The downtown areas that were once reserved for less-than desirable rentals on less-than desirable streets are now being replaced by chic, colorful lofts and condos- some with amazing views of the San Diego Bay and Coronado Bridge and all with towering price tags.Urban living seems to be the newest trend among San Diegans.
If you were to compare a picture of San Diego’s downtown skyline from May of 2004 to May of 2006, the two would look dramatically different, with mid- and high-rise buildings popping up all around the city. The downtown areas that were once reserved for less-than desirable rentals on less-than desirable streets are now being replaced by chic, colorful lofts and condos- some with amazing views of the San Diego Bay and Coronado Bridge and all with towering price tags. The perfectly manicured lawns that these residences give up are replaced by the city’s best restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shops.
Thursday through Saturday nights are the best nights to live the downtown experience, though any day or night of the week there is something going on in the heart of the city. People watch on the bustling streets of the Gaslamp, pop inside any of downtown’s electrifying dance clubs, or enjoy late-serving restaurants that offer award-winning cuisine that covers most continents and all price ranges.
Take a sneak peek of San Diego’s downtown restaurants and sample their dishes during The Taste of Gaslamp, running June 17th through 18th. Featuring over 20 mouth-watering restaurants each day, stops include some of downtown’s newest restaurants along with the annual favorites. Proceeds from this event help enhance and protect this historic district through the Gaslamp Quarter Association. The keepsake recipe book available for purchase is like icing on the cake.
The surrounding communities of Golden Hill, South Park, and Little Italy are feeling the positive effects of Downtown’s growth as they continue to morph into vibrant epicenters for art and culture too. Boutiques, galleries, and modern architecture are all cropping up, as are new, hip restaurants and lounges. Crudo restaurant and nightclub opened its doors this spring in Little Italy and was on the Hot List from day 1. The nightclub’s broad assortment of tunes appeals to music and dance lovers and premium bottle service is offered in the elevated, roped-off VIP lounge.
There is never a shortage of live entertainment in Downtown San Diego. The millions of visitors who flock here each year are drawn to the diverse activities that are provided. The Civic Center hosts more than 150 opera, dance, classical music, comedic, and Broadway performances every year. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes center stage throughout the month of June. Saturday nights in June can also be spent at the Copely Symphony Hall for the Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Festival.
A dinner entrée purchase at Croce’s Restaurant includes admission to the restaurant’s live jazz or rhythm and blues club. The recently opened House of Blues hasn’t missed a beat as most of their concerts and shows are presented to sold-out crowds. Feel like dancing? Dance the night away to the beats of a live salsa band at Café Sevilla. Complimentary salsa lessons are given earlier in the evening before the live band leads the dancers into the night.
Maybe you don’t feel like dancing, instead you’d like to take a stroll along the shoreline that runs from San Diego’s Harbor District to Seaport Village. Enjoy captivating views of the San Diego Bay, with the Coronado Bridge as a backdrop, while experiencing “the only area in the United State with prefect weather”, according to Holiday Magazine. While at the harbor, don’t miss the U.S.S. Midway, docked permanently in the San Diego Bay and home to the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, giving a quiet, majestic salute to San Diego’s military roots. Visitors can also take a tour of the Big Bay on Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruises.
Another great stroll takes you to Balboa Park, just blocks north of Downtown San Diego. Covering 1,200 acres, it is the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi. The Park’s most well known tenant is the World Famous San Diego Zoo, but numerous museums, gardens, cultural centers, and performance groups also call Balboa Park home. Summer is a great time for weekly concerts held at The Organ Pavilion as part of the Twilight in the Park Summer Concert Series. Shakespeare fans should make it a point to see at least one of the three upcoming Old Globe performances, Othello, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, or Titus Andronicus. Running June 17 through September 10, the San Diego Museum of Art will feature an exhibit from the iconic Pop artist, Andy Warhol. More than 110 screen prints will be on showcase, including the 1967 Marilyn Monroe print suite.
If strolling isn’t for you, there is always the 8th Annual San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon on June 4th, with over 20-thousand runners and 150-thousand spectators filling the streets of downtown. One of the nation’s fastest-growing marathons, this annual event is second only to the Super Bowl in direct spending in San Diego and over the years has helped raise over $97.1 million dollars for the event’s official charity, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The marathon features live entertainment at almost every mile and carves a path that begins in Balboa Park, travels through Downtown and the bay communities to the north, and ends in Point Loma. This event is held in conjunction with the Sports and Fitness Expo, held at San Diego’s Convention Center over the same weekend. The free Expo will feature over 100 vendors promoting their health, athletic, and fitness products.
Whatever your fancy, either visiting or living in this great city, downtown has everything you could ever want.