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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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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2019

The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back, promising another spectacular display over San Diego Bay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing. The impeccably choreographed display will last approximately 17 minutes.

Come down to the bay and enjoy the biggest fireworks show in San Diego!

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PRIVATE SHUTTLED COASTAL GEMS TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing

Breezy palm trees, captivating coastal vistas, postcard perfect cliffs, colorful beach umbrellas, hidden sea caves, picturesque ocean coves, crashing waves... Need we say more? This is the quintessential southern California beach and seascape tour you’ve always wanted to do. On this private tour, check out the affluent lifestyle of La Jolla with its Mediterranean architecture, unmatched coastline and delightful wildlife. Experience primo Southern California beach culture at a bustling three-mile boardwalk filled with skateboarders, runners, inline skaters, bikers, and sun worshippers as well as one of the top surfing spots on our 70 miles of picturesque coastline. Step back in time viewing Coronado’s charming beaches, elegant residences; and partake in other seaside surprises! 

Live the California Dream!

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Easter Jazz Brunch at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Apr 21, 2019

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.

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

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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!

 

 

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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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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2019
Discover

PRIVATE SHUTTLED COASTAL GEMS TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
Discover

Easter Jazz Brunch at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue

Apr 21, 2019
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Full Day Coastal Experience

Aug 14, 2018 - ongoing
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Hillcrest on Instagram

 

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Tours & Sightseeing

Save 20% on an Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Nov 26, 2018 - 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...

Accommodation

Make it a 3-day weekend and save with Hilton

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Valid: Jan 31 - ongoing

Are you ready for a long weekend in San Diego? Book your 3-day weekend and and save up to 50% on Sunday. Bike along the La Jolla coastline. Soak up the sun on the beach. Wander through the zoo,...

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...

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