Introducing South Park:
South Park is one of San Diego's older neighborhoods in the vicinity of Balboa Park. South Park is actually east of Balboa Park, but it is south of the neighborhood of North Park, hence its name. It is predominantly a neighborhood of single-family homes, with some duplexes, bungalow courts and small apartment buildings.
South Park History:
South Park was one of the first suburbs of downtown San Diego. It is often thought of as part of Golden Hill, but in actuality it is its own neighborhood. The first homes in South Park were constructed in 1906. Steady growth continued to be constructed into the 1930s. The very small number of lots remaining empty after 1941 were built out in the 1950s. Retail and mixed-use structures, constructed in the 1910s and 1920s run along 30th and Beech streets. Though the streets were unpaved, sidewalks were poured in 1906. Many of the 1906 sidewalk stamps still exist.
What Makes South Park Special?:
Besides the quiet, tree-lined streets, South Park is special for its old San Diego charm. South Park homes were constructed primarily in the Craftsman and Spanish Eclectic styles, styles predominant in Southern California during that period. it is noteworthy for its fine and varied collection of Craftsman and Spanish Colonial style homes built in the 1905-1930 period. These include works by noted architects Irving Gill, William S. Hebbard, and Richard Requa.
What Defines South Park?:
South Park has long been home to a group of residents diverse in income, age, sexual orientation, and race. As with other urban neighborhoods north of Balboa Park like Hillcrest and North Park, pedestrian activity and lifestyle is high compared to the rest of San Diego. The authentic architecture of Spanish Colonial and Craftsman homes give the neighborhood its charm and identity. The South Park business community hosts Walkabouts on Saturday evenings in March, July, October and December.
Things to Do in South Park?:
South Park is all about a relaxing time. The small business area concentrated along Fern Street and 30th Street. Restaurants, pubs and shops make it great for strolling. And the classic home architecture make for scenic walks along the quiet streets. There is a playground along 28th Street, the Grape Street Dog Park and the Balboa Municipal Golf Course.
Best Bets for Eats in South Park:
South Park has lots of neighborhood eateries, and none are as renowned as the Big Kitchen, a small, beloved institution known for its big breakfasts. El Camino Cocina serves up tasty tacos in a lucha libre-inspired decor and is a neighborhood hot spot. Vagabond Kitchen serves up worldly dishes, and Rebecca's Coffee Shop is a great spot to get your day started with coffee and pastries.
Best Bets for Drinks and Entertainment:
Believe it or not, mellow South Park has a few hot spots for drinks and fun. The Whistle Stop is a hipster hangout - your clasic cool dive bar with live music, movies and pool. El Camino is another hipster hangout with tacos and Mexican beers, including its famous micheladas (beer and lime juice) served up in a glass boot. Hamilton's Tavern is for beer lovers, with a huge selection of microbrews on tap. And
South Park is home to a number of galleries and specialty shops. The Next Door Gallery features affordable art. Clarity Soap and Candles offers handmade soaps. The Grove specializes in organic and natural products. THomas Bikes and Velo Cult are bike shops catering to this bike friendly neighborhood.
How to Get to South Park:
From I-805 take University Avenue westbound. Turn south on 30th Street. From SR-94 westbound, take 30th Street exit and head north. 30th Street turns into Fern Street in the center of the neighborhood and business area. Public transit is served by bus route 2.