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

Music and Sunshine

San Diego’s Guide to Outdoor Music

The live music scene is popping in San Diego, and the venues are as exciting and eclectic as the artists who rock them. Many of these venues take advantage of the beautiful San Diego weather, hosting awesome shows on sun-soaked, outdoor stages. Local music critic Jeff Terich gives the scoop on some great places to catch a show, San Diego style.

By: Jeff Terich; Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat

 

Petco Park

Mostly known for being the home of the San Diego Padres, this baseball stadium is located right in the heart of San Diego’s buzzing downtown and also hosts some amazing concerts.

Jeff Terich: “They’re always massive spectacles, with legendary artists like Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, being with thousands of other people enjoying the same music.”

CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Jeff’s favorite outdoor music venue in San Diego is located on the San Diego State University campus and is one of the longest running outdoor music venues in the city. With a steep audience section, every seat has a good view of the awesome acts that come through, which include some of the biggest names in the business.

Jeff Terich: “It’s really great to see a show in a big venue that still feels intimate, and for that matter has a gorgeous nighttime sky view.”

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

This architectural masterpiece (built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition) is located in iconic Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in North America. Boasting the world’s largest pipe organ in a fully outdoor venue, the Pavilion has hosted live music acts ranging from big band swing to Latin salsa to post-hardcore punk.

Jeff Terich: “It’s just really impressive to hear the sound of the organ—it’s huge, super loud and powerful. There’s nothing like it.”

Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

Humphreys is a 1,400-seat venue on Shelter Island, situated right on San Diego Bay. This intimate and historic stage has performances by big names across all genres, and is often accompanied by a perfect San Diego sunset. Many boaters and kayakers even float up to the side of the venue and join the party from the water.

Jeff Terich: “Being right next to the bay, it’s a scenic experience that feels a little bit like you’re stepping away from the city. But the sound and production there is excellent, so the concerts are always the attraction—even if the water looks inviting.”

Waterfront Park

Palm trees, skyscrapers and a giant wooden ship, The Star of India, surround Waterfront Park’s grass lawn and fountains—which visitors are more than welcome to splash around in. The venue hosts a wide variety of events year-round, but none more exciting than CRSSD Festival, San Diego’s biggest electronic music festival.

Jeff Terich: “The CRSSD festival takes place twice a year, and when it’s hot you have the benefit of being able to splash in the water, which is pretty cool. But you also can enjoy live music right next to the bay, which offers something most venues can’t.”

More Shows in the Sun

You never know where the next outdoor show will be popping up in San Diego. From festivals to cafes to street fairs to rooftop bars, San Diegans love to soak up good sounds, good vibes and sunshine. This is a place where there’s always an awesome show to catch and a reason to get up and dance.

Jeff Terich: “Sometimes art spaces and galleries put on outdoor shows, and there’s always live performances during the (quarterly) South Park Walkabout. But the best outdoor experience for live music is the Adams Avenue Street Fair, which is free, all-ages and has countless great bands play every year.”

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

Breweries

$5 Off Gift Certificates on a Tasty Adventure

San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours
Valid: Jan 29 - Feb 28, 2018

Save $5 this Valentine's Day on a beer, wine or spirits tour gift certificate It's the MOST romantic time of the year! Celebrate Valentines with a special discount on unforgettable wine, beer, or...

Venues

$3.00 off Wine Tasting

Gianni Buonomo Vintners
Valid: Jun 28, 2017 - ongoing

Simply mention San Diego Tourism or Sandiego.org and you can enjoy $3.00 off a complete 6-flight taste of award-winning Gianni Buonomo Vintners.

Accommodation

Hilton Hotel Museum Month package

San Diego Museum Council
Valid: Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2018

Hilton is our preferred hotel partner for Museum Month 2018. Chose from twenty-two hotels located close to our county-wide museums making it easy for you to stay and explore even more in San Diego....

Events to check out

Event

Best Coast Beer Fest Presented by Sycuan

Mar 10, 2018

Enjoy more than 200 beers from nearly 100 local breweries, grab a sensible lunch in our food truck alley and listen to the sweet sounds of local bands - all while taking in the gorgeous views of...

Event

2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball 1st & 2nd Rounds

Mar 16 - Mar 18, 2018

NCAA® March Madness is coming to San Diego! Share the experience at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First/Second Rounds in Viejas Arena.

Event

San Diego Crew Classic

Mar 24 - Mar 25, 2018

Regarded as the first major regatta of the year, the San Diego Crew Classic brings together thousands of athletes from more than 100 universities, clubs and high school programs from across the United...

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

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

ChinaGermanyGreat BritainJapanMexicoKoreaSwitzerlandBrazilFranceAustraliaCanada 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