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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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San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2020

The Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, September 27 through Sunday, October 4 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 Simon & Garfunkel Story

Oct 9, 2020

Now seen in over 50 countries around the world, The Simon & Garfunkel Story is a critically acclaimed concert style theatre show about two young boys from Queens, New York who went on to become the world’s most successful music duo of all time. Using state of the art video projection, incredible lighting and a full live band The Simon & Garfunkel Story is a moving and powerful concert featuring all the hits such as ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘The Boxer’, ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and many more, this is a show not to be missed!

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PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - 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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The Band's Visit

Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2020

The critically acclaimed smash-hit Broadway musical The Band’s Visit is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history.  It is also a Grammy Award® winner for Best Musical Theater Album.

In this joyously offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue.  Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways.  Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever.

With a Tony- and Grammy-winning score that seduces your soul and sweeps you off your feet, and featuring thrillingly talented onstage musicians, The Band’s Visit rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together.

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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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San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2020
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The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Oct 9, 2020
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PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing
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The Band's Visit

Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2020
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Hillcrest on Instagram

 

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Activities

Up to $20 Off on a VIP Chauffeured Winery Tour

San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours
Valid: Jul 9, 2020 - ongoing

Safety First! - We have Cov-id Safety Protocol in place for your comfort and Safety. July 1, 2020 - Wineries are open and we take you to the best of the best! BOOK YOUR CHAUFFEURED WINERY...

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!

Activities

Save $10 off 2 Tickets on the Beer Train Tour

San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours
Valid: Jul 9, 2020 - ongoing

JULY 1, 2020 - We have cov-id safety protocol in place for your safety, comfort and FUN! We're open for business and continue to take you to the best of the best local breweries. BOOK THE...

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