Are you looking for some inspiration on things to do in San Diego at night? Then you have come to the right place. As a San Diego local, I love sharing some of the fun things my hometown has to offer.
San Diego has a lot of fun nighttime activities in store for you, whether you are looking for a date idea, want to go party or want an outing that the whole family can enjoy.
Without much further ado, here are the best things to do in at night in San Diego:
1. Party it up in the Gaslamp Quarter
The historic Gaslamp Quarter is one of the prime nightlife spots of San Diego. You will find great clubs, rooftop bars, speakeasies, restaurants, and lots and lots of activities. Just walk up and down 5th Avenue and see what place speaks to you. There is something for anyone who is looking for a good time. The Gaslamp Quarter is a bit more upscale, and many clubs and bars require you to dress up a bit to get in.
If you are traveling solo or want to meet some other people, join a pub/club crawl. It is a great way to enjoy the nightlife of San Diego.
Some San Diegan’s will tell you that locals don’t go to the Gaslamp and it is a tourist trap. My husband and I live in walking distance from the Gaslamp and while we don’t like to go clubbing, we love going there for dinner and drinks and to people watch. Yes, there are lots of tourists, but locals definitely enjoy it as well.
2. City Lights Tour
I grew up in a small village in Germany, so the sparkling lights of San Diego still get me excited. The City Lights Tour on the historic Trolley Tour bus shows you San Diego at night from its most sparkly side.
The tour takes you from the Gaslamp Quarter up to Balboa Park and along the Embarcadero. Enjoy the views of the city while learning something about San Diego’s fascinating history, interesting fun facts and more.
3. Explore Little Italy Piazza
Little Italy is one of my favorite places to go at night. I love sitting on the Piazza Della Famiglia, listening to some live music before grabbing a delicious dinner and then maybe a glass of wine at my favorite wine bar Vino Carta.
While there are some club and bars, most places in Little Italy are family-friendly, which makes it perfect if you have the little ones with you.
4. San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise
Enjoy dinner with one of the most spectacular views of San Diego during a San Diego Bay Cruise. There are two companies offering San Diego Bay Cruises: Flagship and CityExperiences. Both are great and offer various dinner cruise options at various price points. Check them out here:
5. Haunted San Diego Walking Tour
As one of the oldest city in California, San Diego has a lot of history. Some say, historic places like that often invite souls from another time to linger and San Diego has been known as a hot spot of the supernatural. There are several haunted places and even some haunted hotels in San Diego.
Whether you are a believer in ghosts or not, this spooky Haunted San Diego Gaslamp Ghost Walking Tour is a fun way to learn about the (sometimes dark) history of San Diego.
6. Bar Hopping in Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach is San Diego’s College kid beach town that has vibes of a never-ending spring break. The two main drags, Grant and Garnet Ave are lined with chill bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.
Drinks are cheap and plentiful. If you are looking for a fun night out with a younger crowd in a more relaxed environment, then PB (as locals call it) is your place to party. If you are a solo traveler or simply want to meet new people, check out the Pacific Beach Bar Crawl.
7. San Diego Sunset Sail
My husband and I love to sail, but nothing is more special than a sunset/night sail on the San Diego Bay. The views of the skyline and the Embarcadero are simply stunning.
Most sailboat rental companies only rent out their boats during the day, but you can join one of the many Sailing tours in San Diego. Some offer food and drinks, while others just the cruise itself. Check out or recommendations on the best Sailing Tours in San Diego here>>
8. Brothels, Bites & Booze – A Culinary Tour of San Diego’s Questionable Past
San Diego was a Western frontier town for a long time. That attracted some industrious and adventurous settlers but also a lot of more seedy characters.
The area that is now known as the Gaslamp Quarter was full of bars and brothels. If you want to learn more about the darker side of San Diego’s history while trying some local foods and drinks, check out the Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour.
9. Rent a Glow Boat
We already established how much fun it is to see San Diego at night from the bay. But what if you don’t like sailing and the dinner cruise sounds too fancy for your liking? Then how about a glow boat rental? These glowing pedal boat rentals are perfect for couples, families, and groups of friends.
The best part: No boating experience necessary! All you do is hop in, start pedaling and you are on your way. And it is eco-friendly too. What’s not to love?
10. Beerucation Tour in North Park
San Diego is one of the biggest craft beer Mecca’s on the West Coast. With over 200 breweries, there are a lot of options for a brewery tour or two.
One of our favorite beer tours is the Beerucation Tour in North Park. You will visit 3-4 breweries, learn about how the craft beer craze took over the city, and, most importantly, get to sample plenty of beer.
11. Visit the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park at Night
Did you know, that you can visit the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park at night? This is one of my favorite times to go. There are usually very few other visitors and it is peaceful and quiet. As you walk around, you can hear the animal sounds from near and far and it almost feels like you are walking through the wilderness.
The Safari Park takes it one step further though. You can actually spend the night at a “Safari Camp” there. How cool is that? Check out their “Roar and Snore” safaris here>>
12. Go Bowling
Bowling is always a fun way to spend an evening. There are many bowling alleys in San Diego, from fancy to kid-friendly, and anything in between.
13. Visit a Rooftop Bar
With San Diego’s year-round perfect weather, the city has many roof top bars. I love sitting there above the streets of the city, enjoy the views, and slurp a good cocktail or two. It feels so relaxing and it feels like you are on a different planet from the hectic and busy streets below.
Go check out our guide on the best rooftop bars in San Diego here>>
14. Check Out The Lafayette Hotel
I already mentioned the Lafayette Hotel in my bowling section. What makes this hotel so special that it gets two spots on my list of things to do in San Diego at night?
First, it is one of the most stunning historic hotel remodels I have ever seen. The attention to detail and the style are absolutely breathtaking.
Second, they have so much to do. I already mentioned the bowling alley, but they also have two fantastic cocktail bars, a super cool old-school diner, a stunningly decorated Mexican restaurant, and a gorgeous pool (you can buy a day pass if you are not staying at the hotel).
15. Go to a Speakeasy
I LOVE speakeasies. Well, I love cocktails and the ambiance at a speakeasy make them so much more special, don’t you think? The hidden, secretive element add this little extra sprinkle of excitement and fun to the experience. Check out some of our favorite San Diego Speakeasies here>>
16. Go Glowfing
Mini Golf is always a good idea, but at night, it is even more fun. Whether you are looking for a silly date night idea, a family-friendly evening, or a fun night out with friends, a round of Glow Putt Putt will be a fun experience for everyone. Here are our favorite places to go for Mini Golf in San Diego>>
17. Go Pier Fishing
I grew up going fishing, and I still love it today. I love the anticipation and excitement when I throw out the line, and when finally something happens, you get surprised with either a yummy dinner option or another strand of seaweed.
The best part is, that you don’t need a fishing license to go pier fishing in San Diego. Some piers even rent you the fishing rods and sell you bait, so you are all set to go.
18. Do A Beach Bonfire
Is there anything more cozy than a bonfire? Sticky smores and hot dogs on a stick bring back childhood memories and faces are lid with delight by the glow of the fire. That sounds like a perfect, low-key way to spend an evening.
There are several areas in San Diego where you can do bonfires. My favorite spot is on Mission Bay if I am doing a bonfire with friends and Silver Strand if I want a romantic evening.
Due to the high fire risk, make sure you read up on whether bonfires are currently allowed and if there are any other restrictions.
19. Catch a Play or Concert
San Diego has so many fantastic concert venues and theatres, there is always something interesting to pick. My favorite one is the stunning outdoor venue Rady Shell overlooking the San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline.
Another fun location is the Globe Theatre in Balboa Park, which is modeled after the famous London Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare became famous.
20. Laugh out Loud at a Comedy Club
Life is serious enough, so how about you forget about everything and spend a night laughing at a Comedy Club? Studies have shown that laughing relieves stress, stimulates your organs and even improves your immune system. So go get your laugh on at one of these San Diego Comedy Clubs>>
21. Check out the Bioluminescence on the Beach
San Diego Beaches are a hot spot for seeing Bioluminecence – the stunning blue glowing waves caused by a type of algae. While this phenomenon only happens a few times a year, it is definitely worth to lose a few hours of sleep over and check out. Read more about the best places to see the Bioluminescence in San Diego here>>
22. Take the Ferry to Coronado to Enjoy the View
Coronado offers the best view of the San Diego skyline any time of the day, but at night, the view is extra spectacular. While driving over the Coronado Bay Bridge offers gorgeous views too, nothing beats taking the ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado Ferry Landing.
The crossing only takes about 8-10 minutes, but it feels like a little mini bay cruise. And then you can walk around Coronado Ferry Landing, grab dinner at Peohe’s and enjoy the view for a little longer.
23. Check out a Drag Show
Going to a Drag Show is definitely a unique way to spend an evening in San Diego, but oh so much fun. Lips is THE place to go for a drag-a-licious dinner show that will blow your mind.
The ladies are absolutely gorgeous and will offer you fantastic entertainment for the evening. There are 11 shows per week, including weekend brunches, Glitz & Glam night, and many more.
24. Drive Up Mount Soledad For the Views
Mount Soledad in La Jolla offers some of the best views over the city. At night, it looks like you are looking at a sparkling blanket of diamonds below you.
This is definitely one of the most romantic view points in San Diego. Make it even more special and pack up a little picnic for a romantic night under the stars.
25. Be a Kid Again and Enjoy the Rides at Belmont Park
Belmont Park is fun for the whole family and especially great at night. It is less crowded and the views from the historic rollercoaster Giant Dipper and the Zip Line over Mission Beach and the Pacific are simple breathtaking. Then play a round of Midway Games, like High Striker, to test your strength or Balloon Buster and see if you can win that humongous teddy bear you always dreamt about as a little kid.
I hope these 25 Things to do in San Diego at Night gave you some ideas and inspiration on how to plan some fun evenings in San Diego.