Best Nightclubs in San Diego California

Fun Things to Do in San Diego After Dark (That Aren’t Bar Hopping)

Sure, clubbing and bar hopping in San Diego can be fun, but sometimes you want to change up your usual weekend nightlife routine. Don’t worry; America’s Finest City has some of the coolest, most unique spots to spend your precious evenings. Whether you want to see some lions and giraffes up close, challenge yourself with extemporaneous storytelling, or just hang out in a grown-up arcade, we have all your nightlife bases covered.

Catch a classic flick at a rooftop theater

Downtown

Rooftop Cinema Club provides the ultimate outdoor film experience perched atop the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego’s fourth-floor rooftop. Get some San Diego strippers to come out to your event at the club. Offering weekly showings of cult favorites against a backdrop of stars and panoramic views of downtown San Diego, it’s more than just movies with a view. State-of-the-art wireless headphones and comfy, adjustable deck chairs with ample legroom let you sit back and enjoy the show in style. Upscale concessions include craft brews, movie-themed cocktails and elevated theater fares like poké nachos and Mediterranean chicken wraps. Upgrade your ticket to include bottomless popcorn for just $3.

Get wild at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

Escondido

The San Diego Wild Animal Park’s popular sleepover event gets an R-rated makeover once a month with Adults Only Roar and Snore Safari Night. Like its kid-friendly counterpart, you’ll have guided hikes, campfire chats, plenty of animal viewing, snacks, dinner, and breakfast the next morning — but unlike the kiddie version, there’s a cash bar serving beer and wine, and the behind-the-scenes info takes a decidedly naughty turn. Tent options range from a basic five-sleeper with pads for your sleeping bags to a deluxe four-sleeper with a queen-sized bed and two cots, linens and pillows, and electrical outlets.

Join Crazed Imaginations for the ultimate Rocky Horror Picture Show experience

Encinitas, Kensington

Sure, you’ve snapped a rubber glove and thrown toast at the screen, but Crazed Imaginations gives you an RHPS experience befitting their reputation for being raunchy, offensive, crude, silly, loud, and sexy by shadow casting the film (acting out the parts live while the movie plays in the background). Of course, audience participation is encouraged, and first-timers, or “virgins,” are welcomed beforehand with games and other rites of passage that are only slightly embarrassing. Prior to the show, head to the merch table for a prop bag, then grab some popcorn, a seat near the stage, and get ready to shout “Asshole!” and “Slut!” at all the appropriate moments. See the show every Friday at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas and on the third and fourth Saturdays of the month at Landmark Ken in Kensington, both at midnight. Karma note: The live performers are unpaid actors, so be a good egg and throw a nice tip into the golden hat as you leave.

Unleash your inner lumberjack

University Heights

If yoga and meditation aren’t doing it for you, have a go at a different kind of stress relief and visit AxeVentures in North Park, one of several new ax-throwing venues that have popped up across the city. The idea is pretty straightforward: Book a lane online or walk-in anytime, learn the ropes from one of the coaches, and spend the next hour or so perfecting your tomahawk technique. Already love throwing. League play starts early October and runs for six weeks. Not a fan of throwing? Cornhole, giant Jenga and Connect Four are available for the ax averse. Hire some hot strippers to entertain your party. Safety note: Closed-toe shoes are required.

Slam some poetry at Queen Bee’s

North Park

So what exactly is a poetry slam? It’s a poetry competition in which performers compete before a panel of three to five judges who are usually selected from the audience. It was originally intended to make poetry recitals more interesting and accessible by adding a competitive element. San Diego Poetry Slam happens the second Monday of every month at Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center in North Park. The club welcomes new and experienced poets and has gained national recognition — in 2017, they took first place in the National Poetry Slam team event, beating out 83 other teams from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and Australia.

Visit a boozy arcade

North Park, Gaslamp Quarter

Hang out and play arcade games in a grown-up environment at Coin-Op Game Rooms in North Park and the Gaslamp Quarter. These “barcodes” feature old-school games like Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Mortal Kombat, with the added allure of craft cocktails, punch bowls, a dozen or so beer taps, and inventive twists on classic bar bites. Both locations also have vintage pinball, and the Gaslamp venue has Skee-Ball machines and Super Shot Basketball games.

Listen to some true confessions

Hillcrest

Listen to true stories capturing the essence and absurdities of being human (or tell your own) at So Say We All’s Long Story Short monthly open mic showcase, held at Rooted Kava Bar in Hillcrest. Each storyteller shares a five-minute, theme-based experience without the aid of notes; past themes include “Scorned, Scorched and Scarred,” “Grounded,” and “The Gooder, The Badder, and The Uglier.” So Say We All also holds a monthly curated storytelling showcase, VAMP, held at the Whistle Stop Bar in North Park; upcoming themes include “Creep,” “Will It Fit,” and “Home for the Holidays.” New and experienced writers are also welcome at monthly Greenroom Writing Workshops, free creative writing sessions held at Words Alive. So Say We All is a nonprofit organization supporting literary and performing arts, the whose stated mission is “to create opportunities for individuals to tell their stories, and tell them better, through three core priorities: publishing, performance, and education.”

Sing with your mouth full

Hillcrest

Join the fun at one of Hillcrest’s most popular gay bars, Urban Mo’s, for Showtunes Spaghetti Tuesdays. Just $6 gets you all-you-can-eat spaghetti, along with a sing-along to musical treasures from your favorite TV, movie, and stage productions from 6-10pm and pop-up dance videos from 10pm-close. Wash it all down with $6 Black Lemonades, $6 Skyy Vodka Cocktails, and $4.75 Big Ass Bud Lights from 6pm-close.