Best of San Diego’s nightlife

San Diego
San Diego

Feeling spontaneous? It’s never too late to book a trip. Here’s our pick of the best last minute ideas in San Diego…

Flying to San Diego from Sydney you will need to transit over in Los Angeles. Major airlines will take your there, United Airlines; Delta Airlines; Virgin Australia and Qantas. Approximately 16hrs+ of flight time (including maybe 2hr layover). I don’t know about you, but I’m an aisle sitter when travelling long haul in economy – freedom to move around often.

San Diego by night

Once the sun sets in San Diego, this friendly coastal city comes alive with and transforms into one of the most buzzing and sought-after party and night scenes of West Coast USA. The night doesn’t end in San Diego – and here is your guide to the best of San Diego’s nightlife.

Gaslamp Quarter – nightlife central

Start your night off at Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s party district with a buzzing nightlife. This walkable area consists of over 180 restaurants, 50 bars and 10 nightclubs – you are spoilt for choice for nibbles and dance floors as each scene has their own unique flare and vibe, from pop, rock, hip-hop, country to edm. Pack your dancing shoes and your favourite outfit because it will be a night out you won’t forget!

Ever wondered what life was during the roaring 1920s? Well then head on over to Prohibition, where you will feel like you are transported back in time. This hidden bar is full of Great Gatsby charm and is a popular bar amongst locals for its seasonal drinks and music alike. To maintain a chic, nostalgic atmosphere, there are rules one must follow. These range from no cell phones at the bar, no unsolicited advances on female patrons and of course- a dress code with an emphasis on no flip flops or active wear. In other words- dress to impress! For other swanky hidden speakeasies check out Noble Experience in East Village for craft cocktails and Raised by Wolves in La Jolla for an old-world vibe.

Baila Conmigo! (dance with me) Sevilla Nightclub is a Latin nightclub and delivers nothing but the best in Latin format DJs and live entertainment. One of the oldest nightclubs in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and has remained one of the top destinations to experience all things Latina music for decades. Those looking to brush up their skills in salsa, bachata or merengue can take lessons on weeknights Tuesdays through to Thursday. Occasionally, Sevilla Nightclub also offers free salsa lessons, so keep an eye out for a chance to work on your dance moves without emptying your wallet.

Bust your best moves on the dance floor whilst overlooking the spectacular 360-degree view of San Diego’s beautiful skyline. The Rooftop by STK (located on the 7th floor at the hotel Andaz San Diego), is a restaurant and bar. The venue offers partygoers creative SoCal takes on lunch and dinner also a rooftop pool for those who fancy a dip! The location is perfect for a chilled afternoon to watch the sunset after work on weekdays, but watch the space transform into a high-energy nightclub during Friday night evenings and on the weekends. For other bars with great views, check out Cannonball by Mission beach for amazing sushi and amazing ocean views and Kettner Exchange in Little Italy – where you can to sample creative American dishes and watch planes fly over the terrace.

Situated in San Diego’s famed and fabulous gayborhood, Hillcrest, LGBTQ+ travellers flock here on the hunt for gay-friendly entertainment, drinks and socializing. Of course, then you can’t miss out on the charming dive bar, The Loft, a local favourite for some drinks to get those dancing juices flowing with an affordable selection of drinks. Bartenders at the Loft are known for be friendly and the venue boosts an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. For other great LGBTQ+ friendly bars in the area, check out Urban MO’s Bar & Grill for festive theme nights and Number One Fifth Avenue for an easy-going vibe with pool tables.

For a laid-back nightclub with themed events and the hottest DJs in town, look no further than Whistle Stop! From hip hop, house, African roots, Whistle Stop in North Park brings to you coolest DJs every single night of the week as well as with jam-packed events such as art and booze evenings and comedy nights. With something new and exciting on every single night of the week, you will be sure to find an interesting event to attend at Whistle Stop.

Head pass the walk-in fridge with stacks of pineapple and citrus juice walk straight into this tiki-speakeasy bar, False Idol in Little Italy. With coastal and tropical vibes infused in this bar’s décor, atmosphere, food and drinks, you can’t help but feel like you are in Polynesia. Grab a drink like a fruity cocktail and learn all about San Diego’s colourful tiki past with a mini memorabilia archive beneath the glass of the bar top.

Have you been to Gaslamp Quarter? Any spots I have missed out?