Kids want to stay up late and dance the night away? Mom wants a glass of wine with friends? Dad wants to drink craft beer and groove to cheesy 80s music? Check, check & check! Celebrate lazy summer evenings with music and friends at free summer concerts in your neighborhood. Bring a picnic blanket and chairs, grab cash for the food trucks and don’t forget the bubbles! Read on for tons of places to boogie down all over the city!

Photo: Del Mar Summer Twilight Concerts

North County

Carlsbad TGIF Concerts in the Park
This popular series is held in four local parks, so there’s always something new to check out. Besides the music, kids can participate in art making activities with Family Open Studios and adults can buy tickets for opportunity drawings. There’s lots of on-site food for sale that promises to be tasty, convenient, and affordable. The entertaining line-up this year includes a full slate of musical talent: rock, country, cajun, an 80s cover band and more. Concerts at all sites begin at 6 p.m.

Stagecoach Park: June 23 & 30
Poinsettia Park: July 7, 14 & 21
Calavera Hills Park: July 28 & Aug. 4
Alga Norte Park: Aug. 11 & 18

Del Mar Foundation Summer Twilight Concerts
Enjoy a beautiful sunset right on the beach while you rock out to Journey and Rolling Stones cover bands among others. Powerhouse Park: June 20, July 11, August 8 & 22, September 10. Concerts begin with an opening act at 6 p.m., except in September when the music begins at 4 p.m.


Encinitas Summer Concerts by the Sea
Come enjoy free 80s, rock and reggae tunes right on the sand. There will be hands-on activities for the kids and freebie surprises for all. Moonlight Beach, Sundays: July 2 &16, Aug 6 & 20; 3 p.m.

Poway Summer Concert Series
All you need is love, a picnic (or cash for the food trucks) and your chairs to enjoy Sunday concerts in Poway. Parking here is free for Poway residents. $10/car for all others. The lot typically fills up by 4 p.m. Enjoy the convenience of a free shuttle from Poway High School, just pack light. Concerts at both sites begin at 5:30 p.m.

Lake Poway: June 25, July 9 & 23, Aug. 6
Old Poway Park: July 16 & 30, Aug. 13

On Friday, June 16, the Mar Dels will play fun dance tunes at Rancho del Oro Park at 6 p.m. A pre-show begins at 5 p.m.

Scripps Ranch Symphony in the Park
Kick off the summer fun with Beta Maxx covering 80s danceable tunes. Hoyt Park: June 11, July 16, Aug. 13, Sept. 10; 6 p.m.

Photo: City of Solana Beach

Solana Beach Concerts at the Cove
Fletcher Cove Park: Every Thursday, June 22 – August 24, 6 p.m. Don’t miss the fun when kids’ favorite Hullaballoo plays on July 6.

The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum hosts Friday night concerts each summer month featuring Hullabaloo. Wander the museum after hours from 5-7p.m. on these special summer nights. Dance, wiggle, and create crafts in the Outdoor Art Studio. Dinner is available on-site from food vendors. There’s even beer and wine to purchase for adults. June 16, July 7 & 21, August 4. Music begins at 6 p.m. Admission: $8/person (infants under 12 months are free).

Photo: Allied Gardens First Friday Facebook Page

San Diego Central

Allied Gardens First Friday Concert Series
This series is celebrating its third year, and it has become very popular with residents. Stop by sponsor Ideal Plumbing’s booth for a free hotdog and chips between songs. Allied Gardens Recreation Center: First Friday of the month, June- Oct.; 6 p.m.

Photo: Lisa G. via Yelp

Balboa Park Spreckels Organ Festival
Stay up late and sit on the grass for a picnic and a place for the kids to run. The beautiful architecture dazzles when it’s all lit up. Spreckels Organ Pavilion: Mondays, June 26-Aug. 28; 7:30 p.m.

Balboa Park Twilight Series
There’s no excuse to miss out on the music with this series which runs three days each week from June-August. You’ll enjoy a great variety of local music to inspire little musicians including bluegrass, mambo and military bands. Arrive early and tap your heels with free swing dance lessons that start at 5:45 p.m. on July 5 & 12 and Aug. 8, 24, & 30. Check out Family Day on July 20, the San Diego Youth Symphony on July 25 and a free ice cream social for the whole community on Aug. 24. Come early to nab your free cone! Spreckels Organ Pavilion: Tues., Weds. & Thurs.; 6:15-7:15 p.m.

Mission Hills Summer Concerts in the Park
Pioneer Park: Fridays, June 30-Aug.18; 6 p.m.


Photo: Amber E. via Yelp

North Park Summer Concert Series
Groove on this: North Park’s popular concert series focuses on bands that play original, danceable music offering a unique sound. Behind the stage area, families often start impromptu soccer games. Note: no alcohol or grills allowed. Bird Park: Saturdays, July 1, 15 & 29; Aug. 6; 5:30 p.m.

Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green
Enjoy great music coupled with one of the best views of San Diego Bay at sunset. Kate Sessions Park: Sundays, July 23-August 13; 4-6:30 p.m.

Point Loma Summer Concerts
Free parking and shuttle service provided from All Souls’ Episcopal Church lot. This popular venue has it all: food from local vendors, the local Lions Club selling drinks and cookies to raise money for their charitable work and great music. We’re excited to see Cashed Out, an impressive Johnny Cash cover band, playing this year in Point Loma’s Summer series. No alcohol permitted. Pt. Loma Park: Fridays, July 14-Aug 11; 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Seaport Village
This is one of the longest running music series of the summer. Come any Sunday this summer and you’ll find the music. East Plaza Gazebo: Sundays, June- Sept.; 1- 4 p.m.

University City Summer Concerts
UC proudly hosts local professional bands in this series held in Standley Park. Sundays, July 9- Aug 13; 5 p.m. and Fridays, Aug 18 & 25; 6 p.m.

University Heights Summer in the Park Concert Series
Grab dinner before or after the fun at one of the many surrounding restaurants. Trolley Barn Park: Fridays, July 7- Aug. 4; 6 p.m.

Downtown Waterfront
Boogie with Hullabaloo at Waterfront Park for a free family music concert series. The events include lawn games and activities for the kids, food trucks and more. June 25, July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24 , 6-7 p.m.

Photo: Cherie Gough

East County

El Cajon Dinner & A Concert
No need to bring a picnic. Pick up an easy dinner at a surrounding restaurant in this newly revitalized area of downtown and enjoy music in one of the longest-running concert series of the summer. Talented bands play fun tunes ranging from Motown to Summer of Love favorites to Elvis. Prescott Promenade, Main St.: Fridays, May 26-Sept. 29; 6 p.m.

La Mesa Sundays at 6
This series takes place in the park’s amphitheater; no need to bring your chairs if you arrive early! Harry Griffen Park: Sundays, June 11- July 23; 6 p.m. No concert July 4th week.

Lemon Grove Summer Concert Series
The city will host 8 summer shows at Berry Street Park. Thursdays, June 29-Aug. 17; 6:30 p.m.

Santee & Barona Summer Concert Series
This series features special events such as Blues & BBQ on July 13 and Wingstock on Aug. 10. They include food from local restaurants and microbrews in the beer garden. The playing fields, bouncy house and games make this a kid-friendly event each week. Town Center Community Park East: Thursdays, June 15 – August 24 (except July 6); 6:30 p.m.

Photo: Coronado Summer Concert Series

South Bay

Chula Vista Summer Sundays
Come and enjoy the shopping, music and so much more. There’s a different car club each week displaying everything from Corvettes to South Bay Cruisers. The kids will enjoy free crafts, balloon sculptures, face painting and a photo booth. Eastlake Village Walk: Sundays, June 11-July 16; 5 p.m.

Coronado Ferry Landing Weekend Concert Series
Enjoy San Diego like a tourist. Take the ferry and bask in a beautiful afternoon at Coronado’s Ferry Landing. Grab a patch of grass or sit on nearby benches to hear a wide variety of bands. Click here to see our recommendations for ideas on family-friendly dining and activities while in Coronado. Ferry Landing: Sat. & Sun., May 27- July 30; 2-5 p.m.

Coronado Summer Concert Series
Coronado takes pride in featuring many local bands and award-winning music you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Youth performers from the Coronado School of the Arts kick off this much-loved series full of family tradition at Spreckels Park, Gazebo Bandstand: Sun., May 28-Sept 3; 6 p.m.

Know Before You Go

Here are a few tips to streamline your concert-going experience:

  • Low back seats are preferred so that everyone can see the show.
  • Shows last two hours unless otherwise noted.
  • Many venues have food vendors, so you don’t have to bring elaborate picnic fixings.
  • Be sure to keep glass containers at home.
  • Check the website to see if alcohol is allowed at the venue.
  • Most concert venues do not allow pets.
  • Check the website before you go to find more details about the concert line-up and particulars.

Where’s your favorite place to see a summer concert? Tell us in the comments!

––Cherie Gough