Benjamin Eastman

San Diego 2013 New Year’s Eve Parties Are Epic!

Another year of amazing nightlife has come and gone in San Diego. We’ve had some top-notch talent visit America’s Finest City this year and if you didn’t get out much this year, make it a New Year’s Resolution to get out more and enjoy some of San Diego’s nightlife!

> Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Events

San Diegan’s like to celebrate milestones as much (if not more!) than the rest of the country and as such, there are a multitude of parties to choose from this New Year’s Eve.  Here’s a modest selection of those parties:

Bottom’s Up @ Marriott Gaslamp

Bottom's Up NYE 2014 at the Marriott Gaslamp

Marriott Gaslamp’s “Party From The Street To The Sky” features both the lobby level and rooftop! All Inclusive tickets include unlimited alcoholic drinks, a great selection of food (think sushi, carving stations and chocolate fountains!), DJ’s spinning top tunes in both the lobby and at their Altitude Sky Lounge and a champagne toast at midnight to start the 2014 clock ticking!

Where: 660 K St, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: $165
> Find out more about Bottom’s UP NYE 2014 at the Marriott Gaslamp

FLUXX’s New Year’s Eve Big Top Extravaganza

NYE Big Top Extravaganza at FLUXX

Join FLUXX as they say farewell to 2013 and their latest Fluxxuation “Big Top”. Close out 2013 at one of San Diego’s hottest clubs with music by DJ Karma and Special Guest Rico De Largo live on trumpet. General Admission tickets including entrance and a midnight champagne toast are currently around $80, or spring for the extra $10 and get a VIP ticket which also includes hosted champagne from 8:00 to 10:00 PM and hosted apps from 8:00 to 9:00 PM.

Where: 500 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Cost: $20-$80
> Find out more about NYE Big Top Extravaganza at FLUXX

VAVI’s New Year’s Eve Yacht Party 2014

New Year's Eve on the Inspiration

Ring in the New Year on the bay with the San Diego skyline as the perfect backdrop

Hosted on the 3-deck Hornblower Yacht “Inspiration,” you and 1,000 of your closest friends can party it up to the beats of Sleeping Giant artists DJ Who & Paulo Da Rosa, DJ Demon and DJ Chris Devoy  This All Inclusive, All VIP experience features unlimited alcoholic drinks and gourmet hors d’oeuvres.

Where: 970 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Cost: $179-$189
> Find out more about VAVI’s New Year’s Eve Yacht Party 2014

Big Night San Diego at The Hilton Bayfront

Big Night San Diego New Year's Eve Champagne

There will be plenty of toasting champagne at Big Night’s New Year;s Eve Party

Probably one of the biggest and most well-known San Diego New Year’s Eve parties is Big Night. Sponsored by radio stations Channel 93.3 and 91X, Big Night has 12 different party zones including 6 dance floors featuring both DJ and live band music. Their All Inclusive tickets include unlimited alcoholic drinks, a tasty dinner buffet and fun party favors to get you in the spirit! The party runs from 9pm – 3am and tickets start at $130.

Where: One Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM
Cost: $109.99-$239.99
> Find out more about Big Night San Diego at The Hilton Bayfront

The Grand Del Mar’s 3 New Year’s Eve Parties

Grand Del Mar's New Year's Eve

Pick from one of three NYE parties at the Grand Del Mar

Those a little farther north, might want to check out one of the Grand’s two NYE parties.  80’s lovers will want to check out one of SoCal’s top 80’s bands BETAMAXX at the main party, or head to Club M for sounds by DJ By The C and DJ Showtime.

Where: 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130
Times: 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM (each event has different times)
Cost: $50-$180
> Find out more about The Grand Del Mar’s 3 New Years Eve Parties

And lets not forget San Diego New Year’s Eve party mainstays: Hard Rock Hotel, Andaz San Diego, VAVI’s Beach Party @ The Catamaran Hotel, Stingaree and Side Bar.

> Find even more great San Diego New Year’s Eve Parties

Remember, it’s all about having a good time, but be safe and arrange alternate transportation if you’re going to be drinking. We want you out partying hard in 2014!

Benjamin Eastman

Mardi Gras in San Diego – Carnival in Paradise!

Mardis Gras in the Gaslamp

Would it surprise you to know that San Diego is the city with the largest Mardi Gras festival west of the Mississippi River? I mean, you know San Diegan’s like a good party, right? The following are just a few of the debaucherous ways that you can celebrate on Fat Tuesday (February 12, 2013):

19th Annual Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp

Mardis Gras in the Gaslamp

It’s a carnival atmosphere in the Gaslamp during Mardi Gras. Photo Courtesy of Be Water Photo.

Featuring an electrifying talent lineup ranging from local, regional and national zydeco, blues and rock bands, electronic and House music DJs, dance crews, acrobats and visual artists on 4 stages – this celebration will be a wonderland of fun!

Location: 5th Avenue between Market & L Streets (Gaslamp Quarter)
Time: 5:00 to 11:00pm
Cost: In Advance – $40. Day of – $50.
> Find out more about Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp

Gaslamp Mardi Gras – The French Connection

Gaslamp Mardi Gras - The French Connection

Get into the Gaslamp’s hottest clubs during Mardi Gras with the French Connection VIP pass.

Rather celebrate the holiday inside a bar or nightclub? Check out Club VIP’s “The French Connection” passport which gets you VIP Access to a number of Gaslamp nightclub celebrations (including those at the Hard Rock, Belo, Onyx, McFadden’s and the Pussycat Dollhouse!) and runs until 4:00 in the morning! Your passport cost includes welcome shots at 10 different venues and food & drink discounts at all participating venues.

Location: 5th Avenue between E and G Streets (Gaslamp Quarter)
Time: 5:00 PM to 4:00 AM
Cost: $29 pre-sale
> Find out more about Gaslamp Mardi Gras – The French Connection

12th Annual Hillcrest Mardi Gras

HIllcrest Mardi Gras

HIllcrest Mardi Gras. Photo credit: Jim Winsor

The Hillcrest Street Party will feature live entertainment, special guest performers and food & drink options. Count on lots of beads and lots of fun! For an even more memorable event, check out their VIP options (an additional $50) which provides partiers with an express entry and private reception & bathrooms.

Location: University Avenue between First & Fourth Avenues (Hillcrest)
Time: 6:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: $15-$75
> Find out more about Hillcrest Mardi Gras

More Mardi Gras in San Diego

And for those who want to start early, check out the Little Italy Carnavale and the San Diego Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball happening on February 9th!

Benjamin Eastman

New Year’s Eve San Diego-style!

New Year's Eve with Big Night San Diego

No matter how good (or bad) 2012 was, everyone’s looking forward to a better 2013 and that starts with New Year’s Eve in San Diego! So are you going to spend another night on your couch watching thousands of revelers celebrating on TV or are you going to go out there and usher in 2013 with a bang?!

Haven’t made plans yet? Not sure where to go? Here’s a handful of options that will surely give you a night to remember!


Big Night San Diego

New Year's Eve with Big Night San Diego

Spend New Year’s Eve and make new friends at Big Night San Diego

The thousands of people attending this event each year can’t be wrong…This party is A-mazing!  Your All-Inclusive tickets get you access to 12 themed party areas, 6 dance floors, food, drinks and a ton of fun! If you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, spring for the VIP tickets for the top-shelf liquor and private bars – while the lines at the normal bars are never bad, it’s always good to ring in the new year VIP-style!

Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, One Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM
Cost: Starting at $120
> Find out more about Big Night San Diego

NYE Ivy with Drop the Live & Grum


Featuring headliners DJ Drop The Line from NYC and DJ GRUM from Scotland, Andaz is definitely an enticing option for the imported electronic music crowd. With 5 separate venues throughout the hotel offering entertainment – including the Ivy Nightclub downstairs and the Ivy Rooftop (because let’s face it…San Diego’s beautiful weather let’s us party outside while people in other cities have to bundle up on NYE).  And let’s not forget the Lipstik Dancers. These girls are H-O-T, hot!  Tickets include “playful party favors” and a champagne toast at midnight.

Location: 600 F Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: Starting at $75
> Find out more about NYE Ivy with Drop the Live & Grum

More Downtown New Year’s Eve Celebrations

And of course, don’t forget your favorite nightclubs when making NYE plans – FLUXX, Stingaree, SideBar and Hard Rock.

On The Coast

New Year’s Eve Beach Party


Located at the beautiful Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa on Mission Bay, this 2,000+ person party features entertainment by Sleeping Giant Music (DJ Fresh One, DJ Chris Cutz, DJ G-Roy & DJ Sanjay, etc) in 4 separate areas. Hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a ton of fun can be had at this annual event. This year’s bonuses include an optional VIP Party Boat pass that will take you out onto Mission Bay aboard a private boat with 3 decks of music, a prize casino, open bar and the ultimate in unique experiences.  Also, don’t forget to stop by one of the party’s themed photo booths for some commemorative photos. Remember what happens on NYE stays on NYE, right?!

Location: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (map)
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: Starting at $139
> Find out more about New Year’s Eve Beach Party

In The Water

Moonlight NYE Cruise 2013 Aboard The California Spirit


Board the California Spirit at 9:30pm and ring in the New Year on the open water. What better way to enjoy the last night of 2012 than gazing at the picturesque views of Downtown and Coronado? With 2 dance floors, open bar, food and party favors you will experience an evening like no other! Tickets start at $175 or spring for an extra $25/person for your group of 6 and get a reserved table. The boat returns to the dock at 1:00am.

Location: 1050 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Cost: Starting at $175
> Find about more about the Moonlight NYE Cruise 2013 Aboard The California Spirit

Be Safe this New Years Eve in San Diego

Now remember gang… There’s a lot of fun to be had on New Year’s Eve (and believe me, there are a lot of people having it!) but be responsible…don’t drink and drive – and don’t be “THAT GUY”!

Happy New Year!

Benjamin Eastman

Nightlife Spotlight: San Diego’s Hillcrest

Dancing at Eden in Hillcrest

Mostly known as a LGBT friendly neighborhood, Hillcrest is a fantastic nightlife spot for people of all ages, races, creeds and sexualities. Whether you’re searching for strobe lights & fist pumps, country line dancing or a pool table in the back of a dive bar, Hillcrest nightlife delivers.

Urban Mo’s

Perhaps most well-known in Hillcrest is Urban Mo’s – a bar with great burgers and a lively dance floor. Mo’s keeps it fresh with different themes every night, including country line dancing (with lessons if needed), House/Top 40/Dance Beats or a Dreamgirl’s Review. Casual, comfortable, fun…Mo’s can be the place that you sit around and reminisce with friends over some food and drinks – or the place you go to dance all night. Open 365 days a year serving food until 11:00 pm and cocktails until 2:00 am, you always have a place to party at Mo’s.


Eden’s dance floor

For those nighttime revelers who prefer a little more flash and glamor, Eden is your Hillcrest destination. With nearly 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, Go-Go dancers of both genders a-dancin’ and bass bumping music, you can be assured of a good time at Eden! More closely resembling a Downtown nightclub with their lights and staging, Eden goes all out to keep the party people happy by featuring top-notch DJs that keep the music pounding all night long!

Great Dive Bars

Lets not forget the fun, hole-in-the-wall watering spots for those who just want to get their drink on. Personal favorites include Fiesta Cantina and #1 Fifth Avenue. Fiesta has a very relaxed/open vibe similar to something you’d find in a beach bar in Mexico. And while #1 Fifth Avenue doesn’t seem like much from the outside, the drinks are cheap and they’ve got a great outdoor patio in the back with a couple of pool tables and a great laid back attitude.

Lafayette Hotel Pool

The Lafayette Hotel’s pool parties are the perfect place to recover after a night of too much fun.

And once you’ve partied your tail off at night, be sure to check out the Lafayette Hotel‘s summer pool party for a little recovery time. Bloodys, music and naps by the pool? Yes please!

Benjamin Eastman

Nightlife San Diego – Rooftop Lounges in the Gaslamp Quarter

Ivy Rooftop - Hotel Andaz San Diego

As I write this blog post I am in the process of planning my evening’s itinerary and have decided that tonight is a rooftop night. Not only does San Diego’s great climate allow for fantastic beach days, tons of water sports and plenty of outdoorsy activities, it also allows locals and visitors alike to enjoy the nightlife outside as well!

Rooftop bars, lounges and nightclubs abound in San Diego – where revelers often relax in front of fire pits, listening to the soft thump of lounge music and sipping on their favorite cocktails.

Many of these rooftop oases are spread throughout, though not limites to, the Gaslamp Quarter. Here are just a few options for an evening of lounging under the stars:

Altitude Sky Lounge

Altitude Sky Lounge atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter

Altitude Sky Lounge

Located at the top of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter and overlooking PETCO Park, Altitude Sky Lounge enjoys amazing views of Padres’ games as well as downtown and the bay. A giant fire pit keeps those who may be a little chilly toasty warm and projection screens entertain with scenes to accompany their low key, lounge music.  Altitude is a great place to post up for a relaxed evening of chatting with friends over a few drinks and taking in views of the city.

Float Bar - Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Float Bar atop the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Float Bar

Hard Rock Hotel’s Float Bar features multiple VIP seating areas and a number of fire pits giving of that Southern California vibe. Classic Hard Rock dance music plays throughout the area while guests enjoy time on Float’s dance floor. This area is also prime territory during Hard Rock’s Sunday Intervention pool parties during the late Spring/Summer months.

Ivy Rooftop - Hotel Andaz San Diego

Ivy Rooftop atop the Andaz San Diego

Ivy Rooftop

Andaz San Diego’s rooftop provides multiple areas for guests to enjoy an evening in San Diego. The massive firepit draws crowds on cooler nights, but it is the views of Downtown that truly impress.  And don’t be shocked when you walk into the bathroom area and see someone of the opposite sex at the sinks – the sink area is co-ed with separate rooms for your more private concerns.

Rooftop - Stingaree

Rooftop of Stingaree San Diego night club


As featured in our Gaslamp Quarter nightlife video, Stingaree is a mega entertainment venue with 3 floors of excitement. The nightclub’s rooftop features private, VIP cabanas, fire pits and often a completely different sound from the music playing on the dance floors within the building. For those wanting to take a break from the pounding beats of the DJ below, the rooftop oasis is the perfect place to catch up with friends and scope out your next dance partner.

Well now that I’ve thought about it, I think I just might have to rooftop hop to all of these spots tonight! The weather is going to be great and I could use a little time soaking up the San Diego scene. See you out there!


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival: The region’s largest wine and culinary event takes place November 16-20. Held at venues throughout downtown San Diego, the festival includes gourmet food, celebrity chefs, wine tastings, an elegant reserve and new release tasting event and more.

2. America’s Cup World Series: the AC World Series is in full action this weekend. This regatta gives the public an opportunity to watch the world’s top sailors as they compete in the state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans. San Diego Bay’s natural sailing environment allows fans to get close to the action, offering spectator access along numerous points along the picturesque waterfront.

3. Annual Mother Goose Parade: San Diego East County’s annual holiday kick-off celebration features celebrity appearances, whimsical floats, clowns, bands, equestrians and more, Sunday, November 20.

4. Santa vs. the Snowman: Enjoy a holiday treat at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s IMAX theatre with the showing of Santa Vs. The Snowman. Starting November 18 and running through the holidays, visitors can catch the first-ever IMAX animated holiday feature film. The film tells the heartwarming story of a lonely Snowman who at first is swept away by the magical wonders of Santa’s village, only to ultimately wage war on Santa because he is jealous of all the attention that Santa gets during Christmas time.

5. FLUXX Nightclub with Sid Vicious & Ricky Rocks: On Saturday, November 19 hit up FLUXX in the Gaslamp. One of the coolest clubs in San Diego, this is a party you just can’t beat! Get ready to dance the night away.

Guest Blogger

Magic in the Gaslamp

Magic Lounge

Magic Returns to Downtown!

For years, it was known as one of the happening spots. Every week, people from all over San Diego would pack The Magic Lounge – a cool, magic themed bar where employees would pull double duty as bartenders and magicians. Eventually the place shut down but now, that same core group of magicians who performed some thirty years ago at the Magic Lounge, are back. This time, they’re entertaining crowds at the new Magic Lounge at the On Broadway in the Gaslamp Quarter.

According to Magician Terry Lunceford, the deal was in the works for months and finally came to fruition in January. The magic shows are held at 8:00 pm on the first Friday of the month and feature local magicians Mike Stilwell, Joe Mystic, Terry Lunceford and other guest performers. It’s a nice mix of close-up magic and a stand-up show. “Performing in San Diego is absolutely amazing. Every day, I get up and think about how I get to do magic. It’s an awesome feeling,” Lunceford said.

Although the show is relatively new, it’s definitely gaining momentum. “It was standing room only at our last show,” Lunceford said. David Pease has seen the show twice and says he can’t wait to go back. “It’s a wonderful break from reality. The show is fresh and always changing. It’s top notch entertainment for only ten dollars per person,” Pease said.

One tip – if you want a good seat, come at six when the doors open because it does fill up fast.

This post was written by Darlynne Menkin. Darlynne is a co-owner of Where You Want To Be Tours. Their tours and teambuilding scavenger hunts feature areas that are unique and off-the-beaten path!