San Diego’s most up-and-coming neighborhood is growing like an east county wildfire.
Where it is: Bordered by Hillcrest to the west, the 805 freeway to the east, and Balboa Park to the south, North Park is often touted as the geographic heart of San Diego.
Why it’s unique: Because North Park is still in its middle stages of development, strolling down University Avenue is a diverse experience. You’ll pass hyper-hip new businesses like the Kate Ross clothing boutique, Heaven Sent Desserts, and the cheerful Claire de Lune coffeehouse, interspersed with lackluster storefronts like pawnshops, laundromats, and the 88 Cent Store—save 11 cents on all your discount purchases!
North Park is also considered one of San Diego’s emerging artistic epicenters. To prove it, the community holds a gallery-hopping extravaganza called Ray at Night the second Saturday of each month (rayatnight.com). Most pieces are heavy on the funk factor. If anything, go for the free snacks.
The best places to. . .
Fulfill your inner health nut at Spread, the purveyor of “nouveau comfort food”— Grandma’s oatmeal, this ain’t. Each innovative entree is all-natural, all-vegetarian, and surprisingly delicious.
Nearby The Mission is just as progressive, serving up “conscientious cuisine” that tastes great, too.
Crank up your body temperature at Air Conditioned Bar, an ultra-mod watering hole for San Diego’s trendiest.
Venture further east of North Park to the city’s hippest hipster haunt, Beauty Bar, where you can enjoy that Manhattan with a manicure on the side.
The ironically titled, super cool-looking La Boheme condo complex includes a fitness center, courtyard spa, street-level shops, underground parking, and an everlasting supply of open-minded bohemian chicks—just kidding. Condos start at $300k.
Insider tip: Gaslamp aficionados, take note: North Park has no parking meters. Save your quarters for gumballs and panhandlers.
Read more about North Park!