photo: Bill Dickinson via Flickr

Ready to make like a hipster and explore one of San Diego’s trendiest districts with your kiddos in tow? We’ve got all the places you must go in vibrant and eclectic North Park. Families and mom and pop shops dot the scene of this extremely walkable hot spot that’s filled with restaurants, cute stores and activities. You and your crew will never lack for things to do. Read on for our guide on where to eat and play in North Park.

Where to Play & Shop

photo: Pigment

Pigment
If you’re looking for a unique gift or party decor, you can’t beat Pigment. The brightly lit, colorful store is filled with gifts, party supplies and handmade cards you just won’t find anywhere else. They also have a make-your-own terrarium section where you can pick the container, sands, and succulents — a great opportunity to help little green thumbs learn about plants. On alternating Wednesdays, they also hold a popular “toddler time” event featuring North Park residents, singers Mike and Jean. Books are read, snacks are eaten and everyone is happy!

Pigment
3801 30th St.
San Diego, Ca
619-501-6318
Online: shoppigment.com
Toddler Time: alternating Wednesdays, 10:30 – 11 a.m./Call for specific dates

photo: Morley Field Disc Golf Course via Facebook

Morley Field
At the southern tip of North Park is the northern tip of Balboa Park. This area, known as Morley Field, is full of great ways for your family to stretch their legs and burn some calories. Balboa Park Tennis Club has youth and group tennis lessons, while the Bud Kearns pool provides lessons and free swim opportunities. If you’d like something less structured, there are trails, playgrounds and a Frisbee golf course. There’s also a leash-free dog park for your four-legged family members.

Morley Field
Online: balboapark.org

photo: Elexia D. via Yelp

Artelexia
Want to bring a little style from south of the border into your home? This vibrant shop is packed full of handcrafted gifts, art and decor from Mexico. Your niños and niñas will be captivated by the store’s selection of candies, dolls, balloons and games. You’ll love the beautiful ornaments, barware and serapes. They also carry books for all ages: cookbooks for you, pictures books for them.

Artelexia
3803 Ray St.
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-501-6381
Online: artelexia.com

photo: Replay Toys via Facebook

Replay Toys
Replay Toys is a thrifty children’s boutique that specializes in re-selling educational toys (although they also have vast collections of My Little Ponys, Matchbox cars and Lalaloopsies too). Only used toys in mint condition are resold, which means you can pick up good quality items at a fraction of the cost. It’s also an opportunity to teach your kids about basic finances: they can bring in their old toys and earn money to purchase other items in the shop.

Replay Toys
2920 North Park Way
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-294-5904
Online: replaytoysboutique.com

photo: David G. via Yelp

North Park Thursday Market
Each Thursday evening over 90 vendors line North Park Way with flowers, organic produce and eggs, locally made sauces and food stalls serving up cuisine from around the globe. Often chefs from nearby restaurants hold cooking demonstrations (past restaurants include Urban Solace and Cardamom Cafe and Bakery). Enjoy live music; mingle with friends; buy some local kale. Then grab dinner at Gourmet Tamales or Masala Cottage.

North Park Market
300 North Park Way (from 30th St. to Utah St.)
San Diego, Ca 92104
Hours: Every Thurs., 3-7:30 p.m., rain or shine
Online: northparkmainstreet.com

Where to Eat Seriously Good Grub

photo: Waypoint Public

Waypoint Public
Waypoint may be the most family friendly pub in San Diego. Not only do they have a gated play area for little ones, but they have regular movie nights where kids can have dinner and watch movies while parents relax in the main dining area. They also have fun, themed cooking classes for kids throughout the year. Their weekend brunch is extremely popular, so you’ll want to arrive early.

Waypoint Public
3794 30th St.
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-255-8778
Online: waypointpublic.com

photo: Gleela Z. via Yelp

Crazee Burger
This North Park mainstay serves a great selection of beef burgers, including some with brie, chili sauce, or Nutella (it’s called the Muddy Pig). But what really sets them apart is their menu of exotic meats — burgers made from bison, lamb, ostrich, camel, or duck. If you have adventurous little gourmands in your house, this is a great place grab a bite.

Crazee Burger
3993 30th St.
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-282-6044
Online: crazeeburger.com

photo: Hammond’s Ice Cream via Facebook

Hammond’s Ice Cream
Want to cool down with a sweet treat? This scoop shop specializes in super premium ice creams (meaning 18% butter fat and an extra creamy texture) with a tropical twist. Unique flavors include Peanut Butter and Guava Jelly, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Banana Storm. Can’t decide on one flavor? Order a flight of several different scoops served in mini cones.

Hammond’s Ice Cream
3077 University Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-220-0231
Online: hammondsgourmet.com

photo: Tribute Pizza via Facebook

Tribute Pizza
If your kids think pizza only comes in cheese or pepperoni, you need to check out Tribute. A rotating menu of specialty pies include Mademoiselle Chanterelle (mushrooms, gruyere and pine nuts) and Dirty Dancin’s (jalapeno, pineapple and harissa). For dessert, indulge in a little soft serve ice cream with flavors like olive oil and sea salt and apple pie filling. Their weekend breakfast and lunch menu includes egg dishes, sandwiches and breakfast calzones.

Tribute Pizza
3077 North Park Way
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-450-4505
Online: tributepizza.com

Tell us your favorite things to do in North Park in the comments!

––Michelle Franklin

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