Not sure where to stay in San Diego? I’ve put together this local’s guide to the best neighborhoods so you can easily plan your visit!
As San Diego has been my home for years, I can tell you firsthand just how amazing this city is, no matter what you’re into. Whether you’re keen on hitting the beach, getting caught up on your SoCal history, visiting the best breweries, doing some shopping, or spending some quality time in nature, there is a neighborhood in San Diego for you.
These are our recommendations for where to stay in San Diego!
Where to Stay in San Diego: A Local’s Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
San Diego’s premiere entertainment district, the Gaslamp Quarter is filled with world-class dining, nightclubs, and shopping options. Known for its distinct Victorian architecture and history, the Gaslamp’s 16.5 blocks are super walkable and accessible to other neighborhoods.
Where to Stay in the Gaslamp Quarter
Founded in 1769, Old Town San Diego was California’s first-ever settlement. Today, this neighborhood boasts a quaint atmosphere filled with historic sites, museums, specialty shops, and beautiful gardens.
Old Town is also a great place to take in a festival, as they happen here pretty much year round. No matter what you’re into – whether it’s Monty Python, jazz, or a bonfire night, Old Town has an event for you.
Where to Stay in Old Town
Known for having that iconic 1970’s SoCal beach vibe in spades, Ocean Beach is an eclectic, bohemian neighborhood just North of Point Loma. This vibrant spot is popular for surfing, great dining, nightlife, dive bars, and soaking up the sun.
Plus, if you plan on bringing a furry friend with you, Ocean Beach is also home to Dog Beach – a casual place where you can allow your dog to roam freely.
Where to Stay in Ocean Beach
Just around the corner from Balboa Park sits Hillcrest — the pedestrian-friendly epicenter of San Diego’s LGBT scene, and is home to the city’s massive annual pride parade. The neighborhood also boasts one of the largest farmer’s markets in the city on Sundays, great nightclubs, and a diverse array of ethnic restaurants.
Where to Stay in Hillcrest
For an awesome mid-range option, check out Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast.
Bird Rock, La Jolla
Just North of Pacific Beach, Bird Rock is an oceanside neighborhood in La Jolla that has an upscale atmosphere with a laid-back attitude. The spot is filled with cute mom-and-pop shops, art galleries, and top-notch ocean views.
Where to Stay in Bird Rock, La Jolla
Coronado is a resort city nestled atop a peninsula in San Diego Bay. Home to the famous Hotel del Coronado, this neighborhood is popular for its restaurant and shopping options, as well as for surfing, sunbathing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. With five beautiful beaches, Coronado is a great place to be if you plan on soaking up the California sun.
For an indoor experience on Coronado definitely check out the Coronado Museum of History and Art; an ever-evolving museum that showcases Coronado’s history dating from the 1880’s.
Where to Stay in Coronado
Northeast of Balboa Park, North Park is a trendy neighborhood filled with coffee shops, indie stores, and craft beer joints. I especially recommend staying in this neighborhood if you consider yourself a foodie as it’s home to some of the most delicious, eclectic restaurants in town.
Where to Stay in North Park
For an awesome mid-range option in North Park, check out Berkshire Motor Hotel.
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Point Loma is a rugged peninsula home to hiking trails, art exhibits, seafood restaurants, and one of the best sunset-watching spots you’ll find in San Diego. If you stay in Point Loma, I recommend paying a visit to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse as well as Liberty Station — an urban village filled with markets, breweries, and yummy restaurants.
Where to Stay in Point Loma
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Located just North of Del Mar and Encinitas, Carlsbad is an affluent seaside community known for its seven miles of coastline, Tamarack Surf Beach, its great golf clubs, and, of course, Legoland. If you happen to stay in Carlsbad come spring, I definitely recommend hitting up the Carlsbad Ranch flower fields which are home to over 50 acres of incredibly colorful blooming flowers.
Where to Stay in Carlsbad
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