Expert Tips


Venues for Best Nightlife in Orange County

Orange County is known for being on the sleepy side where nightlife is concerned which only means that communities and businesses are becoming more creative to entice residents out.  They are combining art walks with live music, cheese and wine tastings with open mic night and providing public transportation to larger public performances. 

Orange County's live music scene is growing as more venues, many of them intimate and reasonably priced, are opening up with the support of locals.  Santa Ana and Costa Mesa have seen huge growth in the number of cafes and coffee shops that have live performances on certain nights of the week.  While Yard House doesn't have live performances, the hip music played in the restaurant keeps the bar busy all night long.

In southern Orange County, at Mozambique in Laguna Beach and Iva Lee's in San Clemente, musicians play alongside the late-night dinner crowd.  At the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano it's business as usual with several concerts booked every week.  When clubs like The Observatory open up and showcase area LA up-and-coming bands, residents realize that they don't need to drive to Los Angeles to hear quality live music and look in their own backyards for live music venues.  

Costa Mesa


Boasting a number of locations in Orange County and Southern California, this fun-loving establishment delivers good food and what they call "the world's largest selection of draft beer." With anywhere from 130-250 taps at each location, Yard...  Read More



There are few places in the area where teenagers can go to hear live music without their parents. Chain Reaction in Anaheim is one option. It's an all-ages club catering to teenagers. The tiny venue heats up quickly with hard core dancing, mosh...  Read More



The Yost Theater is Orange County's oldest and most storied theater. Built in 1912 for Vaudeville acts, the theater has seen silent film actors, club DJs, heavy metal bands and a variety of other actors and musicians grace its stage. The...  Read More

San Clemente


Iva Lee's is a Southern Belle located in downtown San Clemente. The restaurant specializes in Southern and Creole cuisine and live Blues and Jazz music. Wednesday - Saturday you'll find locals kicking up their heels in the recently renovated...  Read More



Mozambique in Laguna Beach is known for its steaks and seafood; the Peri-Peri prawns are a staple. They also have a fantastic value daily happy hour and interesting South African wines. On Friday and Saturday nights they showcase live bands...  Read More

Downtown Disney® Dist


Always-popular House of Blues in Downtown Disney finds favor with lots of folks who appreciate the outstanding music venue and restaurant as a fun destination throughout the day and night. Not only does House of Blues feature a roster of...  Read More

San Juan Capistrano


It's been around a long time, but that only means that Coach House has earned its reputation as a top-rated place to catch local bands and touring performers. There's nothing elaborate about the venue, but it's a satisfying destination for...  Read More

Costa Mesa


OC meets hipster-LA at the intimate Detroit Club. A former punk rock venue in the 80s it now showcases an eclectic mix of indie groups, touring acts and rock n' roll. It's open seven nights a week and DJs spinning all genres of music, open mic...  Read More



The Observatory sits in the same venue where the now defunct Galaxy Theatre was located. Reinvigorated by new owners and renovations, the 550 seat venue attracts LA Indie bands and rising stars that would otherwise not make the trek to Orange...  Read More


Meet Kristi Marcelle

Originally from Wisconsin, Kristi Marcelle found her passion for travel after studying and volunteering in Quito, Ecuador for two years.  She’s lived in Southern California for over ten years...  More About Kristi