by Chris Morrison
I'm a North County local, born and raised. I had never lived anywhere except beautiful Oceanside CA my entire life. When I graduated college in May, I got a new job and had the opportunity to move an hour South to San Diego!
Having spent time in San Diego city before due to its close proximity to Oceanside, I had originally wanted to move to North Park or even PB for the incredible nightlife and easy walk-ability. But, I quickly found that both were extremely crowded and anywhere from slightly to astronomically out of my price range. I eventually was able to get my hands on a small apartment in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego. (The struggles of trying to find and rent an apartment in the city could be a whole other article.) I was iffy about the location and apartment at first, but I want to show you why, over the last two months, I have fallen in love with this eclectic little neighborhood.
From Victorian homes to punk rock shows to art and young professionals, the history of Golden hill is as varied and colorful as the people who live here.
Golden Hill started being developed in the early 1880's and some of those first houses are still around! In the early 1900's the area was known for large Victorian homes and wealthy San Diego natives that moved here to enjoy the view and ocean breeze. During the late 80's and 90's the neighborhood swung in the other direction. An increase in drugs and gang activity drove many families away and the neighborhood became a little less family friendly. This resulted in a decrease in rent that allowed for artists and other communities to move in, and this launched a pretty heavy punk music scene. One of the best known venues of the time was at 2144 E street which ran DIY punk shows until 2002. Over the last decade the hood has bounced back quite a bit. Rent is still relatively low for the location (a feature I am pretty happy with!) and this has allowed for an influx of young professionals, families, and college students to move into the area.
Golden Hill has some amazing restaurants, bars, and coffee shops spread out over its rolling streets.
Food: Pizzeria Luigi
Featured on an episode of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Luigi’s is a neighborhood staple. Known for their New York style pies and friendly staff, Pizzeria Luigi makes some of the best pizza I have ever had. You absolutely must try this place if you are in the area. Their prices are amazing as well, since you can get two huge slices of pizza and a beer for under 10 dollars. Their pizzas range from traditional pepperoni to a potato and cheese creation called the “White Girl," which I highly recommend. A word of warning: If you are planning on going around lunch or dinner time, be prepared to wait a bit as they often have lines out the door!
Krakatoa Cafe is the epitome of a friendly neighborhood coffee shop. They have a wide variety of fresh made coffee, tea, and "kick ass" sandwiches. The thing I like most about Krakatoa, however, is the patio. The coffee shop is located in an old craftsman house that is overshadowed by a collection of large trees. This makes the patio a lovely place to escape the San Diego heat and relax with a good book and some coffee. The inside of the shop is just as cozy with relaxed seating and friendly staff. The staff and shop place a large emphasis on "keeping it local" and Krakatoa is actually owned by the same people who run The Casbah music venue. Definitely check out Krakatoa- It's one of my favorite, chill places in the neighborhood.
Billing themselves as a “place for people,” Counterpoint is a friendly little bar on 25th street just North of the 94. They offer a wide variety of seasonal meals and an even larger variety of beer, wine, and cocktails. Their featured cocktails change often and the food menu seems to change about once a season, so be prepared to try something new during a visit there. They are the priciest option on this list by far, but their food is worth the price. The cocktails are priced right for the area and I was impressed with the selection of local beer and wine. Make sure you talk with the bartender or waiters if you go in, since they are mostly locals and have some interesting stories to share. As they say on their site, “Counterpoint is- first, foremost and always, about our 'hood, and the people who give it life."
New to the area: Mutual Friend Ice Cream
The three other places in this article have been around for years and are staples of the neighborhood. I wanted to give a special shout out to a newcomer, Mutual Friend Ice Cream. They opened their doors about a month ago and are already making headlines. Located right across the street from Counterpoint, Mutual Friend specializes in small batch handmade ice cream. Their flavors are creamy and delicious and their fun colorscheme and goofy logo will make you feel right at home.
Thanks for reading, friends and supporters of LoSoCal! The next time you are in San Diego be sure to explore this local SoCal community. Gather together in Golden Hill this holiday season and you'll definitely have an enjoyable and memorable time with family and friends. The culture and exceptional food and drink in this neighboring community of Downtown San Diego make it worth stepping outside of the Gaslamp and Northpark! Happy Holidays.
Chris Morrison is a local California native who enjoys writing about local San Diego musicians, restaurants and more. He loves supporting local small businesses by helping them to create practical, articulate marketing strategies for their brands. He has his degree in Marketing from California State University San Marcos and he is a natural at his craft. Reach out and say Hello by clicking on the button below!
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Hello, my name is Karen Vazquez. I have lived in Southern California for over thirty years. I realized about four years ago that it was time for me to give back to this wonderful community by supporting local SoCal businesses, performers, restaurants, spas, boutiques, fitness studios, farmers markets and more. My support shines through here by highlighting these fabulous local SoCal spots. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, PInterest and LinkedIn. I will be featuring many local destinations in the area that have been my personal favorites for years and am currently recruiting guest bloggers to expand the voice of LoSoCal. I have had guest bloggers in the past, but aim to incorporate local SoCal bloggers on a regular basis as a fun, creative and collaborative way to connect with the community here. Essentially, LoSoCal is a community blog, and it is meant to be resource to locals in this area and visitors from around the world. Please like or follow LoSoCal on the social media business pages and tell your contacts about the blog. Thanks for stopping by...
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