Things to do in Hillcrest 

Hillcrest is situated just a few miles north of the downtown area of San Diego, and it is very easy to get to for anyone visiting the area. It is a lively uptown neighborhood which serves as the central hub of San Diego’s LGBTQ community, and it has a whole slew of boutiques, coffee houses, bars, restaurants, and various unique shops to offer visitors. If you can’t find something which interests you within the Hillcrest community, you’re just not looking hard enough.

The Hillcrest community

Hillcrest is known for its welcoming attitude and for the numerous sidewalk patios and pedestrian-friendly streets which make it a walker’s paradise. Each year, a mile-long parade is held in July to celebrate the LGBTQ presence in the community, and you might want to visit the well-known Community Center which is situated on Harvey Milk Street.

On the West End of the Hillcrest community, there is a Hillcrest sign which designates the actual heart of the community, and this is filled up with exciting nightclubs, quaint boutiques, and all kinds of restaurants. There is a huge rainbow flag on the east end of Hillcrest which functions as a gathering point for community festivals and celebrations, and all kinds of other special events.

There are more than a dozen blocks along University Avenue which are comprised of diverse ethnic restaurants, nationally known wine bars, and more than a few nightclubs. Here you’ll also discover distinctive boutiques, home decor shops, the exciting Uptown District shopping Plaza, and the only gay brewery in the United States, the Hillcrest Brewing Company.

These 12 blocks also are host to one of the biggest Farmers’ Markets in the San Diego region, which is held between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Sunday. At this Farmers’ Market you’ll find all kinds of arts and crafts, vendors with gourmet hot and cold cuisine, and a vast array of local produce grown by area residents. There are more than 175 vendors which are in attendance for this enormous collection of vendors, and it is held regardless of weather conditions, so you won’t be disappointed if you show up. 

Once you move over to Fifth Avenue, you’ll find a number of established restaurants as well as some new ones, and even some shops which cater exclusively to specialty desserts. Here also you’ll find some vintage clothing shops, Landmark Cinemas for viewing foreign films and indie films, and even some book outlets for the more studious visitors.

If you were to travel on a direct line south of Hillcrest, you would eventually find yourself right in the middle of Balboa Park, which is the largest urban park in all of North America, and a virtual hub for arts and culture, community gatherings, and all kinds of recreation. There are 17 museums located in Balboa Park, as well as some performing arts venues, the world-famous San Diego zoo, more than 1,200 acres of lush gardens, and some beautifully decorative Spanish-Renaissance architecture. 

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