South Park

South Park
Photo by South Park Business Group
South Park is located east of Balboa Park, borne out of its southern neighbor Golden Hill.  Also north of Grant Hill and south of North Park, it is a distinct neighborhood that also includes the Burlingame historic district.

Substantial development in the South Park neighborhood started around 1905 with the extension of streetcar service by the Bartlett Webster developing company. In the 1910s, Golden Hill and the area now referred to as South Park became one of the many San Diego neighborhoods connected by streetcars and an extensive San Diego public transit system that was spurred by the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and built by John D. Spreckles.

South Park is now considered one of the major historic urban communities of San Diego and has long been proposed as a registered historic district.

Urban Sprawl Meets Classic Neighborhood

South Park stands out in San Diego for its tree-lined streets, compact blocks, and walkable business district. Predominantly a single-family residence area with some small apartment buildings and bungalow courts, it is noteworthy for its fine and varied collection of Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival style homes built between 1905 and 1930. Many of the houses are historically designated and an official historic district has been in the pipeline for a number of years.

South Park has been gaining repute for its small businesses since the 1990s, and has long been home to a group of residents diverse in income, age, sexual orientation, and race. Pedestrianism, like in other urban mesa neighborhoods north of Balboa Park, is high relative to the rest of San Diego. The elevation is about 200 feet above sea level but reasonably flat within most of the area. Thirtieth Street forms its main business district and has been called the nation’s best craft beer boulevard by Men’s Journal. Chain and franchise businesses are not common in the area; the 7-11 store at Hawthorn Street being the only one. The area is home to several churches, three bicycle shops, coffee houses, popular restaurants, one medium-sized grocery store, taverns and a wine bar, art galleries, a dog wash, a retail tea store, yoga studio and other business concerns.

South Park has a reputation as a dog-friendly area, supported by one of the few designated dog parks adjacent to a residential area (at Grape Street).

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Jon Tolhoek
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