San Diego is well known for its diverse neighborhoods and tourist attractions. When it comes to nightlife, few neighborhoods offer as many things to do as North Park. North Park is one of the oldest communities in San Diego and gets its name from its proximity to the historic Balboa Park. Here are the best north park things to do in North Park, San Diego.
A trolley system from downtown was built in 1907 to expand access to Mission Hills, Hillcrest, University Heights and North Park. This trolley ran for nearly 50 years until it was paved over for automobile access. Fortunately, San Diego is undergoing a public transportation renaissance, with heavy investment in new trolleys, buses, bike lanes, and ridesharing.
The North Park community continues to flourish today and is widely regarded as the “hippest” neighborhood in San Diego.
Things to Do in North Park San Diego
North park is recognized from its neon sign at the junction of University and 30th Ave.
This neighborhood has some incredible cultural and culinary activities, all of which are easily walkable within a 1-mile radius. Things to do in North Park include shopping, eating, drinking, exercising, sightseeing, instagramming, concert-going and thrifting. Whether you’re a beer/coffee snob, vintage clothing connoisseur, foodie or local music fan, North Park has something for you.
North Park Restaurants
The restaurants in North Park have developed their own reputation for diversity, quality, and affordability in San Diego. Whether you’re looking for Mexican, Italian, French, Japanese, American gourmet or good old fashioned comfort food with a great happy hour, you can’t miss out on North Park restaurants. Wash it all down with a hard cider, kombucha, cocktail or local beer and then walk to a local ice cream shop for some of the best desserts in San Diego.
North Park Bars
The bars in North Park vary from dive bars to upscale speakeasies (IYKYK). The neighborhood features some of the best whiskey, tequila, and wine bars in San Diego County. Combine that with a vibrant nightlife, diverse local population and plenty of live music for guaranteed core memories. Sports bars are also popular open early for international soccer matches and stay open late for basketball and football games.
North Park Breweries
San Diego has some of the best beer in the world, just ask the locals! IPAs are the style of choice with a west coast vibe. Hazy, hoppy and beers are quintessential, and North Park breweries have the recipe down pat. Not into IPAs? No need to worry. North Park’s diversity also carries over to the beer list. Pilsners and Mexican lagers are perfect for those hot summer days and pair well with some world famous street tacos. The best part is, if you don’t like the brewery your at, simply cross the street and try the next one – North Park breweries are on just about every block in this neighborhood.
Other Food in North Park
The coffee scene in North Park has blown up over the last few years. Whether you take it black and scalding hot or iced and blended, there’s a coffee shop to match your vibe. And if you don’t drink coffee, there’s always matcha! North park coffee pairs well with local donuts, bagels or a full-scale boozy brunch.
North Park Shops
North Park is home to some of the most unique local businesses in San Diego. Get some 35mm film at the local camera shop, grab a succulent at the nursery, or go thrifting at one of the vintage shops off University – there’s a deal out there with your name on it. Have something to sell, check out one of the local consignment stores and get store credit for that next fashion statement.
North Park Entertainment
One of the most unique things about North Park is how many local community events are happening – seemingly every night!
The Observatory in North Park pulls some huge national tours from headlining bands. Want something more intimate? Check out one of the local coffee shops for some open mic or poetry readings. For touring acts with a dive bar feel, you can’t beat Soda Bar off El Cajon. Our favorite is live music on the patio of Bivouac featuring local artists. Feeling mystical? Get your palms read or a tarot card reading during dinner. Hit an escape room, or play some video games and the local adult arcade bar. Play pool or beer hall games at one of the bars or breweries.
If you’re looking for something fun to do during the day without the drinking, North Park also has plenty of gyms, or get outside and check out Morley Field. Morley is home to several tennis courts, bocce ball, baseball fields and even a velodrome (again IYKYK). Balboa is all walking distance from North Park and includes a muni disc golf course and two golf courses. There’s also basketball, pickleball and several kids’ jungle gyms peppered throughout the neighborhood.