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Live music venues in San Diego, CA

We’ve made a concerted effort to orchestrate this roadmap, so you can focus on finding the artists you adore.

Live music at North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista

A rockin’ time at North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Photo via @n8ofthemill

Table of Contents

Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of San Diego’s live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.

SD’s concert scene is truly unmatched — from House of Blues to stadium tours at Petco Park, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things.

Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide.

SD Snapdragon Stadium Pink October 2023

P!nk performed at Snapdragon Stadium in Mission Valley on Oct. 3, 2023 — it was epic.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday


Petco Park | 100 Park Blvd.
Capacity: 42,000+
The Padres bring in huge crowds, so when their home base hosts concerts, the downtown ballpark can hold San Diego’s largest audience. The Rolling Stones was the first act to play at the venue in 2005, but many big names have packed the stadium over the years.

Snapdragon Stadium | 2101 Stadium Way
Capacity: 35,000+
Not only is this Mission Valley venue home to San Diego Wave FC and SDSU Aztecs Football, but it makes the perfect arena for huge music acts. It attracted a rockin’ roster for its first full year including P!nk, Guns N’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and legend Jimmy Buffet, who played his final full concert at this venue before his death.

Pechanga Arena | 3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
Capacity: 16,100
Many of San Diego’s sports teams have called this Midway District venue home since it opened in 1966 (albeit, under different names over the decades), but it also has a long musical history — everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Britney Spears has rocked this stage.

Viejas Arena | 5500 Canyon Crest Dr.
Capacity: 12,400+
You might head to this venue to watch San Diego State University basketball games, but it’s also home to live music. Acts perform to large crowds, attracting a mix of rising artists and long-time favorites.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park Christmas colors

This is how we shell-ebrate.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Outdoor settings

North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre | 2050 Entertainment Circle
Capacity: 20,000
Some of San Diego’s biggest shows can be found at this outdoor Chula Vista venue that opened in 1998. Artists perform to huge crowds, with most shows scheduled from June to November.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park | 222 Marina Park Way
Capacity: 10,000
This new, outdoor venue offers an immersive musical experience next to San Diego Bay. It’s home to the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, but the Embarcadero Marina Park South space is used for a shell of a lot more — check out the schedule.

Sycuan Stage Concert Venue at Gallagher Square | 100 Park Blvd.
Capacity: ~6,000
Petco Park is definitely one of San Diego’s biggest venues, but this smaller stage within the ballpark hosts concerts with moderately sized crowds, and it tends to offer live music more often than the full stadium.

Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre | 5500 Campanile Dr.
Capacity: 4,600
This outdoor venue first opened in 1941 and is located on the San Diego State University campus. It’s known to host music acts across genres, but don’t be surprised to see plays or comedy shows on the schedule.

Humphreys Concerts by the bay | 2241 Shelter Island Dr.
Capacity: ~1,400
Artists have been bringing their shows to this picturesque outdoor venue overlooking San Diego Bay since 1982. It attracts acts across many genres including rock legends and upcoming pop stars.

House of blues sign in San Diego

This is the sign of a rockin’ date.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

Concert halls

SOMA San Diego | 3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
Capacity: 2,300
This independently-owned music venue can be found near Pechanga Arena in the Midway District and has two stages. When at full capacity, Mainstage can hold up to 2,300 people — though some shows only hold 1,150 — and Sidestage accommodates 500 guests.

The Sound | 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Capacity: 1,900
The Del Mar Fairgrounds welcomed this new music hall in 2023, and it’s been making soundwaves since Ziggy Marley headlined its debut. Inside, you’ll find a flexible space that can be used for live music shows and other functions.

The Observatory | 2891 University Ave.
Capacity: 1,300
This venue has been part of North Park’s history since 1928 and is divided into the Music Hall and the West Coast Tavern. It attracts a lot of up-and-coming artists, and brings a variety of sounds to appeal to North Park’s hip tastes.

House of Blues San Diego | 1055 Fifth Ave.
Capacity: 300 and 1,000
This downtown venue brings a variety of acts to our city — whether you’re looking to watch a familiar face or find a new favorite. Inside, you’ll find the main stage accommodating up to 1,000 and the Voodoo Room with crowds under 300.

The exterior of moonshine beach in pacific beach san diego

Wear your cowboy boots to this Pacific Beach venue.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil


Moonshine Beach | 1165 Garnet Ave.
Capacity: 1,500 people
This Pacific Beach bar is a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. It attracts rising artists, but when there isn’t live music, you can head here for football game screenings and line dancing.

Moonshine Flats | 344 Seventh Ave.
Capacity: 500
This East Village bar will have you dancing in your cowboy boots. Just like its sister venue, Moonshine Beach, it attracts rising country stars for live shows, but you’ll also find line dancing and sports here.

The Holding Company | 5046 Newport Ave.
Capacity: ~300
This Ocean Beach bar and restaurant also features a performance hall with the capacity for intimate shows. Be on the lookout for underground gems, local legends, and tribute acts. Or you could head upstairs to enjoy the top rooftop bar in California (according to Yelp).

Winston’s Beach Club | 1921 Bacon St.
Capacity: 220
Since 1986, Winston’s has been bringing live music to the heart of Ocean Beach. The venue attracts artists from a wide range of genres like rock, rap, and reggae, and is a great spot to become a fan of local musicians.

Humphreys Backstage Live | 2241 Shelter Island Dr.
Capacity: 200+
If you want live music while enjoying drinks and food at a table, this small music hall has you covered. Discover acts across a variety of genres, and just like its larger venue, Humphreys Concerts by the bay, the lounge offers great bayfront views.

The Bancroft | 9143 Campo Rd.
Capacity: ~130
In Spring Valley, this bar is known for its live music and beers on tap. It’s a great place to discover new performers on the weekends, and during the week, you can swing by for bingo, karaoke, or theme nights.

Belly Up SDtoday

Belly Up is ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Intimate spaces

Music Box | 1337 India St.
Capacity: 700+
Looking for an upscale music experience when you’re near downtown? This three-story venue hosts live shows across many genres and has a full bar and small plates menu.

Belly Up Tavern | 143 S. Cedros Ave.
Capacity: 600
Despite its name, this Solana Beach venue has stayed afloat since 1974, allowing fans to get close to their favorite acts. Artists love performing here, too — No Doubt and Childish Gambino played here early in their careers, and The Rolling Stones put on a private show in 2015.

Brick by Brick | 1130 Buenos Ave.
Capacity: 400
For those down with the darkness, this Bay Park venue hosts independent artists — mostly rock and metal acts. Be prepared to discover something new, because up-and-coming acts love stopping by this small venue.

Soda Bar | 3615 El Cajon Blvd.
Capacity: 230
This laid back Normal Heights venue hosts up-and-coming artists, dance parties, DJ sets, and more. Despite having soda in its name, this is more of a bar — all shows are 21+.

Casbah | 2501 Kettner Blvd.
Capacity: 200+
Since 1989, musicians like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins have found their ways to San Diego to rock the Casbah. The small venue in Middletown attributes its size to its success, allowing for a more intimate experience.

The Merrow | 1271 University Ave.
Capacity: 181
Advertised as “Hillcrest’s best kept secret,” this space is big enough to attract live bands, but small enough that it still has karaoke nights and community events.

Balboa Theatre

We hear Balboa Theatre has more than plays.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

More than music

Epstein Family Amphitheater | 9500 Gilman Dr.
Capacity: 2,650
UC San Diego debuted its 2,650-seat, outdoor amphitheater in 2022, and it brings a variety of entertainment options including live music. Death Cab For Cutie performed at the venue’s opening weekend.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California | 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way
Capacity: ~2,200
The Valley Center destination is all about entertainment — and that includes live music. Its concert hall brings a variety of performers including rock legends, comedians, and Cirque du Soleil-influenced shows.

Pala Casino Spa Resort | 11154 CA-76
Capacity: ~2,250 and ~2,000
This resort has two options when it comes to live music: The outdoor Starlight Theater that holds ~2,250 people, and its indoor Events Center that holds ~2,000 guests.

Balboa Theatre | 3651 Fourth Ave.
Capacity: 1,339
If you’re looking for music, don’t skip over this theater. Many musicians perform here, but you can always buy tickets to stand-up comedy shows or a musical if that’s more your tune.

The Magnolia | 210 E. Main St.
Capacity: 1,210
The El Cajon made its debut in 1977 , but it received a $7 million renovation in 2019. It’s home to live music, comedy acts, tribute bands, plays, and more. “Saturday Night Live” alum Pete Davidson performed here in September 2023.

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