Why you should go to San Diego!

The west coast of the United States has no shortage of world-class cities packed with LGBTQ travelers, but sublime weather sets San Diego apart. It enjoys a semi-arid Mediterranean climate with summertime temperatures averaging out to a blissful 76 °F (24 °C), little rain and lots of sunshine. It is famous for its laid-back surfer culture, beautiful beaches, world-class zoo, Navy base and thriving gayborhood, Hillcrest.

One of the top US destinations for LGBTQ folks, California's second largest city is a diverse community. It has scored a perfect 100 since the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index began ranking cities for LGBT inclusivity in 2012. Many top elected officials, including state senators and city council members, have come from the LGBT community. Its mid-July Pride Festival includes one of the largest parades in the country and a two-day music festival.

Only some 18 miles (29 km) from the Mexican border, San Diego has some of the best margaritas and most authentic Mexican food in the country. Tijuana - a destination in itself - is less than 30 minutes away, an easy day trip or a gateway for exploration south of the border.

All
15
Things to do (15)
11
Nightlife (11)
7
Hotels (7)
11
Restaurants (11)
Uptown Tavern

Uptown Tavern

Restaurant

In the heart of Hillcrest, Uptown Tavern is a pub with a patio and an impressive choice of microbrews, signature cocktails and martinis, and daily drink specials. The...
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Hillcrest

Hillcrest

Activity

A small affluent neighborhood of Craftsman homes and mid-century modern apartment buildings, Hillcrest is famous for its tolerance and its well-established LGBTQ...
Gossip Grill

Gossip Grill

Nightlife

Everybody's welcome at Gossip Grill, a lesbian bar and restaurant with female bouncers and female DJs. Known for its three-finger pours, it has happy hour every day from...
Flicks

Flicks

Nightlife

Flicks is a gay video/sports bar with a wood dance floor, a small pool table and $2 well drinks on Wednesdays. The week is packed with special events: karaoke...
Urban MO's Bar & Grill

Urban MO's Bar & Grill

Nightlife

Hetero-friendly, Urban Mo's bills itself as "the best gay bar in the world." The adult playground offers a slew of amusements like country line dancing, afternoon bingo,...
Baja Betty's

Baja Betty's

Restaurant

Baja Betty's is a fun Mexican restaurant with an extensive margarita menu and drag shows. It has weekend brunches, drink specials and a daily happy hour from 2 pm to 6...
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San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Activity

The San Diego Zoo, a pioneer in open-air, no-cage zoos, began in 1916 with exotic animals left over from the Panama-San Diego Exposition. The 100-acre (40 ha) zoo is...
SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego

Activity

SeaWorld San Diego, sister to water parks in Orlando and San Antonio, is a mix of roller coasters, adventure rides, animal shows, dolphin encounters, marine animal...
USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

Activity

The USS Midway, America's longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century, made its last port in San Diego, opening as a museum in 2004. It sailed from 1945 to 1992...
Andaz Hotel

Andaz Hotel

Hotel

With a dramatic rooftop swimming pool and restaurant, the Andaz is a lifestyle boutique property just south of the Hillcrest gayborhood and a mile from the San Diego...
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Babycakes

Babycakes

Restaurant

In an 1889 Craftsman cottage Babycakes is a designer cupcake bakery with bar hours. Brunch is served daily from 9 am to 3 pm. Tuesdays it's tacos and tequila with a side...
Balboa Park

Balboa Park

Activity

Balboa Park, a green space set aside in 1835 and site of several international expositions, covers 1,200 acres (490 ha) with gardens, walking space, green belts,...
Big Kitchen Café

Big Kitchen Café

Restaurant

Big Kitchen serves big portions at breakfast and lunch for cash only. Run by friendly owner Judy "The Beauty" on Duty, the hole-in-the-wall with indoor and outdoor...
Black's Beach

Black's Beach

Beach

Black's Beach - at least the northern part of it - is one of the largest public nude beaches in the US. Surfers prefer the challenging swells on the southern end, but...
Carnitas' Snack Shack

Carnitas' Snack Shack

Restaurant

Carnita's Snack Shack is a favorite for all things pork: chicharrones (fried pork skin), pork belly , a triple-threat pork sandwich (pork loin schnitzel, pulled pork,...
Cheers

Cheers

Nightlife

The building that was a general grocery in 1908 and later a beer and wine bar became the home of Cheers in 1982, the same year the hit TV show debuted. Like the TV...
Children's Pool

Children's Pool

Beach

A 330-foot (1000 m) crescent seawall built in 1932 created the Children's Pool, which isn't a pool at all but a protected swimming space intended for the kiddies. Sea...
Crest Cafe

Crest Cafe

Restaurant

Family-owned and -operated since 1982, the funky Crest Cafe is big on comfort food from breakfast to late night. Anything on the menu can be ordered any time. Its butter...
Fig Tree Café

Fig Tree Café

Restaurant

The open-kitchen Fig Tree Café started out in Pacific Beach in 2008 in an old cottage in a garden-like setting just off a beach path. It has since added two other...
Hillcrest Inn

Hillcrest Inn

Hotel

A rare option for the traveler planning to stay a while, the renovated Hillcrest Inn lets studio rooms by week or month to a mostly male clientele. Prices include...
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Hilton Bayfront

Hilton Bayfront

Hotel

Near the San Diego Convention Center, the 1,190-room Hilton delivers what you'd expect from the brand. This one has major conference space and multiple meeting rooms,...
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Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel

"Iconic" should not be used casually, but that's what Hotel Del Coronado is - the first seaside resort on the US West Coast where presidents, celebrities, royalty and...
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Inn at the Park

Inn at the Park

Hotel

Built in 1926 on the edge of Balboa Park, the Inn at the Park is an 82-room historic hotel with timeless appeal. Family-friendly, it has full kitchens, one- and...
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La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove

Beach

Tucked between sandstone cliffs, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California because of its beauty. Despite its small size and gritty...
La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla Playhouse

Activity

Founded by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer in 1947, La Jolla Playhouse on the University of California San Diego, campus is an award-winning,...
Las Cuatro Milpas

Las Cuatro Milpas

Restaurant

Las Cuatro Milpas (the four corn patches) serves homemade tortillas and authentic Mexican street food classics. Its picnic-table dining has been a local favorite since...
Martinis Above Fourth

Martinis Above Fourth

Nightlife

Gay-owned and -operated Martinis Above Fourth is a cabaret supper club with eclectic American cuisine and over 100 martini choices. It offers ticketed events for...
Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park

Beach

Mission Bay Park with over 4,600 acres (almost 19,000 ha) - half water, half land - is the world's largest aquatic park of its kind. Dog-friendly, it has 27 miles (43...
Moonlight State Beach

Moonlight State Beach

Beach

Moonlight State Beach, 26 miles (42 km) north of San Diego, is popular with families and locals for picnics and fun in the sun. Well monitored by lifeguards, it has a...

Mr. Frostie

Restaurant

Mr. Frostie has been in the soft-serve ice cream business since 1949. In addition to delicious vanilla, it also has chocolate, cherry and butterscotch dips, specialty shakes, cold deli sandwiches and classics like chill cheese dogs, banana boats, root beer floats and cherry Cokes.
Numbers

Numbers

Nightlife

A prime venue for Pride events, Numbers draw high-energy types with two dance floors, three bars, go-go boys and an outdoor patio where you can nosh on Mexican food....
Pecs

Pecs

Nightlife

Pecs is a divey bearish bar with darts, electronic games, a pool table, pin ball, large screen TVs and stiff drinks, but it is warm and welcoming to folks of all...
Porto Vista Hotel

Porto Vista Hotel

Hotel

The 190-room Porto Vista is a short walk to the restaurants, pubs and bars along India Street. Less than a mile from the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal, it enjoys bay...
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Rich's

Rich's

Nightlife

Around since 1991, Rich's is the largest and best known of San Diego's LGBT clubs and a favorite spot during the annual Pride celebration. It boasts two dance floors -...
San Diego Eagle

San Diego Eagle

Nightlife

Leather or fetish is the preferred dress every night at the San Diego Eagle, with uniforms, latex and rubber always welcome. Part of the international network of Eagle...
San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art

Activity

Opened in 1926, the San Diego Museum of Art purports to be the region's oldest and largest art museum with a wide-ranging collection, including German Expressionists,...
San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Museum of Man

Activity

The San Diego Museum of Man is an anthropological museum founded in 1915, which puts all kinds of human culture on display, including mummies, the truth about race, the...
Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Restaurant

Part of the Denver-based breakfast-and-brunch chain, Snooze an A.M. Eatery in Hillcrest is back-to-the-future retro modern with a menu that jazzes up old standbys....
Stone Brewing

Stone Brewing

Activity

Stone Brewing, the largest brewery in Southern California and the ninth largest craft brewery in the US, is about 30 miles (49 km) north of San Diego. Launched in 1996,...
Swami's Beach

Swami's Beach

Beach

Swami's is a public beach internationally popular with surfers for its surf break. It's also good for beach walking, picnicking and playing in tidal pools. Access is by...
The Hole in the Wall

The Hole in the Wall

Nightlife

The Hole in The Wall has been an openly gay bar since 1942 and a dive bar for even longer. San Diego's original Sunday Funday started here. In addition to special...
The Rail

The Rail

Nightlife

The Rail, formerly The Brass Rail, is the granddaddy of all San Diego gay bars, in business for over a half century and owned by only two families all that time. Still...
The US Grant Hotel

The US Grant Hotel

Hotel

The elegant US Grant is the grand old gent of San Diego hotels, built by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant in the early 20th century in honor of his father. Now...
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Urban Solace

Urban Solace

Restaurant

Urban Solace makes Zagat's lists for its New American cuisine and veggie burgers. Not to miss are the cheddar biscuits at the Blue Grass Sunday brunch. Along with its...

11 community reviews / San Diego

General impression
Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Excellent
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