Downtown San Diego hosts plenty of housing options and investment opportunities. Downtown is split into several unique areas that include the Gaslamp, East Village, Columbia, the Core, Cortez Hill, Little Italy and the Marina. As one of the newest dynamic metropolitan areas in the country, Downtown draws visitors and residents alike with the tantalizing sights and sounds of a unique, sophisticated city center. Bordered by a beautiful natural harbor, downtown San Diego’s vibrant cityscape is a product of years of thoughtful redevelopment and urban revitalization.
The Gaslamp Quarter, named after the ornate gas lamps that line the streets of this 16 block district, is home to buildings over 100 years old, each with their own rich history and unique style. The buildings with antique detailing such as stained glass, wood carvings, tin ceilings and rich colors are all on beautiful display and provide a gorgeous backdrop to this vibrant and historic district. Home to over 100 restaurants, 40 nightclubs and bars, varied entertainment, and eclectic retail shops, this area attracts people from all over the world to enjoy the nightlife, dining and shopping.
Included in this area is Horton Plaza, named after its main resident, Horton Plaza area and its adjoining 15-block neighborhood have as its center an outdoor shopping and entertainment center. Horton Plaza offers specialty shops, restaurants, movie theater and a performing arts theater.
East Village is San Diego’s largest and most rapidly developing neighborhood and encompasses 130 blocks. Since PETCO Park was completed in 2004, this area once a blighted warehouse district has sprung to life again with a variety of luxury hotels, sundrenched rooftop bars, art galleries and live music venues. This area is rapidly becoming a mecca of urban chic with historic buildings turned commercial spaces, lofts and dining.
Once home to the largest tuna fleet in the world and generations of Italian families who made their living from the sea, colorful Little Italy retains its old world Italian flavor but with new world San Diego chic. Now home to trendy cafés and excellent boutique shopping, Little Italy has become a favorite of the arts and culture crowd. Patio cafes, pubs and art galleries all surround beautiful Amici Park and are a destination for anyone that wants to enjoy a pleasant afternoon in sunny San Diego.
The Marina District
Home to the Embarcadero, Seaport Village and the bayside San Diego Convention Center with its unique sail-roof, the Marina District has relaxation and shopping as its main focus. Whether you spend an afternoon rollerblading on the boardwalk surrounding the San Diego Bay or sit and watch the sailboats at the waterfront parks, the Marina District is a welcome respite from the vibrancy of the inner shopping and entertainment district.
The Core is the central business district in Downtown San Diego and borders Cortez Hill. Home to many apartments, condominiums and bread and butter retail outlets, the Core is an affordable option for many who want the vibrancy of downtown but want to remain a little farther from the action.
Named after the historic El Cortez Hotel, now the El Cortez Condominium, this district is one of San Diego’s oldest residential neighborhoods and the highest spot in downtown. Boasting beautiful views of urban San Diego, Balboa Park the bay and the Pacific Ocean, Cortez Hill provides a pedestrian-friendly environment. The hill has drawn residents for over a century, and some of the original Victorian style dwellings of the first settlers are still present. Commercial shops and sidewalk cafes line Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and Ash Street provides a gateway to the waterfront.
The downtown area is served by the San Diego City Schools. Washington Elementary School is located in the downtown area. San Diego High School and San Diego City College are located in the northeastern corner of downtown adjacent to Balboa Park. Middle school students from downtown attend Roosevelt Middle School in the Balboa Park area. A few private or religious schools exist in the area. California Western School of Law is located downtown.
Arts and culture
The Civic Theatre in the Community Concourse is the home of the San Diego Opera as well as traveling shows. The San Diego Symphony is headquartered at Copley Symphony Hall, a renovated movie palace on 7th Avenue originally built in 1929 as the Fox Theater. The Spreckels Theater at 1st and Broadway, in continuous operation since 1912, hosts local and traveling performances and productions. The Balboa Theatre, built in 1924, re-opened in 2008 after extensive renovations as a venue for live performances and concerts. Other downtown theaters include the Lyceum in Horton Plaza and the Sledgehammer Theater. Night clubs such as the House of Blues and Croce’s feature well known musical groups.
Downtown events include the Big Bay Balloon Parade, held in conjunction with the Holiday Bowl; the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade and Festival; the Parade of Lights featuring holiday-decorated boats on the Bay; and the San Diego Street Scene music festival.