San Diego Design Series: Exploring Downtown San Diego
For our last blog post of the series, we take you back to the heart of downtown San Diego. Downtown San Diego is the hustle and bustle of the city that attracts locals, professionals, and tourists alike. As any city, Downtown San Diego is the hub of entertainment and activity with a plethora of business offices, a countless amount of restaurants, a vast number of elegant hotels, and attractions with many cultural influences. Places like the San Diego Zoo, the Padres Stadium, and Seaport Village attract people from all over to Downtown San Diego, but once they get there the opportunities are endless.
Development of downtown started way back in 1867 by Alonzo Horton; however, today it is still full of the rich history and architecture that dates back to its early establishment. A mix of both modern and historic buildings line the streets of the Gaslamp District. This blend of old and new is a common design style within the downtown area as young professional move into the older buildings of this area, they are drawn in by the vintage style, while still incorporating modern touches. One of the most popular attractions of downtown San Diego, Gaslamp, has a profound number of award-winning restaurants and live music venues such as The Shout House, The House of Blues, and country bar Moonshine Flats. The vibrant and sophisticated nightlife of downtown San Diego offers an adult playground with its many sizzling clubs and impressive rooftop bars. Residences and businesses alike draw on endless design styles ranging from traditional, contemporary, urban, vintage, and modern.
Ironically placed on India street, Little Italy is a quaint corner of downtown that will make you feel as if you’ve walked right onto the cobblestone streets of Italy. From fine Italian dining to pizza by the slice, Little Italy is a common night on the town or date night hot spot for San Diego locals. In addition to its many authentic Italian restaurants, Little Italy is the home to a hand full of refined art and design galleries that showcase furniture designers and artists from here in San Diego as well as international. The rich culture has found its way into the design preferences for the restaurants as well as residences of this area that captures the ambiance of the community. Whether you are dining alfresco in an Italian café or admiring the fine arts, Little Italy is nothing short of a cultural wonder. Truly Bellissimo.
A little further outside the business district of San Diego’s Downtown, is the community of North Park. North Park has undergone a number of changes over the past few years and is well on its way to becoming a new “it” scene. It has a very hip and trendy dynamic with many boutique-like stores and coffee shops that are full of personality. Its nightlife attracts a different crowd than that of deep downtown San Diego in that it gives forth a relaxed and “kick-back” bar atmosphere. North pack encompasses a special blend of an urban community and a quaint town that gives it a feel unlike any community of San Diego.
A bit more north, you will find the historic and iconic community of Old Town. One of the original establishments of San Diego, Old Town was once a humble pueblo inhabited by early settlers. Today it feels as if there is little difference between the early days of Old Town when compared to that of its current dynamic. Nearly every restaurant, shop, church, and home still is so strongly influenced by the traditional Mexican design that it is impossible to confuse it with any other area of San Diego. Everything from the orange clay tile roofing to the décor that makes the streets look like a 24/7 fiesta, it reflects the traditional styles of a Mexican town that has helped made Old Town so iconic.
The list of activities to do and sights to see along the streets of downtown are truly endless, as are the design styles of the area. From the urban and modern styled apartments inhabited by the young professionals in the heart of the Gaslamp district to the Mexican influences along the streets of Old Town. We hope you have enjoyed this trip around San Diego with us! As a design firm here, we feel so fortunate to be able to draw on the many different styles and influences that the San Diego communities have to offer. We look forward to what the future holds as we take on projects in the beautiful, sunny San Diego.