arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

4 Incredible Large Music Venues

Hear a world-class musical expierence in San Diego

If you're looking to see a good live show in San Diego, consider one of the larger theaters which provide entertainment against a historic or scenic backdrop.

By: Jeff Terich; Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat

If you're looking to see a good live show in San Diego, you can do so on the fly by popping into one of its many clubs and bars that host nightly musical performances. But if you're into planning more than a few days (or hours) in advance, consider paying a visit to one of the larger theaters throughout the city, which provide entertainment against a historic, ornate or scenic backdrop. During the summer, there's no shortage of opportunities to see a show in an outdoor amphitheater like Humphreys. And year-round, there's always a marquee act hitting the stage over at The Observatory North Park.

Though the reward for being entertained at any of these venues is great, there is a trade-off: The ticket prices will be a little bit higher than your typical club show, and it's always a good idea to buy them early, so as not to have your heart broken at the box office. It's a (slightly less) small price to pay for a world-class musical experience in San Diego.

Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

In San Diego, the beach is enough of an attraction in and of itself that there aren't too many venues near the water attempting to compete for people's attention. There is a notable exception, however: Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Situated in Shelter Island right along San Diego Bay, Humphreys is as famous for its waterfront views as it is for its lineup of talent. Throughout the year, Humphreys puts on dozens of concerts with A-list talent that ranges from contemporary bands like Interpol and comedians like Jim Gaffigan to music legends such as The Beach Boys or Steely Dan. And a lot of those shows sell out fast. Because Humphreys is connected to the Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites, it offers ticket packages that include either dinner or an overnight stay in the hotel. So you can make a weekend of it if you're so inclined. And don't be surprised if you catch a kayaker eavesdropping on the show.

Where: 2241 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

Copley Symphony Hall

A historic venue in downtown San Diego, Copley Symphony Hall opened in 1924 as the Fox Theatre. But the change in its name to Copley Symphony Hall lets you know what you're getting here - it's the performance venue for the San Diego Symphony, and the majority of performances that take place here are orchestral concerts. The performance calendar is pretty diverse, however, and a lot of notable artists in pop - most recently including Sufjan Stevens, Ryan Adams and Harry Connick Jr. - have graced its stage. It's one of the most architecturally interesting venues in all of San Diego, which makes it a visual treat as well as a musical one. And if that's not enough, it houses a gigantic pipe organ, built into five walled chambers. That's a feature you're not likely to find in any other venue.

Where: 750 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the San Diego Symphony

CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

One of the benefits of hosting entertainment in a city with a climate like San Diego's is that it's much easier to hold outdoor events. From spring through late fall, the evenings are balmy and comfortable, and on the rare night that temperatures drop below 65, getting cozy under a blanket is half the fun. Located on the San Diego State University campus, the CCCU-Open Air Theatre offers concertgoers a chance to have the open air amphitheater experience without losing the ambiance or intimacy. It has a capacity of 4,600, compared to the sports arena's 16,000, so it's big, but it's not as if you'll have to squint or rely on the Jumbotron to see the headliners.

Where: 5500 Aztec Walk, San Diego, CA 92182

Observatory North Park

Another historic venue, this one in the center of the University Ave. business district in North Park, the Observatory was built in the 1920s and still features much of the classic art deco decor that has adorned the walls since it first opened. It was purchased in 2014, and its name was changed from the North Park Theatre, but the character of the classic theater remains. For starters, it's beautiful, and while it was a venue for opera and dramatic theater in its past life, its acoustics make it a surprisingly strong place to catch a touring rock or pop group. Even better, it's a spacious venue, supporting 1,100 concertgoers at a time with plenty of breathing room for everyone. The calendar at Observatory North Park is always full, whether it's showcasing alt-rock a-listers like Tame Impala or filmmaker and camp icon John Waters.

Where: 2891 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you


The Art-Minded Meeting Planner Special

Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside
Valid: Apr 9 - ongoing

Book your next meeting or event at the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Bayside valued at $10,000 and receive a Complimentary One-Night Stay and Two tickets to a San Diego Museum of your choice.  ...


The Nutcracker

San Diego Ballet
Valid: Sep 5 - ongoing

20% off on all tickets!


Enjoy 20% Discount Off Your Food Bill

Cafe Sevilla
Valid: Aug 20 - ongoing

 Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions or used on holidays or holiday weekends. Present this offer to your server to redeem. 

Events to check out


San Diego International Auto Show

Dec 27 - Dec 30, 2018

Where the cars are the stars! The San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof.


San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Dec 31, 2018

Don't miss America's Finest Bowl Experience! This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and...


San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec 9 - Dec 16, 2018

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see.

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More





Follow Us


English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish