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A San Diego Neighborhood Guide

May 17, 2017

I have lived in San Diego for over 2 years and love it! Throughout my life I’ve lived in 6 states and numerous cities, but I have to admit, San Diego might be my favorite so far. There are many great neighborhoods to explore, and they all have their own unique personality.



I lived downtown my first year in San Diego and loved it! This vibrant city center is the heartbeat of San Diego. If you’ve dreamed of living in a high-rise overlooking a sparkling bay, you can do it here.



There are endless fun activities downtown, such as dining, cafés, boutiques, nightclubs, etc.



The historic Gaslamp Quarter is popular for its dining options and a fun night out.




The Petco Park area is home to the San Diego Padres where you can take in a baseball game.



The waterfront and boardwalk overlooks the San Diego Bay and houses the cruise terminal, Navy Pier, and Seaport Village.




My personal favorite is the Little Italy area. You’ll find great dining and coffee shops here, and the super popular Little Italy Mercato farmers market every Saturday from 8am – 2pm.


Read more on San Diego’s Farmers Markets!





Ocean Beach



Ocean Beach, or simply OB to locals, has a unique pulse all of its own. Here you’ll find the authentic groovy vibe from the SoCal of old.



This neighborhood has more locals and fewer tourists than other popular beaches such as Pacific Beach. The surfer community, vintage VW vans, and vintage funk atmosphere draws a lot of love to this area.







Trendy Hillcrest is one of the most popular hangout spots for locals, and is most known for its LGBT community. Here you can find many restaurants, cafés, bars, and trendy thrift shops.




North Park



Gentrified and culturally diverse North Park is a hipster’s dream neighborhood (and my personal favorite!). Filled with trendy dining options, coffee shops, microbreweries, boutiques and thrift shops, and a popular Thursday farmers market, this neighborhood has it all.



Personal favorite spots is Caffe Calabria for coffee and Pigment for shopping!



Pacific Beach



Pacific Beach (PB to locals) is a favorite for tourists, college students and basically anyone looking for a party atmosphere. With no winter in sight, the fun doesn’t stop all year long.



The 3 mile long boardwalk offers anything from surfing, ice cream, burritos, margaritas, and even community yoga on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am.



La Jolla



Even if you know nothing about San Diego, most people have heard of La Jolla. Known as the “Jewel of San Diego”, this hilly seaside community boasts one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States.



Exuding an upscale village atmosphere, here you can find fine dining, luxurious hotels, art galleries, and fancy boutiques.



There are also many outdoor activities such as sea kayaking, hang gliding, and the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. Also don’t forget the seal watching!




San Diego’s North County


The further north you go, you’ll find the beaches, locale, and housing prices become more desirable and expensive.






Upscale, clean, and refreshing…Encinitas is a gem! Proudly known as one of the best surf towns by National Geographic, the beaches of Encinitas are coveted among locals. Here you can expect an eclectic mix of upscale yoga boutiques, surf shops, and trendy coffee shops.




One of my favorite areas of Encinitas is Cardiff-by-the-Sea where you can find a great beach and fun shopping area. Check out Swami’s Beach, popularized by the Beach Boy’s hit “Surfin’ USA”.






Beautiful Carlsbad almost feels like a seaside resort. Carlsbad Village is a great place for shopping, restaurants, and beautiful seaside hotels.



Popular among tourists this area houses LEGOLAND for kids and the popular Flower Fields in the Spring.




Over to you! What’s your favorite neighborhood in San Diego?

Tiffany Nicole

Tiffany Nicole

Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.


  1. Kathleen

    May 19, 2017 at 10:07 pm Reply

    I love Rancho Penasquitos! We have the best Thai in the City and you can see the ocean from the top of Black Mountain. Great little hike right off the 15.

    1. Tiffany Nicole

      Tiffany Nicole

      May 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm Reply

      I love Rancho Penasquitos, too! The little bakery cafe, Nutmeg is one of my favorites! I didn’t know about the hike, I’ll have to try it out! 🙂

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