Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Del Mar, CA

  • Published 2022/10/04

The beachside city of Del Mar in San Diego County County, California, is famous for its impressive ocean views.

Situated along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, this city’s upscale living and sophistication also add to its charm.

More than that, its convenient location, walkable spots, and sites give it a small-town, intimate atmosphere.

It borrows its name from a poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar,” courtesy of the first owner’s wife.

Del Mar has already proven its worth as a resort city with a historical mix during its first city developments.

Its European-inspired buildings and outdoor recreational potential eventually paved the way for its popularity and public appeal.

If you plan to visit the city, here are the best things to do in Del Mar, which might help you make your travel decisions:

Plan a Family Gathering at Powerhouse Park

Powerhouse Park overlooking the ocean

Brian A. Witkin /

Powerhouse Park on Coast Boulevard brings out the best in natural recreation and event hosting.

This coastal park provides access to the beach and a playground for kids to enjoy.

A quick walk down the sandy beach can take you to a panoramic view of the Del Mar coastline, the pride and joy of the city.

Scenic sunset over Powerhouse Park

JRentz /

Build sandcastles with your kids, or choose to have a picnic on the grassy lawns.

Plan family gatherings and get-together s at the bluffs overlooking the sea.

Whatever you do at Powerhouse Park, you will have a fun and memorable time.

Join a Guided Tour at Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary

Are you interested in fowls and birdwatching?

At Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary, fulfill your dreams of interacting and learning about birds with a guided tour of the place.

This sanctuary opened because of the efforts of the founding organization in protecting and rehoming companion parrots and other exotic birds within the locality.

Spend time walking with the birds on-site and even feeding and talking with them.

The site is also kid-friendly and accessible for those in wheelchairs and other assistive devices.

Besides the bird-centered programs, Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary also offers field trips, birthday party hostings, and youth summer camps and programs.

Adopt a companion bird and let them live a life they’re loved and cherished.

Find this bird haven at Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

Sample Local and International Cuisine at the Del Mar Farmers Market

Take a food trip at Del Mar when you drive by the Del Mar Farmers Market on Camino Del Mar.

This year-round market promotes local and international cuisine, especially fresh produce.

Since 1986, it has served as the instrument in linking non-profit farmers and producers directly with consumers.

This market has everything from naturally-grown fruits, like pluots and berries, to honey and kettle corn.

Find a potted herb or an orchid to decorate your home by browsing the plants for purchase.

You can also bring home an art souvenir and other crafted materials.

To fully experience the shopping experience at the Del Mar Farmers Market, ride a bike or walk around the stalls.

Taste Peruvian Dishes at Coya Peruvian Secret

Coya Peruvian Secret on Camino Del Mar offers a unique seafood dining experience.

This restaurant is easily a tourist favorite with its Peruvian fusion and contemporary cuisine.

What makes this restaurant stand out is its streetside location and restaurant decor.

Coya Peruvian Secret’s vine-covered venue easily attracts people alongside its patio, where patrons can sit.

Enjoy Peruvian meals and drinks in sophisticated plating options.

Take a photo or two of the place or dish and ensure an unforgettable dining experience.

Relax by the Waterfront at Seagrove Park

Paved trail at Seagrove Park

Dogora Sun /

Del Mar’s parks aren’t just your run-of-the-mill parks, which is true for Seagrove Park.

This oceanside property offers an open perspective of the Pacific Ocean and the clear horizon ahead.

Seagrove Park gives you all the privacy you need if you need an intimate setting for your events.

Ocean views from Seagrove Park

Dogora Sun /

Set amidst palm trees, this park offers rentals and special permits for events with catering.

Walk along the trailed pathway overlooking the ocean below and feel the breeze around you.

Located along 15th Street and Coast Boulevard, this impressive spot is one of Del Mar’s most sought-after parks.

The grounds of Seagrove Park

Dogora Sun /

Learn Surfing Basics at Del Mar Surf School

At 10th Street, take the chance to improve your surfing skills.

Del Mar Surf School offers group and one-on-one lessons for a surfboard, wetsuit, and more.

If you’re just a beginner, there’s no need to worry.

You can join the classes with the on-site instructors.

You learn how to ride the waves on various board types, from surfboards to boogie boards.

There are also surf camps weekly to keep you updated on ocean safety and surf etiquette.

Prepare to hit the waves the next time you go out to sea with your new surfing skills from Del Mar Surf School.

Enjoy the Sea while Eating at Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar

Del Mar’s various dining spots have more to offer than a delicious meal.

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar is one such example, priding itself as the best place for brunch with the best view of the sea outside.

Choose from various seafood dishes, including those with salmon, oysters, and white seabass.

If you’ve got a child with you, you can order a dish from the kids’ menu.

Inhale the scent of sea and sand with a table reserved outside.

Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar is a hallmark of sophistication with its modern moss-covered screen exterior on Coast Boulevard.

Shop at the Del Mar Plaza

If you’ve got time for shopping and downtown exploration, the Del Mar Plaza on Camino Del Mar may be your best bet.

Get enchanted with the different shops, boutiques, and other establishments when you walk down this plaza.

Its architecture makes this upscale locale a bit more than your usual hang-out spot.

Find yourself lost in the fountains of an Italian piazza while looking for a place to dine.

The view of the beach from a distance may remind you of Monaco and its seaside charm.

Understand what outside dining is like in Del Mar through the restaurants on the boulevard.

Get your accessories, clothing, and jewelry at quaint but elegant shops.

Everywhere you look at the Del Mar Plaza, there’s more to see and do.

See the Horses at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Building sign of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Rosamar /

Are you a horse racing fan?

Visit the racetrack at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club inside the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Established in 1937, this track’s popularity, spearheaded by Bing Crosby, has only skyrocketed since it first welcomed the public.

It has hosted various celebrities and adds a colorful Old Hollywood spin on Del Mar sophistication.

Horses at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Archibald Hill /

Cheer for the beloved racers while learning the spirit of thoroughbred racing.

When you’ve exhausted yourself, you can always drop by the various dining spots near the track.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s race track is on Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

Dining spot overlooking the track at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Rosamar /

Learn about Art at Art + Play Space

Alongside its beach-centered tourist spots, Del Mar also has attraction sites that best promote art and culture.

At Art + Play Space, you have many opportunities to bond with your family through the love of art.

This 2,000-square-feet museum facility offers classes and programs that unleash your children’s creativity and curiosity.

Cultivate your child’s culinary skills at Art + Play Space’s Wobbleland.

At the museum, they also get to paint miniature house models.

If you want to visit, this museum is smack at the center of the city’s shopping center in Camino Del Mar.

Discover Local Art at Les Artistes Inn

Les Artistes Inn combines simplistic accommodations with local art promotions.

Located on Camino del Mar, this vacation retreat takes you on an art escape with rooms centered on specific paintings and artists.

Feel inspired by the antique style of the Courtyard.

Travel to Japan for a short while in the Zen room centered on heavy woodwork in an oriental style.

On the other hand, the Monet room focuses on French impressionist works by the famous artist Claude Monet.

Les Artistes Inn’s other rooms include Rivera, Van Gogh, Gaugin, and Botero.

Buy a Unique Gift at Dinosaur Gallery

Don’t forget to bring home a souvenir from your Del Mar trip by visiting Dinosaur Gallery.

This gift shop on Camino Del Mar offers a wide array of minerals and crystals.

More than that, it also sells unique jewelry, fossils, corals, and artworks, perfect for decorating your home with or giving a gift to a friend.

Browse colorful pebbles, opals, and more memorabilia you won’t find elsewhere.

Dinosaur Gallery has everything you need for something fun and unique to bring home with you.

Other Things to Do Nearby

If the enchanting streets of Del Mar excited you, you are in for a much-awaited surprise.

Here are some other things you can do within half an hour of Del Mar and its trendy landmarks.

Explore the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Scenic view of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Manuela Durson /

Only seven minutes away from Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is in La Jolla, California.

It provides an outdoor exploration you won’t want to miss.

Spanning 1,500 acres, this natural preserve allows you to go on a peaceful walk along its guided trails.

People at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve beach

Debbie Ann Powell /

You can also meditate and become one with nature amidst the preserved plants, habitats, and geological formations.

Bring binoculars with you, as this place is also ideal for birdwatching.

Sandy trail at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

ZAB Photographie /

Take a Balloon Ride at Magical Adventure Balloon Rides

Ready for your trip to reach new heights?

At Magical Adventure Balloon Rides on Sierra Avenue in Solana Beach, California, prepare to have your breath taken away, literally!

The best part about all this is you can choose from various ride options.

Book a sunset balloon ride if you’re ready to impress a date or significant other.

You don’t only get to see the beautiful South California skyline with the person you care about most, but you also get champagne and a cheese plate.

Would you like to do a unique proposal?

Magical Adventure Balloon Rides has your back!

Upgrade your grand gesture with a Re-commitment Flight where you and your loved one can enjoy the sky before finally sealing your commitments.

On the other hand, private tether rides offer better promotional material for you and your business.

You can reach this place after a six-minute from Del Mar.

Learn about Contemporary Art at the Madison Gallery

In the neighboring city of Solana Beach, Madison Gallery provides an avenue for promoting contemporary art.

This gallery, founded in 2001, has offered personalized curation services, on-site consultation, and more for artists worldwide.

It also collaborates with enterprises and businesses for public art collection displays.

A trip to this influential gallery can help you discover or rediscover your love for modern art through its exhibitions.

Learn more about sculptures, photographs, paintings, and other art forms and listen to the stories of the artists who paint them.

Madison Gallery is only a six-minute drive from downtown Del Mar.

Learn Cool Skateboarding Tricks at La Colonia Skatepark

Only five minutes from Del Mar, La Colonia Skatepark brings you a memorable skating experience in Solana Beach.

This public park offers a contemporary scene for aspiring skateboarders and bikers.

Since opening to the public in 2019, the skatepark has offered a lush landscape of trees and lawns.

From its railings to its slopes, this park doesn’t disappoint in providing moderate challenges for those interested in these sports.

As a street plaza with impressive transition features, the skatepark also contains things like a quarterpipe combo.

This 5,500-square-foot park is on La Colonia Park.

Final Thoughts

Del Mar’s tight-knit community and relatively private atmosphere make it a hit among residents and tourists.

Are you ready to see what makes Del Mar the place where the surf meets turf?

There’s only one way to find out.

Discover the best things to do in Del Mar, California!

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