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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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What's Hot|
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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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LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing

Raise your photography to the next level with a private photography training session or a photography tour led 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.

The instruction is completely customized to your abilities, interests, and goals; so you get the maximum amount of one-on-one instruction tailored to suit your needs. Personal instruction and the ability to shadow a skilled professional photographer allows you to receive immediate feedback as you shoot and get on-the-spot guidance as to how to improve.

Julie works closely with you before the session 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 and your boost your shooting skills!

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Disney’s The Lion King

Aug 12 - Aug 30, 2020

Giraffes strut. Birds swoop.  Gazelles leap.  The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before.  And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist. This is Disney’s THE LION KING, making its triumphant return to the Civic Theatre!

More than 100 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular – one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage. 

There is simply nothing else like THE LION KING.

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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - 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.

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What's Hot

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San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Parade & Festival

Discover

Nightlife and Day Drinks

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San Diego Farmers Markets

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What's On

View More Events

San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2020
Discover

LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing
Discover

Disney’s The Lion King

Aug 12 - Aug 30, 2020
Discover

PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing
Discover

Hillcrest on Instagram

 

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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

10% off our San Diego Grand City Tours

Five Star Tours & Charter Bus Company
Valid: Feb 7 - 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...

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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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