San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Encinitas

Pannikan in Encinitas, California

With its enchanting beaches, bistros, bars, boutiques—and even some of the finest botanical gardens found anywhere—Encinitas does not lack for chill vibes. It’s easy to see why it’s been a longtime haven for surfers, artists, and families looking to live the good life without sacrificing culture. No matter how much or how little you’re looking to do, there’s nowhere better than this small beach town a short drive from downtown San Diego.

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San Diego Magazine

A Day in Mission Bay

yoga on Mission Bay

Called San Diego’s water wonderland, America’s largest manmade aquatic park was literally built for a good time. Its endless beaches, calm-water bays, bike paths, golf course, amusement parks, and resorts beckon to all. There’s no shortage of perfect ways to spend a day in Mission Bay — jet-skiing, sailing, at SeaWorld, in a spa, all of the above — but here are a few excellent options.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Gaslamp Quarter

Coava in the Gaslamp Quarter

Since way back in the 1860s (when the streets were lighted with 50 gas-powered lamps) this happening part of the city has been lit. Today, this 16-block area close to everything in downtown is a wonderful mishmash of historic Victorian architecture, the best of modern food and drink, and San Diego’s most vibrant nightlife. Here are some stops to hit in the Gaslamp Quarter.

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Ashley Lekkerkerk

9 Hidden Gems of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Old Town State Historic Park Sign

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, considered by many to be the birthplace of Alta California, boasts many popular shops, restaurants and museums. Discover the park’s historic soul by visiting its lesser-known sites. These 9 hidden gems in Old Town tell tales of the significant moments in the region’s early history. Are you ready to adventure on a historical field trip?

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Little Italy

Nolita Hall in San Diego's Historic Little Italy

Making a strong case for being San Diego hottest foodie neighborhood, Little Italy is home to a number of celebrity chefs, including Brian Malarkey and Richard Blais, as well as rising stars equally deserving of recognition for both classic and inventive dishes. Once home to legions of Italian tuna fishermen, this historical neighborhood walks the line perfectly between honoring its history and basking in change. If you’re looking for handmade pasta or other delicacies of authentic Italian heritage, look no further. But if you’re looking for creative suds from a Danish brewer, ultra-hip coffee shops, fashion boutiques, and ice cream that’s developed a cult following, well, you’ve also come to the right place.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Blocks: Park Boulevard

Hundred Proof on Park Boulevard

Just north of the San Diego Zoo on Park Boulevard, it blazes a foodie trail up to the quaint, Craftsman-packed neighborhood of University Heights. Though there are some worthwhile outliers (Trust, for example) most of the area’s restaurants line a two-block stretch of Park Boulevard where they’re all in arm’s reach.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Escondido

Escondido in San Diego California

Just a stone’s throw from everywhere in coastal San Diego, Escondido is a nature lover’s dream. But it doesn’t end there. This hilly city—“hidden,” as its name means in Spanish—is waiting to reveal a world of arts, delicious eats, and one of the crown jewels of San Diego’s craft beer scene.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Torrey Pines Mesa

Salk Institute atop the Torrey Pines Mesa

This two-mile stretch of North Torrey Pines Road (just north of La Jolla) has attracted many of the brightest minds in life sciences, biotech, and engineering. But you don’t have to be chasing a Nobel Prize – or winning them, as denizens of this neighborhood can claim – to enjoy it. While others here labor on futuristic projects, you can bask in exquisite hotels, fine arts, legendary golf courses, and cuisine, all of which are worthy of their own Nobels.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: Del Mar & Carmel Valley

Torrey Pines - Hot Hoods Del Mar & Carmel Valley

20 minutes’ drive north of San Diego’s core, the coastal city of Del Mar—population 4,500—and its inland neighbor, Carmel Valley, beckon. Boutiques and fine restaurants line streets that exude a European flavor. Not to mention that they’re within trotting distance of the Del Mar Racetrack and some of the dreamiest coastline in San Diego.

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San Diego Magazine

San Diego’s Hottest Neighborhoods: City Heights/Little Saigon

Little Saigon Mural

As the name Little Saigon suggests, this corridor along El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue in City Heights is a Vietnamese enclave. But it’s so much more than a destination for delicious spring rolls and bahn mi. For starters, Little Saigon is home to many people of Southeast Asian origin. And—if that weren’t enough of its own identity—it’s also home to Little Mogadishu, the U.S.’s second biggest community of Somali-Americans. And did we mention that it’s becoming a full-fledged arts district in its own right, too? Continue reading