Spend a day in Hillcrest


Hillcrest is a hub for the LGBTQ community in San Diego, but in recent years, the neighborhood also has blossomed into a foodie retreat with a number of new restaurants opening.

A new space for a known place

Swami’s Cafe is a breakfast and lunch spot with several locations scattered throughout San Diego. Earlier in May, Swami’s Hillcrest opened, offering a new dinner service not available in other locations. Swami’s is known for its breakfast, so any dish is sure to be a hit. Popular menu items include omelets, pancakes, waffles and smoothie bowls.

3707 Fifth Ave., 619.677.2770,

Scan the shops on Fifth Avenue

Walk up and down Fifth Avenue and there will be a strip of shops with everything from vintage clothes, to books and handcrafted items. Buffalo Exchange is perfect for the fashion-forward shopper on a budget. Looking for more timely pieces? Flashbacks does what it says, selling clothes that can turn the clock back.

Along Fifth Avenue

The quintessential gastropub

When one thinks bar food, 5th Avenue Kitchen and Tap should now come to mind. From the beer on tap to the monstrous burgers and array of sandwiches, this new eatery screams casuals eats. Don’t be fooled by the menu’s typicality, many of the ingredients are made in-house including the burger patties, sausages, bacon, sauces and marinades. The lunch special includes a burger or chef’s choice, fries and a drink for $10.

3515 Fifth Ave., 619.578.2873,

Italian a la carte

Another new restaurant on the scene is Maestoso. Unlike other Italian restaurants, this one presents food a la carte; chefs walk around with carts of small plated food, allowing diners to pick their dishes. The pasta is made daily in-house and guests can ask to sit at the counter to watch chefs hand roll and cut the dough.

1040 University Ave., 619.642.0777,

Let loose

Hillcrest residents know how to have fun and countless bars and nightclubs host the rambunctious festivities. Rich’s San Diego pumps up the energy with loud music and themed nights for its guests to be bold. This traditionally gay nightclub is open to all who are free of judgment and ready for a wild night.

1051 University Ave., 619.295.2195,

Need a place to crash?

For a traditional B&B stay, the Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast has all the stops. Quaint house with a garden? Check. Baked goods and fruit for guests? Check. Themed rooms? Check.

3845 Front St., 619.990.2441,

Although there are no resorts in Hillcrest, there are lodging options that cater toward the traveler. ITH Hostels and Eco-Lodging harbors a community with opportunities to meet and travel with new people. The hostel offers two-, four- and six-bed dorms, plenty of community spaces and lockers for valuables.

3751 Sixth Ave., 619.955.7723,

Honorable mention

Hillcrest hosts a weekly farmers market, with more than 100 vendors at any given time. Pick up some flowers, purchase produce or try out some local cuisine.

Normal Street between University Avenue and Lincoln Street