One of the advantages of living in a city as beautiful and diverse as San Diego is that it provides endless opportunities to explore varying neighborhoods and their local food, culture, and hidden gems. Unwinding after a long week in this city has never been any easier nor as exciting. The following is a guide to the hottest and coolest neighborhoods across the county.
If the recently re-branded Observatory North Park music venue is any indication, North Park continues its rise up San Diegans’ desired hangout spots. This neighborhood defines that which is cool, with its aforementioned music hotspot and surrounding specialty food stops. Check out Coin Op, a videogame-friendly bar or Polite Provisions for a delicious craft cocktail with a fantastic and unique 1920s inspired decor.
Whether you’re spending your lazy Saturday morning strolling through Little Italy’s insanely popular farmer’s market or sampling some of the best Italian fare at night that the city has to offer, you’ll be sure to never go hungry. Little Italy has been the neighborhood to watch over the last few years, with it’s non-Italian additions like Ironside Fish & Oyster, Kettner Exchange, and Craft & Commerce.
A few years back no one would have ever considered spending time in Downtown’s East Village, as it once was a seedier part of town. However, East Village has taken a 180 degree turn for the better and is the place to be for everything new new new. After a Padres game, consider avoiding overrun Gaslamp and step in to one of the local restaurants or bars. For an exquisite dinner experience go to Bottega Americano. If being outside and enjoying San Diego’s gorgeous year-round weather is more your thing then check out dog-friendly Quartyard, where you can sip on brews while playing corn hole or while eating a gourmet hot dog from S&M. Need another reason to go? Well if you’re a country music fan then Moonshine Flats is your spot. Get there early to learn how to line dance or go late to enjoy the latest country and top 40 tunes and dance your heart out. Bonus tip: on the other side of Moonshine is the Deck, which is a casual place to hang out, drink, and play games.
Outdoor adventures abound in East County, which stretches from the La Mesa foothills to the mountains of Julian. There are endless trails for hiking, biking, and climbing that will thrill people of all skill levels. Take a relatively easy hike up Cowles Mountain or trek different trails in the largest state park in California – the 600,000 acre Anza Borrego State Park. After a day of hiking there are numerous quaint diners along historic Highway 94 or Highway 80 that will give you that taste of Americana. Speaking of Americana, take the day and go up to Julian to get a real taste of the best apple pie in California and maybe even the country.
Mission Bay to Pacific Beach
Imagine living in a place that feels like a constant vacation, sounds like perfection right? The blue waters and soft sand beaches from Mission to Pacific Beach boast an endless array of activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, wind surfing, sailing, surfing, and sport fishing. All ages can be entertained by SeaWorld San Diego or Belmont Park. Spending time in the shining sun and heat requires a break. Follow the smell of freshly baked cookies and you’ll find a line-up of people pouring out of Baked Bear, the latest obsession for those looking for finely crafted and oh so delicious ice cream sandwiches. For a night out, go to one of PB’s newest restaurant/bars, Backyard, where the decor and atmosphere beats all others on the Garnett strip.
Solana Beach is a great beach town with a tight-knit, yet welcoming community. You can enjoy more than its picturesque beaches if you call this place home. Head over to the Cedros District for the best shopping and dining. The music scene at the Belly Up has been a mainstay since the 1970s and is a great place to see local and international talent.
With a slogan like, “keep Leucadia funky,” how could you not fall in love with this artsy North County beach town within Encinitas? There is even a whole annual program of events like Arts Alive, Battle of the Bands, and LeucadiART Walk that cement its arts focused reputation. While there don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the famous Surfing Madonna!
Nearby is Encinitas proper, where an influx of younger residents have brought with them new artisan coffee shops, breweries, bars, and restaurants. For the best cup of joe in town, head to Ironsmith Coffee Roasters, where the craft of coffee has been perfected.
Being a resident of San Diego has never been more exciting! Eclectic neighborhoods, endless outdoor and indoor activities, and chic restaurants and bars that rival those of major metropolitan cities make San Diego the only choice for living the best and highest quality of life.