San Diego may be all about sun, surf, and ocean, but the balmy Southern California weather also makes it perfect for evening adventures. When the stars come out, locals and travelers alike meet over good food and drinks, or hang out at the beaches and parks. Both HI SD Downtown and HI SD Point Loma hostels are close to plenty of great things to do in San Diego at night, so we asked some of the staff to help pick a few favorites. Here are their tips.
Go to Balboa Park or the beach on summer nights
Revel in the magic of a warm summer evening and check out Food Truck Fridays in Balboa Park, which is a nice walk from HI San Diego Downtown. Featuring tasty gourmet food from local food trucks, the after-hours party also has live music, and museums within the park are open late.
If bonfires and cozy conversations are more your speed, then you can gather a crew from HI SD Point Loma hostel and head to Mission Beach. There are fire pits for burning wood and charcoal, and add to that some snacks and supplies (and probably a guitar), and you’ve got a pretty perfect California night.
Hit up a happy hour
Happy hours are a traveler’s jackpot: you get to try new foods and drinks, and it doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. In San Diego, happy hour also comes with a view at Altitude Sky Lounge, which is a swanky rooftop spot overlooking the Gaslamp Quarter and beyond. You can sip on discounted local brews and bites while watching the sunset, and if you happen to be in town during baseball season, this is where you’ll find local fans.
Closer to the ground, there’s Bub’s at the Ballpark, which is also great on game days and close to Petco Park. Billed as the best spot for chicken wings in the city, the bar has great food and drink specials during happy hour. Plus, if you’re not there to watch the game, you can also shoot hoops at the in-house basketball court, or play shuffleboard with new friends.
Catch some live music
You can find great live music in San Diego both indoors and outdoors. At Bar Pink, there’s a fun, laid-back vibe and cool bands, plus the drinks aren’t too pricey. Prohibition Lounge, which is just across from HI SD Downtown, is a little more upscale, but it’s got a speakeasy feel, complete with decadent cocktails and smooth live jazz.
For outdoor tunes, head to the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa park, where you can hear the largest pipe organ in the world (with more than 5,000 pipes!) played during the weekly Sunday concert.
Explore the local neighborhoods
Just like in any city, San Diego’s neighborhoods each have their own special flavor and style. There’s Ocean Beach, which is close to HI SD Point Loma and has the kind of relaxed atmosphere you’d expect from a beachside community. North Park is where you’ll find the cool kids enjoying the hip bar and restaurant scene. And Little Italy has cute piazzas, indie music venues, and sweet brew pubs lining its pedestrian-friendly streets.
Throughout the year, you can find markets, art walks, food events, and live music taking place well into the night in all three of these neighborhoods.
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