The place to see dwell music in San Diego: one of the best venues in America's Best Metropolis

Although San Diego could not instantly spring to thoughts as an epicenter of vibrant dwell music and performing arts, belief us – this sun-drenched metropolis must be on the journey listing of each muso. Look past the area’s sunny seaside actions, noteworthy out of doors adventures, and premium meals and craft drinks (beer, spirits, espresso, kombucha, oh my!) and notice — San Diego’s dynamic music scene has been thriving for a while. Simply ask the locals.

“It’s sort of a well-kept secret,” explains Chris Goldsmith, President of Stomach Up Leisure in Solana Seashore. Goldsmith spent his youth acting at native venues in addition to representing golf equipment and artists.

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“Not each artist will get routed down right here but it surely’s grown lots within the final 10 years,” says Lee Ok, who grew up in San Diego and is a resident DJ for CRSSD, an digital music pageant that takes over Downtown’s Waterfront Park twice a 12 months. “It’s sturdy for what it’s.”

And that under-the-radar vibe is a part of what makes San Diego’s music scene thrilling. Title a style and discover it resonating out of an unimaginable venue, from moody, intimate areas to large-scale open-air productions with audio system stacked sky excessive. For instance, “North County coastal undoubtedly embraces a extra rootsy vibe like reggae and blues, and [find] the EDM and hip hop scene Downtown,” Goldsmith says.

With that stated, contemplate this your insider’s information to a number of the greatest dwell efficiency venues in and round San Diego, from the coast to inland neighborhoods, weeknight go-tos and unmissable weekend occasions.

The Fooz Fighters carry out on the Conflict of the Cowl Bands competitors on the Music Field in San Diego © Daniel Knighton / Getty Photos

Intimate venues ship massive sound

The campus of the College of California, San Diego has an ongoing ArtPower American Routes collection that explores the breadth of continental expertise with Latin Grammy Award-winning artists like Gina Chavez, and The Jones Household Singers, a gospel-funk band from Texas. ArtPower additionally hosts worldwide acts from an Israeli classical quintet to a folks ensemble from central Niger – all of them performing inside the intimate confines of the famend campus venue The Loft.

Showgoers to Music Box in Downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood reward the 13,000-sq ft, multi-level venue’s impeccable acoustics. Right here, discover standing-room-only house on the primary flooring, “opera containers” for teams of six to eight on the second; and a lounge space on the third flooring. The luxe, multi-genre venue books performers throughout genres comparable to bluegrass to jazz and R&B.

Don’t miss these bites, beers, and musical accompaniment

Elsewhere in San Diego County, settle into Panama 66 situated inside Balboa Park. The restaurant, bar, and auditorium hosts weekly performances by resident jazz musicians Gilbert Castellanos and the Young Lions youth ensemble. See them Wednesdays within the auditorium, with all different performances outdoor within the Sculpture Court docket — the place it’s not unusual for viewers members to rise up and dance alongside.

On Thursdays at The Grass Skirt restaurant and bar in Pacific Seashore, native musicians together with Keahi Rozet, Dan Ratcliffe, and Jeff Bennett dole out island vibes alongside tiki drinks, bites and dishes like shrimp and pork wontons, salmon poke bowls, and kitschy decor.

Full of life Gaslamp Quarter skews within the path of Gen Z after darkish, although The Shout! Home’s dueling-pianos bar appeals throughout demographics. Nightly reveals characteristic face-to-face piano gamers that additionally entertain with comedic riffs between songs. Viewers participation is very inspired.

Stomach Up Tavern is nestled inside Solana Seashore’s Cedros Design District. Right here, sit down for a meal on the venue’s Tavern restaurant subsequent door earlier than having fun with rotating dwell performances from G. Love & The Juice to Blackberry Smoke, and Sarah Jarosz. In 2021, the venue unveiled a brand new sound system, amongst different upgrades.

The Rady Shell outdoor music venue lit up at night in San Diego
The Rady Shell on San Diego’s waterfront is an unimaginable out of doors venue that hosts artists from each style © Daniel Knighton / Getty Photos

Unmissable bayfront experiences

The Rady Shell opened in the summertime of 2021 alongside San Diego’s picturesque bayfront and joins an inventory of town’s open-air venues, comparable to Balboa Park’s Organ Pavillion and North Island Credit score Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista. The Shell presents a wide range of acts from the San Diego Symphony’s classical performances to mainstream pop acts like Olivia Rodrigo. By day, the venue is a neighborhood park that additionally hosts weekend yoga lessons.

Equally, Humphrey’s is a dependable out of doors venue for notable performances from the likes of Gypsy Kings to ZZ Ward. “Bands which have performed at The Greek in Los Angeles will play at Humphrey’s,” Goldsmith says.

Preview rising acts earlier than they make it massive

Domestically cherished, established venues like The Casbah, Soda Bar, and The Observatory are some examples of the place San Diego’s numerous music scene thrives. The Casbah in Downtown’s Midtown neighborhood is thought to guide rising acts which can be thrust into the nationwide highlight shortly after gracing this unassuming spot. Soda Bar’s low set stage within the Regular Heights neighborhood helps punk rock, hip hop and steel acts. The lineup at The Observatory in North Park treats standing-room-only friends to bands and musicians like Hippo Campus and MØ.

“There’s numerous great things on each night time in San Diego, and that didn’t use to be the case,” Goldsmith says.

A view towards the stage over the heads of festival goers at night
San Diego’s Waterfront Park hosts unimaginable out of doors festivals that retain a faithful following © Jena Ardell / Getty Photos

Occasions value touring for

Adams Avenue Unplugged is a principally annual, free musical walkabout that stretches alongside Adams Avenue for practically two miles. In different phrases, eating places, cafes, bars and retail retailers turn out to be impromptu levels for greater than 100 dwell bands throughout the Regular Heights and College Heights neighborhoods. Observe that parking will get tough in these largely residential locations so plan forward.

Music festivals are typically related to an amazing footprint, but CRSSD oozes intimacy, even throughout three efficiency levels pumping out hypnotic techno beats. “You don’t really feel such as you’re going to get misplaced,” Lee Ok says of the two-day pageant, which has labored to keep up its hemmed-in environs for practically a decade. Should you’re not a fan of bopping round in the midst of a pulsating crowd nearest the levels, one of the best viewing space is alongside Waterfront Park’s water characteristic’s steps. Glass Animals and Sofi Tucker headlined its spring 2022 occasion.

Keep on the heart beat of San Diego’s music scene with these native sources

Seeking to dive deeper into all issues San Diego dwell music? Faucet into the San Diego Reader for the newest gig listings, the San Diego Troubadour for native nation, folks, gospel, bluegrass information (and extra), and PACIFIC journal for every thing arts-and-culture associated in America’s Best Metropolis. Music historians ought to take a look at one San Diego Union-Tribune music journalist’s nostalgic have a look at town’s dwell music historical past, together with a time when San Diego was a jazz music hotspot.

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