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Hillcrest

Welcoming, vibrant, artistic and cultured

This urban San Diego mainstay is home to Balboa Park, a vibrant arts scene, LGBTQ+ history and some of the best restaurants in town. 

Among the city’s older neighborhoods, Hillcrest’s location alongside Balboa Park made it a natural haven for the arts. Long a hub of LGBTQ+ culture, rainbow flags wave proudly in this neighborhood. Each July, it hosts San Diego’s Pride Parade, one of the largest such celebrations in the United States. The rest of the year, its eclectic nature is found everywhere from its cafes, bakeries, and brunch bonanzas, to its art galleries, fashion boutiques and museums.

An Eclectic Bite from the Sunday Farmer’s Market

Perusing the stalls of 175 artisans and growers at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market (Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Normal Street and University Avenue) has a way of working up the appetite. Refuel with fresh Mexican eats from La Casita de Vero that incorporate produce from the market, as in their Vegetarian Jackfruit Burrito. 

An Artisan Loaf of Bread

From seedy sourdough to ciabatta, every artisan loaf is handmade in the European tradition. Pick up black olive or caramelized onion to munch on the go, or pull up a seat at their centrally located café to wash it down with an espresso drink or breakfast pizza, grilled panini, or salad. 

A One-of-a-Kind Find at Flashbacks

Sometimes you need a pair of knee-high giraffe-print boots. Or a suede jacket with tassels. Or just the right piece for a legendary Halloween costume. Serendipity awaits on the racks at Flashbacks, where timeless vintage clothing dating from the 40s to contemporary styles will brighten up your wardrobe, whether you’re looking to be the life of an 80s party or nail that Elizabeth-Taylor-with-a-dash-of-Janis-Joplin-on-the-weekend look.

A Work of LGBTQ+ Art

The sculptures, fashion, photography, and paintings of emerging contemporary artists finds a platform at The Studio Door. Part gallery, part incubator, it’s the place to see the works of today’s cutting-edge artists and discover the voices of tomorrow before the masses. 

A Supersized Breakfast

Who would even dream up Snickers-stuffed-pancakes? The same people at Hash House A Go Go who would serve them up the size of vinyl records, also in flavors like red velvet and butterscotch almond (and yes, make them available for dinner). The same people with a knack for 3D presentations of dishes built around free-range sage fried chicken, stacked high over waffles with smoked bacon or atop eggs benedict.

A Classy Cocktail at Trust

Smoke and dry heat are staple ingredients in the wood-fired dishes produced in this hit restaurant’s open kitchen. Those elements beget balanced cocktails, and the bar delivers with a cocktail menu of 10 feats of incredible balance, like Trust Cocktail #2, with its jalapeno tequila, grapefruit, agave, and firewater bitters.  

A Piece of History at the Timken

Hillcrest borders Balboa Park, making it the perfect place to launch any venture to the endless museum exhibits, botanical wonders, and cultural treasures of San Diego’s famed park. Gems await inside the “jewel box of fine art,” the always-free Timkin Museum of Art, a midcentury, marble-and-bronze building housing masterpieces of European and American artists. 

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