Robert Arends

Quick Guide to the 2013 San Diego Pride!

Walking under Hillcrest SignLet your rainbow colors fly! San Diego Pride is coming up this weekend, July 12-14. The glittery glamorous spotlight shines on Hillcrest, San Diego’s hip uptown neighborhood, during one of our city’s biggest summer events. Following is a quick guide to the big annual LGBT celebration.

Three Must-See San Diego Pride Events…

Dancers at Pride of Hillcrest Block Party!

Dancers at Pride of Hillcrest Block Party!

First, here’s the 411 on the big three must-see San Diego Pride events:

  • 2nd annual Pride of Hillcrest Block Party on July 12, 6-11pm, on Normal St.; starring former Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta.
  • 39th Annual Pride Parade on July 13, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, down University Ave. Grand Marshalls are George Takei (of Star Trek fame!), his partner Brad and La Toya Jackson (really!)
  • Pride Festival, July 13-14, in beautiful Balboa Park, featuring eight dance/entertainment stages, including Ms. Jackson in concert.

Sip…

Good times on tap at Urban Mo's!

Good times on tap at Urban Mo’s!

So many bars, so little time! Let’s narrow down the list a bit to these Top 10 tried and true hotspots:

  1. Baby Cakes – cocktails and cupcakes, sweet! Fab for people watching from the patio.
  2. Bourbon Street – a classy touch of N’Orleans in neighboring University Heights
  3. Brass Rail – the official Pride Parade After Party, and no cover!
  4. Flicks – Hillcrest’s #1 video bar.
  5. Gossip Grill – caters to the ladies (gents welcome too)
  6. Hillcrest Brewing Company – toast San Diego’s hop-pening craft beer scene and the world’s 1st LGBT brewery!
  7. Martinis Above Fourth – swanky digs and best martinis in town!
  8. Number One Fifth Avenue – friendly neighborhood bar with patio out back to mix & mingle
  9. Pecs – Bears, oh my! Good times on tap all weekend.
  10. Urban Mos – dance floor, 3 bars, packed patio and great food…yes please!

Sup…

There are dozens of great restaurants in and around Hillcrest. Standouts include the new Great Maple, Project Pie (best pizzas!), D Bar and Snooze. Other favs: Baja Betty’s (muy bueno Mexican food), The Tractor Room, Yakitori Izakaya Tec Chan (for yummy late-night Japanese apps), Cucina Urbana and Café on Park (popular brunch spot!).

Sleep…

The coolest, closest gay-friendly hotel is Inn at the Park, just two blocks from Hillcrest and the Pride Festival. Their rooftop happy hour on Friday is off the charts!

PAR-TAY!

Go wild at the San Diego Zoo Party!

Go wild at the San Diego Zoo Party!

Groovestars unite at Rich’s nightclub for high NRG music and dancing till 2am. For you circuit boys and gals, four Pride Parties are sure to perk you up (get tickets here or at the door):

  • Pride Ball – July 12, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at Spin Night Club
  • Circuit Daze – July 13, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park
  • The famous [for some, infamous ;-)] Zoo Party – July 14, 4:00 to 11:00 PM at the San Diego Zoo
  • Fete Accompli – July 14, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at the House of Blues downtown

P.S. While you’re here, work on that coppertone tan at Coronado Beach, one of “America’s Manliest Beaches,” according to The Travel Channel.

Robert Arends

Quick Guide to San Diego Pride!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…San Diego Pride, that is, coming up this weekend July 20-22! Pride is one of our city’s biggest summer events, especially for Hillcrest, the hip LGBT uptown neighborhood.

With SO much to see and do, I thought I’d narrow it down for our out-of-town guests with some favorite local hotspots to mix & mingle, unwind and boogie down.

Eat,

Hillcrest offers a wide range of dining options (hey, a girl’s got to eat! 😉 ), especially along University Ave. and 5th Ave. Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe on 5th is THE place for great Mexican food (you’ll love the carnitas), and it’s right across the street from Inn at the Park (see DRINK below). Asian Bistro on University (right down the street from Urban Mo’s – see DRINK below) is perfect for a late-night nosh after getting your groove on (the duck soup is delish!). Café on Park is my fav for brunch where you can nurse a hangover with Captain Crunch pancakes – yum!

Drink…

Good times on tap at Urban Mo’s!

Start your Pride pub crawl at Top of the Park, the fab Friday night happy hour on the rooftop of Inn at the Park. Enjoy phenomenal views of downtown, Balboa Park and San Diego Bay while sipping cocktails and socializing. Then head to Hillcrest’s most popular “family” of bars: Urban Mo’s (the patio is jumping!), Gossip Grill (for the girls!), Baja Betty’s (ole!) and Hillcrest Brewing Co. – the FIRST gay brewery in the world! Also be sure to check out Bourbon Street, our little slice of New Orleans on Park Blvd.

& Be Merry!

Picture-perfect Hillcrest!

Kick things off on Friday at the first-ever Pride of Hillcrest Block Party with DJs, dancing, food, drink and “Hillcrest Pride Flag Viewing” Ferris wheel (!) at the intersection of Normal St. and University Ave.

San Diego Pride Parade down University Ave.

On Saturday, the colorful Pride Parade takes to the streets (University Ave. and 6th Ave.) from 11am-1pm, with Grand Marshal Sandra Bernhard and actor Alex Newell from the hit TV Show “Glee.” This year’s theme is “America’s Pride” (translation: active duty men and women in uniform!).

The Pride Festival takes place Saturday (12 noon-10pm) and Sunday (11am-8pm) at Marston Point in Balboa Park (along 6th Ave.). Music headliner is Wynter Gordon, known for her smash hit single, “Dirty Talk.” One-day ticket is $20; two-day tix are $30.

For all you grooovestars, dance the night away at spacious Rich’s nightclub (with two outdoor patios) and the chic new discothèque Eden just across the street.

Let your rainbow colors fly proudly in San Diego!