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Central San Diego

The Cultural Heart of San Diego

A collection of some of San Diego’s trendiest neighborhoods make up this district, each filled with a unique vibe of their own, including the iconic Balboa Park, one of the country’s largest urban cultural parks.

Art Around Every Corner

Central San Diego takes its title as the cultural heart of San Diego seriously – very seriously – with art seemingly around every corner. From canvasses in the district’s many museums and galleries to outdoor murals, there is no shortage of vibrant visuals to explore and enjoy. For the classically trained eye, a visit to Balboa Park is essential. With 17 museums, gardens galore and historical flare, Balboa Park truly is one of the country’s most iconic urban parks. For a more contemporary approach, head on over to East Village and experience the first all-female mural walk by Ladies Who Paint. No need to worry, there are art galleries aplenty throughout the other various neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Hillcrest, North Park & South Park, and Downtown, making Central San Diego a true mecca for the art enthusiast.

History Hub

San Diego is the birthplace of California, making history a part of the culture since conception. Take a journey back in time and witness the living legacy of California's birthplace in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Its many preserved historic buildings and museums commemorate the early days of the town of San Diego from the period 1820 to 1870, allowing you to visit California's history firsthand. Also, for the thrill-seekers, a visit to the Whaley House Museum should be added to the itinerary as it has been deemed one of the most haunted places in the U.S.

Crafty Bites

Good food is plentiful in the many trendy neighborhoods that make up this district. From super upscale fare to farm-to-table offerings to one-of-a-kind finds, this is the area to let your inner foodie explore. Local favorite, An’s Dry Cleaning, a quirky, repurposed storefront serves up delicious gelato, so delicious that it’s been recognized as one of the top ten ice cream parlors in the country. Known for their creative flavors that are named after fabrics such as Taffeta – an almond and nougat confection – this made-from-scratch ice cream is a must-try. Other favorites include Holy Matcha in North Park, which not only boasts marvelous matcha but a pink-petal décor that is to die for, and Nolita Hall a fun bar and restaurant in Little Italy that is a great place to watch planes fly in.

The Art of Shopping

Art and shopping intersect in the area's indie boutiques. Find unique art, coffee table books and designer shoes and home goods at Bad Madge in South Park. For beautiful bi-national handcrafted goods, Artelexia has everything from festive fabric to Frida Kahlo-inspired kitsch.

Out of the Box

Looking for something a little different on your visit to San Diego? Pay Quartyard a visit. This urban park constructed from repurposed shipping containers is as unique as San Diego’s culture. The neighborhood hangout and event venue always has something unique to experience – from bluegrass brunches to outdoor comedy shows to silent discos. For dinner and a (drag) show, you’ll want to sashay your way to Lips on El Cajon Boulevard.

District 3 – Central San Diego

Culture Around Every Corner

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Book the ultimate staycation in the heart of downtown San Diego. Our Locals Getaway package includes overnight accommodations, parking ($40 value), and $50 dining credit.

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Events to check out

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Dec 30, 2021 - Jan 2, 2022

Where the cars are the stars! The San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof.

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San Diego International Film Festival

San Diego Int'l Film Festival
Oct 14 - Oct 24, 2021

The Power of Perspective. In-Person and Virtual Screenings This October, we’re looking forward to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the San Diego Intl Film Festival with a hybrid of both...

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Fleet Week San Diego 2021

Nov 4 - Nov 11, 2021

Welcome to Fleet Week San Diego 2021, November 4th – 11th at the Broadway Pier and Port Pavilion, San Diego.  Experience one of San Diego’s largest Military events featuring Military...

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