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Where to Watch NCAA March Madness in San Diego

The top local sport bars and watch parties to cheer on the SDSU Aztecs
The 2024 NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament featuring a basketball on a court before a game
Courtesy of NCAA

Bracket predictions, college campus pride, and basketball upsets are all staples of March Madness each year—but last March felt especially exciting here at home. The San Diego State Aztecs men’s team played in their first ever NCAA national championship, ending in a heartbreaking loss to UConn. This year, the Aztecs—ranked number 18—are looking to rewrite history and take home the big prize. 

Here is everything you need to know about the NCAA tournament, including the best places to get in on the March Madness action and cheer on the home team around San Diego. 

When are the 2024 March Madness brackets announced?

March Madness kicks off on March 17 with Selection Sunday, when the NCAA Selection Committee officially announces the full tournament brackets for the men’s and women’s tournament, deciding on teams, seeds, and matchups. The men’s bracket will be unveiled at 3 p.m., and the women’s bracket follows at 5 p.m.

The 2023 San Diego State Aztecs celebrating during the NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament after a win
Courtesy of the NCAA

When does the NCAA March Madness tournament start and end?

The first round of the men’s tournament kicks off March 19–20, while women’s games start March 20–21. The women’s NCAA basketball championship game takes place on Sunday, April 7, and the men’s finale is the following day on Monday, April 8. 

What is the 2024 March Madness schedule?

The men’s NCAA basketball tournament schedule: 

  • First Four: March 19–20
  • First Round: March 21–22
  • Second Round: March 23–24
  • Sweet 16: March 28–29
  • Elite Eight: March 30–31
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 6 
  • NCAA Championship Game: Monday, April 8

The women’s NCAA basketball tournament schedule:

  • First Four: March 20–21
  • First Round: March 22–23
  • Second Round: March 24–25
  • Sweet 16: March 29–30
  • Elite Eight: March 31–April 1
  • Final Four: Friday, April 5
  • NCAA Championship Game: Sunday, April 7
2024 NCAA March Madness basketballs with the official logo featuring where to watch or stream the live games
Courtesy of the NCAA

How can I watch the 2024 NCAA basketball tournament from home?

March Madness broadcasts on four cable networks: CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. It is available for streaming on Paramount+ and can be viewed on streaming services with access to any of the above cable networks, including YouTube TV, Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV.

San Diego State Aztecs Fans cheering at Viejas Arena in San Diego during a basketball game
Courtesy of SDSU Athletics

Best San Diego Sports Bars and Venues to Watch the March Madness Basketball Tournament

Viejas Arena

Despite last year’s debacle—fans rushing gates and scaling fences to join in on the March Madness watch party—Viejas Arena will host students and season ticket holders again this year. Having advanced to the Sweet 16, fans can cheer on the Aztecs and join the madhouse for the remainder of their March Madness run. Keep a lookout on San Diego State University’s Associated Students account for updates. 

5500 Canyon Crest Drive, College Area

Park 101

Bring your family, friends, kids, and dogs to watch March Madness on the big screen at this Carlsbad BBQ joint. The restaurant’s multi-level complex with an outdoor patio offers indoor screens and a movie-sized projector on the patio while serving up smoky bites such as St. Louis ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and Maine lobster. 

3040 Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad

Union Kitchen & Tap

Perched steps from the ocean in Encinitas, Union Kitchen & Tap is a local hotspot pairing cool vibes with game-day camaraderie. The gastropub prides itself on an extensive drink menu featuring house-made cocktails, craft beers, and vintage wines. 

1108 South Coast Highway, Encinitas

Ballast Point Brewing

Get your game-watching on at Ballast Point in Miramar, a massive, indoor-outdoor brewery and restaurant well-suited for big groups of fans. Catch the Aztecs games as you dine on bar bites and down Sculpins. If the action awakens your competitive streak, head out to the heated patio for a round of cornhole.

9045 Carroll Way, Miramar

Nautilus Tavern 

It is a tragedy that La Jolla is home to only one sports bar—but, luckily, Nautilus Tavern is a good one. Head here for afternoon games to take advantage of the weekday happy hour: half-off select draft beers, well liquor, and house wine and $2 off appetizers from 3 to 6 p.m.

6830 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla

Bay Hill Tavern

This family-friendly bar and grill in Clairemont streams all the games while laying down brunch, dinner, happy hour bites, and drinks, including boozy slushies. The tequila-watermelon Day Tripper is the perfect accessory to an Aztec-red shirt.

3010 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont

Pacific Beach AleHouse

Like its name suggests, this Pacific Beach bar slings ales, lagers, IPAs, blondes, and other brews amid impressive ocean views. TV screens downstairs run 360 degrees around the room, and, on the roof, TVs span the wall behind the bar and above the seating, so you never miss a moment.

721 Grand Avenue, Pacific Beach

Mavericks Beach Club

Hire a babysitter and leave your kiddos at home before settling in for a game at one of PB’s most popular spots. Mavericks Beach Club is home to five indoor-outdoor bars, 40 TVs to catch every angle, backyard games, and, of course, plenty of food and drink to fuel you through the playoffs.

860 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach


This beachfront bar and restaurant in Mission Beach has over 25 TVs and 70 draft beers, making it ideal for catching every minute of the NCAA tournament while soaking up the sun. Order a 394 Alesmith pale ale with a giant pretzel or the Belmont Park Mule alongside the beer battered fish and chips for some quality gameday fare.

3146 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach

Dirty Birds

Root for the team in Aztec territory at Dirty Birds, just down the street from SDSU’s campus. Dirty Birds offers views of the games from any seat, near-endless drinks to choose from, and some of the best wings in San Diego. 

6499 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area

Pretzels & Pints

This North Park pub may be home to the best pretzels San Diego has to offer. Stuff your face with pretzel pizzas, pretzel bagels, or pretzel puffs alongside a pint of your choice in this cozy sports hub for a great night of basketball. 

3812 Ray Street, North Park

Home & Away

The hype of this Kansas City Chiefs bar in Old Town has not died down since their big Super Bowl win a couple weeks ago. While Chiefs kingdom reigns supreme here, Home & Away will host some of the city’s top watch parties for the NCAA tournament this month on its outdoor patio with an oversized screen. 

2222 San Diego Avenue, Old Town


Roll tide and bang, bang Niner gang! I’m not quite sure how this gastropub ended up the place to be for fans of both the San Francisco 49ers and Alabama Crimson Tide, but, hey, the East Village hotspot’s multi-team identity makes it a friendly place to root for the Aztecs… as long as you leave your Chiefs, Auburn, and UNLV jerseys at home. 

805 Market Street, East Village

The Corner Drafthouse

Cheer on LeDee, Trammell and the rest of the Aztecs at The Corner Drafthouse this year. This Bankers Hill watering hole is offering March Madness fuel for fans including peanut butter cocktails, loaded carne asada fries, slider trios, and discounted drinks, plus its massive selection of beers on tap.

495 Laurel St, Bankers Hill

Social Tap

This upscale sports bar near Petco Park is known as the ideal pregame spot during baseball season, but America’s pastime shares the spotlight with b-ball during the month of March. Experience the basketball action amid surrounds with a little more class and prestige than your typical sports bar. 

815 J Street, Gaslamp


Quintessential Gaslamp sports bar Barleymash is always packed on game day, so arrive early, don your black and red, and order a round or two of loaded cheese fries to share good times with SDSU alumni.

600 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp

Novo Brazil Brewing

Join fellow fans for watch parties at this Imperial Beach locale slinging flavorful beers and seltzers along with plenty of gameday bites. Your drink of choice should, of course, be the Azteks Raspberry Kombucha—the brewery shares a portion of proceeds from the sip with SDSU b-ball players. 

535 Florence Street, Imperial Beach

By Maren Hawkins

Maren Hawkins is an editorial intern at San Diego Magazine. She is in her second to last year at San Diego State University and serves as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec. When she is not writing, she spends her time finding the best workout spots in SD, thrifting for the cutest clothes, and traveling whenever possible.

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