One of the most exciting and sophisticated metropolitan regions in the country, San Diego comprises more than 100 colorful and unique neighborhoods. Each of these communities has a style and personality of their own, and their dynamic medleys of outdoor activities, arts and culture, dining and shopping opportunities reflect the rich diversity of the San Diego region.
From downtown’s trendy East Village, to the laid-back community of Ocean Beach, to the luxury enclave of La Jolla, the following are a few of San Diego’s colorful neighborhoods.
EAST VILLAGE: VIBRANT URBAN LIFE
The revitalization of this warehouse district in downtown San Diego was ignited in 2004 with the opening of Petco Park, the San Diego Padres’ baseball stadium. Today, visitors can enjoy luxury hotels, fashionable restaurants and cafes, rooftop bars, boutique shops and live music venues scattered throughout the neighborhood.
GASLAMP QUARTER: SCENE AND BE SEEN
As the historic heart of downtown San Diego, the 16½-block Gaslamp Quarter combines Victorian-charm with urban living to create a lively dining, entertainment and shopping district. Once home to San Diego’s “red light” district in the late 1800s, the area once held three gambling halls run by Wyatt Earp. In recent decades, revitalization efforts have spurred the growth of more than 100 restaurants, 40 bars and nightclubs and 100 retail shops, as well as theaters and art galleries.
LITTLE ITALY: A DELICIOUS PLACE FOR FOOD AND CULTURE
Once home to San Diego’s flourishing tuna fishing industry and generations of Italian families who made their living on the sea, Little Italy in downtown San Diego is a quaint and lively neighborhood filled with outdoor patio cafes, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, boutique shops and the beautiful Amici Park.
Read about shopping, dining and more in Little Italy
HILLCREST: AN ECLECTIC HOTSPOT
The hub of San Diego’s LGBT community, Hillcrest is an uptown neighborhood located just minutes from downtown and next to Balboa Park, where visitors can experience the city’s openness, warm hospitality and diversity throughout the year. Hillcrest is well-known for its unique mix of casual eateries, exotic bistros, chic boutiques, vintage clothing stores, eclectic nightlife and more.
NORTH PARK: HIPSTER HAPPENING
This eclectic neighborhood, east of Balboa Park, offers a dynamic mix of coffee houses, cafes, retail shops, art galleries and the city’s most up-and-coming restaurant row, complemented by a dynamic local craft beer scene.
Read about shopping, dining and more in North Park
SOUTH PARK AND GOLDEN HILL: INDIE CULTURE ABOUNDS
Located just outside of downtown, Greater Golden Hill is home to the blossoming neighborhoods of Golden Hill and South Park, havens for independent shops, galleries and restaurants featuring innovative menus, complemented by the region’s award-winning craft beer.
BARRIO LOGAN: LIVELY HISPANIC CULTURE
Originally a refuge for Mexican residents fleeing the revolution in the early 20th century, Barrio Logan today is both the epicenter of San Diego’s Hispanic community and a welcoming neighborhood where young urbanites and artists are spurring a creative renaissance.
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS: WARM AND WELCOMING
Surrounded by historic and renovated craftsman-style homes, University Heights is a neighborhood that embraces San Diego’s love for quirky and lively dining, shopping and nightlife. Adjacent to Hillcrest, University Heights is hip, yet friendly, and welcomes everyone with creative tastes to its main thoroughfare, Park Boulevard, home to popular eateries, shops and lounges.
NORMAL HEIGHTS: ABNORMALLY FUN
Neighboring University Heights and home to unique antique stores and quirky coffeehouses, Normal Heights takes pride in creating a free-spirited environment where resident artists and hippies prove that what’s “normal” in San Diego is a fun-loving attitude.
OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO: WHERE HISTORY MEETS ENTERTAINMENT
Visitors can witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.” Old Town marks the site of the first Spanish settlement on the U.S. West Coast and features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites, colorful shops, early-California-style restaurants, museums, a theater and the newly restored Cosmopolitan Hotel.
OCEAN BEACH: A LAID-BACK BEACH TOWN
With perpetual sun, swaying palms and sparkling surf, the funky neighborhood of Ocean Beach, referred to locally as O.B., is the epitome of Southern California beach culture. Newport Avenue, its main street, can be both laid-back and energized with boisterous bars, cafes, surf shops, tattoo parlors and a 1960s hippie attitude.
PACIFIC BEACH/MISSION BEACH: THE BEACH AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Pacific Beach, referred to locally as P.B., is a seaside mecca and surfer’s paradise for college students and the younger set with boisterous bars, cafes and casual restaurants aplenty. Located just south of P.B. and connected by a three-mile boardwalk, Mission Beach is another popular surf spot and hip hangout for the younger set.
LA JOLLA: THE JEWEL OF SAN DIEGO
The treasures of this Mediterranean-style village make La Jolla one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in Southern California. With luxurious and historic hotels, fine dining and shopping, world-class arts and culture, unbeatable outdoor recreation and a strikingly beautiful setting, it’s no wonder why La Jolla is nicknamed the “jewel” of San Diego.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org or call 619-236-1212.