All rights reserved. One Stop Guide for Where to Stay in San Diego (By Neighborhood & Budget) It can be difficult to pick where to stay in San Diego with all the incredible options from downtown to coastal beach towns. The neighborhood’s business district offers good coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, including Fort Oak,where diners can dig into zesty scallop aguachile (a raw seafood dish, like ceviche) or a rib eye dry-aged for 45 days. San Diego has it all. It was formerly owned by Captain Wilcox, who arrived in 1849 in command of a 120-ton sailing ship named the Invincible. The New American restaurant, run by Richard Blais, Top Chef’s Season 8 winner, picked up a Michelin Bib Gourmand designation in 2019. There are a couple of decent surf spots here too. Along with swimming and surfing, there's boogie boarding and kite boarding. San Diego is unique among cities its size in that it doesn’t have the congested and impersonal feel of a city at all. If all that fails, the epic Legoland amusement park is only 15 minutes drive north. Families enjoy the large, flat Moonlight State Beach for its volleyball and tennis courts and fire pits – it’s one of the few places you can still have sunset bonfires and barbecues. Or pomegranate seeds. View Details. In addition to the surf at Ocean Beach, you'll find restaurants, shops, and laid-back local culture. Short boarders prefer the peaky break on the north side of Crystal Pier, while legendary longboarders like Skip Frye still ride waves at Tourmaline Surfing Park at the north of Pacific Beach. Many who fled the Mexican Revolution in 1910 settled in this area southeast of downtown, and it has thrived as an epicenter for Latino and Mexican American culture since the 1920s. A few minutes walk east is one of San Diego’s emerging hipster neighborhoods, East Village, with some surprisingly good restaurants. On any given day the boardwalk is full of skateboarders, cyclists and promenaders. Hot rods congregate on Main Street as ’50s and ’60s bands play on the third Thursday of each month (between May and September). Standout designs include the 1888 Louis Bank of Commerce building with ornate balconies and a Baroque revival-style facade topped by twin towers – the building was once the Golden Poppy Hotel, a brothel run by fortune-teller Madame Cora. A stroll to the west brings you to Embarcadero – a harbor including the USS Midway Museum (a giant Navy aircraft carrier you go inside) and a collection of historic tall ships at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, (including the oldest active ship – the 150-year-old Star of India). Two miles east of Hillcrest is North Park, San Diego’s hippest neighborhood, with trendy thrift shops and retro bars – Coin-Op has dozens of vintage arcade games, and Polite Provisions is a smart apothecary and old soda shop-style bar. Craft beer and Mexican food is not just an experience in San Diego, it’s a lifestyle. Million dollar properties sit on rolling hills and rugged cliff edges overlooking a long, wide sandy beach in San Diego’s fanciest neighborhood. Yes, there are mariachi bands, salty Margaritas on tap and truckloads of tacos (we recommend the freshly made ones at Old Town Mexican Cafe), but there are notable historic sights too. Amici Park is a chilled out area to take in neighborhood life and watch people playing bocce (the Italian version of French boules or British bowls) and the park’s amphitheater screens European movies during the Little Italy Summer Film Festival. Plenty of sports bars like 710 Beach Club and tiki bars like the Grass Skirt can be found around Garnet Street and Grand Ave, but the main attraction is the 3.2-mile boardwalk and beach lined with shops and bars that serve over-sized cocktails like the Baja Beach Cafe. Bring your hat and sunscreen and sense of adventure to this bodacious beach. Overall, San Diego has a lot to offer for all sorts of people, and I absolutely love it. Plus, you can let Fido run wild at the leash-free Dog Beach to the north. Constantly named one of the best surfing towns in the world, wave riders move here from across the globe to be close to the first class surf break Swami’s – honored in the song Surfin’ USA, by The Beach Boys. Scenic ferry rides across the bay to Coronado island also depart from here. A little slower paced, it’s home to artisans, yogis, vegetarians, hippies, alternatives and craft beer fans. If you’re trying to dial down where to stay in San Diego then we have you covered. Horticulturists can peruse 350 species of flora around the park (plus 1,500 trees) or visit the free Botanical Building with more than 2,100 plants and the exotic Japanese Friendship Garden with cherry blossom trees, bonsai exhibition, azaleas, camellias and magnolias. There’s a certain faded glory about the place. For a real slice of the city, venture outside of its more touristed areas like the Gaslamp Quarter and Seaport Village to explore these five neighborhoods. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter. The French-style bistro Chloe and hidden speakeasy Nobel Experiment, decorated with golden skulls, are just a couple of stand-out offerings. Visitors can learn about the history by visiting the park’s mission-style Junípero Serra Museum. During the annual summer Pride Festival, Hillcrest’s streets throb with glitter-dowsed revelers, but people from all ethnicities meet in Hillcrest year round. San Diego’s creative set continues to flock to North Park, named for its location northeast of Balboa Park. San Diego residents are very proud of their giant green space in the middle of the city. For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway. Check out our comprehensive San Diego Neighborhood Guide below and find a new favorite! Originally developed in the 1860s, the Gas Lamp Quarter is recognizable by it’s old-style ‘gas lamps’ and intricate Victorian buildings dotted around the area’s 16 blocks. Spend your days immersed in farmers’ markets and floral gardens, go on a whale watching boat trip or learn something at one of some of the city's 90+ museums. The quirky neighborhood has art walks, a lively bar scene, and some of San Diego’s best shopping along 30th Street and University Avenue. Founded in 1986, The San Diego Polo Club is beautifully situated on 60 acres of land in neighboring Rancho Santa Fe, offering five world-class class polo fields. The San Diego Polo Club has one of the longest playing seasons in the country, running from May through October. South of Mission and Pacific Beach, but separated by a channel of water, Ocean Beach feels very different from San Diego’s other beach communities. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails. It’s not as smart as La Jolla to the north, but it’s certainly the best people watching spot in town. No visit to San Diego would be complete without time spent on the beach, but some of the city’s coastal neighborhoods can feel more like spring break party spots than laid-back surf enclaves. The general atmosphere is a laid back and beachy. Ocean Beach doesn’t have a lot of hotel options, but it does have one of the city’s best Airbnbs—Loch Crane, a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé, designed and built One Bunk Beach. Inside the clapboard-style William Heath Davis House built in 1850, you’ll find The Gaslamp Museum and more information about the landmarks of the area. Chicano Park, a National Historic Landmark (and neighborhood pride and joy), features colorful murals by Mexican and Mexican American artists.


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