Hillcrest is a beloved San Diego neighborhood.
This vibrant neighborhood is San Diego’s LGBTQ+ hub. You’ll find many beautiful places to visit like an array of bars, restaurants, bars stores and more. There is always something to do in this vibrant neighborhood. Hillcrest is just a few miles north of downtown San Diego. Here you’ll find pedestrian-friendly streets perfect for strolling the whole day!
We’ve selected some of our favorite spots to check out next time you swing by.
1. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Be ready to wait in line if you decide to head in without joining a waitlist beforehand. This popular Hillcrest eatery is known for its delicious pancakes. Still, they also have all of the delightful breakfast staples you could ask for. Their french toast, eggs benedict, and breakfast burritos are some of our favorites. They have paleo, vegetarian, vegan dairy-free & gluten-free dishes, so everyone can enjoy breakfast as they should.
Location: 3940 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
2. Hillcrest Farmers Market
This San Diego staple is hosted in the DMV parking lot (it’ll be fun, we promise). It hosts around 175 different vendors who sell everything from local produce, arts and crafts and clothing. The market offers a wide selection of prepared dishes, a large portion of which is international cuisine. The market is open on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm.
Location: 3960 Normal St #3960, San Diego, CA 92103
3. Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
This iconic San Diego landmark is a must-visit! The pedestrian suspension bridge is 375 feet long! Once there, you’ll marvel at the beautiful views of the Sessions Canyon 70 feet below. The somewhat hidden bridge is in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. Walking on it, you are literally suspended over the canyon! It might be better to skip it if you’re scared of heights!
Location: Spruce St 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
4. Hillcrest Brewing Company
Hillcrest Brewing Company is a true neighborhood hot spot. The brewing company, bar, and pizzeria are designed to be a welcoming and friendly place to enjoy delicious beer and pizza. Hillcrest Brewing Company is actually “the first gay brewery in the world.” Their “Hoppy Hour” is on every day from 2 pm to 6 pm, and it features $2 off ALL draft beer, wells, and wine. And from Mondays to Fridays, they even offer $3 pizza by the slice! What could be better than a refreshing beer during one of our lovely San Diego sunny days? They open at 2 pm on Monday through Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday at 11 am.
Location: 1458 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
5. Harper’s Topiary Garden
This gorgeous luscious landmark is right in the middle of Mission Hills, and best of all, it’s entirely free to enjoy! A local couple created Harper’s Topiary Garden. They wanted to turn their front yard into a living art piece for all to enjoy. Only fifteen years ago, the couple’s front garden was your run-of-the-mill home garden. Now it has over 50 life-sized figurines that are expertly trimmed by hand. There is something magical and exotic about Harper’s Topiary Garden. The couple was inspired by their international travels and brought back that inspiration to this San Diego gem!
Location: 3549 Union St, San Diego, CA 92103
6. Aladdin Hillcrest
This delicious Hillcrest favorite restaurant serves up delicious Lebanese cuisine. The richness of Lebanese food comes from the blending of various cultures of the middle east along with Europe to form a truly spectacular dining experience. Some of our favorite dishes they have include their Lamb and Beef Bryani, The Shrimp Kebab, and of course mouthwatering Baklava. They are currently OPEN for carry-out, delivery, and curbside pick-ups, along with outdoor and indoor dining. Their business hours are 11 am to 8 pm on Monday through Thursday, and 11 am to 8:30 pm on Friday through Sunday.
Location: 3900 Vermont Street, San Diego, CA 92103
7. Urban MO’s Bar & Grill
Want to go to the Best Gay Bar in the World? Thankfully, it isn’t far, but rather a short drive to Hillcrest away! Urban MO’s bar and grill is a hetero-friendly gay spot with showstopping burgers! This is a fabulous spot to enjoy a great lunch and cocktail while having an even more amazing time! Urban Mo’s knows how to have fun; their delicious cocktails are even adorned with adorable toy farm animals. Enjoy our famous San Diego sunshine eating and drinking in their lovely patio and brand-new upper deck. Their drag events are so incredible and fun you’ll never want to leave. MO’s is an iconic and essential Hillcrest spot!
Location: 308 University Ave, San Diego, 92103
8. Cinema Under the Stars
This intimate outdoor movie theater in Mission Hills is a fantastic movie night venue under the stars! It features a 20-foot screen with HD projection and THX surround sound to bring fabulous pictures to life! The open-air space has many seating options such as single & double zero-gravity recliners, love seat cabanas, or deck chairs with ottomans. They will also provide cozy blankets, pillows, and heaters for the perfect snug movie night. Before every film, there is a brief introduction and a classic cartoon. The movies begin at 8 pm. Tickets are $17 for members, $18 for non-members, and $20 when reserved online.
Location:4040 Goldfinch St, San Diego
9. Lockdown Escape Room
Lockdown Escape Room is a fully immersive escape game experience perfect for thrillseekers. You’ll be entertained with unique puzzles, enthralling storylines, and intricate plots! The state-of-the-art lights and sound effects will make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action at all times! Once inside the rooms, you and your friends better work together to find the right clues and make it out in one piece in under 60 minutes.
Location: 1037 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
10. Little Nap
Little Nap is an excellent Hillcrest spot with great boba and desserts. They offer Japanese Fusion foods such as sandwiches and steamed buns with their house sauces and all-natural protein. You can build your own ice cream bar and pick from flavors such as chocolate strawberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, along with any toppings of your choice. They also have vegan options! We also recommend their Hokkaido soft serve with mango and honey boba. It’s a delicious and refreshing drink!
11. Hillcrest Cinemas
Landmark Theatres is a highly recognized theatre chain that showcases a wide variety of films. These range from independent and foreign films to award darlings and summer blockbusters! Their Hillcrest location is no exception, and there you’ll be able to see all the latest independent and mainstream films!
Location: 3965 Fifth Ave # 200, San Diego, CA 92103
Featured image: Albert Campbell / Shutterstock.com