Nightlife

Location
San Diego, CA
Undergrads
23,036
Tuition (in-state)
$18,236 ($6,578)
Admission Difficulty
Hard
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4 College Freshman

Nightlife: I personally am part of a fraternity and the nightlife is awesome. We always have events with the beutifull sorietys of our campus and a lot of events with brothers. My social web has greatly expanded and have absorbed numerous new amounts of friends.

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: always fun everywhere. you'll feel like a million bucks

3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: The parties here are so weak now, because they get shut down so early. Or they're thrown in these small apartments that you can barely breathe in. But when those big parties of the year go down they are so much fun. Transportation sucks out here.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: If you are in Greek life, than the parties the various houses throw will be your scene. Personally, I think those parties end up being the same every single weekend, but people involved in Greek life seem to love them so there is that. If you aren't involved in Greek life than there are plenty of parties in apartments around campus, but you do have to know someone to go to those as they tend to be smaller and of friends gathering rather than the ragers the Greek Houses throw. Otherwise, if you are brave enough to go to Mexico, you can party there even if you are 18. Downtown will not be fun to you unless you are 21 and over.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: The weekends are almost always alive. Thursday through Saturday will often find swarms of girls dressed up for frat parties parading across campus to whatever house they might be going to. For those who don't find the greek scene to their liking, there are numerous apartments nearby that are also hubs of activity on these nights. Transportation is often available via charter buses that load up on campus and go downtown, where there is a plethora of clubs, bars, restaurants, parties, and many other destinations. Tijuana is relatively close, so the more adventurous might find themselves partying on the other side of the border. Regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity, there is something for everyone.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 29th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 1050th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1345th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Brennan Wasan
Hometown
San Diego, CA
Major
Communications
View all previous student authors

San Diego State is known as a party school for good reason; it has the biggest college nightlife scene in San Diego, and one of the largest in California, along with UC Santa Barbara and CSU Chico. There is always something going on during the weekend, whether it is an `80s party on Fraternity Row or a triple-kegger at a random house down Montezuma Road. As long as you have some connections, you will always have something to do every weekend night. For those over 21, San Diego offers one of the best bar and club scenes in the nation. Pacific Beach and downtown San Diego are the two biggest hotspots. Mexico is always an option for anyone who wants to cut loose across the border.

Greek parties often get all the attention regarding nightlife. Unfortunately, fraternity parties can be a hassle to get into for non-Greek guys, and girls may be harassed by the fraternity members themselves. House parties occur just as often as fraternity parties do, though they tend to get broken up by the police. The police have become really strict during the evening, and have sucked a little fun out of the party scene. However, when one party gets busted up, you move on to the next. The nightlife around campus is incredibly strong, but it gets tired after a while due to the monotonous nature of it all. However, once you get tired of the San Diego State parties, you've still got plenty of bars and clubs to visit in La Jolla, Pacific Beach, downtown, and Mexico.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Downtown
  • Gaslamp District
  • Ocean Beach
  • Pacific Beach
Student Favorites
  • The Bitter End
  • Effin's Pub & Grill
  • Fourth and B
  • In Cahoots
  • Moondoggies
  • Onyx and Thin
  • Pacific Beach Bar and Grill
  • Tavern at the Beach
Other Places to Check Out
  • Airport Lounge
  • Bar Basic
  • Bar Dynamite
  • Belo
  • Ole Madrid
  • Red Circle Café
Local Specialties
  • AleSmith:
  • Alpine Beer Co. :
  • Firehouse Brewery:
  • Gordon Beirsch:
  • Karl Strauss:
  • Oggi's:
  • Stone Brewery:
Favorite Drinking Games
  • 4 Corners
  • Beer Pong (Beirut)
  • Caps
  • Edward 40 hands
  • Flip Cup
  • King's Cup
  • Quarters
  • Waterfall
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • San Diego Reader
  • signonsandiego.com
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Effin's Pub and Grill, but keep your eyes open for happy hour specials listed almost everywhere you go.
Organization Parties
Many clubs and organizations at San Diego State rent out venues at the end of each semester. These parties are always a rocking good time—you already know everyone there, and it is a chance to hang out in a much livelier setting than the usual mundane surroundings.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

On Broadway

Located on the outskirts of downtown, On Broadway hosts well-known DJs and performances.

615 Broadway

Downtown San Diego

(619) 231-0011

www.obec.tv

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Gringo's Cocina y Cantina

4474 Mission Blvd.

Pacific Beach

(858) 490-2877

www.gringoscantina.com

Dick's Last Resort

An imperfect place in a perfect world. They have always been known for their outrageous, surly, energetic wait staff who inflict humor upon their guests.

345 Fourth Ave.

San Diego

(619) 231-9100

sandiego.dickslastresort.com

Winston's Beach Club

Hosts live music seven nights a week

1921 Bacon St.

San Diego

(619) 222-6822

www.winstonsob.com

The Sunshine Saloon

They have an easy-access window into the Mexican Food restaurant next door called Livingston's so you can grab food without leaving.

5028 Newport Ave.

San Diego

(619) 222-0722

Prospect Bar & Grill

La Jolla's only upscale sports lounge that overlooks the World Famous La Jolla Cove.

1025 Prospect St.

La Jolla

(858) 454-8092

www.prospectbar.com

Maloney's Tavern

777 Fifth Ave.

San Diego

(616) 232-6000

www.maloneystavern.com

Belly Up Tavern

Belly Up has been continually voted "San Diego's Best Live Music Venue"

143 S. Cedros Ave.

Solana Beach

(858) 481-8140

www.bellyup.com

Casbah

Casbah is a great place to listen to live music, have a few drinks, and enjoy good food.

2501 Kettner Blvd.

San Diego

(619) 232-42355

www.casbahmusic.com

Pacific Beach Bar and Grill

PB Bar and Grill keeps its guest occupied with pool tables, shuffleboard, darts, and NTN Video interactive television. There are 72 large televisions showing every sporting event.

860 Garnett Ave.

Pacific Beach

(619) 272-4745

pbbarandgrill.com/grill_home.htm

Plum Crazy Saloon

Plum Crazy, though located within the heart of the Pacific Beach night scene, claims to be the local home of the Philidelphia Eagles football team, and caters to a mostly college-aged crowd. Inside, there are a dozen televisions, pool, air hockey, and foosball tables.

1060 Garnet Ave.

Pacific beach

(858) 270-1212

www.plumcrazypb.com

Side Bar

Side Bar is a very trendy cocktail lounge featuring video art and vintage films, and it is tailored toward the sophisticated crowd. The drinks here are relatively expensive, but they are almost worth their price.

536 Market St.

Downtown

(619) 696-0946

www.sidebarsd.com

Typhoon Saloon

Typhoon saloon has four different levels, including a balcony, pool lounge, and dance floor, as well as being host to frequent live music, making the club appealing to various crowds.

1165 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 373-3444

www.mooserestaurantgroup.com/typhoon/index.html

Tavern at the Beach

Tavern is a pretty chill sports bar with constant weekly events, a happy hour from noon until 7 p.m., and it has awesome specials.

1200 Garnet Ave.

San Diego

(858) 272-6066

www.tavernatthebeach.com

Beach Bar and Living Room

The martinis and cosmopolitans are some of the best drinks served here.

W Hotel 555 West B St.

Downtown

(619) 231-8220

Café Sevilla

Café Sevilla also offers a dinner show on Saturday nights, as well as a tapas bar and a late-night dining menu. The property also includes Club Sevilla, which hosts live music seven days a week.

555 4th Ave.

Downtown

(619) 233-5979

www.cafesevilla.com/SanDiego

In Cahoots

Both beginner and seasoned cowboys and cowgirls can work on their country moves on the dance floor. Cahoots also offers free country dance lessons five days a week, three full service bars, and some of the best country music.

5373 Mission Center Rd.

Mission Valley

(619) 291-1184

www.incahoots.com

Effin's Pub & Grill

Located very close to campus, Effin's Pub is an Irish-themed bar that serves food late, so it's a hot spot for college partiers. Effin's also features a weekly Saturday night cover band, as well as a comedy night.

6164 El Cajon Blvd.

San Diego

(619) 299-9800

www.effins.com

Fourth & B

Fourth & B is a small-scale concert venue popular with SDSU students. Bands that play there are usually local or underground in popularity and rarely mainstream, but the place is always packed with music lovers or diehard fans of touring bands.

345 B St.

San Diego

(619) 231-4343

www.4thandb.com

On Broadway

On Broadway has numerous distinct areas within its property, including a huge dance floor which offers house music, `70s and `80s, and hip hop, and a lounge where VIPs can relax and indulge themselves in luxury at a hip, trendy Sushi Bar.

615 Broadway

Downtown

(619) 231-0011

www.onbroadway.signonsandiego.com

Onyx and Thin

The classic Jack and Coke is served in a coffee mug and is one of the bar's specialties. Onyx has jazz on Tuesdays, and DJs spin house and club tunes on the other nights.

852 Fifth Ave.

Gaslamp District

(619) 235-6699

www.onyxroom.com

The Bitter End

Sometimes the music is played by DJs and other times by local bands. This bar has great drinks and a fun atmosphere, but it is populated by a slightly older 30+ crowd.

770 Fifth Ave.

Gaslamp District

(619) 338-9300

www.thebitterend.com

Moondoggies

A local sports bar, Moondoggies offers a great place to catch the game, munch on some greasy yet delicious bar fare, and have a few beers. Some evenings they also host live bands.

832 Garnett Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 483-6550

www.moondoggies.com/pb

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Living Room Cafe and Bistro

Located two miles south of campus, students can relax and enjoy free Wi-Fi. It is a good place for students to study, it feels like you are in a living room.

5900 El Cajon Blvd.

San Diego

(619) 286-8434

www.livingroomcafe.com

Soma

Soma is a venue that hosts live music, usually pop/punk, hardcore, ska, emo, indie rock bands and occasionally hip-hop.

3350 Sports Arena Blvd.

San Diego

(619) 226-7662

www.somasandiego.com

Belo

On Thursday nights, also known as College Nights, Belo hosts 18-and-over events designed for college students to go out and party safely in Downtown. It is perfect for those who want to go party in downtown, but aren't quite 21.

919 4th Ave. #100

San Diego

(619) 231-9200

checafe.ucsd.edu

House of Blues Downtown

House of Blues is a music venue located in Downtown. Although some nights are 21+, the majority of the time they host all-ages events. Many music artist perform here when they well known, but not quite big enough to put on arena shows.

1055 Fifth Ave.

San Diego

(619) 299-2583

www.houseofblues.com

The Comedy Palace

An 18-and-over comedy venue

8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

San Diego

(858) 344-9252

www.thecomedypalace.com

Deco's Nightclub

On Thursday nights, also known as College Nights, Deco's hosts 18-and-over events designed for college students to go out and party safely in Downtown. It is perfect for those who want to go party in downtown, but aren't quite 21.

731 5th Ave.

San Diego

(619) 296-3326

www.decos.tv/nightclub.php

Student Polls

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 144 responses

  • 4% There are no good options.
  • 36% Use a designated driver.
  • 3% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 22% Public transportation.
  • 8% Taxis.
  • 26% Walk.

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 144 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 145 responses

  • 5% Parties? What parties?
  • 6% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 14% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 55% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 19% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 17 responses

  • 67% Greek houses
  • 14% Houses, apartments, the beach, Mexico, or downtown
  • 10% The Aztec Student Union
  • 10% Parties are stupid

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 15 responses

  • 73% The greek life
  • 20% It is whatever you want it to be
  • 7% Orientation night

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