You cannot beat a vacation in San Diego, And there is always something fun and new going on in the City including the vibrant Hillcrest gayborhood ( The City of 1.4 million borders Mexico and is built on mesas surrounded by canyons on the Pacific Ocean. Interesting neighborhoods and parks will keep you busy. The climate is mild, so any month is perfect for a visit given the mild climate. The city combines the best of Southern California combined with a strong Mexican influence given the proximity to Tijuana.


Don’t miss the Farmers Market Sundays in Hillcrest Sundays from 9 am to 2pm. Enjoy the Southern California strawberries and dates. I had salmon for lunch. Lots of local vendors. You will find them on Normal Avenue between Lincoln and University Avenue near the Rainbow flag. On Saturdays, the city’s other large farmers market in Little Italy is also very popular. Little Italy is a cute neighborhood near downtown with lots of trendy restaurants and shops. (Details at

Hike up Maple Canyon and enjoy the native vegetation on Bankers Hill. See the rarest pine in the world, the Torrey Pine, and enjoy the wildflowers and views from bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Torrey Pine Natural Reserve just north of La Jolla. You will also see the beaver tail prickly pear cacti, yuccas, cholla cactus, manzanitas, and native wildflowers. To get there without a car (and to avoid the $25 parking charge), take the Blue Line MTS trolley (light rail) to La Jolla (Noble Drive Station) and then catch the 110 North County Coaster bus to Torrey Pines Beach. The bus ride goes through the UCSD campus and is interesting. (See

Once at the beach, walk up the hill going south into the preserve and enjoy the Guy Fleming loop trail which features stunning views of the ocean and the rare and unusual Torrey pines which are found only here and on Catalina Island. These rare and endangered pines are found nowhere else on earth except these two small locations. Plan your trip at Then enjoy the Torrey Pines or Blacks beaches. Then catch the 101 bus back to La Jolla and enjoy fish tacos at Rubio’s Coastal Grill (Nobel and La Jolla Drive) and a fresh carrot juice at the Nektre Juice Bar (8855 Villa La Jolla Drive).

Walk along the bay at the trails on Harbor Island near the Sheraton. It’s just over a mile to the Liberty Public Market, a new food hall which had been a Navy Mess Hall at the former Navy training facility. It also features museums and an Arts District. Try the craft beer at Bottlecraft or craft cocktails at Mess Hall. Local clothing soap, and jewelry vendors as well. Pick up some homemade soap at the Old Town Soap Company. You will find Liberty Station at 2820 Historic Decatur Road ( They are celebrating one hundred years. On the way back, stop at Spanish Landing, the site where California was discovered in the 1500s by Cabrillo, a Spanish explorer.  

Visit the North Park neighborhood. Take in a drag and dinner show at Lips on El Cajon Boulevard. Stop by the Eagle Bar. Balboa Park includes museums as well the San Diego Zoo.It is a must for first time visitors. For more ideas, visit (the Metropolitan Transit System website). Enjoy a car free, carefree stay.


You cannot beat the selection of bars, restaurants, and shops in Hillcrest, one of the best gayborhoods in the world. I stumbled on a fun Saturday night show featuring drag, strippers, and burlesque at Urban Mos in Hillcrest. The strippers and bottomless Mimosas on Sunday were a hit. They also have great food. I loved the fries. Richs is always fun as is Flicks, the latter of which has an all-day happy hour on Tuesday. Number One has a DJ on Sunday afternoons. You can dance on the patio. The Loft is a fun neighborhood bar.


This was my second stay at the Sheraton Hotel and Suites on the marina near the airport on Harbor Island. It’s a quick Uber to Hillcrest or take the 922 MTS Bus downtown, Union Station, and the attractions. Get a room in the main tower facing downtown and the bay. Check Trip Advisor for other hotel ideas. However, there are few lodging options in the Hillcrest.


You don’t need a rental car as San Diego has great transit. MTS runs the trolley system (aka light rail). Plus you can walk everywhere in this fairly compact city if you stay around Hillcrest, Downtown, Old Town, and the Gas light District.


Visit San Diego listed all the new attractions, hotels, and happenings for Summer in San Diego. You can find that release here. You can find more info on Liberty Station here. As for Hillcrest, San Diego will be celebrating with the San Diego Pride Parade , one of the largest in the country, with over 300,000 attendees.


There are four publications you can find at the bars or on line to help you plan your trip:

·     LGBTQ San Diego County News ( is a newspaper covering the community.

·     RAGE Monthly covers all of San Diego. (rage.lgbtq)

· (GED Magazine) is a Palm Springs magazine distributed in San Diego.

·     Metro Magazine is a New York publication which publishes a Los Angeles edition.

You cannot beat a trip to San Diego, with a perfect climate and set on mesas above canyons. There is always something new to do, and it has something for everyone!

About the Author

Bill Malcolm is the nation’s only LGBTQ+ syndicated value travel columnist. Residing in Indianapolis, he travels with a focus on the local and value orientation.