A Guide to South Park in San Diego
South Park in San Diego has an identity unique to other neighborhoods in America’s finest city. It doesn’t shy away from embracing the hyper-local over the commercial, making it more enticing for San Diego house hunters looking for a sense of community.
Let’s take a look at what makes living in South Park, San Diego, so special and one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Living in South Park, San Diego
Much of South Park’s charm is thanks to its architecture. Many of the single-family homes here are protected under local preservation efforts to retain the aesthetic and historical significance of the neighborhood. You can find Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival homes here dating back to 1905. Back then, streetcars took South Park’s residents from what was then considered a San Diego suburb to the downtown area. It wasn’t until the 1940s that South Park joined the rest of the city in becoming more car-centric.
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South Park today is still one of San Diego’s most charming neighborhoods, and many of the best things to do in South Park are about embracing that local spirit.
Things to Do in South Park, San Diego
South Park isn’t about non-stop entertainment but about supporting local businesses, taking advantage of the neighborhood’s green spaces, and enjoying one of San Diego’s most walkable neighborhoods. South Park is best explored on your feet. That’s when you’re more likely to discover your new favorite coffee shop, boutique, or your own personal corner of South Park.
Become a regular at the local coffee shops.
Spending time in coffee shops is a regular pastime in South Park, San Diego. The most challenging part is finding your favorite from the options available.
Communal Coffee is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. The South Park location operates out of a vintage trailer, which is very much on-brand for the neighborhood. Secret Sister is as serious about its bakery and tea offerings as it is about the caffeine. For a taste of specialty blends from a California favorite, visit Seven Seas Roasting Company.
Window-shop at the boutiques.
South Park is well-known for its unique boutiques. Whether you’re window-shopping or looking for the perfect gift, supporting San Diego’s small businesses doesn’t get more fun than in South Park.
Music lovers won’t want to miss the Vinyl Junkies Record Shack on Fern Street for classic records and vinyl from more niche bands. If you’re unsure where to start, the knowledgeable staff can certainly help you find that diamond in the rough. Bad Madge & Company, a vintage and consignment shop, sells a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for a piece of statement furniture, a new party outfit, or a piece of art for your living room, you’ll find goods there that you won’t anywhere else.
People-watch at the park.
Much of South Park is adjacent to, expectedly, the southeast corner of Balboa Park. You’re far enough from the zoo and museum campus on this end to find sections of the park to yourself. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on this side of San Diego’s largest green space.
If you have a pup, the Grape Street Dog Park is one of the city’s most beloved dog parks, with plenty of space for off-leash play. Golfers love the easy access to the Balboa Park Golf Course from here. If you like a good urban hike, explore the Balboa Park trail system from here. Several of the trails on this end of the park take you into the surrounding canyons, including Switzer Canyon.
Best Restaurants in South Park, San Diego
South Park’s best restaurants are focused on fresh ingredients and a loyal customer base. Here are a few of the best eateries in South Park, San Diego:
- Buona Forchetta: A great neighborhood has to have a great pizza place. South Park ticks off that requirement with Buona Forchetta, the flagship eatery for what’s become one of the top Italian brands in the city. The pasta is wonderful, too, but it’s their Neapolitan pizzas that keep the lines long at this place.
- Fernside: This eatery and cocktail bar is newer than many of the other South Park businesses, but it’s become a regular hangout for after-work drinks and their elevated bar menu. Share a platter of their battered cauliflower bites or their house-made pickles, and you’ll want to become a regular, too.
- KINDRED: The menu might be a little surprising when you look around at the heavy metal decor, but KINDRED takes their vegan food very seriously. It’s the kind of food that can make any meat-eater a convert to the dark side if the dark side means pulled BBQ jackfruit and mushrooms served up in ways you haven’t seen. You won’t miss the pork.
- The Rose Wine Bar: This atmospheric wine bar and bottle shop is the perfect stop after an afternoon of boutiques. The focus here is on natural, sustainable wines that are no less delicious than conventional varieties. If you want to nosh, they have a full menu of shareable bites, including their signature cheese and meat plate.
South Park & Beyond
South Park is delightful enough all on its own, but its proximity to other vibrant San Diego neighborhoods only makes it more popular in newcomers’ housing searches. Here are a few of the neighborhoods that surround South Park, San Diego:
- Golden Hill: Just south of South Park, Golden Hill retains that easy access to Balboa Park and downtown San Diego. The vibe here is an eclectic one, and it matches the local food scene. Enjoy New York pizza, Thai food, and tacos all on the same block.
- Burlingame: This historic district just north of South Park is known for its unique architecture. Much of the blend of Craftsman bungalows, Mission Revival-style homes, and larger Tudors is protected under the neighborhood’s historical designation.
- North Park: You’ll find North Park at the northeast edge of Balboa Park, a short drive from South Park. This is another very walkable neighborhood in San Diego. When you see the number of craft breweries concentrated here, you’ll be thankful for that!
South Park is well-situated for access to many of San Diego’s best neighborhoods, but most of its residents find that they have everything they need right here in South Park. If you want to take the plunge and explore the South Park neighborhood on a deeper level, the McT Real Estate Group can show you how.