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San Diego - Neighborhoods

San Diego offers some of the most diverse communities to live in the country. San Diego is composed of a series of individual neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Click below for a map and descriptions of some the better known neighborhoods in San Diego.

Banker's Hill
Carlsbad
City Heights
Clairemont
Coronado
Del Mar
East Village
Encinitas
Gaslamp Quarter
Hillcrest
Kensington & Normal Heights
La Jolla
Logan Heights
Mira Mesa
Mission Beach
Mission Hills
Mission Valley
North Park
Ocean Beach
Oceanside
Old Town
Pacific Beach
Point Loma
Solana Beach
South Park & Golden Hill
University Heights

Banker's Hill
At the turn of the 20th century prominent San Diegans built stately homes above the canyons west of Balboa Park. Two pedestrian bridges spanning these canyons were built to provide easy access to street car lines. Today these bridges offer an opportunity to enjoy the canyons at tree top level and to cross over a world of exquisitely designed homes and gardens that captivate now as much as they did then.

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Carlsbad
Carlsbad, located 35 miles north of San Diego and 90 miles south of Los Angeles, benefits from its proximity to both metropolitan areas. With over 7 miles of coastline, Carlsbad enjoys an excellent year-round climate that makes it a destination spot for visitors. The world renowned La Costa Resort and Spa and the Four Seasons Resort call Carlsbad home, and the championship golf courses are some of the finest in San Diego County. Carlsbad is known for its high standards of living, excellent homes and family atmosphere.

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City Heights
Just over a mile east of Balboa Park, past where I-805 and I-15 crisscross, is City Heights, home to over 60,000. Businesses line University and El Cajon Boulevard, and City Heights is home to a large Asian population, among many other ethnicities, as evidenced by a large number of oriental restaurants and supermarkets.

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Clairemont
With over 80,000 residents, Clairemont rests on the hills east of Pacific Beach overlooking Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. A large area of mostly residential homes, the community is divided by Tecolote Canyon. Clairemont is the essential Southern Californian burb complete with lazy neighborhoods and strip malls along Genesee and Balboa. Mesa Community College is located in Clairemont.

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Coronado
Separated from downtown by the impressive Coronado Bay Bridge, Coronado is an upscale "island" which has a small-town feel with an uptown price tag. For over a hundred years, Coronado has been the area's premier resort destination, home to Le Meridian Resort and the legendary Hotel Del Coronado. The town itself is peaceful and idyllic, complete with sidewalk cafes, theaters and tree-lined streets of Victorian homes and California bungalows. Much of Coronado is occupied by the North Island Naval Air Station and the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base. The Old Ferry Landing serves up bayside shopping and dining, as well as a magnificent view of downtown San Diego.

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Del Mar
Del Mar means "by the sea", and is an exclusive, upscale community separated from La Jolla to north by the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The City of Del Mar is two square miles of coastal land that boasts the highest percentage of college graduates in the city, if not the nation. The main attraction of visitors is some of San Diego's best beaches and sunny weather. The annual Del Mar Fair is the county's largest and most popular, and the renowned Del Mar Racetrack summer season brings in visitors from throughout the United States.

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East Village
The East Village, just east of the Gaslamp Quarter, was the warehouse district for a growing San Diego from the late 1800's to the late 1900's. Somewhere along the way it became an artists' colony and home to the future Padres' ballpark & proposed main library. The Urban Art Trail is the thread running through East Village with inhabitants such as the Reincarnation Project, a reincarnation of the Carnation processing plant into apartments for area artists, as well as the Debra Owens Gallery, the Archeological Society and Sushi Theater. Local architects are designing live/work lofts to compliment the existing eclectic mix of warehouses and Victorian buildings. This is a neighborhood in constant change.

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Encinitas
Located 25 miles north of San Diego north of Solona Beach and south of Carlsbad, Encinitas covers several miles of coastline and extends inland to border San Marcos. Encinitas is famous for its many beaches, and is extremely popular with the surfing crowd. More recent development has occurred inland with construction and commercialization along the sprawling El Camino Real. Encinitas includes the communities of Cardiff and Leucadia, with business and retail development along Highway 101.

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Gaslamp Quarter
Step back to the days when prostitutes & gamblers ruled the dusty streets of this remote seaport. In 1867, Alonzo Horton purchased most of what is the present day downtown for $267. Many of the buildings from these early years have been preserved in the Gaslamp Quarter, a nationally registered historic district. In the late 1800's, Wyatt Earp ran several gambling parlors here, colorful brothels occupied prominent 4th & 5th Avenue buildings & a thriving Chinese community was centered on 3rd Avenue. Today this area thrives with numerous nightclubs, bars, fancy restaurants and is a favorite for tourists and locals on the weekends.

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Hillcrest
Hillcrest is an eclectic mix of restaurants, coffeehouses, nightclubs and medical offices. A vibrant shopping scene is also one of its big draws. Its hub of University and 5th Avenue is lively any time of the day, any day of the week. Nearly 30,000 call Hillcrest home, many subscribing to an alternative lifestyle, as Hillcrest hosts the largest concentration of gay and lesbians in San Diego. It is host to the annual Gay Pride Parade.

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Kensington & Normal Heights
These communities, just south of Mission Valley and I-8, are distinctive, peaceful, residential neighborhoods. The Ken theater in Kensington is a city landmark and showcases many independent films. A large number of antique shops spot the area, especially along Adams Avenue, which intersects each community and each year is host to a festive street fair.

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La Jolla
La Jolla is Spanish means "The Jewel" and this posh community of over 47,000 north of Pacific Beach takes this moniker quite literally. La Jolla is home to many outstanding beaches and surf spots, posh neighborhoods, and upscale dining and shopping locales. Prospect Street near the La Jolla Cove is littered with boutiques and jewelers, as well as numerous restaurants. La Jolla is bordered on the north by the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the beautiful campus of the University of California San Diego. Other prime attractions include the Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Contemporary Museum of Art on Prospect.

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Logan Heights
The Coronado bridge jumps from Logan Heights, just south of downtown. The community of over 45,000 has a heavy Hispanic influence, and you can witness some really far-out murals and spray paint art. This area has gotten a reputation for being a bit rough, but if you can put that aside it is worth the trip to check out some of the city's best Mexican food finds.

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Mira Mesa
Mira Mesa is a community of tract homes, condominiums and strip malls, typically Southern Californian. Located north of the Miramar Naval Air station between I-805 and i-15, it is home to Sorrento Valley that hosts scores of business parks and new technology firms, most notably Qualcomm. Mira Mesa is served by its own mall, and includes the peaceful, family-friendly Scripps Ranch to the east.

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Mission Beach
Over 45,000 people call Mission Beach home, and most are young and single. The standard Californian surfer community, Mission Beach is a narrow area that runs along Mission Boulevard from the south peninsula into Pacific Beach. The attitude here is laid back, and the transportation of choice is either bicycle or skateboard, since parking is difficult. South Mission is less hectic with a more young, professional crowd, and the recent addition of over two dozen volleyball courts makes it a recreational destination. The obvious attraction is Belmont Park, which houses arcades, clubs, and the famous Belmont Park Rollercoaster.

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Mission Hills
Mission Hills is home to some 30,000 residents, many who live in the beautifully restored homes that distinguish this neighborhood. This community was once home to many of San Diego's pioneer families. Most business are along Washington Street. Mission Hills is south of I-8 and east of Old Town.

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Mission Valley
Mission Valley is a sparsely populated area just north of I-8 in central San Diego. It hosts some of San Diego's many business and commercial monoliths--including the Mission Valley Center, home of the AMC 20 theaters, Jack Murphy Stadium and Hotel Circle. Mission Valley is otherwise mostly condominiums and apartment complexes. Pacific College - San Diego is located in Mission Valley.

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North Park
North Park takes its name from it proximity to nearby Balboa Park, and in recent years has transformed into a idyllic, peaceful community of over 25,000. The North Park theater is a landmark, and most of the businesses are on University Boulevard and 30th. North Park is home to some eclectic bars and hang-outs.

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Ocean Beach
Newport Avenue is the main attraction is this ocean side community of over 28,000. The surf community is well represented here, as well as a large neo-hippie contingent, as evidenced by the many smoke shops. Inland and to the south near Sunset Cliffs the situation becomes a bit more conservative and family-oriented. There is great fishing off the Ocean Beach pier, and Dog Beach in north Ocean Beach is a great place to walk your pet without incurring a fine. A few miles from the coast is the San Diego Sports Arena and many commercial strip malls.

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Oceanside
San Diego's County most northern city and its third-largest, Oceanside is a beach resort and a trade center for a rich farm area. Tucked against the southern side of Camp Pendleton, Oceanside serves as the county's northern gateway and home to many of the base's 35,000 Marine Corps members and their families. With 3-1/2 miles of beaches and the Oceanside Harbor, the city lives up to its name and reputation as a lively beach community. Oceanside is home to the California Surf Museum. Each year the city hosts Harbor Days in October. Buena Vista Lagoon serves as a wetlands preserve with hiking trails, special events and a Nature Interpretive Center. On the city's eastern edge is the Mission San Luis Rey. Founded in 1798 by Father Junipero Serra, it was called "The King of Missions," because it was the largest and most prosperous of the state's missions.

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Old Town
Dating back to the time of the early Spaniards in California, Old Town reflects the rich and colorful history of early California. Historic sites, festivals, dining, artisans, and a wealth of beautiful shops give Old Town it's festive air.

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Pacific Beach
Situated between Mission Beach and La Jolla, Pacific Beach combines elements of both. It's a rambunctious community of over 44,000 filled with young, laid-back types sprinkled with the more conservative, young professional. As expected, surfing and beach related sports are a focal point of Pacific Beach, and its famous boardwalk that rolls from Crystal Pier into Mission Beach is great for rollerblading, biking and people watching. Garnet Avenue is the hub of Pacific Beach, with an abundance of bars and nightclubs that are extremely popular with the rowdy young set. Each spring Pacific Beach is home to the Block Party, an all-day event that attracts thousands to the area.

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Point Loma
It began here on September 28, 1542, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo set foot on North American soil at Ballast Point, just off Point Loma. He named it San Miguel, a name later changed to San Diego. Chinese and Portugese fishermen were early residents here. Today Tiki style hotels, yacht clubs & the Navy dominate. Today Point Loma offers some of the most stunning views of San Diego bay & downtown.

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Solana Beach
Solana Beach is a beautiful, upscale community that lies between the Pacific Ocean and exclusive Rancho Santa Fe. Just north of Del Mar, Solana Beach enjoys the perfect climate and excellent beaches of its neighbor. The Belly Up Tavern is a San Diego nightlife tradition. The northern part of Solana Beach is almost entirely occupied by the San Elijo Lagoon County Park & Ecological Reserve. A new Amtrack station recently opened in the city.

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South Park & Golden Hill
South Park, the San Diego neighborhood on the eastern edge of Balboa Park, is nothing like the popular TV show with the same name. It's a quiet residential neighborhood punctuated with small shopping districts. Before there were strip malls there were neighborhoods like this where residents walked for their daily shopping needs. This is still possible in South Park, where a sense of community resides. If you like early 20th century architecture, South Park has some of the most stately homes overlooking Balboa Park's golf course to the pink sidewalks of Burlingame. This is one of San Diego's best kept secrets.

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University Heights
University Heights was developed in the late 1800's on the promise of being the home of San Diego's first college. The college plans fell through, but the name stuck and eventually a college was built here--a teacher's college, or Normal School as it was called in those days. However, it was the botanical garden and ostrich farm that brought urban dwellers here for an outing on the edge of town in the early 1900's. Today it sits in the heart of the city, but it has the charm of a European village. Residents walk up to Park Avenue for coffee, locals in the know come here for small specialty shops and tourists come here for the ambiance and architectural variety.

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