Guide to Downtown San Diego

This is the big Kahuna! Meaning that the downtown area is so saturated with places to eat, drink and explore. This neighborhood was particularly difficult to narrow my choices down (sorry in advance for all of the scrolling). But I promise that every place on this list is worth checking out! You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

A LOT of bars in San Diego are restaurants by day and hot spots when the sun goes down. Most of the places I have listed fall in this category. Think: One-stop-shop, or two birds, one stone.

**Disclaimer: all of the places I have listed below are places that I have been to, eaten at, drank at and enjoyed.

To Eat & Drink. / To Explore.


To Eat & Drink.


Blue Point Coastal Cuisine

Do you like Oysters? Happy Hour? Seafood? If yes, was an answer to any of those, this is your place! They have an amazing happy hour with $1 Oysters that they shuck in front of you! You must go here!

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 565 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Mr. A’s

Mr. A’s is amazing. If you are looking for a fancy dinner with a view, this is the place! Their steaks are to die for and they have a great wine selection. How much more could you want?

Website
Area of Downtown: Banker’s Hill, Balboa Park
Address: 2550 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103


Rustic Root

Popular rooftop escape with a seasonally inspired menu, and cityscape views. The Rustic Root has taken traditional American cuisine and modernized them. You get the feel of comfort food, bursting with modern flavors. They also have a great menu with fun, classic cocktails.

Website
Area of Downtown: Gaslamp
Address: 535 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Basic

An old urban loft, turned into a popular watering hole that specializes in thin crust, pizza. This is pretty much the only pizza place I would frequent in San Diego. They also have an awesome craft beer selection to accompany their gourmét pizza.

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 410 Tenth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Lotus Thai

One of THE best Thai places in downtown. I am obsessed with their yellow curry and drunken noodles. This restaurant serves their dishes SPICY! So if you like spice this is the place to go. They also boast a selection of craft cocktails and lunch specials.

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 906 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101


Bottega Americano

Brunch. No more words. Go here, you will leave happy. The inside decor of the restaurant is rustically chic and adorable. Their food has an Italian flare that they have made all their own.

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Donut Bar

Donut Bar has made national news for being one of the best Donut Shops in America. They locally source their ingredients and their donuts are so creatively yummy. They have a pop-tart donut….need I say more? My favorites are the maple bacon and the lemon blueberry.

Website
Area of Downtown: Horton Plaza (Core)
Address: 631 B St, San Diego, CA 92101


Barleymash:

Restaurant by day, sports bar with a dance floor by night. Their Iron Fries and their flat breads are my go to! All of them are so yummy! After the sun goes down this modern inspired urban bar, has a downstairs bar area as well. Definitely check them out, they are on the main drag of the Gaslamp.

Website
Area of Downtown: Gaslamp
Address: 600 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Altitude Sky Lounge

On the roof of the Marriot. No Padre tickets? No problem! This sky high bar boasts views into Petco Park. Enjoy the game while you have a cocktail. This club is pretty swanky, with the 360 views of downtown and the fire pits. You will not be disappointed by the sheer sight of it all!

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 660 K St, San Diego, CA 92101


The Neighborhood

Their menu is the definition of upscale pub food. They also have an amazing craft beer selection to accompany any of their creative burger choices. In San Diego it is not difficult to find a great craft beer selection, but The Neighborhood has one of the best in town.

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101


Noble Experiment

Trendy speakeasy that serves prohibition styled craft cocktails. I probably shouldn’t have placed this on the list (being a speak easy and all), but I am not sure how secret this treasure is anymore. To make a reservation, see the website link below. To enter go to the wall of kegs in the neighborhood.

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101


Moonshine Flats

My favorite venue for country music, live country music and line dancing. This place never seems to disappoint. If you want to get your honky-tonk on, go here. They have live music every weekend!

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address: 344 Seventh Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Vin De Syrah

AKA the Alice in Wonderland Bar. Located under the Melting Pot in the Gaslamp. This Bar has a very unique entry way. My favorite was watching first timers attempt to figure it out. They have wine/food pairings by day, and a fun dance floor with a DJ by night. **Minor Detail: Their Sangria is amazing!

Website
Area of Downtown: Gaslamp
Address: 901 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Bootlegger

Home of creative comfort food and $4 Fireball when Engine No. 4 screams by! This is the epitome of a sports bar. Great food, great atmosphere. Whenever I was downtown bar hopping I would always start off here!

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address:804 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101


The Field Irish Pub

The best Irish Pub in San Diego. Even the bar tenders are authentic. I wouldn’t be surprised if drones picked this pub up in Ireland and dropped it in the heart of the Gaslamp! Great pub food with live music.

Website
Area of Downtown: Gaslamp
Address: 544 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


To Explore.


The San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Website
Area of Downtown: Balboa Park
Address:2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


Balboa Park

Lots of museums and things to see! Make sure to stop by the Japanese Gardens, they are my favorite. Also, the Museum of man has beer tasting, go there or be square.

Website
Area of Downtown: Balboa Park
Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101


Gaslamp Quarter

Lots of shopping, bars, restaurants in this section of downtown. AND if sitting our on a patio of one if these bars or restaurants, the people watching is amazing.


Area of Downtown: Gaslamp
Address: From Broadway to Harbor Drive 


Petco Park

One of my favorite ball parks (behind McCovey Cove, I am partial), there are bars and hangouts within the park to catch the game. There is also a stone tasting room right outside the gates. You won’t be disappointed, and the tickets are very fairly priced!

Website
Area of Downtown: East Village
Address:100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101


To Eat & Drink. / To Explore.