Explore beyond the racetrack during your next weekend getaway with this guide to the best non-equestrian related things to do in Del Mar.
Sometimes the Del Mar Racetrack steals the show when it comes to this oceanfront city, home to some of the most scenic southern coastline in California. But Del Mar offers much more than just purebred show ponies. And when you call L’Auberge Del Mar home, which is located in the beautiful Del Mar Village with a private path to the beach, you can use this 48-hour guide as your highlight reel to a weekend by the sea.
5 p.m. | Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride
You’ve never seen a sunset quite like Del Mar’s from the sky, and Compass Balloons is ready to show you what you’ve been missing. Reserve one of their private or group sunset rides, and sip champagne while soaring over the coastline.
9 p.m. | Relax in the Living Room
L’Auberge Del Mar’s Living Room Bar is the perfect place to settle in for a nightcap. It has everything you need: live music, a bar menu a mile long, and small bites for when the post-cocktail hunger pangs set in. If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of their craft cocktails, like the hibiscus repo-sour with reposado tequila, hibiscus, lemon, and egg white.
9 a.m. | A Morning at the Encinitas Tide Pools
Located roughly six miles north of Del Mar off the Pacific Coast Highway from Cardiff State Beach, Swami’s Beach offers a rocky stretch, where, hidden in the hard sedimentary rock, you’ll find old fossils shells. During low tide, the reef formation becomes visible and you have a good chance of spotting sea hares, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, and even octopuses.
12 p.m. | Stroll the Del Mar Farmers Market
Head back south toward Del Mar’s south end to scour the produce bins for a DIY picnic. But if you’re thinking this market is just veggies and fruit, you’re wrong. While it does have a great selection of the basic farmer’s market fare, it is known for its prepared food. So, pack up a bag with authentic pad thai, fresh fruit, and California-fermented kombucha and make your way down to the beach for a picnic.
3 p.m. | Explore the Del Mar Village
Downtown Del Mar (also known as Del Mar Village) boasts an Old World charm reflected in the quaint half-timbered Tudor-style architecture. A variety of specialty boutiques and bistro-style patio dining can be found spanning everything between 9th and 15th streets, but the best is arguably at its hub – where 15th Street crosses Camino del Mar – at the tastefully designed Del Mar Plaza shopping center. In addition to restaurants and brand name stores like Banana Republic to independent boutique, the plaza’s upper-level terraces offer some of the area’s best views of the sea.
7 p.m. | Indulge at Prepkitchen Del Mar
Creative menu options, made with thoughtfully sourced ingredients are just some of the things that make this colorful cafe a great place to get a taste of Del Mar. They serve up classics like mac n’ cheese, with a gourmet twist, while introducing you to new favorites like bacon-wrapped dates.
8 a.m. | Breakfast in Coastline
With an atmosphere that resembles a luxurious summer home, Coastline, L’Auberge Del Mar’s all-day restaurant, boasts a large outdoor wood deck overlooking the pool and ocean – the perfect place to dig into their Del Mar Benedict where poached eggs come served with Dungeness crab, baby spinach, heirloom tomato, and, of course, hollandaise.
10 a.m. | Hike Torrey Pines State Reserve
1,750-acres of Del Mar’s most spectacular views await at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, offering several trail options for hikers of all skill levels, from uphill climbs to beach view loops. An exploration through the park – named after the Torrey pine trees it was created to protect – is a great way to bid a fond farewell to Del Mar.