Downtown San Diego
While the downtown areas of many cities across the U.S. have declined as residents and shopping malls moved toward the suburbs, San Diego still retains a thriving and vibrantly interesting downtown. In fact, Downtown San Diego serves as the cultural and financial center and the central business district of San Diego County.
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Two of the most “in-demand” Downtown neighborhoods are Little Italy and Gaslamp. These communities are home to San Diego citizens who prefer to experience a “neighborhood feeling” in the heart of a bustling city.
San Diego’s Little Italy represents Downtown San Diego’s oldest continuous neighborhood business district. First settled in the earlier part of the 20th century by Italian and Portuguese fishermen, the district prospered until the decline of the tuna industry and the intrusion of Interstate 5.
The Little Italy economy suffered for several decades. Then, in the early 1990’s, local residents and business owners teamed up to begin gentrification. Now this 48 square-block neighborhood is not only a thriving business district, but a center for arts and culture.
A model urban neighborhood for the City of San Diego, Little Italy hosts popular annual events such as The Little Italy Carnevale, Art Walk, Festivale Siciliano, Italian Motorsport Show, and Precious Festa. Precious Festa is the largest Italian Festival outside of NYC.
But no wonder: Residents and business people work tirelessly to maintain the Little Italy flavor while promoting economic development. As a result, San Diego’s Little Italy is larger than those of San Francisco, St. Louis, and New York combined.
One event is constant and takes place each Saturday morning, rain or shine. That’s when the Mercato Farmer’s Market opens with offerings of fresh produce, meats, flowers, home accessories, gifts, and more.
Little Italy is a good choice for the real estate buyer who wants to live an urban lifestyle, but still retain that small “local” neighborhood feel. Real estate choices include single family homes, plus units in loft complexes, high rises, condominiums, and apartments. As one would expect with this sloping landscape, many of these choices offer striking views of the bay.
Home prices in San Diego’s Little Italy range from the mid 100’s to just under one million for luxury living with panoramic views.
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Another important historical district of San Diego, Gaslamp consists of only 16 blocks in the center of Downtown.
But don’t let the small geographical area fool you. Gaslamp, also known as “The Gaslamp Quarter,” is packed full with more than 140 restaurants and nightclubs. The variety of dining establishments reveals the international aspects of the city and reflects a global cuisine. As might be expected, this atmosphere draws a cosmopolitan populace.
In addition to dining and night life, Gaslamp boasts more than 80 boutiques, unique stores and small shops. And if that’s not enough, the larger shopping center of Horton Plaza is adjacent.
The name “Gaslamp” is a reference to the gas lamps that were common in San Diego when development began in the 1860’s. In homage to the past, gas lamps still illuminate the streets.
Architecture in Gaslamp reflects the sophistication of a period of Victorian-style development in San Diego. Real estate buyers who wish to reside here in the heart of the city can choose from apartments, condos, and luxury lofts. As in Little Italy, many offer breathtaking views of the bay. Prices begin in the 200’s and reach over one million.
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Petco Park is the home park of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres – and is the venue for world-class concerts by stars such as Madonna and the Rolling Stones.
The Park has also been the scene of such crowd-gathering activities as the season 11 auditions for American Idol, which were held at Petco Park on July 8, 2011 and the Food Network’s “Chairman’s Challenge,” which was filmed for inclusion the show “Iron Chef.”
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