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 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. 

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

PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Aug 16, 2022 - 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!

Discover

San Diego LGBTQ History Tour

Jul 22, 2022 - ongoing

This 1.1-mile, 1-hour walking tour of Hillcrest covers San Diego’s LGBTQ history with stories of some of its earliest gay bars, the hate crimes plaque, Harvey Milk Street, the Center, the Rainbow Flag and much more. The tour covers the people, places and events that made San Diego’s "gayborhood" the vibrant community it is today.

The perfect pre-brunch adventure in Hillcrest! 

Discover

PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

May 3, 2022 - ongoing

Journey with award winning tour guide Julie around San Diego’s cultural and historic sites—on a private tour of fun and informative must-see sightseeing hotspots.

OLD TOWN:   Take a trip into the past and learn about our rich Spanish and Mexican heritage and why we are the “Birthplace of California.” Experience our original city—colorful and festive now, but find out why it wasn’t always that way.

DOWNTOWN:  Explore these San Diego Downtown essentials: scenic San Diego Bay’s Embarcadero waterfront, the famous and vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, hip and historic Little Italy, and Petco Park.

BALBOA PARK:  The cultural heartbeat of our city; you will fall in love with the country’s largest urban cultural park and be dazzled discovering its origins as you take in its incredible vegetation, gorgeous flowers and ornate architecture.

Discover

AIN'T TOO PROUD

Jan 3 - Jan 8, 2023

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is the electrifying, new smash-hit Broadway musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their signature dance moves and silky-smooth harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one.

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

PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Aug 16, 2022 - ongoing
Discover

San Diego LGBTQ History Tour

Jul 22, 2022 - ongoing
Discover

PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

May 3, 2022 - ongoing
Discover

AIN'T TOO PROUD

Jan 3 - Jan 8, 2023
Discover

Hillcrest on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Tours & Sightseeing

Family Friendly- Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Jan 4 - 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! Covid Friendly outdoor...

Activity

Del Mar Village Dollars

Del Mar Village Association
Valid: Mar 7, 2022 - ongoing

Purchase a digital Del Mar Village Dollars eGift card for yourself or a friend. Enjoy and spend your Del Mar Village Dollars while supporting participating Del Mar Village restaurants and retailers....

Team Building

MRDRinSD - 10% Discount from Murder n' Mayhem

Murder n Mayhem
Valid: Jun 24, 2022 - ongoing

Use discount code: MRDRINSD for 10% off tickets for all Tours & Experiences with Murder n' Mayhem. Redeem online at murdernmayhem.com or via phone 619-781-8013 with Discount...

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

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