San Diego Neighbourhoods

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Breweries, surf shops, and beachfront street fairs; there’s sure a lot to love about San Diego. You can get it all in this seaside city, but you’ll have to choose your neighborhood first. Some neighborhoods cater to foodies, some to the nightlife-enthusiasts, and others are all about that laid-back beach vibe. If you’re looking to move to San Diego, here’s your guide to the best San Diego neighborhoods.


This historically LGBT-friendly neighborhood is a local favorite. It’s just a few minutes from both downtown and Balboa Park, has a great nightlife scene, and boasts vibrant, pedestrian-friendly streets. Rainbow flags hanging from shops and restaurants will signal your entrance into Hillcrest. Check out The Loft if you’re in the mood for a no-frills night; this dive bar is a real crowd-pleaser for cheap drinks and good times. Urban MO’s Bar & Grill is a great spot for a tasty brunch, dinner, or just a casual night of drinks. In fact, it won Lyft’s 2017 “Most Visited Restaurant in San Diego”, so you know it’s a good time.

Hit all the shopping spots in Hillcrest by strolling up University Avenue, then join the locals for breakfast at Snooze An AM Eatery. Need a more in-depth guide to the Hillcrest? We’ve got you covered with our neighborhood guide.

Little Italy

Originally a community comprised of hardworking fishermen and Italian families, this quaint neighborhood has stayed true to its roots. Little Italy boasts outdoor patio cafes, renowned restaurants, and the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market. The market is the go-to spot for satisfying cannoli cravings, authentic cappuccinos, and all the classic Italian comfort food you could imagine. The neighborhood’s annual Little Italy FESTA! brings traditional Italian music, arts, crafts, and food to the streets to celebrate the culture and community that has called San Diego home for years.

North Park

Reasonable rent, craft breweries within walking distance to your house, and art galleries are the stars in North Park. This San Diego neighborhood is popular among young professionals, hipsters, and students. And the locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are happy to cater to them. It’s close to other neighborhoods like Hillcrest and Normal Heights but maintains its own bustling nightlife and entertainment scene. Grab drinks at West Coast Tavern, Tiger! Tiger!, or North Park Beer Company, or get some cheap eats at The Taco Stand. Then, head to University Avenue where there’s always something going on—from weekly farmers markets to annual art festivals.

Gaslamp Quarter

Out of all the San Diego neighborhoods, the Gaslamp Quarter is where the city comes to party. Between the clubs, dive bars, lounges, and sports bars, this neighborhood has just the place for the night out you’re envisioning. Trailer Park After Dark is one of the hippest spots in town, and it’s located right in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. The Shout! House mixes cocktails with a wildly entertaining dueling piano show (trust us, and it’s worth the line you’ll have to wait in). Gaslamp Tavern is your go-to spot for wings, beer, and sports, and The Tipsy Crow’s Underground Club is perfect if you want to dance the night away. The Gaslamp Quarter is one of San Diego’s biggest attractions, so if you’re ready to party, this is your neighborhood.

Ocean Beach

A surfer’s paradise and scenic wonderland, Ocean Beach is nestled along the Pacific Ocean and gives off that iconic, SoCal beach vibe. The neighborhood itself is full of old-school bungalows, walkable main streets, and surf shops, with the Pacific Ocean and the pier just steps away. The annual Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off brings the neighborhood (and visitors) together in June, as performers, arts and crafts vendors, and chili aficionados breathe life into the streets of Ocean Beach. It’s a bit farther removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, so this laid-back, oceanside neighborhood makes the perfect dwelling spot for beach lovers.

La Jolla

Another scenic beachside San Diego neighborhood, La Jolla is popular among both UC San Diego students and recent college grads alike. La Jolla Village offers shopping, restaurants, and watering holes for the locals, so they don’t need to trek south into the city center. The seaside cliffs at Torrey Pines State Reserve offer hiking trails with breathtaking views and the La Jolla Underwater Park attracts scuba diver, snorkelers, and kayakers to its nearly 6,000 acres. It’s no wonder we named La Jolla one of San Diego’s best beaches.

Normal Heights

A charming neighborhood northeast of Balboa Park, Normal Heights is a quaint, residential area. Don’t overlook it, though; this neighborhood boasts plenty of hip coffee shops, gastropubs, and antique stores dotting Adams Avenue—one of the main thoroughfares. Try the pizza and brew at Blind Lady Ale House or grab a cocktail and charcuterie board at the uber-retro Sycamore Den. Cool down with some award-winning flavors from Mariposa Ice Cream (try Coconut Almond Fudge or Mexican Chocolate) and relax at Ward Canyon Neighborhood Park.

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