The VDV Guide To Del Mar Opening Day

If we haven't made it completely obvious (and chances are good that we have), we are REALLY really pumped for Opening Day at the Del Mar Races. Though the majority of Opening Day is dedicated to betting on ponies and rocking huge hats, anyone who's been knows that in reality, the all-day event ends up being one big party. As with any social event, what you wear is kind of a BFD; staying comfortable and cool is key since you'll be standing almost the entire time (check out our post on what to wear). And because all of Del Mar will be buzzing, long lines and big crowds are pretty unavoidable. But heading into the day with a plan of how you'll get there, what to do before, and where the best after party is will ensure that you and your squad have the best Opening Day, ever. 

So, with the biggest soirée of summer just one day away, here's the officially unofficial VDV guide to Opening Day at Del Mar. 

Del Mar Opening Day, Shop Van De Vort

Be Ready For Crowds

We can't stress this point enough. This year will be the first time that Opening Day is held on a Friday, so you can bet that just about everyone you know will be calling in "sick" and hitting the races. It's estimated that over 40,000 people will be in attendance, so arriving early is advised.

Do NOT Drive 

Unless you've got a DD who's guaranteed to stay stone cold sober, don't risk driving around--not even after one drink. It just won't be worth it. Instead, we suggest Uber-ing in or meeting friends somewhere nearby beforehand and walking over. 

Del Mar Opening Day Outfit Hat

Seek Shade

As we mentioned before, you'll be standing around outside almost all day. Wearing a big sun hat (or visor) is more than just a fashion statement--it'll help to keep you cool and your face from getting sunburned. 

Check Out The Brigantine

This casual seafood spot not only boasts amazing fish tacos and a killer house marg, but also offers great views of the Del Mar Racetrack from their patio. If you decided to check it out (which you should), be sure to show up early to get a great spot. 

Don't Forget Fuel

We won't dance around the issue; if you're headed to Opening Day, chances are you'll be indulging in quite a few drinks. It's important that you don't forget to eat! Hit up Red Tracton's (directly across the street from the track) for their french onion soup and prime rib, or Fidel's for chips & guac.

Pony Up At The After Party

After enjoying yourself at the racetrack all day, head to Rancho Valencia for their annual After Pony Party. It starts at 6pm, and will include live music, food, a photo booth and so much more! We suggest changing beforehand though, as it'll definitely cool off once the sun sets.

Rancho Valencia After Pony Party Del Mar Races


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