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 in San Diego at Night with Fireworks

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.”

Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Cal Coast 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.”

Aerial view of the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion in San Diego CA

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 Spreckels Organ 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.”

Outdoor concert at Humphrey's in San Diego CA

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.”

CRSSD Festival San Diego CA

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.”

Adams Avenue Street Festival

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

Cruise Lines

$5 off Cocktail Cruises

Hornblower Dining Cruises
Valid: Jul 16 - ongoing

Save $5 per guest on Sights & Sips Cocktail Cruises!

Museums

Kids Go Free to the Gaslamp Museum

Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
Valid: Oct 1 - Oct 31, 2018

Children 12 and under receive free entry to the Gaslamp Museum at the ASlamp Museum at the  Davis-Horton House with the full price paid admission of at least one accompanying adult. Valid for 2...

Cruise Lines

$5 OFF CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH CRUISE ON SAN DIEGO BAY

Hornblower Dining Cruises
Valid: Jul 16, 2018 - ongoing

$5 off any weekend Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower Cruises in San Diego. This two-hour cruise features a bountiful brunch buffet, free flowing champagne and the best views of San Diego Bay,...

Events to check out

Event

USA Ultimate National Championships

Oct 18 - Oct 21, 2018

The USA Ultimate National Championships represent the pinnacle of elite ultimate in North America and crowns champions in three divisions: men’s, mixed and women’s. 

Event

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.

Event

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...

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

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