Best Nightlife Spots in San Diego That Come Alive after Sunset



San Diego’s nightlife will never rival that of a big city, but it exists with a surprisingly wide variety of exciting options for a casual beach town. If you want to glam it up for a top-notch, Vegas-style experience or chat with friends over a specialty cocktail and ocean breezes, both are available.

Most of the bars and clubs on this list are located in downtown San Diego, so if you’re a night owl visiting the city, this is the neighborhood you may want to park yourself in. The Gaslamp Quarter’s many rooftop bars offer spectacular night-time views over the skyline with cozy seating, fireplace pits and cool cocktails. Go below street level, as many of the historical buildings in the Quarter boast basements (which are not common in California), where you’ll find other exciting places to spend an evening. Nightclubs that will send anyone's senses into overdrive cater to VIPs. Beach communities all around San Diego County also offer up more casual nightlife opportunities, for those interested in enjoying a beer or cocktail with waves crashing in the background.

Regardless of your bedtime, San Diego offers up a wide range of nightlife choices and 10Best narrows the list down for you right here.


Belly Up Tavern


There's live music at Belly Up almost every night. Belly Up is not pretentious and has a more casual vibe, despite being an award-winning nightspot. Up-and-coming artists as well as established legends in genres ranging from alternative rock,...  Read More




This Gaslamp bar sets a classy and sophisticated backdrop for the young and beautiful of San Diego to mix and mingle. Set amidst antiques, art and leather couches perched on gleaming hardwoods, this spot sports quite the scene. Dress smartly on...  Read More




Evoking an Asian street market feel, Bang Bang features three separate concepts in one space - one part asian fusion restaurant, one part sushi bar and one part "theatre" which hosts live music, DJs, movies, and is home to the largest disco ball...  Read More




Moonshine Flats is a ton of country fun in the Gaslamp Quarter. It's one of two places in San Diego to dance to country. The 10,000 square-foot venue features multiple levels, dozens of interactive elements, five bars throughout, including the...  Read More


Altitude Skybar & Garden Lounge


Hailed as offering the most spectacular rooftop view in San Diego, Altitude Sky Lounge is located on top of the Marriott Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. The rooftop location features gardens and a waterfall, 22 stories above street level. When the...  Read More




Two clubs in one, Onyx Room and Thin occupy two floors of the same space, with Thin at street level and Onyx below. Both are trendy spots that draw the ultra-cool who want to party with inventive cocktails in hand and plenty of eye candy located...  Read More




Polite Provisions serves up cocktails and classic American fare in University Heights. Their massive custom tap system not only features 18 craft beers on tap, but eight white wines, nine red wines, three carbonated cocktails, two non-carbonated...  Read More




FLUXX is Downtown San Diego's high-end dance club. Just as its name implies, FLUXX nightclub's mood and motif are kept in a constant state of change designed to create a unique experience with every visit. The venue incorporates organic decor...  Read More




People come for the cocktails and say that you'll never drink a better one. This San Diego speakeasy is found via a somewhat secret door near the door to the kitchen at The Neighborhood. Reservations are by text message only and Noble Experiment...  Read More




The swanky Andaz Hotel offers the nightlife seekers several options. The new Rooftop600 is where you'll find a club-like atmosphere of guest DJs, dancing, and bottle service under the stars. Recently renovated, find fire pits, comfortable lounge...  Read More


Map

Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×

×