Local Guide to San Diego – Restaurants

Where to Eat In San Diego

San Diego is full of great restaurants and constantly getting new foodie establishments. Check out these new and fun places to eat with your friends and family in Mission Valley, Hillcrest, and Little Italy. We love seeing the new developments around our neighborhood, and especially fell in love with the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.  Go check it out!

Food That Gives Back

Shake Shack – Delicious hamburgers, chicken burgers, and hot dogs. Be sure to try their cheese fries! And for dessert, 5% of sales of their concretes (frozen custards blended with mix-ins) are donated to I Love A Clean San Diego. Open 11am-7pm. Located at 675 Camino De La Reina in Mission Valley.

Tacos Libertad! – A not-for-profit taco shop, where all proceeds are donated to a different local charity each month, with a guaranteed minimum of $3,000. Their delicious flour and corn tortillas are handmade in-shop. They offer vegetarian, seafood, and meat options including octopus and duck. Open late afternoons/night, and closed on Mondays. Located at 1023 University Ave in Hillcrest.


Salt and Straw – Just opened in December 2017, Salt and Straw comes to us from Portland Oregon. They create small-batch ice creams by hand with locally sourced ingredients, offering many unique and gourmet flavors including our favorites: Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, and Chocolate Gooey Brownie. Yum! Open 11am to 11pm. Located at 1670 India Street in Little Italy.

New Places

Piazza della Famiglia– Transport yourself to Europe in this beautiful cobblestone street closed off from cars where visitors can stroll around or sit and enjoy a coffee or lunch with friends. Adorned with a beautiful fountain and overhead lights, it’s a gorgeous spot to enjoy the outdoors in San Diego. Located in Little Italy on Date Street at India.

Little Italy Food Hall – Just opened in June 2018, the Food Hall houses six food stations and a full bar, with seats located both inside the food hall and outside in the piazza. Current stations include Mein St. Asian Kitchen, Not Not Tacos, Ambrogio 15, Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop, Wicked Maine Lobster, and Single Fin Kitchen. Open 11am to 10pm daily. Located in the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.

Restaurants Coming Soon…

North Italia– Offering traditional Italian meals made from scratch daily in their open kitchens. We’re excited to try their pastas and pizzas! Founded by Fox Restaurant Concepts, which also founded True Food Kitchen. Located next to Bloomingdale’s in the Fashion Valley Mall.

Blanco tacos + Tequila– Specializing in street-style tacos and tequila drinks, Blanco also comes to us from Fox Restaurant Concepts. Located in the Fashion Valley Mall where California Pizza Kitchen was, near the AMC theater.

Farmer’s Table– A popular spot in La Mesa, Farmer’s Table is opening a second location in Little Italy’s Famiglia della Piazza. Offering Sicilian-inspired seasonal menus with locally sourced organic ingredients, and drinks including their signature Bloody Marys. Located at 550 West Date Street in Little Italy.

Local Guide to San Diego – Walking & Hiking

Explore San Diego’s great outdoors and take advantage of our beautiful spring weather with this list of fun walking and hiking trails. We hope our Local Guides help you discover new local adventures and rediscover old favorites.


Liberty Station – Dirt and paved paths follow along a boat channel in the San Diego Bay offering views of Downtown and close up views of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport. The paths are flat and great for a casual stroll along the waterfront. Stop for lunch at one of the many shops in Liberty Station and take a peek at the USS Recruit, which was a landlocked US Navy training ship and is located at the southern end of the path. Dogs are allowed on leash. Park in any of the parking lots on Historic Decatur Road and walk east towards the water. Located at 2455 Cushing Road in Point Loma.

Lake Murray – Three miles of paved trail offering great scenic views of the lake. Walk, bike, or rollerblade alongside the lake on the mostly flat path, which is great for any skill level. Dogs are allowed on leash, and the wide path is great for strollers. We recommend bringing sunscreen since most of the trail is uncovered. Open seven days a week. Located at 5540 Kiowa Drive in La Mesa.

Seaport Village – Filled with over 50 shops and 17 restaurants, Seaport Village is a fun spot for many activities, including walking. Walk north along the Embarcadero to see the Victory Kiss statue and the USS Midway Museum, or walk south to the Marina Park and the Convention Center. Located at 849 West Harbor Drive in San Diego.


Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – A beautiful park area with eleven miles of trails including a botanical trail and horse trails. The main hiking trail is a 1.4 mile trail called the Way Up Trail that climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation and offers some incredible views from the top. Enjoy a picnic at the several picnic areas overlooking the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. Dogs are allowed on leash, and are allowed off leash at the top of the Way Up Trail on weekdays. Located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido.

Cowles Mountain – Situated inside Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the San Diego City limits. The trail starts at around 900 feet in elevation and climbs to the peak at about 1600 feet in elevation. The trail is about 1.5 miles from start to peak and the views from the top are spectacular with a 360 degree panorama view of the greater San Diego area. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Trail entrance located at the corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive in San Diego.

Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead – A very challenging hike but worth the effort. The trail starts at the top of a small peak and descends about 1,000 feet over the course of around 3 miles, ending at Cedar Creek Falls. The waterfall is over 75 feet tall and falls into a large pool of water, which is at varying levels throughout the year. The return hike is back up the same trail, and can be grueling at times as there is no shade and it is entirely uphill. We recommend hiking this trail in the cooler winter and spring months, bringing tons of water and conserving it for the uphill hike, and leaving your dog at home even though they are welcome on leash. Permits required before entering the trailhead. Located at 15519 Thornbush Road in Ramona.

Local Guide to San Diego – Parks

San Diego has so many great outdoor activities, and one of our favorites is exploring local parks. We’ve organized the following list of nine parks into those that have great views, are great for kids, or are the best for dogs.

We hope this list of popular parks inspires you to get out and enjoy some fun in the sun with your friends and family!

Great Views

Crown Point ParkLarge grass area next to a beautiful sandy beach, with a wide paved pathway leading from Mission Bay to Mission Beach.  Spend the day using picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire rings. Located at Crown Point Drive in San Diego.

Ellen Browning Scripps ParkA large picturesque grassy park with gorgeous ocean views. Close to multiple sandy beaches usually full of seals basking in the sun. Be sure to check out La Jolla Cove and the Children’s Pool, or walk along the Coast Walk Trail to La Jolla Shores. Located at 1100 Coast Boulevard in La Jolla.

Point Loma Tide Pools Explore the rocky intertidal zones and tide pools while watching the waves crash on the cliffs at the Southern end of the Cabrillo National Monument Park. Who knows what little creatures you may discover! Late Fall and Winter are the recommended seasons to visit because the tide is low during daylight hours. Requires a small hike along the Coastal Tidepool Trail to get to the tide pools from the parking area, so wear comfortable shoes. We also recommend dressing in layers! May be a small fee to enter Cabrillo National Monument, but there is a lot to see here. Learn about the park’s namesake by visiting Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s statue and the Visitor’s Center full of artifacts and exhibits. Enjoy beautiful views of Downtown, with the chance to observe Pacific Gray Whales from December to February! Located at 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive in San Diego.

Great For Kids

Waterfront Park Offers a huge children’s play area, interactive splash fountains, and several picnic areas. Bring a bathing suit! Located right next to San Diego Bay at 1600 Pacific Highway in Downtown San Diego.

Silver Terrace Mini Park A great small playground in Mission Valley with a swing set, a little sand pit, and a relatively large lawn. Offers picnic tables and a barbecue. Rarely crowded, especially during weekdays. Located at 5550 Friars Road in San Diego across from the YMCA.

Mission Bay Park Multiple playgrounds, swing sets, and sandy areas for kids to explore. Plenty of grassy areas for picnics and kite flying, and a wide path along the beach perfect for a long stroller ride. Located at 2688 East Mission Bay Drive in San Diego.

Best For Dogs

Fiesta Island Dog Park Our favorite dog park in San Diego, Fiesta Island Dog Park is a completely off-leash park surrounded by Mission Bay on three sides and a fence on the other. Walk along the beaches and let your dog swim in the bay, or stay up higher on the cliff edges and grassy areas. Beautiful bay views, especially at sunset. Located on the southwest end of Fiesta Island at 1750 Fiesta Island Road in San Diego.

Mission Trails Regional Park Part of a gorgeous 5800 acre open space nature preserve with multiple trails for all levels of walking and hiking, and even rock climbing. Dogs are welcome in the park but must be on a leash at all times. Located at 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail in San Diego.

Morely Field Dog Park An open dog park where dogs can enjoy playing off-leash in a partially grass and dirt area. Recommended for dogs that are good with voice commands, as the park is not fenced. The dog park connects to the Florida Canyon Nature Trails for some easy and fun hiking, but requires dogs to be on leash. Located in Balboa Park at 2225 Morely Field Drive in San Diego.

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