UC San Diego opens major outdoor amphitheater

The Epstein Family Amphitheater opens on October 20.
The Epstein Family Amphitheater opens on October 20.
(Courestey of Erik R. Jepsen/ UC San Diego )

The 2,650-seat Epstein Family Amphitheater will serve both students and the general public and debut with a performance by Nicole Zefanya — or Niki


UC San Diego on Thursday opened a $68 million outdoor amphitheater that is a key part of a new front entrance that the school has been building for the campus not far from Geisel Library.

The Epstein Family Amphitheater, which seats 2,650 people, debuted with a performance by Nicole Zefanya — or Niki — a hugely popular Indonesian singer. Tickets to her show sold out in 38 minutes.

Her appearance will be followed on Friday with a performance by the San Diego Symphony. The rock band Death Cab for Cutie will perform on Saturday. Those shows also are sold out.

The amphitheater is named after La Jolla philanthropists Daniel and Phyllis Epstein, who last year gave UCSD $10 million to help create the venue.

Throughout its more than 60-year history, UCSD has never had a clearly-defined “front door” that made it easy for visitors to find their way on to campus.

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla decided to correct the problem by pulling together several elements on the eastern edge of main campus. The pieces include a Blue Line trolley station that opened last fall. The station is flanked by the new Design and Innovation Building. Both elements guide people on to a plaza that’s highlighted by the new amphitheater. UCSD also created a broad, easy-to-navigate lane that leads people to the interior of the campus.

The “front door” will soon have a more urban feel. UCSD has started to build Pepper Canyon West, a village that will house 1,310 students. It features two towers. One will be 22 stories tall. The other will be 25 stories.

The university also is drawing up plans to build a 4,000-bed housing complex a short distance away.

UCSD recently announced that it has about 43,000 students this fall, a figure that’s expected to climb to 50,000 within a decade.