Ever wonder what venues you have been missing out in San Diego? Check out our list to find the greatest and most underrated places in SD to catch a live show!
With amps wired panel-to-panel along the span of the stage’s back wall, the Casbah is easily the best musical venue in San Diego for the sonic quality alone. An intimate space with an outdoor patio to lounge around, in-between sets, and with both local and mainstream artists visiting; you cannot miss out on this perfectly sound setting.
The vintage venue offers affordable drink and ticket prices, plenty of room to sit at tables and leather-coated booths and doesn’t ask too many questions at the door. Located on the cusp of Little Italy, this venue brings in modern day rock artists, indie folk ,and a happy cult of music worshipers ready to party. What more could you ask for?
Easily fitting over 700 people, San Diego’s Music Box is a seriously killer venue. Each of the three separate levels offers pristine quality sound, including the two adjacent outdoor patios, VIP and comfortable booth seating area.
The massive stage and dance floor area welcome people of all walks of life that genuinely believe in the raw power of live music and live for the moments to see their favorite bands. And, we almost forgot to mention the awesome upscale dining area located within the epic music scene that tend delicious gourmet food and drinks and a pretty great happy hour selection!
House Of Blues
San Diego’s House of Blues is just classic. The Blue’s delicious restaurant located on the West side is just one piece of the epic venue’s endless options, along with two separate stages and beautifully crated bars. Considering the perfected establishment has been around since ’92, the heavily sonic climate has been calling to local San Diegans and tourists since its legendary birth.
Don’t even get us started on the Foundation Room with it’s elegant and intimate feel that’s perfect for private events and conveniently spaced bar compared to the openness of the main concert room. Housing comedians, amazing musical artists and a sweet gospel brunch every Sunday, you have to check out the House of Blues if you haven’t already.
Built in 1924, San Diego’s Balboa Theatre emanates history, class, and attitude as one of the greatest and most underrated venues in the city. Although the outside of the building appears to be almost abandoned at first glance, the old time-y, historic theater is very much alive with comedy, music and local performance arts gigs.
Located on Fourth Avenue in downtown, just outside of the Horton Plaza shopping center, the theater has the feel of a traditional opera hall with the personality of a lively nightclub that will simply die for once you attend. So, do yourself a favor and check out who is performing!
Embarcadero Marina Park (North)
There is no venue in the city, or any other city for that matter, like the Embarcadero Marina Park North. With gorgeous views everywhere you turn of the breath taking marina, serene sail boats gliding across the calm, glistening bay and fields of green grass, you really cannot beat seeing your favorite bands at the Embarcadero.
We honestly cannot decide whether it is more beautiful in the daytime or at night once the city lights up all around and reflects off the water. One thing is for sure, though, San Diegans are lucky to call this beautiful area home.
Tin Roof is one of those fun, open spaces that invite local bands to jam out while you decide whether to kick back in a comfortable booth or snag a front row spot in the crowd.
You can’t miss the massive stage right when you walk in, or the signature tin pipes overhead. And you can always spot the regulars a mile away. But, its energy and vibe exude that typical local San Diego-feel that tourists are inevitably drawn to and cannot get enough of. It’s always a good time, the drinks are reasonably priced for the area and it’s centrally located in downtown on G Street.
Okay, so maybe the Omnia is not exactly considered “underrated,” but this venue is too great to leave out. Always welcoming the greatest artists that EDM has to offer, there is never a shortage of nicely dressed music lovers at the epic Omnia.
With both a massive and absolutely stunning main room lit up beyond all measures and a fabulously classy outside terrace that royals could call home, the Omnia has something for everyone who enjoys nice things. Past guests of the venue include Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers, Matoma, and more. And the sky is the limit for this guest list!
Gigantic fish bowls full of alcohol, (that come at a steep price) a ladies’ bathroom wallpapered with Ryan Gosling images, some pretty incredible sushi and mainstream EDM is what you will find at downtown’s Bang Bang.
Chinese lanterns light up the restaurant and club sky with tinted ease while people enjoy their delicious Asian cuisine dishes and view the gigantic screen located on the back wall. And just when you think you have seen it all, once you take a right into the doorway located next to the bar, a gorgeously lit dance floor welcomes you to shake your thing with your closest friends. If you haven’t put this together yet, definitely give Bang Bang a shot when you get a chance!
Okay, so Shout! House is definitely one of the more underrated music venues in the city, especially since it’s a dang piano bar! We mean, come on. How cool is that? Sing-along sessions are the norm, as are people up on stage (mostly on the piano itself) and local performers rocking out at Shout! House.
Located right down the street from Tin Roof, there is always a line to get in but it never takes too long and you’ll immediately feel like family. The Shout! House is another great bar to find reasonably priced drinks downtown too, which never hurts when you’re looking to have a good time!
Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub
With a sign outside that reads “Blues, Soul and Rock n’ Roll,” nothing else needs to be said at Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub. If you’re looking to check out a killer local venue for some wholesome, great live blues, or rock and roll, head over to Patrick’s as soon as possible.
The Irish dive bar feel of the pub adds to its class as it welcomes live music every single night of the week for just one of its major appeals. Great food, authentic drinks, and cool people are among the things you will find at Patrick’s, so give it a shot and check it out!
Copley Symphony Hall
The award-winning San Diego Symphony Hall has been around since the ’20s and it’s not going anywhere! Home to both special and family concerts, film showings, live music and artwork displays, the Copley Symphony Hall located downtown is a sight to see. This hall functions as one of the very important establishments that still breathes life into the performing arts programs, both local and national.
With gorgeous, ornate craftmanship lining the walls and ceilings of the establishment, the tradition is rich and potent within the venue. Not to mention, the acoustics were brilliantly concocted due to the incredible infrastructure of the hall.
There are few sights as beautiful as San Diego’s Prohibition Lounge when it comes to venues. The sexy and burlesque feel of the speakeasy parlor really invites you in to try their delicious, authentic and personality-infused drinks, but the fun really starts when the live music comes on.
From jazz and blues to rock and roll, Prohibition exhibits true class through sonic genius and an uppity dress code to impress all around. And, the coolest thing about the venue is that you simply drop in to transport back to the ’20s through a vintage law office door. No cell phones, no reservations over six people and no call-ins! There is really nothing like this unique and divine experience.
Parq is by far one of the greatest and most inviting venues in the city with its high standard dress code, dazzling lights, massive concert room and dance floor and killer drink selection.
As the ultimate club experience, Parq offers all of the typical amenities like VIP lounges, cute promoter girls, and bottle service, but with some seriously epic live performers. Mostly related to the EDM and hip hop genre, performers both mainstream like Drake and local like Crespo are invited to play at the nightclub. If you haven’t had a night out at Parq yet, you will have to change that!
Altitude Sky Lounge
Welcome to Altitude Sky Lounge. This stunning sky deck on top of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter fosters incredible views of the marina, the insane downtown skyline, beautifully lit up buildings and has a seriously sweet sound system.
Relax and enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail (or two) at this epic, elevated lounge and take in the city. Although they don’t offer live music, (they really should) this location is completely underrated as one of San Diego’s hidden gems and fits perfectly on our list. Whether you’re in a dancing mood or prefer to soak up the flame of their comfortable and classy fire pits, you will always have a good time at Altitude.
Quartyard is absolutely perfect for this list with its welcoming outdoor space, elegantly hung lights, massive stage and affinity for dogs. Did we forget to mention the Taco Tuesday truck that cruises by? Oh yeah, they have one of those too.
We absolutely love the homey, breezy feel of Quartyard in all of its hipster-like simplicity, but the greatest part is the quality of the sound found here. Welcoming major artists and even festivals, Quartyard is the perfect bar to grab a quick brew during the day or night and will be your new favorite venue. We guarantee it!
Quietly tucked away in the peaceful area just outside of Little Italy, 98 Bottles rests on San Diego’s Kettner Blvd as a classy, newly-remodeled restaurant and bar that offers an extensive selection of craft and tap beers, delectable wines and a delicious menu. But, the best part? The live music.
Artists from near and far come to the epic lounge to showcase their talents while fans sip and chew away on the freshest, local ingredients. 98 Bottles doesn’t stop there, though, they even offer wine and painting nights, a Sunday jazz jam in the lower lounge, board game nights and trivia too! Definitely check out this killer spot if you haven’t already, you will love it.
Although Cafe Sevilla is mostly known for its delicious and authentic Spanish cuisine, impeccable service and incredible ceviche, it is actually a very much underrated music venue! As it primarily sticks to the Spanish theme of the establishment, acoustic and Spanish artists from all over the world come to entertain the happily satisfied folk while they sample the greatest tapas dishes you’ve ever tasted.
Not only are the performers talented, but they are welcomed by the impressive acoustics and what the brilliantly lit venue has to offer in both the main room and smaller upstairs setting. Whether you want to check out the gourmet tapas or the live music, Cafe Sevilla is definitely a wonderful place to spend an evening.
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe basically birthed rock and roll back in the day, so of course it had to make our list! Now, don’t get this confused with the epic Hard Rock Hotel that is also located in downtown San Diego. Hard Rock Cafe is located on 4th Ave right across the street from the Horton Plaza shopping mall and invites live artists to play every single night!
Whenever you walk by, you will hear the sound of sweet acoustics bouncing off of the establishment’s epically decorated walls. Friday is a great night to check out the scene from 4:30-6:30 or 8:30-10:00 based on your musical preference!
The Tin Can
Along the way, the Tin Can located in Banker’s Hill on 5th Ave has become forgotten, but is in no sense dead in the water. Just like the Casbah, Tin Can offers an intimate venue full of pristine quality sound that will rock your very soul accompanied by some decently priced drinks and an awesome, local crowd.
Unlike several clubs, the Tin Can is owned and operated purely by musicians that find genuine joy in sharing the beauty and energy found in live music. And, let’s not forget the award-winning food that is offered for both lunch and dinner! The Tin Can is significantly one of the most underrated musical venues in San Diego.
From the outside Stage (also known as Atomic) is not exactly a looker, but don’t judge a book by its cover! The interesting establishment covered wall to wall in brick has a pretty sweet sound set-up and some of the best tacos in the entire city!
Granted it could definitely be updated and refurbished and the stairs leading to the downstairs tiki bar seem a bit questionable, however, it is a highly underrated venue for live music. During the day, it’s for taco lovers but at night, Stage comes alive with the incredible sounds of live music and some of San Diego’s best DJs.