San Diego's Greatest Hidden Gems: Series 2

A hidden gem is a sacred place. Whether it be a bar, restaurant, rooftop, etc -- locating, frequenting and introducing others to your own little "spot" is one of life's greatest treats. It's like revealing a part of your self, akin to showing a page from a journal or sending a playlist to someone special.

On the first post of this series, I talked to eight of my buds about their own version of this "spot," and went into detail about one of my own (Hotel St. James, what up). So, since we haven't done one of these since the new year, I figure let's get it again, with eight more friends who can give us some insight on what little weird parts of San Diego they claim as their own. Like always, read through, learn a little and check 'em out -- but above all else, just don't burn them out. It's your duty as a local.

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"One of my favorite hidden gems in San Diego is the Golden Hill Park. It's probably most known as a chill smoke spot but for me it's the perfect place to decompress and isolate myself. Typically, I'll go ride my bike there to drink wine or a 40 (preferably a High Life or Mickey's), smoke a blunt, catch up on some reading, or bring my honey to watch the sunset. Sometimes there's homeless folks or stoners hanging out at that spot, but you can escape your reality, if only for a moment, with some headphones and a good book. It's gotta be the dopest view of our small but mighty Downtown skyline. Watch the sun set and don't be burnt about it!"

- Carmela Prudencio, Marketing & Communications, MOPA

Golden Hill Park

Golden Hill Park

"Awash, right next to Jack In The Box on El Cajon Blvd in North Park. It's an Ethiopian market when you walk in, but if you go all the way to the back, there's a whole restaurant. You can look it up, the food is fucking great. You walk in and only see Ethiopian cabbies [Editors Note: I thought this might've been offensive, but this is literally the Google maps photo of the front, so I'll take his word]. 

Lucky's Golden Dragon Phenix is fucking cool too. Right across the street from Tribute Pizza. That place is a trip, it's owned by this 80 year husband and his wife, it's one of the oldest restaurants in San Diego. You can literally order toast and eggs and it'll still take 30 minutes, it's cool."

- Joaquin Basauri, Brewer, North Park Beer Co.

The most literal definition of a hidden gem

The most literal definition of a hidden gem

"Fletcher Cove Park, one of my favorite spots to cruise up to, especially when you just down to actually cruise and just take your time getting there, passing through Torrey Pines and Del Mar and getting to Solana Beach. It’s a little beachfront park with a really nice view of the ocean from up top, or you can walk down the ramp and have access to the beach from there. I like to just go out there and sit and think, reflect on a long week or think about upcoming goals or just things I’d like to get done throughout the week. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas for music out there just because I can clear out space in my head and declutter all the pointless nonsense. Then I can move forward with ideas and plans for the future -- it’s vital."

- Chicho 3000, Producer/Chef, The Travelers Club / Juniper and Ivy


- Leon St. Heron, Musician/Spoken Word Artist

"Little Miss Brewing Company. They're tucked inside a business/warehouse district, they got darts, board games, play dough, chalk wall and bomb ass beer. "Hoperation Overlord" is one of my favorite beers. Also, Taqueria Revolucion -- people put Tacos El Gordo at the top of the list, but I would put this up there next to it. Tacos and fries are the same price as TEG, but these are equally as fire, sometimes even better."

- Paul Prudente (PRVDNT), Multi-instrumentalist, Hide & Go Freak

Taqueria Revolucion

Taqueria Revolucion

"Balboa Bar & Grill. Hands down best burger in San Diego (get it with a fried egg on top if you're a real freak bitch). Don't come here and order no other shit but the burger. I like this place cuz it's never really too packed and I don't gotta deal with people playing board games around me. This only goes for the original location, not the one on 3rd Ave in Chula Vista. [Editors Note: That one definitely has board games.]"

- Mondi, Radio Host/DJ, FWM & A/M Radio

The Balboa Burger (fr though, this really is the best burger ever)

The Balboa Burger (fr though, this really is the best burger ever)

"Cafe Calabria. If you're looking for a coffee spot where you can work or have meeting without being bothered, and that's not over-crowded.. this is it. I love the aesthetic of this place, from the Italian decorations to how peaceful it is to the variety of music they play. They serve authentic neapolitan pizzas, and local beer, wine, and hard liquor if you need a little more than a 'pick me up'."

- Riza Clave, Designer/Photographer, WERIZA

- Mikey Avila, Photographer/Videographer