Where to celebrate on Opening Day


The jockeys are ready, the horses are stretched and the champagne is ready to pop. Somehow, Opening Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is already here, and whether a regular or newcomer to the festivities, everyone loves a good party. So grab your hats and your party pants (or dresses) because the celebration may start at the track, but it doesn’t stop once the racing does on July 19.

Opening Day Hats Contest

Show up in style to Opening Day. Between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., attendees will compete for more than $5,000 worth of prizes at Plaza de Mexico. Participants can enter one of five categories, including Most Glamorous, Most Outrageous, Best Racing Theme, Best Fascinator and Flowers/All Other. So step up the creativity because the horses and jockeys won’t be the only ones going home with a prize. Contest entry is free.

2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar,

The Party

Feel like a VIP for the day. At The Party, guests can enjoy dancing, games, private wagering, beer gardens and more all while taking in the races at the Seaside Cabana tent on the west end of the Grandstand. Tickets are $35 and include include Stretch Run admission as well as access to the cabana and it amenities.

2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar,

Pacifica Del Mar Opening Day Party

Take in ocean views once the racing ends. From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., a live DJ will keep the party going while guests celebrate their winnings and good company. Entry is $25, which gives guests a $25 credit to be used on food and drinks.

1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, 858.792.0476,

L’Auberge Del Mar Opening Day After-Party

End the night just minutes from the racetrack. The annual event will feature live entertainment from DJ FishFonics and DJ Gabe Vegas, as well as delicious food L’Auberge’s Executive Chef Nathan Lingle. While celebrating, guests can try this year’s signature cocktail “Off to the Races,” which “features bourbon whiskey, ginger beer, honer and Memphis Barbeque Bitters.” Tickets purchased before the event are $229, and day-of party tickets are $250.

L’Auberge Del Mar: 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, 858.259.1515,

The Official Opening Day After-Party: Hats, Heels & Hooves

Join some of the jockeys from the day’s festivities at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. There, guests will be greeted with a welcome cocktail and “culinary display prepared by celebrity chef Casey Thompson.” Admission is $150 for this 21+ event. VIP packages are available upon request.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe: 5951 Linea Del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.756.1131,

Viewpoint Brewing Co.

If a big party is not your style, then perhaps a craft beer just a short walk from the track is. Coincidentally, Viewpoint Brewing Co., Del Mar’s first craft brewery, will officially open its doors on Opening Day and will offer guests fresh local brews, a full restaurant and views of the San Dieguito Lagoon and Wildlife Bird Reserve.

Read more about Viewpoint Brewing Co. here.

2201 San Dieguto Dr., Del Mar,