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

Come From Away

Jun 23 - Jun 28, 2020

Broadway’s COME FROM AWAY is a Best Musical winner all across North America!

This New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

Don’t miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony® nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by this year’s Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. Newsweek cheers, “It takes you to a place you never want to leave!”

On 9/11, the world stopped.

On 9/12, their stories moved us all.

Rating: For ages 10+

Click on Read More for full event schedule. 

Discover

Bankers Hill Arts & Craft Beer Festival

Mar 27, 2020

The Bankers Hill Art & Craft Beer Festival, in partnership with the San Diego Brewers Guild, returns for its eighth year on Friday, March 27! Taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout two levels of The Abbey on Fifth Avenue—a historic event venue considered one of Bankers Hill’s most iconic buildings—this year’s festival brings people together to socialize and discover local craft breweries, restaurants and art!

Discover

Disney's Frozen (POSTPONED)

Mar 26 - Apr 12, 2020

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. NEW DATES TBD.

Discover

Easter Jazz Brunch at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Apr 12, 2020

The Abbey is Hornblower's on-land venue; it offers a rare, refined uptown option for Easter. Originally constructed as an Episcopal church, this elegant 1910 landmark is San Diego's only remaining Classic Revival structure. Enjoy an elaborate seasonal buffet, decadent desserts, Easter Bunny appearance and live jazz entertainment by Republic of Music.

Your Easter Brunch Includes:

~Your Own Private Reserved Table
~Welcome Glass of Chilled Champagne
~Free-Flowing Champagne, Sparkling Cider, Soda, Juice, Coffee
~Full Brunch Buffet Featuring Seasonal Dishes
~Decadent Dessert Buffet
~Easter Bunny Meet & Greet
~Live Jazz Entertainment by Republic of Music

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

Come From Away

Jun 23 - Jun 28, 2020
Discover

Bankers Hill Arts & Craft Beer Festival

Mar 27, 2020
Discover

Disney's Frozen (POSTPONED)

Mar 26 - Apr 12, 2020
Discover

Easter Jazz Brunch at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Apr 12, 2020
Discover

Hillcrest on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

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

Tours & Sightseeing

Save 20% on an Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

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

Turn San Diego's Old Town or Balboa Park into a giant game board with this fun Scavenger Hunt Adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart...

Venues

Oyster Monday

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

All day on Monday, We serve up freshly shucked Oysters for only $1 each. Minimum of 3, per order. While they last.

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