San Diego has its fair share of neighborhoods that range in style, from upscale to traditional to modern to quirky. Though every neighborhood has its perks, one that commonly gets overlooked is South Park, an eclectic and diverse neighborhood that borders Balboa Park to the southeast.
For a long time, South Park was known for its collection of Craftsman and Spanish Colonial style homes, most of which were built between 1905 and 1930. Until recently, it was a quiet residential district that appealed to San Diego residents but not so much to tourists. That began to change, however, when its business district began to flourish.
Today, South Park is a mecca of progressive art galleries, indie shops and boutique restaurants and coffee shops.
South Park business owners are particularly invested in the health and wellbeing of the environment, as many use strictly seasonal organics and sustainable seafood and meats. The cuisine served up in the area ranges from light and healthy to downright sinful.
Food isn’t the only locally sourced item in South Park. Craft brews and local wines are often served up alongside innovative salads, juicy burgers and delectable desserts. Art galleries boast pieces from local artists, and boutiques feature clothing items from local designers.
If you’re looking for a truly San Diego shopping experience, you’ll find it in South Park. For trinkets, treasures and fashions you can’t find in a shopping mall, head down to Fern Street, where you’ll find fun shops such as Graffiti Beach Boutique, Vinyl Junkies Record Shack and Make Good.
If you’re lucky (or if you plan it right), you’ll be in town for the quarterly Walkabout, a one-day event during which local shops and restaurants stay open late and offer special discounts, tasters and refreshments and live music flows through the streets. Though the South Park Walkabout does draw in new business for shop owners, the ultimate goal is to highlight the area’s diversity and pride in its local arts, culture and crafts.
South Park is right next door to North Park, which complements the southern neighborhood quite well. While South Park offers more of a laid back, indie vibe, North Park is lively and well known for its bar-hopping intersection and its claim of being “the best beer neighborhood in the nation.” There, you’ll find dozens of great shops, restaurants, live entertainment, art galleries and live theater.