groundswell Brewing. In addition to the beer dinner, Groundswell will be unveiling their bottles of limited release ginger saison. Tickets are $45 if purchased in advance.
May 17, Chicks for Beer with Sierra Nevada at The High Dive - In celebration of their Beer Camp tour, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will stop into The Hight Dive for their Chicks for Beers dinner series and provide a selection of beers to be paired with 5 delicious courses, alongside a fun social Beer 101. Chicks for Beer is a dinner series that brings women together in a warm and friendly environment to discover, learn about and enjoy craft beer all while eating an expertly paired 5-course meal. Tickets to this event is $45 per person. All proceeds go to the San Diego chapter of the Susan G Komen Foundation to help those with breast cancer and their families.
May 18, Eat. Drink. Read. A Culinary Tasting Event For Literacy - Celebrating its 30th year promoting literacy in San Diego County, the San Diego Council on Literacy is hosting its 7th annual Eat.Drink.Read fundraiser, a tasting event featuring more than 25 food & drink vendors, taking place at Liberty Station. We are raffling off two tickets, which start at $95 per person.
May 18, New English Brewing Beer Dinner at Tom Ham's Lighthouse - In the next installment of Tom Ham's Brews, Views & Chews dinner series, Chef Kyle Kovar will cook up 5 courses that will be paired with beers from New English Brewing. Tickets are $65.
May 19, Soundbite @ Ritual Tavern - Chef Nick Brune's SoundBite musical dinner series will be back at Ritual Tavern featuring the music by Jesse Lamonaca paired with 6 dishes from Chefs Nick Brune of Eco Caters, Tom Maki of Ritual Tavern, and Chef AG Warfield of Churchills. Combining his love for food and music, Brune created this traveling dinner series, aptly named SoundBite, that pops up at notable San Diego restaurants and venues. Tickets are $60.
May 19, Battle of the Barrels at Barrel Republic Oceanside - The age old question remains… beer or wine? Oceanside’s Barrel Republic will be hosting an epic battle between Stone Brewing Co. beer and St. Mayhem wine at their inaugural Battle of the Barrels 4 course dinner event, featuring barrel aged offerings from Stone Brewing Co. and St. Mayhem Wine that will be carefully-paired with a delicious four-course dinner. Best part? Diners decide which libation wins the battle! Tickets are available in advance online for $65 plus gratuity.
May 21, Bacon & Barrels San Diego - Everyone’s favorite strip of savory-goodness is making a big appearance in San Diego this spring. Bacon & Barrels returns to America's Finest City bringing together the hottest chefs from the finest local restaurants to prepare and serve small plates starring America's favorite porky pleasure in its most inventive forms. This all-day event showcases local chefs’ imaginative recipes incorporating bacon, and highlights the best artisan and craft barrel beverages such as bourbon, beer, wine, and scotch. We are raffling off 2 VIP tickets, and as usual, hooking our readers up with savings on passes - $5 off General Admission/Designated Piggy Tickets with promo code SDVILLE & $10 off Early Entry and VIP tickets with promo code SDVILLE10 at checkout. Tickets range from $20-90.
May 21, D6 Night Market - Get ready to light the night when the 2nd annual D6 Night Market returns to Mira Mesa Community Park for a free, family-friendly public event. Named for San Diego’s City Council District 6 (“D6”), perhaps the most culturally diverse district in San Diego, the D6 Night Market will have all the elements of a successful night market including a mix of food and beverage stands, vendors, and entertainment.
May 21, Olivewood Gardens Seedling Soirée - The 2016 Seedling Soirée will feature some of San Diego’s hottest caterers and restaurants collaborating to create unique dishes that showcase San Diego County’s organic and sustainably produced meats, seafood, produce, and confections. Proceeds from this event will benefit the kitchen, garden, and science programs offered by Olivewood Gardens to children and adults throughout San Diego County. This year’s featured culinary crafters include chefs Amy DiBiase from Tidal, RoseAna Peyron from High Dive Bar and Grill, Joanne Sherif from Cardamom Cafe and Bakery, Kevin Templeton from barleymash, Davin Waite from Wrench & Rodent, and more. Tickets start at $50.
May 24, Mugshots & Mules at Small Bar - Six of Small Bar's favorite dumb crime mug shots will be paired with appropriately-themed mule cocktails and tray passed bites of delicious food at this most unique event. To miss this event would be ignorantly criminal! $60 includes drinks, nibbles and a souvenir Small Bar copper mule mug.
May 24, I Love Poke Festival at Bali Hai - San Diego’s 7th Annual I Love Poke Festival and food competition returns to Bali Hai to celebrate Hawaiian culture and cuisine, featuring poke dishes from an incredible lineup of restaurants, plus island-inspired tastes, music and more. This year’s tasting event will not only feature 30 of San Diego’s top chefs and restaurants, but will have, for the first time, Pokeland competitors from both Hawaii and Australia. Tickets to this event always sell out well ahead of time, so be sure to act fast! Passes are $75.
May 26, Toolbox Beer Dinner at Churchill's Pub and Grille - San Marcos beer mecca Churchill's Pub will host Toolbox Beer for a beer pairing collaboration dinner. Along with Churchill's Chef A.G. Warfield, Philip Esteban of Cork and Craft will be coming up with half the pairings. Tickets are $90.
There are also some awesome concerts coming to San Diego this May, including Beyoncé, Billy Joel, The Cure, The Lumineers, and more. Check out the SanDiegoVille Concerts page to learn more.