Hillcrest is a lively neighborhood often referred to as the Greenwich Village of San Diego. Though geographically small, it is a cultural hotspot and LGBT mecca. The neighborhood is filled with boutique shops, wine bars, eclectic restaurants, and unique nightlife. Urban MO’s Bar & Grill is a Hillcrest classic and the best place to get into the spirit of the neighborhood. Restaurant Row has an astounding array of ethnic and New American restaurants, and a weekend farmers’ market draws over 175 vendors. San Diego’s annual LGBT Pride Festival has been staple in Hillcrest since 1975. What’s missing in the neighborhood is a notable hotel presence; there are few places for travelers to stay.
The Hillcrest Hotels
For those who would like to stay in Hillcrest while visiting San Diego, there are a couple great choices travelers should consider. Sommerset Suites Hillcrest is a great value hotel, and Ann Callahan’s Hillcrest House is a luxury bed and breakfast. Sommerset Suites Hillcrest is a good fit for families, corporate travelers, and extended stay guests. The all-suite hotel is simple, spacious, and comfortable, with value added amenities like full kitchens, private balconies, a heated outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi. The 1910 Ann Callahan’s Hillcrest House, voted top bed and breakfast in San Diego, has five high-end rooms and a two-bedroom vacation bungalow with private outdoor patio. The luxury digs can accommodate families, business travelers, or couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Who Should Stay in Hillcrest
Hillcrest appeals to the adventurous traveler on the lookout for what’s different and interesting about a city. In neighborhood boutique shops, visitors will find everything from outlandish, funky fashions to old school vinyl records. The neighborhood also has one of San Diego’s few independent theaters, Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinema, featuring predominately indie films.
Families will enjoy Hillcrest’s close proximity to the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, at the southern end of the neighborhood. Balboa Park has fifteen museums, beautiful gardens, restaurants, a working artists’ village, and numerous hiking and biking paths. It’s next door neighbor, the San Diego Zoo, has more than 3,700 animals including rare pandas and rhinoceroses.
Foodies will love their choices in Hillcrest; Greek, Thai, Afghani, French, Mexican, and Japanese are just a few of the delectable options. Trendy New American restaurants are on the rise with options like 100 Wines Kitchen and Uptown Tavern. There are also several wine bars, lounges, and upbeat clubs, so whether you want a quiet night for two or a wild night out with friends, you can experience it here.
Hillcrest is the entertainment epicenter of San Diego’s LGBT community. A large rainbow flag at the corner of University and Normal Streets is a symbol of neighborhood pride, and the starting point for San Diego’s annual Pride Parade. The San Diego LGBT Community Center is on Harvey Milk Street. Besides the many ethnic restaurants, wine bars, and nightclubs along University Avenue, there are coffee shops, vintage clothing boutiques, new and used bookstores, and cafés along 5th Avenue.