I was born and raised in San Diego. I've played tour guide to plenty of visitors and the more I learn about San Diego, the more I love it. The majority of the city is gay friendly, but like any city, the best part is the gayborhood. About three miles north of downtown sits San Diego's own gayborhood, Hillcrest. Hillcrest is home to some of the best restaurants, bars and thrift stores in the city. The neighborhoods surrounding Hillcrest are also vibrant little gems as well. It's where my heart is happiest.
You'll usually find me in Hillcrest, University Heights or Normal Heights. North Park just underwent some major gentrification. Pro: much safer at night. Con: lost a lot of my favorite neighborhood bars and gained a lot more college douche bags. I usually steer clear. Little Italy is where you will find a load of Italian restaurants. (Surprise!!) There are also a lot of galleries, an amazing art store and adorable cafes. It's a great place to take a date. Gaslamp District is downtown,and I tend to avoid it. It's very touristy which translates to overpriced drinks and food, ridiculous cover charges at bars and nightclubs with dress codes.
The first San Diego Pride was in 1974. It included a pot luck (I wish this still existed because yum!) and an informal parade. Today, San Diego Pride is much larger; festivities take place over three days. SD Pride was the stage for awesome historical moments in more recent years. Last year, hundreds of military service members marched for the first time in the parade after the repeal of DADT and earlier this year the Department of Defense gave their approval for branches to march in uniform.
Pride festivities kick off with the Stonewall Rally -- new this year -- the Hillcrest Block Party. The Parade pops off on Normal Street and travels down University Avenue and down Sixth Avenue ending at Balboa Park, the location of the Pride Festival. The festival runs for two fabulous days with a variety of music, booths and of course, beer.
San Diego is full of friendly people; it must be all the sun and tacos. The LGBT community gets along pretty well for the most part. I have a diverse group of friends and I have never encountered any discrimination or bad vibes from anyone within the LGBT community. San Diego is a great place to visit an amazing place to live.
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