San Diego NightLife: Things To Do At Night In San Diego
California’s Pacific coast may be highly regarded for its sun-kissed beaches and blue skies, but there’s plenty of activity when the day is complete and the evening begins. The city of San Diego is a veritable hive of activity after dark, with nightlife to cater for every taste and lifestyle.
San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter
Whether you’ve packed your dancing shoes or a healthy appetite, Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is the place to be. Comprising of sixteen blocks in close proximity, you’ll easily find somewhere to strut your stuff on the dancefloor no matter what genre of music gets your heart pumping and feet moving, or a restaurant menu that will have even the pickiest of mouths watering – and in many cases, a combination of both.
If you’re in the mood for dancing with minimal fuss, it may be worth booking yourself onto the fabled Club Crawl. The hottest destinations can get pretty busy, especially at weekends, and signing up for the Crawl will eradicate frustrating waiting in line for entry and costly cover charges.
Including trips to a combination of the most popular destinations in all of San Diego, including any four of fabled names such as Fluxx (voted San Diego’s greatest club for the past two years), Parq, OMNIA, Side Bar, Florent, Bassmnt and Analog, the Club Crawl is the perfect introduction to the pulsing nightlife of San Diego. It’s also just as frugal as it is fun, with the total bill coming to roughly the same as the cover charge of just one of the superclubs mentioned above.
The nightclub scene in San Diego is pretty flamboyant, and oftentimes the only thing louder than the music is the decor. If you’re looking for something a little more sedate without sacrificing the vibrancy of the Gaslamp Quarter, plenty of lounge bars can offer music, food and table service. You’ll recognise names such as the Hard Rock Cafe, but if you’re looking for something a little less commercial you’ll find no shortage of options.
Pubs and bars are a specialty of San Diego, many of which offer live music and entertainment in addition to typical tabletop games such as billiards – and, of course, all the champagne or craft beer that your credit card will allow onto a tab. Naturally one of the biggest selling points of California is the weather, and thus you’ll also find a number of rooftop bars and terraces that offer the opportunity for open-air drinking and dining with a breaktaking view of the city from on-high. Altitude, located atop Downtown’s Marriott Hotel, is arguably the most celebrated of these destinations.
Thanks to the OTT nature of the Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll find that pretty much all the bars and superclubs in the area are entirely LGBT-friendly. If you’re looking for a more specific gaybourhood, however, head three miles north into Hillcrest. You’ll find no shortage of places to eat, drink and dance here, with theme nights a regular occurrence throughout the district.
If you’re keen on dinner without the accompanying entertainment, you’ll find plenty of interesting places to satisfy your appetite. Being a waterside city fresh seafood is plentiful, including a great many fine dining experiences, while sushi fans will also be in heaven. San Diego has a substantial Japanese-American population, ensuring that cuisine from the land of the rising sun is at every corner – as are street food vendors offering Mexican munchies if you’re looking for something to load up on quickly between bar-hopping.
Don’t feel that you need to hurry through your meal in order to get onto the serious business of partying the night away, however; San Diego may not officially be the city that never sleeps, but there are plenty of eateries that serve food long into the night. Again, if you’re looking for all of the above in one destination, check out nightspots such as Bang Bang, a chic locale that combines restaurant, sushi bar and dance club.
Live music is also an essential element of the San Diego evening experience, with any number of bars providing ditties to accompany your drinks. If you’re all about the jazz then check out Dizzy’s, The Shout House for dueling pianos or the Humphrey’s resort for outdoor performances from big names, but San Diego is largely a rock ‘n roll town. The Gaslamp Quarter is packed with hole in the wall bars with sticky floors, a selection of fine beers, and more alternative, indie and rock bands than you could shake a stick at, allowing you to nod your head and tap your foot long into the night. You won’t struggle to find a karaoke bar either, if you’re looking to provide your own musical accompaniment to the evening’s entertainment.
Theater & Comedy Shows
But what of those seeking some after-dark entertainment with younger family members in tow? While a large part of San Diego’s nighlife revolves around table service in bars and nighclubs, you’ll also be able to amuse those under the age of 21. Dotted around the Gaslamp Quarter you’ll find a number of theaters and comedy clubs that welcome minors, while the famous Balbo Theater offers a state-of-the-art cinema experience for the entire family. You can even investigate the city’s casinos, which host all-age entertainment acts and restaurants alongside the gambling.
Do you enjoy the weird, wonderful or just plain macabre? San Diego’s famous ‘haunted house’ is open during the day for a tour, but if you want a night time fright, go to the evening experience to scare the pants of you. Whaley House is atmospheric but with a strange feeling to it. Purported to be the most haunted, built in the late 1800’s, you will experience a graveyard tour before visiting the rooms in the house – keep close to your fellow trippers! If you like the paranormal, there is a tour of other ghostly spots such as Pioneer Park (delightful during the day, spooky at night), the Old Town with its historic buildings and ghosts of well known old gamblers and gunslingers.
The end of the tour is El Campo SantoCemetary, where ghosts of old Hispanic people and Indians are frequently seen floating above the ground! You will be walking over graves as you take the tour – perhaps this is what disturbs those buried beneath! Hit the bars afterwards, you will probably need an alcoholic drink after such a creepy experience!
If you fancy something a little more ‘risque’, try the vibrant burlesque scene in San Diego. Top acts such as Drop Dead Dames, Pixie Stixx and Lola Demure feature regularly and provide an evening of the best burlesque you can see outside New York. Some of the clubs include dining in the price of your ticket, so you can have a full night of fun and feathers.
San Diego is a wonderful city, every bit as vibrant and fascinating during daylight and evening hours. No matter what interests you in terms of evening entertainment you’ll find something to cater for your tastes, whether that’s a night of clubbing with your friends, a delicious dinner, an aural massage from a live band or a superb cabaret. It’s impossible to head to this hotspot and fail to have a good time – investigate for yourself and you’ll agree.