Top four concert venues under 21

by Sara Butler | Associate Editor

Many first year students might overhear a little myth about the nightlife in San Diego. Something along the lines of, “Oh, San Diego’s really fun, if you’re 21.” In particular, the SD music scene has an infamous reputation of being an exclusive adult engagement.

However, students should not be discouraged because despite the pessimistic hype, there are lots of great spots to explore the local music scene for those young USD adults under the magical, musical age of 21.


This lesser-known local gem is tucked away in the North Park district. Originally a cathedral hall dating back to 1939, the theatre is now a hotspot for live music shows. The restored hall is a beautiful venue with a bit more headspace than House of Blues. The artists range from sold-out (two-night!) Morrissey to you-outta-know up-and-comers like Years and Years. Flat general admission means cheaper tickets, so be sure to stay up to date with concert sales to avoid scalpers.


The infamous House of Blues chain has its own San Diego headquarters located in the heart of Downtown. While some events are strictly 21+, the intimate venue hosts many shows for all-ages. The tight quarters and dark atmosphere gives it the perfect rock-n-roll vibe. Parking Downtown can be a nightmare, so consider taking the trolley. If you insist on driving, get down there early to find a good spot, or you might end up paying the price of your concert ticket just to park.


Officially titled CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theater, this mouthful of a name is often shortened to The Open Air or Open Air Theatre. Located at San Diego State University, the venue is known for its superb sound quality and younger college vibe.

While parking is notorious for being overpriced, students should consider taking the trolley or crashing with a friend who lives on campus. Bonus points: SDSU students can score discounted tickets, so USD students should be nice to neighboring buddies at State.


Always changing, this venue is the amphitheater of many names. Sometimes called Cricket, it was previously coined Cricket Wireless Amphitheater until new ownership in 2008. (Locals may still refer to it as Coors Amphitheater, the original name back in ‘98.)

The venue is famous for it’s awesome lawn section, where you can score cheap tickets on the grass. All students have to do is grab some friends and some blankets to experience some of the best seats in the house! Students should be sure to pack some snacks and sodas in their car to pre-game in the parking lot before the show.