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7 San Diego Hispanic Heritage Experiences

A city rich with authentic, cultural opportunities

Embark on an immersive exploration of how Hispanic and Latinx culture help shape San Diego with vibrant, colorful art, traditional cuisine and more.

San Diego's proximity to Mexico, long Hispanic history and South and Central America ancestry have helped shape the city’s diverse cultural identity. Hispanic and Latin influences can be found in the region's architecture, gastronomic scene and artistic landscape, and are proudly celebrated year-round through its neighborhoods. Visitors to San Diego can immerse themselves in the rich Hispanic history, culture and lifestyle of the eighth-largest city in the United States.

Barrio Logan Neighborhood Sign in San Diego

Barrio Logan and Chicano Park

Located just south of San Diego's urban core, Barrio Logan is a Mexican-American neighborhood established by refugees back in the early 20th century during the Mexican Revolution, and rooted in civic movement. At the heart of the barrio, Chicano Park is home to the largest collection of Chicano murals in the United States, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Barrio Logan is the hub of a diverse arts district, with galleries, boutiques, brewpubs and craft coffee shops. A vibrant culinary scene is also an important characteristic of the neighborhood: At the iconic Barrio Logan eatery Las Cuatro Milpas, locals line up for authentic homestyle Mexican food and freshly made tortillas. And every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the community hosts Walk the Block, a celebration of shopping, dining and art that stretches along Logan Avenue between Chicano Park and 26th Street.

Birria Steamed Clams

Tastes of Cali-Baja in San Diego

San Diego stands in the middle of two very powerful influences: California cuisine distinguished for its devotion to using fresh local ingredients, and Mexico's Baja-Med style, a food revolution that began in Tijuana, Mexico and is gaining worldwide recognition for combining traditional Mexican ingredients with those of the Mediterranean. Thanks to the daring chefs who have created a dining experience that speaks to locals, San Diego's culinary landscape blends these two influences into a delicious Cali-Baja scene. One treat you won't want to miss: Holy Paleta's handcrafted frozen popsicles, made with all-natural ingredients and creative toppings. The flavors are inspired by traditional frozen treats found in Michoacan, Mexico. Favorites at Holy Paleta, which has locations in Bonita and Little Italy, include chamango on a stick, coffee stuffed with condensed milk, and banana Nutella crunch.

Artelexia in North Park San Diego

Latinx and Hispanic Businesses

San Diego’s proximity to Mexico and rich Hispanic heritage have helped shape its vibrant identity. Latinx influences can be discovered through the region’s colorful neighborhoods and savored in its culinary scene. From restaurants to shops and self-care spaces, click here to discover a few of the many Latinx and Hispanic owned businesses you must experience while in San Diego.

San Diego Latino Film Festival

Celebrating Latino Film & Theater

The San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF), which will host its 29th edition in March 2022, was born out of a desire to challenge movies' reigning stereotypes about the Latino experience, and to give filmmakers the power to share stories firsthand about what it means to be Latino. The SDLFF is proud to remain true to those ideals, constantly advocating for inclusive, diverse and progressive cinematic storytelling about the Latino identity. In that same vein, San Diego Repertory Theatre's Latinx New Play Festival is dedicated to presenting vibrant new works that showcase the voices of rising Latinx playwrights. The 2021 fest is set for Sept 3-5, and will take place both in-person and online.

Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Visitors can witness the living legacy of California's first permanent settlement at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego's first "downtown." Old Town represents San Diego's Hispanic heritage from 1821 to 1872, when Mexico gained independence from Spain and took over the area. The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, a theater, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored buildings. Live mariachi performers can be seen every day in Old Town, in addition to seasonal and special event shows throughout the year.

Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park San Diego

Centro Cultural de la Raza

This cultural art center is dedicated to creating, promoting, preserving and educating about Chicano, Mexican, Indigenous and Latino art and culture. The non-profit organization is housed in a former Balboa Park water tower decorated with bright murals. The Centro Cultural de la Raza provides classes, arts and crafts, and artistic presentations that support and encourage the creative expression of indigenous cultures. Special outdoor vendor exhibits can be enjoyed on selected weekends.

Dia de Muertos Dolls

Día de Muertos, San Diego-style

Each fall, San Diego is the setting for a wide range of events commemorating Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Mexican holiday devoted to honoring and celebrating those who have passed on. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park serves as the epicenter for these events, with a candlelight procession, special restaurant menus, face painting and more, all happening Nov. 1-3. If hoofing it for the holiday is more your style, the Los Muertos 5k San Diego takes place downtown Nov. 7. And on Oct. 31, the San Diego Symphony's Rady Shell at Jacobs Park hosts "Ofrenda: A Día de Los Muertos Celebration," a visual and musical experience that teams Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles with Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar.

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