Some people were made for cuddling on the couch, fireplace lit and hot cocoa in hand. Others of us were built to rage, rock on, and keep the good nights going strong despite temperatures taking a turn for the cold and the dark settling in earlier.
Fortunately, other than our thriving nightlife that persists year-round, San Diego is also home to a rich and growing music scene. As our favorite local radio stations and concert venues gear up for the holidays, A-list stars are getting more excuses to grace our city with their voices and talent. From intimate local shows at the House of Blues to large scale venues like the Viejas Arena, the hills of San Diego are alive with music.
Belt a tune and experience the diverse span of sounds that are stopping through our city, from the purity of Florence and the Machine to the get-down-on-the-dance-floor jams of Pitbull. Ditch the holiday caroling, and let the pros take the stage while you stake out your spot in line to see some headlining stars perform live in San Diego.
Discover the top winter concerts in San Diego.
91X “Wrex the Halls” at Valley View Casino Center
This year’s Wrex the Halls brought by 91X is only growing in size and span, now taking over our city with two days of kickass performances. On Saturday, December 10th, rock out to indie bands The Naked and Famous, The Airborne Toxic Event, Cage the Elephant and their addictive single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and mega-headlining stars Death Cab for Cutie and Florence and the Machine. On Sunday, December 11th, fans can groove to the sounds of Mutemath, Everlast, San Diego locals Switchfoot, DMC, Pennywise, Social Distortion, and the pop punk legend headliners Blink-182. For more information, and to purchase your tickets starting at $19.91, visit 91x.com.
94.9 Holiday Hootenanny at Jenny Craig Pavillion at USD
Think your holiday party rocks hard? Think again. The FM 94.9 Holiday Hootenanny raises a few decibel levels in our city, so we can loudly celebrate the season of good music. At USD on December 3rd, join the shenanigans with the American rock band My Morning Jacket, indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club, dance punk duo Matt & Kim, Blackout Party, and San Diego local band Delta Spirit. Tickets are $40, and all tickets donate $1 to the “About the Music” fund. A Beer Garden will also be on hand to supply liquid-fuel for the night. Visit fm949sd.com for more information and tickets.
Nero at House of Blues
By Wednesday, December 27th, the House of Blues is hoping you still have some dancing-gusto in you, post-Christmas dinner. Nero has swept the globe with their hard-hitting bass anthems, turning their live performances into one big dance-off, with plenty of electro to go around. Their forward-thinking approach to performance and production has made them a number-one jam set with some addictive singles such as “Innocence,” “Crush on You,” and “Promises.” They’ve been shaking up dance floors across the world and now they’re shaking up our city. The event is 18 and up, and tickets can be purchased for $20 at eventvibe.com.
Z90 Jingle Jam at Valley View Casino Center
For those who’d trade in alternative indie sounds for some booty-shakin’ bass any day, Z90.3’s Jingle Jam never fails to make San Diego back that thang up to top names in hip-hop. The show this year on Wednesday, December 14th will feature some radio staples including Pitbull who’s collaborated with everyone from Afrojack to Jennifer Lopez and given us such gems as “I Know You Want Me” and “Give Me Everything”; Wiz Khalifa who has entranced us with “Black and Yellow”; Big Sean; Nayer who has most recently been featured with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull; New Boyz and their hit single “Backseat” feat. The Cataracs and Dev; and just added to the lineup, all-star Flo Rida. Tickets are on sale now starting at $39 at ticketmaster.com.
3rd Annual Deck the Halls at Anthology
For a more relaxing ambiance to groove into the holidays, Anthology is returning with their annual “Deck the Halls” show featuring the House Band. Experience authentic jazz sounds at Anthology, one of the only live music venues in San Diego to have an award-winning nine-member jazz house band. For three nights during the holiday season, December 21st, 22nd, and 24th, the Anthology House Band will provide a Holiday Music Concert fit for the whole family. Local jazz icon and bass player Tony Muhammad serves as the musical director and will be joined on stage by Derek Cannon, Russell Bizzett, Jeff Moore, John Rekevics, Rebecca Jade, Kamau Kenyatta, Kevin Flournoy. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at artists.anthologysd.com.
Sophie @ 103.7 Holiday of Miracles Benefit Concert at House of Blues
Music always sounds better when it’s for a good cause. It's even more spectacular when rock legend Lenny Kravitz is the one shredding and singing. Sophie @ 103.7’s annual Holiday of Miracles Benefit Concert returns with guest Lenny Kravitz headlining on Sunday, December 11th. The 7pm show will take over the House of Blues, with tickets selling for $50. The rock-your-socks-off show helps the Rady Children’s Hospital to raise money and awareness for children and families, as they continue to perform miracles every day. With his hits like “Fly Away” and “American Woman,” Kravitz is notorious for putting on a killer and energetic live set. An additional guest artist will be announced on Sophie 103.7 Friday, Nov. 18th. For tickets and more information, visit houseofblues.com.
Jason Mraz at Belly Up Tavern
It’s safe to say nearly everyone at one point in their life has sung along to “I’m Yours,” the great catchy and carefree hit from Jason Mraz. This Grammy Award winning artist who happens to be at platinum status in 15 countries is heading to the Belly Up, Saturday, December 3rd. Though his album “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.” has been an ever-growing success, Mraz has also remained popular because of his support of social causes. Tickets are $100. For more information, visit bellyup.com.
For more family-friendly holiday concerts and plays, read our Winter Theatre Guide
Discover more entertainment and gift ideas in our San Diego Holiday Guide