Fun, Free, & Frugal in SoCal!

Are you as excited about summer as I am to eat this Philly Mac & Cheesesteak from the Del Mar Fair?

I grew up in San Diego, so I’ve been going to the Del Mar Fair since I was a kid. Between the rides, carnival games, exhibits, and crazy food, there’s fun to be had for all ages. This year, I’m pretty sure I consumed about 1,000 calories in 30 minutes between the Philly Mac & Cheesesteak (#85) from Austriano’s Italian Grill to a personal basket of Bacon Truffle Fries from Bacon A-Fair (#20/93). I would highly recommend this cheesesteak and caution you to keep the sandwich as horizontal as possible because it gets messy! The fries were very tasty with the gouda and truffle topping, but a tad overpriced.


I have a return ticket, so I hope to try out the Red Velvet or Strawberry Cheesecake cake flavor from Funnel Express (#99) and maybe the Monte Cristo from Grilled Cheese A-Fair (#48). Other new foods available that I will not be trying are Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes and Fried Cookie Dough. I also found a way to get to the fair for free if you have a bus pass. Take the 101 bus to Brigantine Seafood, then hop on the free Shopper Shuttle!

The fair is great, but it can get pricy. It also ends on July 4th. So I put together a public Google Calendar of FREE events in San Diego this summer. 

You can add the entire calendar, or just by event! I tried to include as many details as possible in the description, listed the source links, and inputted the addresses for easy smartphone navigation.

Here are the XML, ICAL, & HTML links to the calendar.  Let me know if you have trouble accessing the calendar and I’ll help you figure it out!

I’m moving to Long Beach soon (August!), so I plan to add Orange County and Los Angeles events too! In the meantime, I’m trying to make the most of my last summer living in San Diego and invite you to do so too. Here’s what you’ll find on the calendar:


34th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off –  Saturday, June 22 from 11am-3pm
This is a really fun event in OB. I recommend taking the free Trolley to avoid traffic and parking. Bonus — this is a legit Old Town Trolley, complete with lively tour guide! I missed the chili-tasting last time I went, so let me know how

Loews Surf Dog Competition – Saturday, June 22 from 10am-8pm

Surfing dogs. Need I say more? (Dog creeping at its finest.)

Switchfoot Bro-am Saturday, July 13 from 7am-5pm
San Diego native band Switchfoot hosts an annual surf competition and concert for charity!

Coronado Art Walk Saturday & Sunday, September 14th-15th from 10am-5pm
Check out local art at the scenic Ferry Landing in Coronado as summer winds down. (*See more Coronado events below.)

Brian’s Farmers Markets – Weekly Thursday-Friday. See times and locations below.

I love farmers’ markets, especially in the summertime. Brian’s Farmers’ Markets feature produce from local farmers that grow their food pesticide-free. You can also sample packaged and hot foods while browsing artisan crafts and gifts! During the summer, farmers are happy to let you sample the juiciest of berries and offer bright summer produce.

I’m really excited because they opened a new one at Belmont Park, right at the foot of the roller coaster!! Here are the times of the markets. Click on the links to follow their Facebook Pages for updates on new vendors and more!

+ Thursdays, 3pm-7pm: UTC Farmers Market
+ Fridays, 9:30am-1pm: Belmont Park Farmers Market
+ Saturdays, 9:30am-1:30pm: Golden Hill Farmers Market
+ Sundays, 9:30am-2:30pm: Point Loma Farmers Market

Balboa Park House of Pacific Relations International Cottages Sundays 2pm-4pm
From March – September, the International Cottages feature lawn events including dance and musical performances, food vendors, and more! The cottages open at 12pm for browsing before the live event and feature a different country each week.

I love watching movies and I love being outdoors. These events combine the two at unique locations across San Diego. From family favorites like Brave and Wreck it Ralph, to comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Anchorman, you’re sure to find one for your group. Best of all – they’re free!

Movies generally start around dusk. Arrive early for optimal seating. Most places let you bring your own chairs, blankets, and food – verify on the website. All of these movies are listed on the my calendar so it’s easier to find the date and movie that suits your needs! (*See more movies below)

[NOT LISTED ON CALENDAR (aka: Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That)]
I found a lot of other events online thanks to and I’d add these to the calendar, but it would take me longer than the duration of the events..

Summer Movies at the Park 
Family-friendly movies in San Diego from the South Bay to North County!

Coronado Summer Concerts in the Park
Enjoy concerts by local artists and tribute bands at Spreckels Park – located at the corner of 6th Street and Orange Avenue. Concerts start around 6:30-7pm on various nights throughout the year.

To San Diego residents and visitors, I wish you a very happy summer! Did I miss something? Have a free event you’d like me to promote? Comment below, email me at, OR we can be super high tech and you can invite me directly to a Google Calendar event.;)

I’ll be adding more as I find them. Enjoy!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining at Tiffany’s

PS: Just realized it’s 6.19 day! Perfect timing. SD represent! 😉 


Peanuts & Fried Chicken: A Birthday Greeting for My Dad

I’ve traveled to the Philippines with my parents and sister twice in my lifetime. During our first visit, I was eight years old and met many of my wonderful relatives for the first time. At this young age, I also came face to face with the reality that many people around the world live in extremely poor conditions and experienced one of my most vivid childhood memories. We were stuck in the sweltering traffic of the Philippines and I looked outside the car window. I saw starving people young and old begging for food and money; a little boy was eating paper on the side of the road.

When we returned to the Philippines during my last year of high school, I learned an unexpected lesson from my dad during a shopping trip to one of the expansive mega malls. At some point, we split off from my mom and sister to head toward the food court. In the area between the restaurants, ragged street vendors begged passerby to spare some change to buy small trinkets and snacks. 
Among the street vendors was a little girl who couldn’t have been older than ten years old. Atop her shoulder, she carried a long stick with a dozen or so bags of peanuts to sell. It was a weekday, so she likely had to forego school to help her family make ends meet. When I saw this poor little girl, my natural instinct was to walk right past her and try to not feel so sad. 
That’s when my dad took an unexpected action. He struck up a conversation with the little girl and asked about her age, family, and life. Then he asked her how much the peanuts cost. He sifted through his wallet and paid her enough money to purchase all of the peanuts on her pack. Joyfully bewildered, the girl started to hand us all of her goods as my dad kindly declined them. I stood there surprised and amazed, watching what he did next. He walked over to the fried chicken stand and ordered a bucket or so of chicken with a side of rice. My dad gave the bags of food to the little girl, patted her on the shoulder, and told her to go home early with a hot meal for her family. 
I don’t remember if she had tears in her eyes, but I shed a few as I write this. I don’t remember what I said to my dad after, or if I ever said anything at all. I will always remember the volumes of meaning that this moment speaks about my dad. 
Today is my dad’s birthday. When it comes to my parents, no gift is ever enough to thank them for all they’ve done for me, both in providing me with a comfortable life and especially for all the values they’ve instilled in me. 
Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for teaching me to always make genuine connections with everyone we meet, be generous with blessings, and try our best to make someone’s day — especially those in need. I love you. 
With love,
Dining at Tiffany’s 
PS: Happy Father’s Day, too!