Spend a day in North Park


Ah, North Park. Seems as though this neighborhood is growing by the minute. There’s always something new opening, so it can be difficult to decide what to do there. Here are just a few things one can do in North Park, but with its ever-evolving scene, the options are endless.

It’s all waffle love

Formerly known as Wow Wow Waffle, Atypical Waffle Company recently rebranded itself not forgetting the crispy breakfast cake in the process. The menu is decked with waffles, of course. For a sweet chocolatey breakfast, order Nutella Chocolate Lovers. For a savory and notable waffle, order The Number Seven (candied bacon, smashed avocado and goatcheese). Want something in between? The Jackies Jam and Brie blends sweet and savory atop a soft waffle. Lemonade on tap is provided by Wow Wow Lemonade. Pro tip: Bring a mason jar or hydroflask for discounted refills.

3519 30th St., 619.806.0345,

Channel your inner Frida

Artelexia is an art and retail space with a Mexican spin — spot the Frida Khalo mural inside or the various items with Mexican icons and cultural symbols. The colorful shop is a perfect photo opp for those Instagram pics, choose between the “Love Yourself” Frida wall inside or the “You Are Radient” wall outside. There are plenty of items to purchase, but for the indecisive, get a $25, $50 or $75 grab bag for a surprise.

3803 Ray St., North Park, 619.501.6381,

Eat mo’ pho

Shank and Bone is one of many new restaurant that opened this year in the central San Diego neighborhood. The food served here mixes traditional Vietnamese cuisine with modern touches, offering vegan pho, roasted bone marrow & bahn mi crostinis, and various bun bowls. Happy hour is 3-5 p.m. weekdays, featuring $3 Han Soju “Fire” Shots, $5 beers on tap and more.

2930 University Ave., 619.458.9085,

Slather it in BBQ

In a place donned the hipster neighborhood, there is still room for good ole classic barbecue. Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado is a hotspot for locals, recently named one of the best BBQ joints to try in San Diego. The outdoor restaurant is quite simple, with picnic tables for seating, serving Argentinian BBQ for lunch on Sundays and Central Texas BBQ Wednesday through Saturday along with other styles of BBQ. Be quick, though: Grand Ole is limited on supply and is open until the kitchen sells out of BBQ. It’s closed Monday and Tuesday, so don’t go those days unless you’re looking for an empty lot.

3302 32nd St., 619.213.3765,

Dance and prance

If a local recommended a concert venue, the Observatory North Park was likely one of them. Located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of North Park, this venue hosts plays, films, music shows and private events. Order a drink from the bar facing the stage, go upstairs to get a view from above or grab some food from West Coast Tavern, which is conveniently located in the lobby. Something interesting about the venue is the blasts of air coming from the ground, so if it gets hot in the crowd, just find the gold circles on the floor to cool off.

2891 University Ave., 619.239.8836,

Drinks, please

From brews to ciders and crafted cocktails, there are plenty of bars to hit up after dinner or a concert. It’s hard to decide on one, so why not head out on a bar hop? There are a slew of spots nestled on 30th Street and University Avenue. Modern Times tasting room and Rip Current Brewing are straight beer while Waypoint Public serves food and drinks. Polite Provisions concocts elevated cocktails in an apothecarty-styled bar and Bar Pink has music for dancing.

Various locations

Modern Times in North Park. (Rick Nocon)
(Rick Nocon / For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Need a place to crash?

Not many hotels reside in North Park, but if someone is looking to stay close to the neighborhood, The Lafyette Hotel is the place. If the bar looks familiar, that’s because Top Gun filmed a scene at the hotel. Aside from its moment on the big screen, this hotel offers the popular Weissmuller Olympic Pool, classic American food and spacious bungalows.

2223 El Cajon Blvd., 619.296.2101,

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