Two Major Festivals Coming to Downtown San Diego in November

Embarcadero Marina Park North to host casual chic San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, followed by feisty Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival

On back-to-back November weekends, a pair of premium events return to downtown San Diego–both centered on Embarcadero Marina Park North.

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival runs from November 9-13. The festival’s epic “Grand Tasting” will be dished up on Saturday, November 12, featuring more than 300 food-and-beverage vendors.

From November 18-20, the Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival makes a triumphant downtown return, with 80 bands rocking seven stages for three days along the bay.

Wonderfront headliners include Gwen Stefani (pictured, above, Getty Images), Kings of Leon and Zac Brown Band.

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

The nationally acclaimed wine and food festival has been centered in downtown San Diego since 2004.

From the beginning, co-founders Michelle Metter and Ken Loyst wanted to create an iconic city event.

“We wanted a waterfront event,” Metter says. “Something that was picturesque, that really told the story of our city. Embarcadero Park was a natural fit for us.”

This year’s version will be preceded by SommCom, a mini-conference for wine enthusiasts.

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival opens with hosted “foodie expeditions,” including a chartered bus trip to Mexico’s Guadalupe Valle.

Catering to the crowd at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.

Other festival highlights are the nightly winemaker dinners, mixology classes and appearances by celebrity chefs.

The itinerary includes a Grand Decant (November 11) and a Taco TKO competition (November 13).

The main event is the November 12 Grand Tasting. More than 6,000 attendees will fill up Embarcadero Marina Park North to sample from freshly cooked culinary samples and wash it all down with beer, fine wine and top-shelf spirits.

[San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival ticket information]

Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival

The Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival premiered in 2019–only to be preempted for two years by the pandemic.

That’s a rough start.

Similar to the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the Wonderfront founders want to create an iconic event.

Wonderfront co-founder Ernie Hahn aspires to bring back the charm–and national reputation–of downtown’s former Street Scene music festival.

“We couldn’t do it in the middle of downtown like Street Scene did,” Hahn says. “That’s partly why they left. The organizers lost all their contiguous downtown blocks. All those blocks became condos.”

Hahn believes the “secret sauce” is in finding a way to connect to downtown. The solution: a partnership with the Port of San Diego and a festival site that spans the northwestern bayfront.

The 2019 Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival.

This year’s Wonderfront festival site will be streamlined from its 2019 layout. Two stages will be built in the Seaport Village parking lot (combined capacity: 15,000). Two more (including the main stage) will stand on Embarcadero Marina Park North, which can accommodate about 17,500 people.

The nearby Rady Shell at Jacobs Park (on Embarcadero Marina Park South) will not be utilized for Wonderfront.

Several aspects of Wonderfront are unique to a music festival experience, including floating venues, affiliated after-parties and in-and-out privileges afforded to all ticket-buyers.

It’ll be a busy pre-Thanksgiving this year at Embarcadero Marina Park North.

[Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival ticket information]


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