Neighboring North Park and South Park have a lot in common: an impressive number of restaurants, bunches of boutiques and a thriving nightlife scene. Here’s a look at some of best places to shop, eat and play each historic neighborhood has to offer.

North Park

Check out this neighborhood north of Balboa Park’s two main drags, University Avenue and 30th Street, for eclectic eats and other fun finds. For a fresh take on breakfast try hidden gem Atypical Waffle, ultra-popular Breakfast Republic  or fan favorite The Mission. Craving Mexican food? North Park is the place to go.  Lucha Libre serves up taco shop favorites in a bright, wrestling-themed storefront and The Borrego at City Tacos will become your Taco Tuesday go-to. Other don’t-miss spots include Soi 30thfor Thai, Dunedin for New Zealand fare, Underbelly for ramen and Crazee Burger if you are craving a patty crafted from something more exotic that beef.

North Park also has a stronghold in the craft beer game with Belching Beaver, Modern Times, Mike Hess Brewing, Rip Current, the North Park Beer Co. and Thorn St. Brewing. This ‘hood is also home to some stylish shops. Pigment has an impressive assortment of gifts and a DIY succulent potting station. Artelexia features handcrafted Mexican goods and Hunt & Gather features upscale vintage fare. Looking for fashion? Hit Mimi & Red, Rae Boutique or Rufskin.

South Park

The neighborhood south of Balboa Park also has more than its fair share of fun attractions. Visit Big Kitchen Café, the diner where Whoopie Goldberg worked before she got her big break and try the breakfast named for her. In the mood for something different? Try one-of-a-kind eatery Kindred, known as much for vegan fare and craft cocktails and its dark décor and metal music. South Park is a hot spot for Italian cuisine. Buona Forchetta is known around San Diego for its authentic Italian fare, Piacere Mio is a date night fave and check out the murals while you dine at Mazara Trattoria. This neighborhood also has a happening bar scene. Hamilton’s Tavern has an extensive selection of craft beer, South Park Brewing Co. has about a baker’s dozen on tap and The Rose Wine Bar serves natural vino from all around the world.

Searching for unique gifts? look no further than South Park’s array of shops. Graffiti Beach sells distinctly California finds, Make Good stocks giftable items made by artisans in San Diego and Tijuana and Bad Madge & Co caters to vintage seekers. Gold Leaf offers eclectic home décor and Mythology Eco-boutique features organic clothing and cruelty-free accessories. Kiddos will love the one-of-a-kind finds at So Childish, and while you’re in the neighborhood stop by the South Bark Dog Wash and pick up a treat for Fido too.

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