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Welcome to

Hillcrest

The center of San Diego's LGBTQ+ community

Everyone is welcome

Located only a few miles north of San Diego's bustling downtown, the vibrant uptown neighborhood of Hillcrest stands as San Diego's LGBTQ+ central hub, offering an array of bars, restaurants, coffee houses, boutiques and unique shops.

Lauded for its welcoming vibe and pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalk patios, the area's east end is marked by a towering rainbow Pride flag just off Hillcrest's main thoroughfare of University Avenue, at the corner of Normal Street. The landmark serves as the starting point for San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride's annual mile-long parade held each July. A block away, down Harvey Milk Street, is where the San Diego LGBTQ+ Community Center resides.

Spanning a dozen blocks west from the Pride flag along University Avenue is a colorful mix of ethnically diverse restaurants, nightclubs and acclaimed wine bars. You'll also discover home decor shops, distinctive boutiques, the Uptown District shopping plaza and the country's only openly gay brewery, Hillcrest Brewing Company. This lively stretch also hosts one of the largest farmers markets in San Diego from 9AM – 2PM on Sunday. A great place to shop for local produce, arts and crafts, the market also offers a wide range of gourmet stalls with hot and cold cuisine.

University Avenue leads into the neighborhood's "village" area designated by the historic, neon "Hillcrest" sign. On intersecting Fifth Avenue, you'll find a concentration of new and established restaurants, as well as a few dessert-centric eateries. Thrown into the mix are vintage clothing shops, book outlets and the multiplex Landmark Cinemas for taking in independent and foreign films.

Just south of Hillcrest sits Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in North America and a hub for recreation, arts and culture, and community gatherings. The park is home to 16 museums and performing arts venues, ornate Spanish-Renaissance architecture, 1,200 acres of beautiful gardens and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

View the LGBTQ+ Travel Guide for more on planning a trip to San Diego.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Getting to Hillcrest

Just a stones throw from Balboa Park and downtown San Diego, Hillcrest is accessible from three primary directions. From downtown, head up Fifth Avenue, along Balboa Park's western edge and through Bankers Hill. Once you've reached Robinson Avenue, you'll be in the heart of Hillcrest. As the neighborhood is popular with the San Diego LGBTQ+ community, look for businesses flying a rainbow flag and you'll know you've arrived! From the east, exit University Avenue from Interstate 805 and head west. A few short blocks places you squarely in the center of the main shopping and dining area. For those traveling from the airport or Interstate 5, exit on Washington Street, and head east "up the hill" and exit on University Avenue. You'll pass through Mission Hills (worth the stop too!) before entering Hillcrest. 

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San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Parade & Festival

With world-famous Balboa Park as its festival site and a mile-long parade route stretching through one of the most gay-friendly neighborhoods in the nation, San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride attracts nearly 200,000 locals and visitors to its annual three-day celebration in July.

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Nightlife and Day Drinks

A happening spot for San Diego's LGBTQ+ community with bar, nightclubs, restaurants and Pride.

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San Diego Farmers Markets

Find open-air shopping all around the county!

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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 29, 2020

San Diego area residents and visitors are in for a special treat in February! Pick up your Museum Month discount pass at any of the libraries listed at the bottom of this page or when you stay at a Hilton to enjoy 50% off the cost of admission at more than 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums. The San Diego Museum Month pass is free; one pass can be used at several museums* throughout the month of February.

Whether you are an art aficionado, history buff, science or nature lover, the San Diego Museum Council has a variety of member organizations that are bound to capture your interest.

Take advantage of this annual program to visit both old favorites and new attractions you have never even heard of!

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San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 19 - Jan 26, 2020

The Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, January 19 through Sunday, January 26 for a delicious dining experience! With more than 180 participating restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County, you’re sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving.

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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing

This private tour showcases some of the outstanding yet hidden scenery of the La Jolla area, plus funky, quirky and mind-boggling art. You’ll also experience “San Diego’s newest tourist attraction” – a remarkable treasure that even locals don’t know about!

On this private tour, you’ll stroll through a vast outdoor public art collection specifically designed for the landscape and surroundings. Learn about the origin of the collection, how the artists are chosen, and the meanings of the selected pieces.

The La Jolla area is home to some of the most unique structures in the country, including a Brutalism-style gem with a tie-in to Dr. Suess and an architectural wonder which is one of the American Institute of Architecture’s “31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life.” 

But Shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone about these places….they’re secret!

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PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing

Learn how to capture the essence of the late-day light and magical nighttime beauty of America’s finest city, on an Instagrammable private photography tour. Whether mastering how to shoot our outstanding coastal scenery or our lit-up fairytale-like urban wonders, your private tour will be led personally by Julie Kremen, an award winning professional photographer and certified tour guide. Read the reviews and see why she is top-rated on TripAdvisor, and Yelp.

Julie works closely with you before the tour to nail down exactly what you want to concentrate on so you can get the most out of your experience. Contact us to book a private session, boost your shooting skills and make your friends say “Wow!” when they see your photos!

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What's Hot

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San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Parade & Festival

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Nightlife and Day Drinks

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San Diego Farmers Markets

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What's On

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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 29, 2020
Discover

San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 19 - Jan 26, 2020
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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
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PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
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Hillcrest on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Tours & Sightseeing

Family Friendly- Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Aug 12, 2019 - ongoing

Enjoy an Amazing Race type adventure with your family and Save 20% when you use Promo Code SDFUN. Only $39.20 for a Team of 2-5 people. Have fun and do something unique!

Venues

Taco Tuesday

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina - Gaslamp
Valid: May 29, 2019 - ongoing

We offer a variety of great tasting Tacos for $2 to $3 each along with special pricing on cold Cervezas and Margaritas All Day, Every Tuesday

Venues

Drink of the Day

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina - Gaslamp
Valid: May 29, 2019 - ongoing

Every Day we offer a delectable exotic cocktail for only $8.99. Changes Seasonally. Always Delicious

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