San Diego comprises more than 100 colorful, charismatic and unique neighborhoods - each with a style and personality of it's own. From hipster to historic, the wander-worthy neighborhoods certainly run the gamut and offer dynamic medleys of outdoor activities, arts and culture, dining and shopping that reflect the rich diversity of the San Diego region.
Ever since I moved here from New York, I have fulfilled much of my wonderlust by checking out the many different parts that San Diego has to offer. While I can't tell you directions to and from - I'll leave that to Siri or Google Maps - I can certainly provide you with a glimpse in to the different neighborhood #vibes so you can plan your next outing or trip. And, what better way to breakdown the different characteristics than to compare them to those of the Manhattan?
Banker’s Hill - The “uptown” neighborhood reminds me of a combination of the Upper East side and West Village in New York City. The quaint, sophisticated and charming neighborhood is characterized by historic homes and modern, luxury development, trendy restaurants, bars, fitness boutiques and chic shops. Bonus, this neighborhood houses the infamous and beautiful Balboa Park (A.K.A the central park of San Diego) and all of it’s wonderful year-round events.
Little Italy - I bet you could guess this one. New York's Little Italy, duh! This chic and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood definitely knows how to snag a pizza your heart. The streets of Little Italy are lined with trendy cocktail bars, breweries, and restaurants with bustling patios. Did I mention aromas of fresh pasta, pizza, cheese and bread too? But, the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also find upscale clothing boutiques, art galleries, indie music venues, a Waterfront park and a weekly farmer’s market (Mercato Farmers’).
North Park - The cool-kids, eclectic, Williamsburg-esque neighborhood, east of Balboa Park, serves up a dynamic mix of cultural and buzz-worthy coffee-houses, breweries, bars, retail shops and the city's most up-and-coming restaurant row, all within a short walking distance of one another.
The Gaslamp Quarter - The downtown neighborhood is the historic heart of San Diego and the 16½-block Gaslamp Quarter combines Victorian-charm with urban living. The area comes alive, with tourists (especially), at night and the cocktail lounges and clubs could be considered to those in the Meatpacking District (San Diego-style), while the mix of independent chains and global restaurants lend themselves to those that you can find lining the streets of the East Village and Times Square.
Hillcrest - Hillcrest is the Hell’s Kitchen of San Diego, and a popular weekend destination! The eclectic and vibrant hotspot is the center for the LGBT scene. The main center is made of up two streets: University Avenue and Fifth Avenue. University is lined with restaurants serving global cuisine, while Fifth Avenue brings a mix of casual eateries, brunch spots and vintage shops stocked with used books, second-hand and designer clothes, records, unique novelty items and more. Bonus: the weekly Hillcrest Farmers Market sells produce, flowers and cooked food!
Pacific Beach - This beach neighborhood - also known as "P.B." - serves up serious Lower East Side vibes - ocean side addition. The seaside mecca and surfer's paradise is full of trendy hotels, yoga studios, casual cafes and restaurants and boisterous drinking spots which draw a young, bar hopping crowd, surfers and sunbathers alike. Located just south of P.B. and connected by a three-mile boardwalk, Mission Beach is another popular surf spot and hip hangout.
La Jolla - This is one of the most sought-after and stunning pieces of coastline in all of California. The posh neighborhood could be compared to the vibe of TribeCa and SoHo. With luxurious and historic hotels, beautiful homes, fine dining and shopping, world-class arts and culture, unbeatable outdoor recreation and a strikingly beautiful setting, it's no wonder why La Jolla is nicknamed the "jewel" of San Diego.
South Park and Golden Hill - Maybe it's because of the word "hill," but I'd compare these two blossoming neighborhoods to Murray Hill and Midtown East in Manhattan. Located just outside of downtown, Golden Hill and South Park are havens for independent shops, galleries and restaurants featuring innovative menus, complemented by the region's award-winning craft beer.
Have you visited any of these neighborhoods?
So next time you're in the area, head in and make your debut to see what you discover!