arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin
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 a 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. 

Discover Hillcrest

What's Hot|
What's On|

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.

Discover

Nightlife and Day Drinks

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

Discover

San Diego Farmers Markets

Find open-air shopping all around the county!

Discover

San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 20 - Jan 27, 2019

San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, January 20th through Sunday, January 27th with a FEAST for the senses at over 180 participating restaurants. Dine deliciously at restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County. This foodie-favorited week is the perfect time to take a culinary tour throughout the diverse and thriving food culture of San Diego.

Discover

Thanksgiving Dinner at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Nov 22, 2018

The Abbey is Hornblower's on-land venue; it offers a rare, refined uptown option for Thanksgiving. Enjoy an elaborate seasonal buffet, decadent desserts and live jazz entertainment.

Discover

Full Day Coastal Experience

Aug 14, 2018 - ongoing

Ride with us on our unique B.Y.O.B full day coastal adventure. Start the day off at our pick up location, Liberty Public Market. We recommend guests to show up early so they can roam around the market before we venture up north to Encinitas and begin our tour down the famous highway 1. Our stops include some of San Diego's best beaches, beach bars, and local eats. We want you to see and feel the amazing laid back lifestyle we live for here in San Diego. Here's whats included... Local tour guide. Bottled water and small snacks. Beach games on board to encourage some active fun at our beach stops. Cooler with ice to keep your beverages nice a cold. Music and TV on board for entertainment. USB charging ports in every seat so no need to worry about your phones dying from all the pictures you'll want to take!

 

 

Discover

19th San Diego Asian Film Festival

Nov 8 - Nov 17, 2018

The San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) is San Diego’s premier film showcase of Asian American and international cinema. Founded in 2000, the festival has grown to become the largest exhibition of Asian cinema in the western United States, and has showcased everything from future classics like Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder (US Premiere) to luminary independent work like Patrick Wang’s award-winning In the Family (North American Premiere). Each year, the festival brings West Coast, North American, and World premieres of films from around the world to San Diego and gives audiences unique opportunities to discover international cinema.

This year, the 19th edition of SDAFF will showcase over 150 films from 20 countries from November 8-17, 2018.

Discover

What's Hot

View All

San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Parade & Festival

Discover

Nightlife and Day Drinks

Discover

San Diego Farmers Markets

Discover

What's On

View More Events

San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 20 - Jan 27, 2019
Discover

Thanksgiving Dinner at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Nov 22, 2018
Discover

Full Day Coastal Experience

Aug 14, 2018 - ongoing
Discover

19th San Diego Asian Film Festival

Nov 8 - Nov 17, 2018
Discover

Hillcrest on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Tours & Sightseeing

10% off our San Diego Grand City Tours

Five Star Tours & Charter Bus Company
Valid: Aug 10 - ongoing

San Diego Shore Excursions for Cruise Ship Guests! Known As "America's Finest City", San Diego offers a full selection of things to do and see for visitors to California's second largest city. For...

History & Heritage

15% off Best Day. Ever. for Cruise Ship Passengers

San Diego Urban Adventures
Valid: Aug 24, 2018 - ongoing

#LocalsKnow the best places to visit that get you out of the crowds and experience the Best. Day. Ever. before, during or after your cruise.  Join our local experts on tours of Balboa Park, Old...

Event Planners

Corporate Gifting Special

Cali Life Productions
Valid: Oct 2, 2018 - ongoing

Skip the custom coffee mugs this year and choose gifts your staff will truly love! Cali Life Productions and Cali Life Co. have teamed up to bring to you the best "San Diego Inspired" Gifts and...

Related Articles and Features

Filter List

Areas of Interest

Where to Stay

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish