14 songs that mention San Diego, California

Downtown San Diego

For some musicians, our city has been a muse. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

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Summer is so close — and it has us singing a happy tune. It also got us thinking about making a Spotify playlist to usher in the season, and then we thought: Let’s make it with songs that either mention San Diego or are about San Diego. We have fun.

Drumroll, please: Welcome to our sampling of tunes that find inspiration in our city — something we love to do every day. Sound up, San Diego. 🥁

SDtoday Playlist

Our SDtoday Playlist features songs that mention San Diego. | Photo via Spotify

We can’t kick off a convo about San Diego-centric songs without a little something from blink-182, the band that famously got their start in Poway in 1992. “San Diego” from the group’s 2016 “California” album is a homage to their hometown and relationships within the band (I’m not crying, you’re crying) and includes the lyrics: I can’t sleep ‘cause what if I dream / Of going back to San Diego?

Pro tip: For extra local feels, watch this performance of the song from December 2016 in San Diego. Mark Hoppus tells the audience, “This next song is for and about you. It’s about you guys, and me.”

🕶️ “California Love” | Tupac Shakur, ft. Dr. Dre + Roger Troutman

2Pac’s beloved 1995 Death Row Records Cali anthem is a vibe all on its own — and we could loop it all day. Produced by Dr. Dre, this track is a celebration of California’s hip hop culture and the West Coast rap scene.

Where is San Diego in the lyrics? Listen closely around the 1:16 mark: It’s all good, from Diego to the Bay / Your city is the bomb if your city making pay.

🎤 “Wild, Wild West” | Adele

This ditty was a Target limited-edition bonus track on the Grammy Award-winning singer’s recent “30” album and gives a shout-out to the South Bay, too.

Listen around the 1:18 mark: I lost my mind in San Bernardino / Even Chula Vista and Modesto / I broke my heart in San Diego.

🏄 “Surfin’ USA” | The Beach Boys

This 1963 ode to California’s surf culture is a total earworm that mentions a whole bunch of tubular surfing spots in San Diego County.

Up first, at the 0:26 mark: You’d catch them surfin’ at Del Mar. The lyrics go on to highlight Trestles (between SD and southern San Clemente), Swami’s in Encinitas, San Onofre, and “all over” La Jolla.

La Jolla

We think the beauty of San Diego is enough to inspire. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🏇 “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” | Bing Crosby

With the iconic sounds of trumpets, this 60-second song was recorded by Bing Crosby to promote horse racing in Del Mar. The crooner helped form the Del Mar Turf Club in the late 1930s and is credited for bringing his Hollywood friends — and the glitz + glam — to the track.

Some lyrics: Where the turf meets the surf / Down at old Del Mar / Take a plane / Take a train / Take a car.

💔 “San Diego Song” | The Coronas

This 2007 release from the alternative indie rockers is a bit melancholy, but clearly, San Diego made a mark.

Some lyrics: Single in San Diego, six weeks wasting time / We moved in with the girls and left it all behind.

☀️ “My Town” | Buck-O-Nine

This tune from the ska punk band will perk you right back up. Though the upbeat lyrics about having love for your hometown never specifically mention San Diego, it’s a no-brainer that the “town” is our city: The group formed in San Diego in 1991.

Buck-O-Nine has won eight San Diego Music Awards over the years and they continue to reunite in America’s Finest City. In fact, the band is playing a show at Soda Bar on Thurs., Sept. 8 — and tickets are still available.

💃 “Blue Café” | Brian Setzer

The rockabilly guitarist mentions our city in his 2001 song around the 0:22 mark: Operator said I got a call collect / From San Diego County / And I started to sweat.

We promise, it wasn’t us, Brian.

🕶️ “Beautiful Day (In San Diego)” | Young Sicc

This 2005, full-on tribute to San Diego still slaps — although, we’ll forgive (but never forget) that mention of the Chargers at the top of the song. Oh, and again a little later when Young Sicc highlights the greatness of LaDainian Tomlinson because we will always appreciate you, LT.

We love this part, around the 1:10 mark: Just a beautiful day, in San Diego / Not a cloud in sight, it’s dynamite, so we’ll probably hit the club tonight.

Pacific Beach

It’s a beautiful day in San Diego. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🏝️ “One More Minute” | Authority Zero

This 2002 alternative indie jam mentions our shorelines several times, first around the 2:10 mark: One more minute, the beaches of San Diego / One more minute, yeah.

🛣️ “Thirty More Miles to San Diego” | Dean Martin

Dean Martin was on a road trip in search of love for this one. The title of the track is the same as its first lyrics: Thirty more miles to San Diego / Thirty more miles and I’ll be home / Thirty more miles to see my woman / Wonder if she’s packed her things and gone.

🌊 “Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’” | Jan & Dean

Another surf song from the 1960s, this ditty is all about the love of the waves — and name drops one epic local surfing spot, Windansea.

Listen closely around the 0:49 mark: If she wants some company I’ll be out at Windansea / I’m going surfin’.

🚗 “I Woke Up in a Car” | Something Corporate

OK, something must’ve been in the water in San Diego during the early 2000s alternative indie rock phase.

This 2002 song mentions our city around the 0:27 mark: She wrote me a letter from San Diego / To qualify her luck / These flights connect through Arizona / But I think that I’ll stay stuck.

🎀 “Pretty Girl From San Diego” | The Avett Brothers

This peppy, 2007 indie folk rock song calls out our city in its title, but not in the lyrics.

📩 Encore, Encore

Pssst: This is just a sampling of songs that mention our city. We know there are more out there, so if we missed your favorite, please send us an email and share with us so we can keep adding to our playlist. We love listening to you. 🎶

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