Today we explore the grand old neighborhood of Mission Hills and end up in a popular tourist destination, Old Town. Mission Hills is an enclave, not gated, but off the beaten track and not easily accessible. It is a peninsula, really, bordered on the north by the drop-off to Mission Valley on the south by a steep canyon which contains Washington Street and on the west by the hill leading down to Old Town. It is accessible at grade only from the east and by no major streets. You have to take a little detour off of Washington onto Goldfinch St and then take a left onto Fort Stockton, the main thoroughfare for Mission Hills. You can take a bus to the intersection of Washington and Goldfinch and then start your walk from there. By the way you can click on any picture to make it larger.
However, before we start our walk we pause in front of El Cuervo at First and Washington, a little hole in the wall Mexican eatery with some of the best Mexican food in San Diego as attested to by the numerous patrons who flock there on a daily basis. You have to order and pick up at the counter and the ambiance is minimal, but the food is superb!
Mission Hills is notable for its older Craftsman and Spanish style homes. All real estate here is pricey and gentrified to the max. Commercial establishments and retail are minimal, but shopping is readily accessible since, although Mission Hills has the feeling of a remote enclave, it is really in the ideal location - close to everything in San Diego while maintaining its off-the-beaten-track status.
The beauty of Mission Hills is its old time neighborhood feeling with a plethora of grand old homes set within gardens of lush vegetation.
The esthetics of the neighborhood could be greatly improved by undergrounding the power and telephone lines. You wonder why in such an affluent neighborhood this hasn't happened already. It's the Christmas season and some of the homes are elaborately decorated.
Finally, you come to Arista St which is the last street before you descend down to Old Town. You have two choices. You can take Presidio St which winds down through Presidio Park or Juan St which descends in a more straightforward manner directly into Old Town. The advantage of Juan St for those of you who are biking is that it has a bike lane.
Before we descend on Juan St, we snap a picture of University of San Diego on the north side of Mission Valley as well as a couple of cool sunset photos and one of Mission Bay to the west.
Unexpectedly, we discover Heritage Park Row, a charming little area off Juan St with gift shops that my girlfriend would love and a bed and breakfast situated in old Victorian houses.
Finally, we reach Old Town and snap a few photos of the shops and restaurants before heading for the trolley station and our return trip to downtown San Diego.
Fare thee well and Merry Christmas!