The Observatory North Park

Restored circa-1939 theater has a red-decked cathedral hall for live music, plays, films & more.

Venue Description

Another historic venue, this one in the center of the University Ave. business district in North Park, The Observatory was built in the 1920s and still features much of the classic art deco decor that has adorned the walls since it first opened. It was purchased in 2014, and its name was changed from the North Park Theatre, but the character of the classic theater remains.

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For starters, it’s beautiful, and while it was a venue for opera and dramatic theater in its past life, its acoustics make it a surprisingly strong place to catch a touring rock or pop group. Even better, it’s a spacious venue, supporting 1,100 concertgoers at a time with plenty of breathing room for everyone. The calendar at this venue is always full; whether it’s showcasing alt-rock A-listers like Tame Impala or filmmaker and camp icon John Waters.

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Venue Vitals

What To Know

Best for: Live Music Shows
Average Line: 20-40 min
Music: Concerts

Attire: Casual
Price: $$ (Moderate)
Capacity: 1,100

When To Visit

Hours of Operation
Sun-Thu: 12pm-2am
Fridays 3pm-2am

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Where To Go

NBHD: North Park
2891 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

Get Directions

Expert Tips

Location: The Observatory North Park is located in the North Park area of San Diego.
• Most shows here are open to all ages.
• Concerts are standing room only.
• Buy your tickets at the box office to avoid paying fees.
• You can also get food at the West Coast Tavern.
• Security staff here is pretty strict.
• You have to drink your alcohol in the restaurant the theater is connected to (West Coast Tavern), it’s not allowed where concerts are.
Best nights to go: Depends which artists you’re interested in.
Admission: Cover charge depends on the night – it’s usually $20 but can be higher depending on the artist/ talent booked.
• No cameras allowed in venue unless you have media pass, which must be acquired via artist management or artist publicist.
Drink Prices: Drinks are around $8-10 apiece. Bottles are around $350 each. Bottle service does not come with admission – everyone still needs to buy tickets.
Smoking: is not permitted anywhere within the Observatory including the outside West Plaza.
Bottle Service at Observatory SD is a little different – they require you to purchase tickets on top of the bottle purchase. You can get 1 bottle for $350 but all your guests will have to purchase tickets as well. A large table is $700 for 2 bottles.
Best table location: The venue does not have that many tables – most of the tables have pretty good views of the stage.
Parking: There’s a parking garage across the street. * Make sure to get your parking stub validated. Parking is $10 but street parking is available. Plus, the venue also features adjacent bus and tour vehicle parking and a loading dock entrance right off the street for ease of load in and out.

Dress Code

How To Best Dress

• The dress code here is: Casual Dress. This is more of a concert venue.
• No restrictions on attire; with jeans and tees likely okay.
The following items are NOT allowed in the venue: backpacks, cameras, GoPros, iPads, selfie sticks, helmets, reusable water bottles, pepper spray, knives, chains, any other weapons, pens, sharpies, pencils, highlighters, outside food and beverages, drugs and alcohol, lighters, bandanas, gang related apparel, and other items at management discretion.