San Diego

The San Diego nightlife scene is much more diverse and innovative than it was just a decade ago. Back then, options were limited to the pricey singles-heavy dance clubs Downtown, the party-hearty atmosphere of Pacific Beach, and a handful of charmingly musty neighborhood dive bars popular with locals. Today options in San Diego have expanded dramatically, boasting more than 90 craft breweries throughout the county, not to mention several stylish cocktail lounges.

The Gaslamp Quarter is still one of the most popular areas to go for a night on the town. Named for actual gaslights that once provided illumination along its once-seedy streets (it housed a number of gambling halls and brothels), the neighborhood bears only a trace of its debauched roots. Between the Gaslamp and nearby East Village, Downtown San Diego mostly comprises chic nightclubs, tourist-heavy pubs, and a handful of live music venues. Even most of the hotels Downtown have a street-level or rooftop bar—so plan on making it a late night if that’s where you intend to bunk. On weekends, parking can be tricky; most lots run about $20, and though there is metered parking (free after 6 pm and all day Sunday), motorists don’t give up those coveted spots so easily. Some restaurants and clubs offer valet, though that can get pricey.

Hillcrest is a popular area for LGBT nightlife and culture, whereas just a little bit east of Hillcrest, ever-expanding North Park features a diverse range of bars and lounges that cater to a twenty- and thirtysomething crowd, bolstering its reputation as the city’s hipster capital. Nearby Normal Heights is a slightly less pretentious alternative, though whichever of these neighborhoods strikes your fancy, a cab from Downtown will run about the same price: $15

Nightlife along the beaches is more of a mixed bag. Where the scene in Pacific Beach might feel like every week is Spring Break, La Jolla veers toward being more cost-prohibitive. And although Point Loma is often seen as a sleeper neighborhood in terms of nightlife, it’s coming into its own with some select destinations.

If your drink involves caffeine and not alcohol, there's no shortage of coffeehouses in San Diego, and some of the better ones in Hillcrest and North Park stay open past midnight. Many of them also serve beer and wine, if the caffeine buzz isn’t enough.

Sort by: 15 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Baja Betty's

    Hillcrest | Bars/Pubs

    Although it draws plenty of gay customers, the festive and friendly atmosphere is popular with just about everyone in the Hillcrest area (and...Read More

  • 2. Blanco Tacos + Tequila

    Mission Valley | Bars/Pubs

    Get your margarita skinny, spicy, or standard, with house-made sours and fresh-squeezed juices, at this prime new spot within Fashion Valley...Read More

  • 3. Cantina Mayahuel

    University Heights | Bars/Pubs

    The well-respected Cantina Mayahuel carries San Diego’s largest collection of agave-based Mexican spirits—with tequila flights to boot—and is...Read More

  • 4. Extraordinary Desserts

    Hillcrest | Cafes–Nightlife

    This café lives up to its name, which explains why there's often a line, despite the ample seating. Paris-trained Karen Krasne turns out award...Read More

  • 5. Fairweather

    East Village | Bars/Pubs

    Hidden in plain sight next to PETCO Park, Fairweather is an urban tiki oasis with a top-notch cocktail menu that boasts classics like daiquiris...Read More

  • 6. False Idol

    Little Italy | Bars/Pubs

    A walk-in refrigerator harbors the secret entrance to this tiki-themed speakeasy, which is attached to Craft & Commerce. Beneath fishing...Read More

  • 7. Hamilton's Tavern

    South Park | Bars/Pubs

    Affectionately known to its loyal crowd of locals as Hammy's, this bar has one of the best beer lists in town. On the ceiling, lights strung...Read More

  • 8. Seven Grand

    North Park | Piano Bars/Lounges

    This whiskey lounge is a swanky addition to an already thriving North Park nightlife scene and a welcome alternative to the neighboring dives...Read More

  • 9. Starlite

    Mission Hills | Bars/Pubs

    Bar-goers are dazzled by Starlite's award-winning interior design, which includes rock walls, luxe leather booths, and a massive mirror-mounted...Read More

  • 10. The Casbah

    Middletown | Music Clubs

    This small club near the airport, the unofficial headquarters of the city's indie music scene, has a national reputation for showcasing up-and...Read More

  • 11. The Grant Grill

    Gaslamp Quarter | Bars/Pubs

    Though the Grant Grill—located on the ground floor of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel—is a full-service restaurant, it's built up a reputation...Read More

  • 12. The Grass Skirt

    Pacific Beach | Bars/Pubs

    Accessed through a false freezer door inside Good Time Poke, this speakeasy-styled tiki bar serves a wide selection of rum-based tropical cocktails...Read More

  • 13. The Rooftop by STK

    Gaslamp Quarter | Dance Clubs

    At this rooftop bar and lounge atop the Andaz hotel, a fashionable crowd sips cocktails poolside while gazing at gorgeous views of the city...Read More

  • 14. Vin de Syrah

    Gaslamp Quarter | Wine Bars–Nightlife

    This "spirit and wine cellar" sends you down a rabbit hole (or at least down some stairs) to a whimsical spot straight out of Alice in Wonderland...Read More

  • 15. Westgate Hotel Plaza Bar

    Gaslamp Quarter | Piano Bars/Lounges

    The old-money surroundings, including leather-upholstered seats, marble tabletops, and a grand piano, supply one of the most elegant and romantic...Read More

No nightlife Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Nightlife in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Around the Web