Mission Hills is an affluent neighborhood in San Diego, with an old-time Brooklyn, NY feel that’s about enjoying life’s simple pleasures. This primarily residential community is just west of Hillcrest, south of Mission Valley, and East of Old Town. A perk of either living in or visiting this hillside neighborhood is enjoying amazing views of the city; take in breathtaking vistas of Old Town, Downtown, and the San Diego Bay. This is a family-oriented neighborhood that prides itself on preserving its history and appreciating the small things in life. Mission Hills’ close proximity to the Old Town and Hillcrest neighborhoods puts locals and visitors within walking distance of their popular restaurants, shops, and museums too.
The development of Mission Hills began at the turn of the 20th century and was officially established in 1908. Many of the homes that stand today in this neighborhood are from this original era and have been preserved and restored to maintain their authentic architecture. These early 20th century homes were designed by premier architects of the time; new modern homes built along the canyon rims during the 1950s and 1960s were crafted by modern masters who added a distinct flavor to the neighborhood. Famous horticulturist Kate Sessions was the driving force behind development in Mission Hills and founded the Mission Hills Nursery in 1910, a thriving business that remains to this day. You will find two historic districts with the finest homes in Mission Hills; the Fort Stockton Line Historic District, and the Mission Hills Historic District.
The Cinema Under the Stars at 4040 Goldfinch Street in Mission Hills offers a completely unique way to watch films, whether new releases, cult favorites, or the classics. Imagine a traditional movie theatre and a drive-in theater had a baby. This premier outdoor theater is equipped with a 20-foot screen with HD projection and surround sound. Guests can enjoy varied seating options; zero gravity recliners – single or double, deck chairs with a table and ottoman, or loveseat cabanas. The theater is completely weatherproof; it’s equipped with a retractable covering, space heaters, blankets, and all other equipment that ensures you stay warm, dry, and cozy. Tea, coffee, soda, popcorn, and a variety of candies are offered at the concessions stand. This theater is open year-round, but the types of movies and screening times change based on the season, so be sure to check their website for each season’s schedule.
Another staple in the Mission Hills neighborhood is Pioneer Park. Originally known as Calvary Cemetery, then Calvary Pioneer Memorial Park, it’s now commonly referred to simply as Pioneer Park. The park began as a cemetery for the pioneers of the neighborhood, and was primarily used between 1875 and 1919, but continued as a cemetery until 1960. In 1970, it was officially converted into a public park. All the headstones were removed and a small memorial was created to honor the neighborhood’s pioneers in a section of the park surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The majority of the park is grassy fields where you’ll see children playing, couples enjoying picnics, people practicing tai chi, and others walking their dogs. Pioneer Park is where many of Mission Hills’ events are hosted, like the well-known Summertime Concerts in the Park every Friday during summer.
When visiting Mission Hills, a common stopping point for many is the Brooklyn Girl restaurant. It is a local favorite and neighborhood icon that has garnered a lot of attention through various media outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Reader, San Diego Eater, and CBS 8 to name a few. It was voted one of the 10 Best Cultural Restaurants in San Diego at The Culture Trip. Brooklyn Girl is a casual American eatery, with a small town neighborhood feel. The farm-to-table restaurant serves only locally sourced organic products, and its bar is completely artisanal with locally produced craft beers, and wine. The menu changes by season, but you’ll consistently find delicious crisp salads, fresh fish, prime meats and poultry, classic sandwiches, pizzas, and more. This little neighborhood gem has family ideals and delivers a great dining experience every time.
Other Things to Do and See
In keeping with the quaint nature of this urban neighborhood, you can get a feel for its authentic hometown culture by staying at Crone’s Cobblestone Cottage. It’s a bed & breakfast within walking distance of Brooklyn Girl and other Mission Hills’ favorites. Enjoy the serenity of this garden retreat and the gracious hospitality you will experience here. It will be a stay like no other in San Diego. Close to downtown Mission Hills and within walking distance of Hillcrest, it’s a safe, quiet place to settle in and begin exploring the city.
Mission Hills is known for being very family oriented, protective of its history, and appreciative of the simple lifestyle. It’s where family bike rides, long walks in the park, enjoying a classic movie, or free live jazz at dusk, are as common as checking the mail. It’s where you can enjoy the familiar, and also be just a few blocks away from the culture of Old Town on one end and the funky vibes of Hillcrest for something different on the other. Take a walk around Mission Hills’ historic districts admiring the architecture that showcases the neighborhood’s past. If you want to have a tranquil day enjoying some low-key time with your loved ones, Mission Hills is the perfect neighborhood to explore.