Exploring San Diego’s Hottest ‘Hoods: Adams Avenue

Stretching three miles from east to west, Adams Avenue spans at least four neighborhoods and crosses two major freeways in a central part of San Diego. Lined with historic Craftsman houses and populated by young families and the artsy millennial crowd, it offers an impressive lineup of hip eateries, boutiques, and bars. Start in the middle or work your way from one end to the other – you can’t really go wrong in this hipster-friendly ‘hood.

Food & Drink

Soda & Swine / Polite Provisions

Customize your own meatball meal via sub, slider, or spaghetti, and rinse it down with a creative craft cocktail from the next door speakeasy.

Where: 2943 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Soda & Swine / Polite Provisions

Tajima

San Diego is experiencing a ramen boom, and Tajima is leading the charge. The Normal Heights location offers bowls for all different tastes and diets, like a delicious vegan ramen with spinach noodles.

Where: 3015 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Tajima

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Dark Horse has taken the local craft coffee scene to the next level with its Hawaiian-inspired small-batch roasts and cold brew growlers.

Where: 3260 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Dark Horse Coddee Roasters

Sycamore Den

This is where you’ll find San Diego’s top bartenders drinking on their day off. The 70s-inspired bar has a menu of artisanal cocktails and liquors, plus occasional live bands.

Where: 3391 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Sycamore Den

Blind Lady Alehouse

Get your craft beer with a side of pizza at this casual, vegan-friendly brewpub. Also worth a visit? BLAH’s sister restaurants Tiger!Tiger! in North Park and Panama 66 in Balboa Park.

Where: 3416 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Blind Lady Alehouse

Little Miss Brewing Company

Still a relative newcomer on the San Diego beer scene, this female-owned brewery is outfitted with a World War II theme and offers a varied lineup of house-made beers.

Where: 3514 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Little Miss Brewing Company

Cucina Sorella

Take your pasta-eating experiences to new heights at the latest addition to Urban Kitchen Group’s already-impressive roster of Italian eateries.

Where: 4055 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Cucina Sorella

Kensington Brewing Company

This small neighborhood brewery didn’t actually have a tasting room in Kensington until fairly recently when it moved into a former video store. For a real flavor bomb, try the Apricot Wheat.

Where: 4067 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Kensington Brewing Company

Clem’s Tap House

Kensington’s original family-owned brewpub keeps plenty of beers on tap and boasts actor Will Ferrell’s seal of approval. For a beer to go, Clem’s Bottle House next door offers a wide selection of bottles.

Where: 4108 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Clem’s Tap House

Shopping

Maven

Stocked with chic indie brands such as Laura Lombardi jewelry and Charlotte Stone shoes, Maven features carefully curated lifestyle products perfect for souveniers and gift giving.

Where: 2946 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Maven

Kiko & Sven

Formerly known as Niche, this Kensington shop combines Japanese and Swedish-inspired design, unique gifts, and even a monthly subscription box program.

Where: 3723 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Kiko & Sven

Live Music

Lestat’s West

Located next door to always-open coffee shop Lestat’s in the heart of Normal Heights, this music venue hosts regular shows, open mic events, and comedy nights.

Where: 3343 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Lestat’s West

Kensington Club

This neighborhood dive bar and venue has two parts: a bar area with seating and a pool table, and a separate room for concerts. Check it out for eclectic local San Diego bands, karaoke, and cheap drinks.

Where: 4079 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about the Kensington Club

Art

Art FORM San Diego

This Normal Heights nonprofit promotes creative re-use by hosting art education workshops where discarded items are transformed into art.

Where: 3316 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Art FORM San Diego

Back from Tomboctou Gallery & Imports

Browse a colorful collection of folk art and handmade gifts from around the globe, or attend one of the shop’s many DIY workshops.

Where: 3564 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Back from Tomboctou Gallery & Imports

Events

Adams Avenue Street Fair
Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival has been taking over Adams Avenue for a weekend in September for the past 36 years.

When: September
> Find out more about the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Adams Avenue Unplugged

This free musical walkabout features live music staged at different locations throughout a two-mile stretch of Adams Avenue during the last weekend of April each year.

When: April
> Find out more about Adams Avenue Unplugged

Taste of Adams Avenue

Wear loose-fitting pants to this annual tasting event featuring bites from over 40 of the area’s hottest eateries, cafés, breweries, and bars.

When: June
> Find out more about Taste of Adams Avenue