Humphreys by the Bay Concerts are something that San Diegans might want to keep to themselves, one of the pleasures of summer that they have been enjoying for more than 25 years.
Even if you don't live there, you can plan an entire weekend in San Diego that centers around a concert, or just check to see what's playing during those vacation days you already have on the calendar.
Held at a hotel on the edge of the marina, the concerts span the range of styles, from rock and jazz to comedy, blues, folk, and international music.
The surroundings are simple. All the seats are on the same level. But they don't scrimp on what's most important. The sound system is excellent.
The concert area is on the shore of Shelter Island, with the marina on one side, Humphreys hotel on the other, and palms soaring overhead. Seating is in comfortable folding chairs. It feels smaller than its 1,400-person capacity, and every seat has a good view of the elevated stage. If you sit in the first 15 rows, you won't need binoculars, and you still get a terrific view of the stage from the last row.
What You Need to Know About Humphreys by the Bay
If your favorite performer is on Humphreys schedule, you won't find a better place anywhere in California to see them up close.
However, seating is somewhat crowded compared to other outdoor concert locations in California. General admission tickets may be for standing only.
Security strictly enforces rules about photography, smoking, using cell phones during the performance, and making too much noise. Some people are happy to have the distraction-free concert experience that gives them, but not everyone agrees because online reviewers often complain about it.
What You Need to Know About Tickets
Concerts are held mid-April through late October at Humphreys by the Bay Hotel in San Diego. You'll find the season schedule and more details at the Humphreys by the Bay Concerts website.
Start early. If you want to go, start by checking the schedule in late March or early April. For their big-named performers, get your tickets at least two months ahead of time to avoid disappointment. If you dislike being in the middle of a crowded row of seats, you also need to buy your tickets as early as possible.
Decide whether you want to include a dinner show package which adds dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
They also offer a premium concert package for some shows, which includes not only dinner but seats in the front of the house and overnight accommodation.
Check the seating chart before you run off to make your purchase. It will help you choose your tickets with less confusion.
You need to know that tickets are required for all ages. No lap sitting is allowed, no matter how small your child is.
After all that, you'll be ready to buy tickets. You can buy your tickets online at Ticketmaster or stop by the box office at 2241 Shelter Island Dr.
In case you waited too long, and that show you were dying to see is sold out, try ticket reseller website StubHub, where you can connect with others who have tickets to sell.
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay Tips
- The gates open 45 minutes before showtime but getting inside a few minutes before the concert starts is fine.
- Area streets can get really busy. Allow plenty of time to get there.
- All concerts are held rain or shine, but umbrellas are not allowed.
- No matter what the weather forecast says, the breeze coming off the water can be just... plain... cold. Bring plenty of layers, including something to cover your head (the part of your body that loses heat the fastest).
- You can't take food or beverages into the concert area, but you can buy them on site (including hot drinks for those chilly evenings). Roaming servers will take your order and deliver your drinks to your seat.
- Umbrellas, cameras, and recording devices are not allowed.
How to Get to Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay are held on the grounds of Humphreys by the Bay hotel at 2241 Shelter Island Drive.
There is a parking fee if you park at Humphreys, but you can find free public parking lots nearby.