10 mid-sized music venues in San Diego

Rock out with crowds of 1,250-7,500 people

Humphreys by the Bay

The bay views are the true opening act.

Photo via @jenburdis

Table of Contents

Listen up — we’re getting ready for another setlist of live music venues where you can watch your favorite acts or discover something new.

This time, we’re focusing on mid-sized spaces with capacities larger than 1,250 — the cut-off point for our small music venues. But, you won’t find giant crowds here, so we’re not looking at stadiums that hold over 7,500 people, because we consider those to be huge venues.

Aly & AJ performing at The Observatory in North Park

Aly & AJ take the North Park stage.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

The Observatory

This venue has been part of North Park’s history since 1928 and has a capacity of 1,300 — which 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.

Balboa Theatre

If you’re looking for music, don’t skip over this theater. Many musicians perform for the 1,339-seat audience — this year, Gordon Lightfoot and Kansas are on the bill.

Humphreys Concerts by the bay

Artists have been bringing their shows to this ~1,400 capacity, outdoor venue overlooking San Diego Bay since 1982. In 2023, it will host emerging acts like Sabrina Carpenter and legends like Toto and George Harrison.

The Sound opening night

Lots of sounds from this stage.

Photo by Joseph Agustin.

The Sound

The Del Mar Fairgrounds welcomed this new music hall in 2023, and it’s been making soundwaves since Ziggy Marley headlined the venue’s debut. Inside, you’ll find a flexible space that accommodates 1,900 people.

Pala Casino Spa Resort

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. This year, the casino is bringing iconic acts like Joan Jett and The Blackhearts and Little Big Town.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

The Valley Center destination is all about entertainment — and that includes live music. Its concert hall has space for ~2,200 people and brings a variety of performers including country music singer, comedians, and Latin music superstars.

SOMA San Diego

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 concertgoers — which is big enough to attract Lil Wayne.

Epstein Family Amphitheater

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.

Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

This outdoor venue first opened in 1941 and is located on the San Diego State University campus. In 2023, the 4,600-seat theater will host acts ranging from Barenaked Ladies to the Kidz Bop Kids.

Sycuan Stage Concert Venue at Gallagher Square

Petco Park is definitely one of San Diego’s biggest venues, but this smaller stage within the ballpark hosts concerts that welcome ~6,000 guests. In 2023, expect acts like Darius Rucker and Weezer.

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