San Diego’s Best Free Summer Concerts for Families

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Jam with the fam with the return of San Diego’s summer concert scene. There are tons of FREE outdoor family-friendly music fests where you can boogie down all over town. Let the kids stay up late and enjoy a sunset picnic while music fills the open air. Read on for our guide to concerts in your neighborhood and create new summertime rituals with the entire family.

NORTH COUNTY COASTAL

CARLSBAD: TGIF Concerts in the Park
This popular series is held in four local parks, so there’s always something new to check out.

WHEN: June 24; July 1, 8, 15 & 22, 29; Aug. 5, 12 & 19 from 6-8pm. Free.

Stagecoach Park
Poinsettia Park
Calavera Hills Park
Alga Norte Park

Online: carlsbadca.gov

DEL MAR: Summer Twilight Concerts
Enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach with some amazing tunes by the ocean.

WHEN: June 28, July 19, and Aug. 23 at 6 pm and 7 pm. Free.

Powerhouse Park
1658 Coast Blvd., Del Mar, 92014
Online: delmarfoundation.org

ENCINITAS: Summer Concerts by the Sea
Rock out right on the beach with classic cover bands, country, alternative rock and rockabilly.

WHEN: Sundays on July 10, 24; Aug. 7 & 21 from 3-5 pm. Free.

Moonlight Beach
400 B St., Encinitas, 92024
Online: seecalifornia.com

ENCINITAS: Switchfoot Bro-Am
The Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am is the ultimate family-friendly music beach party. Check out an awesome surf competition and free concerts on the sand while raising money for local community and youth programs supporting music in schools and fighting hunger.

WHEN: June 18 from 7 am-5 pm. Free.

Moonlight Beach
400 B St., Encinitas, 92024
Online: broam.org

LEUCADIA: Summer Fun on the 101
This fun, free music festival features multiple live bands for a day of celebrating music and musicians.

WHEN: July 9 from 12-7:30 pm. Free.

Leucadia Roadside Park
860 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Online: leucadia101.com

SOLANA BEACH: Concerts at the Cove
Head down to the beach and catch an evening concert by the ocean.

WHEN: Thursday evenings from June 23 – Aug. 25 at 6 pm.

Fletcher Cove Park
111 S. Sierra Ave., Solana Beach
Online: ci.solana-beach.ca.us

 

photo: San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum

NORTH COUNTY INLAND

ESCONDIDO: San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Attend a Summer Serenade this year full of live music, food trucks, kids crafts, beer & wine and more.

WHEN: July 9 and Aug. 13 from 5-7:30 pm. Cost: $10/members; $15/non-members. Registration required.

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
320 N Broadway, Escondido, 92025
Online: sdcdm.org

POWAY: Summer Concert Series
All you need is love, a picnic (or cash for the food trucks) and chairs to enjoy Sunday concerts in Poway. Concerts at held at two different parks.

WHEN: June 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31; Aug. 7 & 14 from 5:30-7pm

Lake Poway
14644 Lake Poway Rd., Poway

Old Poway Park
14134 Midland Rd., Poway

Online: poway.org

SCRIPPS RANCH: Symphony in the Park
Rock through the summer with these concerts in Scripps Ranch.

WHEN: July 10 & Aug. 14 from 6-7:30 pm

Hoyt Park
Scripps Ranch Blvd. + Aviary Dr., San Diego, 92131
Online: symphonyinthepark.org

CENTRAL SAN DIEGO

ALLIED GARDENS: First Friday Concerts
This series has become increasingly popular with residents each year as a wonderful way to connect with the community.

WHEN: 1st Friday each month from June-October from 6-8pm. Free.

Allied Gardens Community Park
5155 Greenbrier Ave., San Diego, CA 92120
Online: facebook.com

BALBOA PARK: Spreckels Organ Pavilion
Every local has to attend this iconic organ concert at least once.

WHEN: every Sunday at 2pm and Monday at 7:30pm from May-August. Free.

Spreckels Organ Pavilion
2125 Pan American Rd. E., Balboa Park
Online: balboapark.org

POINT LOMA/LIBERTY STATION: Subaru's Great Big Family Play Day
Join us for this once a year family FUN day filled with live music, entertainment, activities and family memories! Frequently referred to as “Coachella for Kids”, this event is the family music festival you won't want to miss! Tickets are now on pre-sale at discounted prices!

WHEN: June 26 from 10am-4pm

Liberty Station at Ingram Plaza
2751 Dewey Rd., Point Loma, 92106
Online: greatbigfamilyplayday.com

MISSION HILLS: Summer Concerts in the Park
Bring your picnic baskets and catch up with friends at this neighborhood park.

WHEN: June 17, 24; July 4 (at 12pm), 8, 15, 22, 29; Aug. 5 & 12 at 6pm. Free.

Pioneer Park
1521 Washington Pl., San Diego, 92103
Online: missionhillstowncouncil.org

POINT LOMA: Summer Concerts
This popular venue boasts different local restaurants selling food each week and of course great music.

WHEN: July 15, 22, 29; Aug. 5 & 12 from 5:30-8:30pm. Free.

Point Loma Park
1049 Catalina Blvd., Point Loma, 92107
Online: pointlomasummerconcerts.org

SEAPORT VILLAGE
This is one of the longest running music series of the summer held at both the Carousel District stage and the Lighthouse District stage.

WHEN: every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm. Free.

Seaport Village
849 W Harbor Dr., San Diego, 92101
Online: seaportvillage.com

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS: Summer in the Park
Grab dinner before or after the fun at one of the many popular restaurants nearby. Bring cash to buy dessert from mobile vendor Mrs. Frostie for ice cream treats.

WHEN: July 8, 15, 22 & 29 from 6-8pm. Free.

Trolley Barn Park
1943 Adama Ave., San Diego, 92116
Online: uhcdc.org

 

EAST SAN DIEGO

EL CAJON: Dinner & A Concert
No need to bring a picnic when grabbing dinner is quick & easy from the nearby restaurants in downtown El Cajon. This is one of the longest running concert series of the summer.

WHEN: every Friday from May-September from 6-8pm. Free.

Prescott Promenade
200 E Main St., El Cajon, 92020
Online: downtownelcajon.com

LA MESA: Sundays at Six Concerts
This series takes place in the park's amphitheater so there's no need to bring your lawn chairs if you get there early! There's lots of room for kids to run on the grassy knolls and a playground with great equipment.

WHEN: June 19, 26; July 10, 17, 24 & 31 at 6pm. Free.

Harry Griffen Park
9550 Milden St., La Mesa, 91942
Online: lamesaparks.org

SANTEE: Town Center Summer Concerts
You'll be singing and bopping along to these summer tunes.

WHEN: every Thursday from June 9 - Aug. 18 (except June 30) from 6:30-8pm. Free.

Santee Town Center Community Park
550 Park Center Dr., Santee
Online: cityofsanteeca.gov

SOUTH SAN DIEGO

CHULA VISTA: Summer Sundays
Chula Vista really knows how to celebrate family with concerts and lots of extra fun for all ages. Samples bites from mall restaurants, send the kids to the fun zone for the free crafts, balloon animals and face painting (bring money for tips), or check out the rotating car club shows each week.

WHEN: every Sunday from June 5 - July 10 from 5-7 pm. Free.

Eastlake Village Walk
884 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista, 91914
Online: shopvillagewalk.com

CORONADO: Ferry Landing Weekend Concerts
Enjoy San Diego like a tourist and take the ferry across the bay for a summer concert in Coronado. (You can also drive over there too, but the ferry is way more fun!)

WHEN: every Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 pm. Free.

Coronado Ferry Landing
1201 1st St., Coronado, 92118
Online: coronadoferrylanding.com

CORONADO: Summer Park Concert Series
Coronado takes pride in featuring many local bands and award-winning music you won't find anywhere else in the city. Bring a picnic and join in this long-loved musical family tradition.

WHEN: every Sunday from June 5 - Aug. 14 at 6 pm; and Aug. 21-Sept. 4 at 5 pm. Free.

Spreckels Park
601 Orange Ave., Coronado, 92118
Online: coronadoconcert.com

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 generally 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 and alcohol at home.
  • Most concert venues do not allow pets.
  • Check the website before you go to find more details about the concert line-up, parking fees and other particulars.

—Bonnie Taylor, Cherie Gough & Beth Shea

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