The San Diego Symphony gave its first performance in 1910 and now gives over 100 performances a year including the Masterworks series, the Winter Pops series, annual holiday programs, a Family Festival series, the Light Bulb Series and now a Thursday Night Lite series. One of the highlights for locals is the Summer Pops, which is a series of concerts at the waterfront Embarcardero with plenty of space for kids to run around, fabulous music, gourmet food and spectacular ambiance. Our symphony leans toward the hip and contemporary side and does a nice job of engaging multiple age groups. Season passes are available.
In its 35-year history, Broadway/San Diego has presented over 325 shows and events, including the record-setting blockbusters The Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon, The Producers (in its West Coast Premiere), Les Miserables, Disney's The Lion King and Wicked. Shows have relatively short runs so keep an eye on the calendar and grab tickets for those you'd love to see. The amazing performances are also spread across two lovely theaters in downtown San Diego: Civic Theatre and Balboa Theatre. Check Broadway/San Diego's website for restaurant packages that include tickets and dinner. Season tickets and group packages are available as well.
The Comedy Store has been in its same La Jolla location since 1977. Before that, it was located in Pacific Beach where shows even featured then-unknown Gallagher, Robin Willams, David Letterman and Michael Keaton on the same bill. Popular comedians still grace its stages regularly from Jeff Altman (often seen on to Roseanne Barr. Note that there is a two-drink minimum and that parking can be a bit tough so plan to arrive a little early. The interior is a little dated and can use a refresh, but you won't really notice after the laughing starts. They do not serve food.
An outstanding music venue and top-notch restaurant make this the place of choice for both visitors and residents of San Diego. From its legendary Sunday Gospel Brunch to its roster of libations and great musical lineup, this spot definitely has what it takes to compete with the varied nightlife scene served up by this California city by the sea. A variety of concerts here start between 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. but, of course, you may stay later for drinks if you like. Or fuel up on comfort food like jambalaya, fried chicken and more (they have salads, too) at the restaurant, Crossroads.
Located in the city's lovely Balboa Park and reported to be the oldest professional theater in the state, this venue is made in the image of Shakespeare's Globe Theater and includes 581 seats. Season after season the Old Globe delights patrons with excellent renditions of both old standbys and up-and-coming modern selections. The annual performance of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" brings the famous Dr. Seuss book to life on stage as the Old Globe is transformed into a snow-covered Whoville. It is an incredibly well-done performance with matinees during the day for younger kids. Be sure to explore the park afterward!
In addition to whale watching, Sunday brunch cruises and private events, Flagship Cruises offers nightly dinner cruises that board at 7:00 p.m. and return to the cruise ship terminal at 10:00 p.m. Guests receive a welcome champagne, 3-course dinner (with many options to choose from) and opportunities to watch the sunset (in summer) and enjoy the night skyline. A DJ onboard spins tunes for dancing. Kids are welcome, too, and ages 4-12 will enjoy eats prepared just for them. On Sundays, the dinner cruise features Prime Rib dinner while Wednesdays are focused on wine with bottles discounted 50%. The ships cruise the San Diego bay.
With three theaters and a new in-house seafood and sushi restaurant called James' Place, this playhouse offers a wide range of events, from plays to readings and educational opportunities for all ages. A non-profit theatre, La Jolla Playhouse showcases a top-notch roster of productions each season, and boasts over 300 awards, including the 1993 Tony Award as America's Outstanding Regional Theatre. It was started in 1974 by industry headliners Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. Many shows produced at the Playhouse have reached Broadway including "Big River", "The Who's Tommy", "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and many more.
The National Comedy Theatre offers the longest continuously running show in San Diego County. The improv comedy is clean (with the exception of the late night show labeled for ages 16 and older) and guests help determine the outcome during this interactive show. It's very similar to the popular TV show called "Who's Line is it Anyway?" where much of the show is improvised and choreographed on a whim. The venue is intimate at just 115 seats, with an affordable entry price of $10-15 per person. They also offer improv classes that are supposed to be excellent exercises in team and self-confidence building, especially for teens.
Humphrey's is a multi-faceted resort establishment with a hotel, restaurant, live music club, and outdoor summer concert arena. The music club has a great view of Point Loma, and schedules a wide variety of performers, from local cover bands to touring singer-songwriters. You might hear jazz, blues, 80s, rock, soul or salsa. Call ahead for the schedule – exact dates and times vary widely, but there are plenty that end before 10:00 p.m. It's popular place to enjoy drinks and light bites during happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays where the live music (styles vary by the day) starts at 5:00 p.m.
Stone Brewing Co. has an expansive indoor-outdoor space with gorgeous gardens that are perfect for sipping beer throughout the day and well into the evening. It's possible to tour the brewery for a small additional fee up until the last tour at 6:00 p.m. But definitely plan on eating. Food for all ages includes a unique take on comfort food, a kids menu, and other eclectic world-inspired cuisine. Plus, if you don't like beer (there are 36 on tap), there's an extensive wine list to choose from. The brewery and gardens close at 11:00 p.m. nightly, but check the calendar for events (tastings and special dinners) that might be happening in the early evening during your visit.