Your Local Guide to Del Mar Races
The Del Mar Races are a San Diego tradition that attracts racing enthusiasts and travelers alike from around the globe. Whether it’s your first time experiencing horse racing in Del Mar or you are an annual attendee, get ready to marvel at the palm trees surrounding the paddock that leads out to the only coastal race track in Southern California with views of the Pacific Ocean.
Let’s dive into your ultimate guide to Del Mar Races.
Prepping for the Races: Where to Shop
The Del Mar Races are not just about the sport, but also about showcasing your best race-day attire. A long-standing tradition at the Del Mar Races has been wearing your biggest, boldest hat or fascinator, which culminates in a hat contest on Opening Day.
Here are our top shopping recommendations to get you race-day-ready.
Hats Unlimited: Just a short walk from Orli, Hats Unlimited leaves little to surprise thanks to its name but does offer a surprisingly large variety of hats for both men and women ranging from chic race-day fascinators to traditional beach hats.
Robina Apparel & Accessories: If you’re looking for those finishing touches, Robina’s is the place to go. From designer jewelry to luxury handbags, this boutique has everything to elevate your race-day look.
Ascot Shop: Men, we haven’t forgotten you. The Ascot Shop, a La Jolla fixture since 1950, offers a wide range of sophisticated menswear perfect for a day at the races.
Getting to The Del Mar Races
From La Jolla, you can either take the coastal route or the highway. However, the fastest route is typically the highway. Simply take I-5 North until you exit Del Mar Heights Road and head West (left). Turn right onto Camino Del Mar and continue until you hit the parking lot and the races on your left. Don’t forget to enjoy some tunes during your drive – we have your perfect playlist (curated by the Orli team) here.
Note: We recommend avoiding exiting on Via De La Valle due to heavy racetrack traffic.
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Where to Eat: Pre and Post-Race Dining
A day at the races can be long, and you’ll need to fuel up with some good food. Luckily, La Jolla offers a plethora of dining options to cater to every palate.
George’s at the Cove: Start your day with a hearty breakfast at George’s at the Cove. Their ocean terrace offers stunning views and a breakfast menu to die for.
Viewpoint Brewing Co.: Looking for a pre-race drink just steps from the entrance to the track? Head up the coast to Viewpoint Brewing Co., Del Mar’s first and only brewery with full views of the track and San Dieguito Lagoon. *This location also has Race Track parking right across the street.
Catania: After a thrilling day at the races, unwind at Catania. This ocean-view restaurant offers exquisite dishes and an unrivaled view of La Jolla’s sunset, ideal for a post-race dinner.
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Top Tips for Visiting the Del Mar Races
Finally, we’ve rounded up some top tips for first-time visitors to the Del Mar Races:
Dress Code: While there’s no dress code for general entry, attendees tend to lean towards semi-formal attire. However, if you do have tickets to the Turf Club, there is a strict dress code, which you can find here, Remember, it’s not just about the horses, but also about the fashion!
Arrival Time: Aim to arrive at least an hour before the first post to find parking, explore the grounds, and make your initial bets.
Study the Program: The daily racing program provides useful information about the races and the horses. Take some time to familiarize yourself with it. You can find all information for each day’s race here.
Hydrate and Sunscreen: The summer sun can be strong and seats for each race are not always shaded at the lower levels. Remember to hydrate, apply sunscreen, and consider a hat to protect against the sun’s rays.
Explore the Grounds: Del Mar is more than just the races. Enjoy live music, delicious food, craft beers, and more in the infield pavilion. Plus, always head down to the Paddock about 30 minutes prior to each race for an up-close view of the horses.
So there you have it, your complete guide to the Del Mar Races, all from your home base at Orli. We can’t wait to welcome you to La Jolla and make your race day experience truly memorable.
Click here for the 2023 season info at-a-glance and check out the racetrack’s full lineup of special events throughout the summer meet. We’ll see you there!
*Featured image courtesy of dmtc.com
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