Wonderful weather, chill people, and things to do out the wazoo make San Diego a spectacular place to visit, or live for that matter. Here are eight of our favorite San Diego 'hoods.
Downtown is the hip and happening heart of the city. The Gaslamp Quarter is where San Diegites go for a night out, whether it’s a fabulous dinner, dancing, chilling at a cocktail lounge, or singing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of your lungs with a bunch of strangers at a dueling piano bar.
Known as “PB” by the locals, this classic SoCal beach community attracts surfers, bar-hoppers, and tourists alike. If you’re looking for a laid-back vibe, look no further than this area between Pacific Beach Drive and the Crystal Pier.
The sandbar community of Mission Beach spans nearly two miles of oceanfront between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. Mission Boulevard separates the calm side of the bay from the more active oceanside with rental shops and restaurants. If you like outdoor fun and watersports, this is a great place to be. On the beach, there’s a boardwalk and an amusement park. Belmont Park is famous for the Giant Dipper, a rickety wooden roller coaster that was built in 1925. There’s also an arcade, carnival food, a carousel, and miniature golf.
The 4,200-acre Mission Bay Park (the largest waterpark of its kind in the US) is surrounded by 27 miles of sandy shoreline, where you can do just about anything humans have ever thought of doing on the water, from sailing to jet skiing.
Adams Avenue (aka “Antiques Row") anchors this vibrant and diverse neighborhood, chock full of bookstores, cafes, small businesses, and vintage shops. Normal Heights is known for its arts scene, playing host to The Adams Avenue Street Fair (Southern California’s largest free music festival) every September as well as Adams Avenue Unplugged and Art Around Adams. There are lots of ethnic and vegetarian restaurants as well as dive bars, making this one of the more affordable SD 'hoods.
Yet another sunny spot for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing off the pier, the aptly named Ocean Beach is an oceanside community named after its gorgeous, wide sandy beach on the south side of the San Diego River mouth. This scenic, laid-back ‘hood is full of bungalows, pedestrian-friendly streets, and surf shops.
Hola, La Jolla! It’s always a beautiful day in San Deigo, and this ritzy, hilly seaside is the best place to live that bougie beachfront life. That being said, La Jolla’s high-end luxury hotels that overlook the sea might be out of the budget. Besides upscale shops and restaurants, La Jolla offers drop-dead gorgeous views. The Torrey Pines State Reserve has hiking trails and seaside cliffs, while the nearly 6,000 acres at La Jolla Underwater Park welcomes scuba divers, snorkelers, and kayakers.
You know you’re in San Diego's official LGBT cultural district when you see all the rainbow flags hanging from the locally-owned shops and restaurants of its pedestrian-friendly streets. This hip, vibrant, uptown neighborhood is just a few minutes away from both downtown and Balboa Park and has a fabulous nightlife scene.
North Park is popular for its craft breweries, art hops, and weekly farmers' market. It’s main thoroughfare, University Avenue, is dotted with coffee shops, brunch spots, pubs, indie boutiques, taquerias, and sushi spots. Observatory North Park, a restored theater, hosts live music, plays, films, and more. Pick up some fresh west coast produce and catch some tunes at The North Park Thursday Market.
They don’t call it "America's Finest City" for nothin’. Pack your shit, get out to the Best Coast, and visit these neighborhoods!