Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in North Park, San Diego

  • Published 2022/05/21

San Diego is a city in southern California with a population of approximately 1.5 million people, noted for its ideal temperature and its social diversity.

It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country.

It is a large city with a lot to offer, yet one of its most underappreciated areas is North Park, which offers a diverse range of art, culture, cuisine, and nightlife.

Indeed, North Park is one of the most fashionable tourist destinations in the United States, if not all of San Diego.

There are plenty of activities to choose from, each with its distinct vibe.

There are several activities in North Park to get a true sense of the San Diego neighborhood.

Below are the best things to do in North Park, San Diego.

Snap a Photo at the North Park Sign

North Park Sign decorated with a Christmas wreath

Roaming Panda Photos /

You can see North Park’s resiliency at the giant neon North Park sign on University Avenue West at 30th Street.

Although the current sign is just 27 years old, the original sign’s narrative began 85 years ago, during the Great Depression.

The North Park Business Men’s Club asked permission from the city council to brighten the 30th and University Avenue corners with a nighttime sign.

Daytime view of the North Park Sign

Albert Campbell /

The club built the sign after successful fundraising efforts.

The San Diego Union’s July 7, 1935 edition covered the dedication ceremony a day before under the banner “Mayor Dedicates North Park Sign.”

Remember your visit to North Park with snapshots of this sign.

Enjoy a Drink at Holy Matcha

Matcha translates to “powdered tea” because the leaves are steeped in hot water and then discarded, compared to conventional green tea.

Rather than steeping, matcha is made by swirling the shade-grown crushed leaves in hot water.

As a result, the entire leaf is immersed, imparting a distinct and subtle flavor and incredible nutritional advantages.

After visiting Japan and discovering this brilliant green tea, founder Geraldine Ridaura was inspired to launch Holy Matcha.

Matcha is the art, routine, and way of life at Holy Matcha.

They teach and engage the community by creating unforgettable experiences in and outside of their café.

Order High-Quality Coffee at the Holsem Coffee

Holsem Coffee is a stylish coffeehouse providing house-roasted fair-trade coffee drinks, innovative mixes, tea, and snacks.

Holsem is all about ‘coffee evolved,’ where high design meets high-quality coffee and pure ingredients for a balanced blend of excitement and vitality.

The future of coffee brewing & preparation is Holsem.

Fairtrade & ethical coffee supply, wholesome and fresh ingredients, zero preservatives, diverse flavors, third wave brew processes, and an excellent design atmosphere are some of their brand principles.

At Holsem Coffee, you’ll find upbeat, innovative flavors and designs.

Watch an Event at the Observatory North Park

Exterior of Observatory North Park

Roman Eugeniusz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Observatory North Park has a long history, which opened in 1929.

It is a multi-faceted event location that can accommodate everything from big touring performances to fully catered corporate gatherings.

Live performances, theatre events, plays, movies, comedies, celebrations, charity events, corporate meetings, fashion shows, dinners, and more take place in this venue.

Its freshly planned, tiered open-floor layout can seat more than 1,000 people, but it can quickly reduce to about 550.

Don’t miss a performance at the Observatory North Park, a live music venue from the 1930s.

Get Food and Drinks at North Park Beer Company

North Park Beer Company first opened its doors in June 2016, and it has since become a worthy attraction.

It is a large brewery and taproom that serves San Diego-style ales and lagers in a stylish setting.

North Park Beer Company started at Kelsey’s North Park garage while the company finalized plans for a commercial-scale brewery.

The uphill effort to raise funds, find the proper location, and construct a fresh new taproom plus brewing facilities lasted several years.

It’s a welcoming environment where friends and neighbors may gather while enjoying world-class beer and delectable food.

After a long day of sightseeing, stop by North Park Beer Company for a delicious dinner and some refreshing beverages with friends or family.

Shop for Supplies at North Park Thursday Market

You’re missing out on a fantastic community event if you haven’t come to the North Park Thursday Market.

It’s comparable to what you’d find in your local supermarket, but you’re supporting local companies and communities.

The North Park Thursday Market provides everything you need for a healthy home, including farm fruits and veggies, poultry, dairy, fresh fish, dressings & sauces, baked goods, bread, flower arrangements, hot cuisines, local crafts, and more.

It is in the middle of San Diego and has over 50 merchants.

There are also children’s activities, live music, and much more.

Bring your friends and neighbors and prepare to shop at the fresh North Park Thursday Market!

Share Pizza with Friends at Tribute Pizza

Tribute Pizza refers to its pizza as “Neo-Neapolitan,” a combination of New York and Neapolitan methods.

They make their dough with 100% North American produced and milled organic bread flour and their sauce from California-grown organic tomatoes.

Everything on the menu is made from scratch, with passion, effort, and no compromise.

They rely on their partnerships with local farmers; local food appears in every menu category and almost every dish they prepare.

It is vital in guiding the direction of their constantly changing menu.

They make their bread and provide a variety of hot and cold appetizers, seasonal salads, housemade desserts, and their famous pizza.

Simply put, they produce the pizza they want to eat and share, which takes characteristics of various pizza types from across the world.

Stop by for Handmade Coffee at Communal Coffee

Interior of Communal Coffee

Cory Woodruff /

Communal Coffee is a closed coffee shop with morning pastries and lunch products and a boutique florist on site.

Jen Byard, the creator, launched the first shop in 2016.

The shop became an inspirational location for many because of a massive exterior painting that said “Coffee + Flowers.”

A cup of hot coffee from Communal Coffee

Cory Woodruff /

Since then, Communal Coffee has grown and expanded with new offers and locations, but it has remained committed to interacting with the community and providing a warm, welcoming experience.

Communal Coffee provides a comprehensive handmade coffee and drink selection, seasonal food options, beautifully designed spaces, flowers, and handpicked items, emphasizing inspiring & caring for the local community.

In the North Park branch, Communal Coffee is a welcome meeting and working area that’s open all day.

Visit Juniper Canyon Labyrinth

Labyrinths have appeared in numerous cultures around the world throughout history.

They are holy and symbolic of the path of life.

The labyrinth in San Diego is about 35′ in diameter and is near Juniper Canyon (City Trail).

Walkways are formed of decomposed granite, and the ‘walls,’ or trail markers, are buried clay bricks.

This one continuous route combines sacred geometry with spirituality to bring body, mind, and soul together via walking meditation.

This labyrinth brings individuals from all over the world together who are interested in experiencing labyrinth walking.

Tour Mike Hess Brewing

Mike Hess Brewing has earned a reputation for making exceptional beers in various styles.

They make thoughtful and well-made beers ranging from mild to dark, malty to hops.

You can also play standard steel-tip darts, and board games, or have a pleasant conversation in comfy chairs while watching live sports on their flat-screen HD TVs.

At Mike Hess Brewing, food is available every day—Taco Tuesday is a must-try—and weekly games, art displays, food trucks, plus pizza are delivered to your seat.

Experience where the magic happens as guests travel through their big brewery on the sky bridge walkway to their huge tasting area.

Grab Drinks at the Modern Times Flavordome

Due to a significant fascination with colorful, ambitious small pockets of time that arise in the folds of development, the brewery was named Modern Times.

A fearless group of brewers, coffee roasters, culinary geniuses, and beer-slingers founded Modern Times in 2013 as a production brewery and tasting facility in San Diego.

They try to offer one-of-a-kind beers on taps, such as variants on their core brews, pilot batches, and enigmatic experiments.

About 20 taps, a delectable selection of growler fills, Modern Times coffee bags and a wealth of opulent Modern Times goods are all available.

Likewise, their coffee program has grown in the last several years from a small one-person business to a critically acclaimed roasting and café program.

Single-origins, diverse direct trade beans, unique mixes, barrel-aged beans, and canned cold brew are meticulously sourced and roasted on a gorgeous 15-kilo Giesen roaster.

Enjoy Rotating Craft Beers at Dunedin

Are you up for a drink?

North Park is home to Dunedin, a New Zealand-inspired bar and restaurant.

They’re all about having a good time, so stop by whether you’re looking for a great night’s outing with friends and family, a vibrant weekday meal, or a relaxed lunch break.

Check out their natural, grass-fed burgers and other New Zealand favorites!

Enjoy their rotating craft beers, including hyper-local beers or their signature cocktails.

Dunedin is devoted to offering the best level of customer experience while incorporating excellent food.

Try the Classic Espresso of Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Interior of Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is a convenient grab-and-go location in the heart of North Park.

Coffee is primarily about building relationships.

In 2013, they began roasting and distributing their cold brew in local San Diego communities, and the rest is history.

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters takes pride in acquiring direct-trade coffees from smallholder growers worldwide and cultivating close ties with them.

Come to Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and try a classic espresso drink or a Nitro Cold Brew with a dash of their handcrafted vanilla bean syrup.

Have a Relaxing Stay at Berkshire Motor Hotel

The Berkshire Motor Hotel in San Diego is an excellent location for those who wish to see the sights in the vicinity, with complimentary Wi-Fi.

Each room at the Berkshire Motor Hotel has a refrigerator and all necessities for a pleasant stay.

A vending machine and a 24-hour front desk are all available at this 3-star motel.

A blow dryer, as well as a microwave, are also included.

SeaWorld San Diego and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park are conveniently accessible.

Shopping, entertainment, cafés, and restaurants are all within walking distance of the hotel.

Come to Berkshire Motor Hotel and relax after a day of discovering and exploring the various things to do in North Park, San Diego.

Grab Drinks with Friends at 619 Spirits

619 Spirits, named after the city’s principal area code, debuted in 2012 and is now widely accessible in pubs, restaurants, and retail shops across the San Diego region.

A retired software architect & long-time spirits connoisseur, Nick Apostolopoulos, saw a demand for high-end handmade spirits in San Diego.

So, he founded 619 Spirits.

The pub, recognized for their quality handmade vodka and unique all-natural vodka infusions, brings you this new vodka.

Spirits, beer, kombucha, wine, cider, specialties, and various other beverages are also on the menu.

619 Spirits is San Diego’s first urban artisan distillery and tasting facility with a full restaurant and bar.

You can find it in the North Park district.

Come to 619 Spirits and have a good time with your friends.

Final Thoughts

San Diego, called America’s Finest City, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

It has a handful of neighborhoods that showcase the city in all its glory.

North Park is all about community, outstanding cuisine, gathering spots, and all the craft beer anyone can drink.

You’ll enjoy plenty of attractions, from fantastic restaurants and pubs to unique boutiques and a flourishing cultural scene.

Whether you’re searching for a wild night out or some serenity in one of the numerous parks or gardens, North Park has something for everyone.

So, if you’re seeking a unique San Diego experience, visit North Park!

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