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The Ultimate San Diego Neighborhood Guide

May 17, 2017
The Ultimate San Diego Neighborhood Guide

There are quite a few neighborhoods in San Diego, you might be wondering where you should live, or which one’s the best to hang out in. I have lived in San Diego for over 2 years and love it! There are so many great neighborhoods to explore, and they all have their own unique style and personality. I’ll break down some of the top neighborhoods in San Diego, and you can decide for yourself which is your favorite. Let’s go! 🙂

 

The Ultimate San Diego Neighborhood Guide

 

Downtown

Google Maps

I lived downtown my first year in San Diego and it was amazing! The downtown area has a vibrant city center, and feels like the heartbeat of San Diego. If you’ve dreamed of living in a high-rise overlooking a sparkling bay, you can do it here. 

 

Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

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

 

Little Italy - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

The downtown area can be broken down into more “mini-neighborhoods”:

  • The Gaslamp Quarter – The historic Gaslamp Quarter is popular for its dining options and a fun night out. If you’re looking for a neighborhood for it’s nightlife, then Gaslamp is for you. 

 

Gaslamp Quarter - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Gaslamp Quarter - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

  • Petco Park – The Petco Park area is home to the San Diego Padres where you can take in a baseball game. It’s right next to the Gaslamp Quarter, so many people eat in Gaslamp before going to a game or concert. 

 

Petco Park - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

  • The Waterfront – The waterfront and boardwalk overlooks the San Diego Bay and houses the cruise terminal, Navy Pier, and Seaport Village. The pier is a popular spot to go for a jog, and Seaport Village is perfect for sightseeing, dinner, and shopping. 

 

San Diego Waterfront - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Seaport Village - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

  • Little Italy – 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. Definitely come here for food and shopping. 

 

Read more: San Diego Farmers Markets for Every Day of the Week

 

Napizza Little Italy - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Napizza Little Italy - Downtown - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Ocean Beach

Google Maps

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.

 

The Ocean Beach neighborhood has more locals and fewer tourists than other popular beaches (Example: Pacific Beach). The surfer community, vintage VW vans, and vintage funk atmosphere draws a lot of love to this area.

 

Ocean Beach - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Ocean Beach - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Hillcrest

Google Maps

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.

 

Hillcrest - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Hillcrest - San Diego Neighborhood

 

North Park

Google Maps

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, it has it all! And don’t forget the popular Thursday farmers market.

 

North Park - San Diego Neighborhood

 

North Park - San Diego Neighborhood

 

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

 

Pigment - North Park - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Pacific Beach

Google Maps

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.

 

Hillcrest - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Pacific Beach - Best Beaches in San Diego

 

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

 

Pacific Beach Yoga - San Diego Neighborhood

 

La Jolla

Google Maps

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.

 

La Jolla - San Diego Neighborhood

 

La Jolla - San Diego Neighborhood

 

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

 

La Jolla - San Diego Neighborhood

 

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!

 

La Jolla Cove Seals - San Diego Bucket List

 

 

San Diego’s North County Neighborhoods

 

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

 

Encinitas

Google Maps 

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 amongst locals. Here you can expect an eclectic mix of upscale yoga boutiques, surf shops, and trendy coffee shops.

 

Encinitas - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Encinitas - San Diego Neighborhood

 

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”.

 

Swami's Beach - Best Beaches in San Diego

 

Carlsbad

Google Maps

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

 

Carlsbad - San Diego Neighborhood

 

Carlsbad - San Diego Neighborhood

 

The Carlsbad neighborhood also houses popular tourist attracts such as LEGOLAND and the Flower Fields (spring only).

 

Going to San Diego? Check out these popular posts:

 

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The Ultimate San Diego Neighborhood Guide

 

What’s your favorite San Diego neighborhood? Love to know in the comments below!

 

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

Comments

  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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Lavender Vines About Page

Welcome to Lavender Vines! 
Hi I’m Tiffany, a Jesus loving free spirit who can’t get enough of adventure, salted caramel lattes, & farmers markets. At Lavender Vines my mission is to help you grow in your faith, travel the world, and live life to the absolute fullest.
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