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San Diego Neighborhood Spotlight: University Heights

Sandwiched between Hillcrest and North Park lies a  little neighborhood pocket known as University Heights. Although this area only measures about 1 square mile, there is a ton of unique character and charm packed into its small footprint. Similar to the surrounding neighborhoods, University Heights has seen a major revitalization in recent years and is now considered a very desirable and “hot” area to live.

Founded in 1888, this area was originally intended for a branch of the University of Southern California. The plans ended up falling through, but the area still bears the name, “University Heights”. This same land was later used for the State Normal School, a predecessor to San Diego State College, and is presently used to house the San Diego Unified School District where Normal Street, Park Boulevard, and El Cajon Boulevard meet.

The epicenter of University Heights is its main strip, Park Boulevard, and you will find most of the
neighborhood’s popular restaurants, bars, and shops located on this street as it meets Adams Avenue. There are plenty of unique options when it comes to food in this part of town.

One of our personal favorites is El ZarapeThis is one of San Diego’s go to places for authentic Mexican cuisine that is not only delicious, but very affordable. On most nights you can expect there to be a crowd in this little shop but it’s worth the wait; or, if you’re in a rush, just call ahead and get a burrito to go! If you’re looking for something a little different, between Plumeria and Bahn Thai, you also have some of the best Thai food options in town, and Muzita Abyssinian Bistro is a highly rated authentic Ethiopian joint. All of these are fantastic options for vegetarians, too.

A little further down Park, you’ll find S&M Sausage & Meat which is another local favorite which has some of the best sausages and specialty meat dishes in town. If you’ve had your fill at any of these great restaurants, and are looking to continue your night in the area, you can check out some of the great local bars and lounges. Head to Small Bar, Park & Rec, or Madison for some great cocktails, and if you’re still hungry, they have great food as well. If you’re looking for a place to recover from your night on the town, head to Parkhouse Eatery, the go-to brunch spot in this part of town. However, you’ll want to get there early or be prepared to wait!

When it comes to housing, this area is quite diverse. You have small little bungalow homes and you also have high end luxury homes in the millions, with everything in between. You’ll find many classic craftsman style homes, apartments and condos, and smaller multi-unit properties between Texas and Park. As you get to the north and north east part of the neighborhood, you will see some of the higher end single family homes. Many of these have fantastic views from atop the hill, a big reason why some of these homes command the high end prices that you see. A lot of the properties in this area are older but are packed with very unique and desirable features that you won’t see in newer construction today. It is a fantastic community for both owner occupied and rental units, as the community has a great local vibe and fantastic walkability.

If you’re looking for a little outdoor space to relax and unwind, check out the Old Trolley Barn Park, located on Adams Ave between Park and Texas. This is a nice park that you will often find people picnicking, playing with their kids, or having family gatherings and birthday parties. There are also local events that are held at this park throughout the year. 

While University Heights may not be as well known as its North Park and Hillcrest neighbors, it is a really awesome part of town that is packed with stuff to do and the community itself has more of a close-knit feel than some of the larger neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a great place to spend a night and want to switch it up, I definitely suggest heading over to Park Boulevard and having a great night on the town in University Heights!

The Home Buyer's Checklist

The above real estate information on University Heights was provided by real estate professionals, John and Melissa Steele. John and Melissa can be reached at team@steelesandiegohomes.com or by phone at 619-887-4429.

Considering buying or selling a home? John and Melissa of Steele San Diego Homes have a passion for Real Estate and would love to share their expertise with you!

Steele San Diego Homes services all of San Diego county and also works with out of area clients to connect them with a strong local agent. Whether you’re interested in buying, selling, investing, or just want to learn more, John and Melissa Steele are here to help you.

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