What to do in San Diego (Golden Hill/North Park/Hillcrest)

I’m going to be in San Diego next month for a few days. Anything interesting I shouldn’t miss in the Golden Hill, North Park, and Hillcrest areas? I haven’t been there in a while. I know all about the zoo and Balboa Park. Decent Mexican restaurants? Any interesting churches in the area? Outside of the museums by Balboa Park, are there any others that are close?

I’ve been to La Jolla and UCSD. Last time I was there, I went on some tour of a Victorian home which was interesting. However, I have no idea where it was.

There was some outdoors mall I went to about ten years ago. That was decent enough.

I thought there was an independent movie theatre in the area. Also, any links to cultural activities would be appreciated.

The Del hotel in Coronado. Centrepiece of “Some Like it Hot.” Fabulous spot.

The museums in Balboa Park are free on rotating basis on most Tuesdays.

“Free Tuesday” schedule.

eta: I see they’ve changed the policy to only allow free admission to residents/military…that sucks!

The theatre you’re probably looking for is Hillcrest Cinemas, owned by Landmark Theatres. Whenever I’m in San Diego, I make a point of catching a film there (or at one of their other theatres) if at all possible. It’s just so nice to have a theatre completely devoted to independent film and documentaries. There’s nothing quite like it where I live.

If you’re at all interested in architecture, I highly recommend San Diego Architecture from Mission to Modern. It’s a fascinating book that gives the photos, descriptions, history and, most importantly, addresses, of lots of interesting buildings throughout San Diego County. It tends to lean a little more heavily towards older buildings, especially in the neighbourhoods you’ve mentioned, but it does include newer buildings as well. You could probably plan out a nice little walking tour for yourself with the book. If you don’t want to order it online, you can probably get it at local book shops or in museum gift shops (that’s where we found ours).

Unfortunately, my restaurant recommendations for those neighbourhoods are limited to vegetarian places, so I’m probably not of much help for you, but if you decide you want them, they’re yours.

Enjoy your trip!

What dates?

Actually, you might be thinking of the Ken ( http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/SanDiego/KenCinema.htm ) which is even artsy fartsier than the Hillcrest theater.

I always give a shout out to The Linkery, which is roughly at 30th and University in North Park. Actually, North Park has several nice restaurants, bars etc. now, since it’s been revitalized a bit.

Adams Avenue – through Kensington and Normal Heights (just east of Northpark) has a few cafes, a good amount of bars, and some cool shops. I actually came in to post about Lestat’s on Adams. Lestat’s is a made up of two parts – a cafe open 24 hours with good coffee and drinks, yummy desserts and homemade quiche, free wifi (and two or three computers you can use for a fee), funky art, and interesting patrons; and Lestat’s West, the venue with live entertainment nightly – comedy, music, I think spoken word, things of that sort. Check out their web site for the calendar. http://www.lestats.com/

Lestat’s is just a few blocks down the road from our place. I’ve been there a few times, and it’s fine, but it’s really not a place i would go out of my way to visit if i were on vacation in a new city. But i guess if you have some time to kill, and want some decent food in a laid back atmosphere, it would be fine.

For Mexican in this area, i quite like El Zarape, on Park Avenue in University Heights. While i only eat the vegetarian stuff, their fish tacos and their scallop tacos have an excellent reputation among the seafood-eating set. And fish tacos are 99c each; you really can’t beat that. They’ve just opened a second location on Adams Avenue, near 32nd, but it’s more of a proper sit-down place, and the menu is more expensive and much more limited.

I also like Ranchos Mexican in North Park, on 30th near University, although again that’s partly because it has such a good vegetarian selection. As a vegetarian, i like it when Mexican restaurants go out of their way to offer proper vegetarian cuisine, because in some of the smaller places, it can be hard to tell what is really vegetarian (for example, sometimes the beans are cooked with meat or lard, and sometimes they’re not).

I’m not sure whether you’re into kitsch/retro drinking establishments or not, but if you want a relaxing drink in a somewhat different type of place, try the Red Fox Steak House on El Cajon in North Park. I’ve never eaten there, but it’s a fun place to have a few drinks; the awesome vinyl seating and the 70s-style piano bar atmosphere are great. And they actually have a guy on piano singing the oldies on a lot of evenings. Quite a lot of the Yelp reviews of the place warn that it’s in a seedy/dangerous area, but i’ve never had any trouble at all around there. I’ve actually seen quite a lot of this sort of paranoia on the San Diego Yelp pages; it’s clear that the folks in this town have never tried walking around a city like Baltimore or parts of Philadelphia after dark. Then they might really know what seedy and dangerous looks like.

By the way, dalej42, when are you coming to town? I’m going to be away for the first couple of weeks in July, but i’ll be back by about the 13th or 14th. I know you’re a big baseball fan, and the Padres have a week-long home stand from July 16-22. If you wanted to go to a game, i’d be up for a baseball mini-Dopefest.

July 17-20. A game would be fun. I’ve never been to the new stadium there.

You’re also going to be in town for Pride - of course maybe you know that because that’s why you’ll be here? Anyway, that’ll keep things hopping in Hillcrest, something to keep in mind.

Yes, that is my main reason for coming. I’m just looking for some ideas of other things to do.

I’ll plug my favorite restaurant in San Diego - The Wine Vault. The menu changes all the time, but here’s an example of the 30.00 5 course menu for Saturday (wine flight is extra):

CHEF’S 5-COURSE TASTING MENU ~ $30
Heirloom Tomato Salad | Crescenza Cheese | Basil Vinaigrette | Watermelon Granite | Garlic Croutons

Corn + Summer Squash Succotash | Pickled Peppers | Eight Ball Squash | Summer Beans | Coriander Froth

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin | Grilled Nectarine | Warm Red Spinach Salad

NY Strip Loin | Braised Mustard Greens | Brioche Crusted Sweetbreads | Potato Puree | Demi Glace

Warm Cherry Tart | Crème Chantilly

You can check out all the menus by clicking the calendar link and then browsing to different days. Friday nights is a 3 course prix fixe menu, Saturday nights is the 5 course menu, Sunday nights tend to be a special wine maker dinner (fabulous!).