Balboa Park December Nights brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy and kick-off the "most wonderful time of the year" with lights and more!
Local DJs Schoeny and Ayla Simone have come up with the definitive list of all the spots you should hit to get the most out of your sundown shenanigans. This list will guide a reader from happy hour to dinner, then maybe a craft cocktail lounge, a rooftop bar and finally a pulsing nightclub. Oh yeah, and there's always time for a burrito after the bars.
Okay, so you have to eat…but who says dinner can't be part of the party? Florent is a restaurant, lounge and nightclub all wrapped into one beautifully designed package. Its "Modern American meets Global Gastro" menu includes short rib rigatoni, seared big eye tuna, zucchini florentine and some irresistible Brussels sprouts. Try some whimsical cocktails, like the Southside Gimlet or Maui Mule, and peruse the extensive wine and beer menu.
"The food is amazing! Many local ingredients and sophisticated dishes. Plus their cocktails are spectacular. On Fridays and Saturdays they also have a lounge DJ during dinner hours before their club DJ arrives." - DJ Ayla Simone
Other Options: Rustic Root, BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar
Now that you have a full belly of food, it's time for the night to pick up speed. Head to Prohibition, a speakeasy inconspicuously hidden behind a door reading "Law Offices of Edward Joseph O'Hare, Esq." Inside, you'll go down the stairs to a darkly lit lounge that dishes amazing craft cocktails and an unbeatable, intimate vibe. Often times there will be a full band playing in the corner...an opportunity for you to loosen up those dance moves if you feel so obliged.
Other Options: Vin de Syrah, Noble Experiment
The rooftop bar experience is a must in downtown San Diego, so make your way to The Rooftop by STK at Andaz. On San Diego's largest rooftop lounge—high above the Gaslamp Quarter—you can get a great cocktail while soaking up the breathtaking views of the city. Consider it a brief moment of relative calm (there's still a bumping DJ and plenty of excitement) before you enter the electric jungle of San Diego's club scene.
Other Options: The Nolen, ALTITUDE Sky Lounge
Okay, it's game time. Bang Bang features a modern Japanese design with a restaurant lounge on one side and a dance club on the other, where DJs will spin some of the best deep house sets around...all under the West Coast's largest disco ball. The attention to detail throughout the entire establishment is incredible...just wait until you see the Ryan Gosling-covered ladies' room. Gents, yours is plastered in retro Godzilla posters. If you're hungry again, now is your chance to grab some awesome sushi rolls including the Kill Bill, Hello Kitty and—you guessed it—The Gosling and Godzilla rolls.
"Bang Bang books a lot of the indie dance and deep house artists that are well known internationally." - DJ Ayla Simone
Other Options: Sidebar, Analog
Now to the big show. Downtown San Diego is home to some of the hottest clubs in the entire country, featuring big name DJs, epic venues and killer atmospheres. Omnia has been at the center of the San Diego club scene for years now, and it always ranks among the top nightclubs in the nation. Similar to it's sister club in Las Vegas, this club has top-of-the-line lights, sound, dancers and energy. With connections to the biggest names in the industry, every weekend offers someone new. Don't be surprised if you run into a celebrity or two as you vibe out with this Vegas-level experience.
Other Option: Parq
You did it! You've raged with the best of them in the ultimate night out in downtown San Diego. You're sure to have worked your appetite back up with all that dancing, jumping, mingling and partying, and there might be a cocktail or two in your belly that needs to be soaked up.
Many San Diegans choose one of countless burrito spots to find their post-club sustenance. If you do, order a California Burrito (stuffed with carne asada and French fries). It's a San Diego staple. If you want a slice of pizza, you can't get better than Buona Forchetta or Ciro's—popular refueling stations for locals.
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