From the established headliners to the up-and-coming artists, San Diego has upheld its reputation as a hotbed for great music. Whether you’re looking for a stadium-packed spectacle or a more intimate live music experience, the area has plenty of venues that fit the bill. Here’s our list of 15 favorite places to see a show around San Diego.
710 Beach Club – In addition to karaoke and open mic nights, this popular beach side PB sports bar features live bands almost every night of the week. It’s also pet friendly, so bring along your tune-lovin’ pooch!
Belly Up Tavern – Since 1974, this favorite spot has gotten endorsements from Rolling Stone and locals alike. The Solana Beach hot spot has hosted all kinds of legendary acts including B-52s, Death Cab for Cutie, Maroon 5, Black Eyed Peas, Blink 182, Etta James, Gwen Stephani, Ben Folds, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and BB King. Arrive early to grab a seat and food at a nearby restaurant as no food is available inside.
Brick by Brick – This classic, dark hole-in-the-wall venue in Linda Vista has been bringing national, regional, and local artists of all music genres to its stage for two decades. Past performers include Cat Power, Suzanne Vega, System of a Down, and Godsmack.
The Casbah – This iconic venue in has been rocking since 1989 and with bands such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and The White Stripes under its belt, it is the place to go for emerging local bands as well as independent touring acts. It’s the perfect dive bar in Little Italy for up-close music with affordable tickets and drinks. Since it is a small space, sign up for their mailing list to secure tickets early.
Club M – One of a few North County nightclubs, Fridays and Saturdays bring live, festive music served alongside casual small plates in a fashionable atmosphere per its Grand Del Mar setting.
House of Blues – Celebrated for its excellent performance space and delicious comfort food, you can see the biggest national acts as well as regional talent, all within the hot nightlife scene of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay – From late spring to early fall, for over 35 years, San Diego’s most beautiful outdoor venue on San Diego Bay has hosted the top names in music and comedy. There’s nothing like a summer night under the stars surrounded by the waters of the bay. It’s a large venue, but tickets sell out fast. Also check out premium and dinner show packages for the full Humphrey’s experience.
The Merrow – A relatively new music joint, the nautically-themed Merrow in Hillcrest has a friendly neighborhood vibe. With 16 craft beers on tap and happy hour every day till 8 p.m., it’s a great place to enjoy a pint, art on the wall, and weekly shows.
Music Box – You can find a live music event nearly every night at this upscale, three-story venue in Little Italy. Roomy yet cozy (with seating for about 700), it presents a variety of musical acts and is proud of its “audiophile-quality acoustics” as well as the locally sourced menus.
The Observatory North Park – A charmingly restored theatre that originally opened in 1929, this larger venue hosts all kinds of events, including musicals, symphonies, and concerts.
San Diego Symphony – Since 1910, the San Diego Symphony has brought timeless music and art to the area. It now gives more than 100 performances throughout the year, including spectacular series such as the Bayside Summer Series at the new performance park, and incorporates plenty of hip numbers as well as classics
The Shout! House – This Gaslamp hub brings the kind of fun only a dueling piano bar can. For little-to-no cover charge, you can shout out requests and sing along to rock hits from the 50s to today.
Soda Bar – Only a block away from The Hideout, the laid-back Soda Bar is another venue that quickly picked up steam and has made name for itself for its cheap-yet-excellent nightly shows, great craft beer, and welcoming atmosphere.
Tin Roof – Another Gaslamp gem, Tin Roof is a relaxed bar where you can enjoy nightly music from local San Diego talent as well as inspired pub food.
Winston’s Beach Club – You can soak in the laid-back vibes of Ocean Beach, great drinks, and nightly shows – including open mic and comedy nights – at this nightclub just a couple blocks from the water. Enjoy happy hour every day from open (1 p.m.) to 6 p.m.