San Diego, California is known for being a popular tourist destination, largely due to its year-round perfect weather and beautiful beaches. But the sunny SoCal city is also host to a burgeoning music scene. There’s a ton of great venues where you can see local bands, up-and-coming acts, and world famous artists. Here are a just a few of the best places to go for live music in San Diego.
The Belly Up Tavern
The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach hosts national music acts of all genres. It has great ambiance, with its bar and intimate setting. It has been voted “Best Live Music Venue” by many local and national publications and it was names one of the hottest West Coast clubs by Rolling Stone magazine. You can find the Belly Up online at bellyup.com.
The Casbah is one of the best spots to see some of the city’s most promising indie rock bands. The venue, which opened in 1989, gave fans the chance to see the first local shows of now-legendary artists like Nirvana, the Lemonheads and the Smashing Pumpkins. There are live music shows at the Casbah usually six times a week and the cover charge is pretty modest. You can find info about upcoming shows at casbahmusic.com.
Right next to the famous Lestat’s Coffeehouse, Lestat’s West is a cozy music venue that’s known to be artist-friendly and intimate. Lestat’s West hosts local acts as well as national acts and independent musicians from all over the country. The venue is known for having excellent sound. Its motto is “Where the Artist, the Music and the Sound Matter”. You can get info on upcoming shows at myspace.com/lestatswest.
The SOMA began as a dance club for AA members in 1986. Since its opening, it has hosted world-famous acts like Rage Against the Machine and Stone Temple Pilots before they were famous. The SOMA is and always has been an alcohol-free venue. Find out more at somasandiego.com.
House of Blues
The House of Blues in Downtown San Diego is one of the newest music venues in the city. It hosts mostly national touring acts and its own special productions. There’s a bar and a full restaurant that serves dinner. You can see a schedule of shows at hob.com.
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Also in Downtown in the middle of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, the Hard Rock Hotel is an impressive 7,000 square-foot music venue that books both local and national acts. It’s known for its high-end nightlife and hosts a full restaurant, lounge and sky bar. Look for upcoming shows at hardrockhotelsd.com.