Top 20 Things to Do in San Diego at Night After Happy Hour
San Diego is beautiful during the day. Accommodations are abundant – from excellent Vrbo vacation rentals to top places to glamp in San Diego.
With clear skies, pleasant weather, and a wide range of attractions, this destination is an excellent option for a holiday.
For the more nocturnal crowd, it can be hard to find things to do at night other than the usual club scene or even something more exciting than walking through the streets. Do you believe that? We’re here to change that perspective!
Imagine your great catch of the day (or night!) after midnight, catching beautiful sunsets from Sunset Cliffs, or even heading out in the wee hours to catch migrating whales.
Read on to learn more about the best things to do in San Diego at night.
- Have a late-night snack
Although there are endless things to do during the day, food is always a good option when you stay up late and have nothing better to do.
Whether relaxing alone or heading out for an impromptu dinner, you never have to be afraid of starving! From Mexican grills to fresh seafood, San Diego has a diverse array of delicious eateries open ’til late.
You can get your surf and turf game down in Mission Bay at Saxa’s Steak & Seafood. They open their doors until midnight Thursday through Sunday and extend until 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Also worth checking is Hoboken on Pacific Beach, where you can get some decent pizza and brews until 3 am late on Fridays and Saturdays.
If you’re looking for something to eat even later at night, you have Night & Day Cafe in Coronado. These 24-hour restaurants will serve you delicious food at 4 in the morning.
Admire the Twinkling City Lights
Mount Soledad is the best high point in San Diego and is a great place to visit at night, watching the city go dark. Be in awe of San Diego and enjoy a bird’s eye view as the city lights dazzle you.
It’s a great place if you’re up for a late-night heart-to-heart with your best friend or to be alone and lost in your thoughts. (Solo female travelers are cautioned to be safety conscious, though!)
Another way to use the spectacular view would be to set up your camera for a time lapse of the city lights.
Or if you stay till dawn, watch the sunrise or use this opportunity to add breathtaking photos of San Diego to your gallery as it says “good morning.”
You can check out Mount Soledad daily, along with exciting bike tours to explore the surrounding areas. Book a place to stay and plan your City Lights tour here! What are you waiting for?
- Laugh your heart out at the National Comedy Theater
Spend the night laughing at the National Comedy Theater (NCT). If you are looking for a quiet night, this place will make you smile till you fall back into bed.
For a corporate event or private group function, you’ll be entertained and your abs trained with short skits like ‘Whose Line’s it?’ look.
This interactive show takes place in a small theater, so you will get all the benefits even if you’re in the back. You can also grab snacks and drinks at their small concession stand.
The jokes are kept clean, making this place friendly to the general crowd, and you’ll never be bored as NCT’s talented artists keep the show going by picking topics from the audience.
If you are 16 and older, you can watch Unrated for NCT, which covers more adult themes. If you are going with friends or alone, it will be more fun, and you prefer more mature content.
Enjoy great live music at San Diego House of Blues and Belly Up Tavern
This listing may interest you if you are looking for fun things to do in San Diego at night. Good live music is the perfect icing for a fun night, especially if you enjoy relaxing in bars/pubs.
San Diego is home to many talented musicians who love to do their job. Check out the San Diego House of Blues if you’re into rock and blues.
Their live sets will keep your head spinning and your feet tapping till 11 pm. Alternatively, visit the Belly Up Tavern for more popular acts. This place is more casual and has many rising stars.
- Catch a Classic at the Old Globe
Located in Balboa Park is the Old Globe. Shakespearean plays and Broadway productions are performed at this Tony Award-winning theater.
Established in 1935, the Simon Edison Center for the Performing Arts at Old Globe houses three unique theaters: the historic Old Globe Theater, the lovely Sherrill and Harvey White Theater, and the outdoor Lowell Davis Festival Theater.
From plays to musicals, the Globe presents a variety of art performances that aim to make the theater matter more to its visitors. So what are you waiting for? Experience a slice of San Diego’s art scene tonight!
Immerse yourself in Shakespeare’s time, where stages no longer had a proper backstage like most theatres, and appreciate the craft of his plays which revolved around a simple stage.
Want to learn more about the Old Globe and Balboa Park? Why not join a morning walking tour to check out the sights?
Start at 10 am at The Founders Statue in Sefton Plaza and stroll through the park before arriving at Plaza de Panama for lunch.
San Diego Nighttime Zoo During Summer
Yes, that is correct; Visit the San Diego Zoo not during the day but at night. Located just north of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Zoo presents a new personality when the sun goes down.
You won’t catch penguins making mischief but can enjoy a fantastic night while enjoying the sights and sounds of the nocturnal animals.
Available only during the summer season, the San Diego Zoo will expand its hours of operation, with new themes and exhibits introduced each year.
Known as the San Diego Nighttime Zoo, visitors can get close to selected nocturnal animals and even feed some of the zoo’s residents!
If you plan to visit the zoo during the day, summer is the best time to visit, as you can take your day off to fully explore the wonders of the entire zoo without racing with the sun.
Work out at the 24-Hour Fitness Gym
If you don’t have time to hit the gym during the day but need to meet your leg-day goal, don’t fret! There are 27 gym outlets of 24-Hour Fitness in San Diego for you to choose from.
Plus, the University Town Center (Westfield UTC) gym is your ticket to near-solitude if you’re not working out with crowds.
They see numbers between two and 10 daily from 2 to 4:30 pm. Also, check out Horton Plaza and 24-Hour Fitness Escondido Gym for a nearly empty gym.
Each gym is fully equipped for your training, from stationary cycles to weights, and a steam room and sauna help you work up a sweat.
Their spacious, clean bathrooms are also available for you, so you can shower before heading back after a hard day’s work.
Night Fishing Off the Coast of San Diego
Fishing is a casual pastime that anyone can enjoy during the day, but who knew you could catch a significant number of fish in the middle of the night?
Get a fishing license; This is something you must do to fish legally. You can quickly get a license online from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
During March and from June to August, thousands of grunion come ashore at San Diego to spawn at night. You can be assured of a good harvest if you’re in La Jolla, Mission Bay, or Del Mar.
If you’re in Coronado, wait a few days after the high tide mark to catch some silverfish after 11 pm.
Fishing is a safe activity, but it requires patience and skill. It’s great for family bonding as well as a solo activity. Your catches for the night also make fantastic, inexpensive souvenirs or gifts for your friends and family.
Sing around a warm campfire at San Elijo State Beach
You don’t need a camp to start a campfire. A few bags of marshmallows and a bunch of good friends are all the reasons you need.
San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff they have 171 sites that include a fire ring for you to get into the camp song spirit. They don’t limit the hours for your campfire, so you can have a stress-free time sharing songs and stories.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a former Boy/Girl Scout; anyone can appreciate a good campfire as long as everyone on the team participates in the good spirit! It’s fun scavenging for marshmallow sticks and firewood together!
Stargaze Alone or Join a ‘Star Party’ by the San Diego Astronomy Association
If you are looking for exciting San Diego night activities, you might be interested in stargazing. When the sun goes down, the stars come out to play.
Make the most of your night out by gazing at the blanket of twinkling stars, which shine especially brightly on clear nights.
Look out for a shooting star, and don’t forget to make a wish! If you have a telescope, you can join the San Diego Astronomy Association for one of their “Star Parties” at their observing site.
Stargazing can be appreciated with or without a telescope. With our naked eyes, we might look up and enjoy the wonder of the millions of twinkling stars that have always been smiling down on us and maybe learn to say “hello” instead of “goodnight.” Stargazing is also a great activity you can enjoy by renting a houseboat!
Relax and chat over coffee at a local’s hangout
Meet some friends for coffee or have a cuppa while watching San Diego nightlife from a cafe window. Lestat’s in Normal Heights is a 24-hour joint well-known to many locals in San Diego. They also provide free internet for their customers.
For an even more bustling view outside your window, head downtown to Cafe Bassam. The Parisian-style cafe stays open till 2 am, so there is no rush to leave.
Start your night with a beautiful sunset at Sunset Cliffs
Please don’t wait for the night to come; watch it instead! Sunset Cliffs got its name for a reason; It’s the best place to watch the sun say goodbye gracefully at the end of each day.
The site is usually crowded with tourists and locals but is still worth a visit. It’s a great way to end a long busy day or even a bad week while you watch your problems with the sun subside.
It’s also an excellent place for couples to have a more wallet-friendly date. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy each other’s company as the warm sunset adds to the romantic vibe.
If your dog loves long walks, bring him here and enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the sunset over the sea. Just keep your dog off the edges!
If you want something special with your partner, why not go on a Sunset Dinner Cruise aboard the ‘Spirit of San Diego’? Enjoy gourmet cuisine accompanied by complimentary cocktails and live entertainment.
Midnight Whale Watch with Hornblower
From late December to March, watch thousands of gray whales migrate to Baja, California. You can get in the water at midnight for a new whale-watching experience. Hornblower has yachts for charter, with room for up to 800 passengers (minimum 2-to-go)! Y
ou can look forward to being amid beautiful migratory whales as the hornblower heads straight for you on their way. There’s also the bonus of dolphin watching!
Signing up for the midnight whale watch will add a nice splash of adventure to your night. Getting out in the water in such times can be pretty daunting, but learning and appreciating these gentle giants’ nature will bring warmth to your heart.
Strikes and Turkey! Bowling at Parkway Bowl in El Cajon
Bowling is fun and inexpensive for friends and families who like to bond after a night out. You can have a fun night at the bowling alley scoring consecutive strikes till 3 in the morning! Insomnia or reluctance to end the night?
Parkway Bowl in El Cajon is open late every Friday and Saturday. This lively street with flashy strobe lights and loud rock music puts you in the mood.
Kearny Mesa Bowl keeps its disco ball spinning until 1 am on the weekends for all you enthusiastic late-night bowlers out there.
Drive-In Movie (at Santee & South Bay)
What should I do in San Diego at night? The perfect way to spend a night in San Diego that is both enjoyable and inexpensive is going to a drive-in movie.
Relive the good old days with an excellent flick in the comfort of your car and under the romantic moonlight.
At South Bay Drive-In Theaters, you can catch the latest blockbusters at a fraction of the price of the theaters. They show movies daily throughout the year. This is an excellent activity for families on a budget or date night.
The Santee Drive-In Theater shows its movies in digital format. Movies are also shown daily throughout the year.
The highlight is how the movies are broadcast through your car’s FM radio, so make sure your radio works! The snack bar and bathrooms are located in the building at the center of the theater.
Play Escape Games
Escape Games on Garnett Avenue, San Diego, will do the trick if you want to have some fun with a group of friends. Get locked inside a room with one hour to solve puzzles that guide you to find the keys to escape.
The themes make for fun and excitement, a great bonding opportunity for family and friends. Although the China Town Room is recommended, there are others to choose from!
Conveniently located in Pacific Beach, you can always grab a drink or bite to eat either before or after. They’re open until 9:00 pm, so you can score a happy hour bargain before your game starts.
Drag the Ding on the Lips with a Dinner and Show
Lips drag shows are fun and interesting to watch if you’ve never been to one. The club is colorful and clean, and the food is good.
The Chicken Breast Stuffed with Cheese and Spinach comes highly recommended. Enjoy your meal with entertaining shows.
This is the place to have a few drinks, enjoy a meal and watch a fun show. The show will leave you on your feet asking for more.
However, please note that this is an adults-only venue, so it’s not the place to hang out with kids and teens.
For open-minded adults, your evening will be entertaining. They host parties and events where anyone over the age of 21 is welcome to the club. However, make reservations ahead of time.
Thanks for visiting US Map of State