San Diego is one of the most dynamic music hotspots in California, along with L.A. and San Francisco. Whether you're looking to see a local act or a big-name artist, there's a place in San Diego that'll have what you want. These are some of the must-see live music venues in SD.
The SOMA has been dedicated to promoting indie bands and artists since it opened in 1986. It was originally an AA members dance club, and to this day it remains an alcohol-free music venue. The SOMA fostered such acts as Rage Against the Machine and Stone Temple Pilots before they made it big. You can find out more about SOMA at somasandiego.com.
The Belly Up Tavern
The Belly Up Tavern was called one of the hottest music venues in the West Coast by Rolling Stone magazine, and it has consistently been voted "Best Live Music Venue" by various local publications. The Belly Up has a full bar and an intimate atmosphere that lets you see some of the country's hottest music acts up close. Find out about upcoming Belly Up shows at bellyup.com.
Lestat's West is the music venue of the famous Lestat's Coffeehouse. It's cozy and known for having great sound and being artist-friendly. Local acts, independent artists and national acts play at Lestat's West. Find out more about Lestat's West at myspace.com/lestatswest.
House of Blues
Located in Downtown San Diego, the House of Blues is a fairly new music venue that hosts mostly national touring acts and its own special shows. There's a lively nightlife surrounding the venue, and the venue itself has a full bar and sit-down restaurant that serves dinner. You can find out more at hob.com.
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
The Hard Rock Hotel is in the middle of San Diego's historic Gaslamp District. The venue measures in at 7,000 square-foot and is definitely one of the most high-octane music hotspots in the city. It has a full restaurant, a lounge and a sky bar, San Diego music store, and hosts some of the biggest national acts that come through San Diego. You can find out about upcoming shows at hardrockhotel.com.
Established in 1989, the Casbah is the place to go see some of today's hottest local, independent rock bands. The Casbah gave fans the chance to see some of the earliest shows by the likes of the Lemonheads, Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins. There are shows usually 6 times a week and the cover charge isn't very expensive. Check out their schedule at casbahmusic.com.