Dulce Vida Travel's mission is to promote Latino cultural tourism that emphasizes the uniqueness of a city that celebrates and honors cultura.
Enjoy this travel reference guide that highlights San Diego California Latino artistic expressions, community celebrations, and good eats, that often get overlooked by other travel guides.
San Diego is home to nine art districts, each with culture treasures! Barrio Logan, Balboa Park, and Old Town are the three districts, in which Latino culture is most celebrated. Each neighborhood is home to artists, designers, eats, and activists that celebrate and honor la cultura, Latino. San Diego is a perfect family vacation, best friends or lovers getaway, what feels like endless options to enjoy Latino cultura, food, and drink.
San Diego has the honor of having two designated Cultural Art Districts, by the State of California Arts Council; Barrio Logan and Balboa Park. These neighborhoods support a vibrant artists community with a high concentration of creative energy rooted in Latino History.
Las Calles de San Diego Highlights:
- Barrio Logan – Chicano Park & Barrio Crawl
- Balboa Park – Centro Cultura de la Raza
- Old Town – Authentic Food, Shopping & Celebrations
- Crossing the Border – TJ to the Valley
Barrio Logan Cultural District
Barrio Logan a designated California Culture District, and the hub of dedicated artists, art galleries, boutiques, brewpubs, and craft coffee shops. A friendly and walkable neighborhood that celebrates and honor Latino culture every day.
Barrio is a term “My Beloved Neighborhood”
Chicano Park is the emotional heart of Barrio Logan. San Diego's oldest Mexican-American neighborhood, and home to the largest concentration of Chicano murals in the world with more than 80 paintings on seven acres with sculpture, gardens, picnic tables and playgrounds. Throughout the year, the park hosts festivals, the biggest being Chicano Park Day held each April.
History of Chicano Park
As you approach Chicano Park, , the feeling of cultural pride will be overwhelming, you can feel and almost witness this community’s strong roots of activism, as the park evolved from an act of protest. In 1970, the community was promised a community park but announced a highway patrol station.
Tired of feeling marginalized, hundreds of people occupied the land for 12 days, demanding to be heard. The city of San Diego eventually changed the land use, and allowed the community to establish the land as a park dedicated to celebrating Chicano's history. In 2017, Chicano Park was designated a National Historic Landmark, a major win for the Barrio Logan community, and its collection of outdoor murals.
Chicano Park Day
Chicano Park Day has been celebrated 50+ years. Mid-April Chicano Park Day celebrates Latino artist, and Mexican traditions to include performances of Aztec Indigenous dance, by Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca, also ballet folkloric, and live bands. A highlight is an impressive display of classic lowrider cars. Visitors from across the country enjoy the festival to enjoy the food, the one of a kind arts and crafts available throughout Chicano Park. The primary purpose of the festival is to honor Chicano Park's history and cultural legacy for each generation.
Map provided by the California Arts Council
Barrio Logan -La Buena Comida (Good Eats)
Salud features tacos del barrio, a choice of protein, and vegetable stew served on a flour tortilla topped with nopales, avocado, and sour cream. The walls are filled with a lowrider lifestyle with a tattoo-inspired mural and a pinstripe car hood.
Ready for Mexican hotdogs that combine different flavors?
Try El Pueblito, a beef dog with roasted poblano peppers, grilled onion, cotija cream sauce, queso manchego, crunchy fried onions, fresh pomegranate and smoked paprika sesame seeds, or El Xolito – a salsa verde-laden tribute to the Tijuana-style hot dog.
Border X Brewery
First brewery owned by Latinos, offering Mexican craft beer.
The brewery is known for infusing Mexican flavors, like hibiscus, agave, and whole cinnamon into its award-winning beers, including the crimson-hued Blood Saison and the sour-style Saladito, flavored with salt and coriander. Border X Brewing host a Latin Jazz band each Thursday evening.
Las Cuatro Milpas
The oldest restaurant in Barrio Logan.
It feels like you are visiting your Abuelita's kitchen and enjoying her homestyle comida, with the aroma of fresh homemade tortillas. Limited seating and only take cash.
Balboa Park is home to 16+ museums, performing arts venues, gardens, trails, and many other creative and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is also a designated California Cultural District, and home to prestigious cultural institutions, including Centro Cultural de la Raza and World Beats.
Centro Cultural de la Raza (Culture Center for the People)
An active cultural arts center dedicated to creating, preserving, and educating Chicano, Mexican, Indigenous and Latino art and culture. Housed in a former water tower, painted with colorful murals, the Centro features rotating exhibits and performances with theater, dance, music, and film/video.
2004 Park Blvd San Diego 92101
Art lovers will fall in love with the Spanish Village Art Center. The quaint buildings and colorful courtyards were originally built in 1935. They depicted a charming old village in Spain for the second California Pacific International Exposition. In 1937, the Village reopened as an art destination by a group of dedicated artists.
Old Town San Diego State Park
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is home to dozens of authentic shops representing Latin American culture. Fiesta de Reyes, located on Old Town Square, is a festive international marketplace filled with colorful arts and craft shops. Old Town Marketplace, located at the entrance to the State Park, features merchant carts and artisans. Bazaar Del Mundo is a top favorite, with a carefully curated selection of home décor and fashion.
Fiesta de Reyes is located on the southeast end of Old Town. The Placita offers a festive feeling with daily performances of Mariachis and Folkloric dancers.
Old Town Market is a shopping center located at the edge of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. It has about 40 vendors with a great selection of Mexican ceramics and folk art made by Mexican artists.
Bazaar del Mundo is a plaza style, open-air square with shops on surrounding a fountain, and open-air restaurant in the middle. It is, as its website says, a lively and colorful entry to San Diego's Old Town community, with shops that capture the warmth of Mexico.
4133 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110
Old Town Mexican restaurants are known for fresh tortillas, salsas, tequilas, and pitchers of sangria. Mexican favorites, such as chilaquiles, menudo, chile rellenos and chile verde, are plentiful.
4105 Taylor Street
2461 San Diego Avenue
Casa de Reyes
2754 Calhoun Street (in the State Park)
Old Town Mexican Café
2489 San Diego Avenue
Festivals In old Town
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated for three days with Mercado's, salsa music and live entertainment, Lucha libre wrestling, and a custom lowrider show.
Santa Fe Marketplace is hosted at Old Town & by Bazaar del Mundo each September. The annual festival brings together dozens of the Southwest's finest artists to celebrate their Native American cultures and showcase their art. Authentic Native American jewelry, colorful collectibles, creative fashions, and unique home décor are the highlights.
Day of the Dead celebrations are hosted in the Old Town district, the first weekend of November. The festival includes altars & entertainment. The festivities begin at Old Town, which includes an altar walk tour throughout Old Town to view more than 40 beautifully decorated altars.
Latin America Festival - Bazaar del Mundo also hosts an annual Latin American Festival each August. Artists from Latin American countries are invited to sell and display their authentic folk art and crafts, along with entertainment and good eats.
North Park Art District is also home to art galleries, craft beer, cocktail lounges, modern restaurants, and trendy shops. Every second Saturday, the area hosts Ray at Night, an evening art walk from 6–10 p.m., where guests can visit over a dozen galleries as well as enjoy outdoor performances. It is an eclectic neighborhood with Latino influences
Shop: Mexican Folk Art Artelexia
Cultural enthusiasts will fall in love with North Park's Artelexia, a colorful Mexican Folk Art Store. The well-curated shop sells unique handcrafted Mexican Folk Art & home decor. Offerings include a fun assortment of hanging air fresheners with designs inspired by Mexican and Latin American culture and traditions by Fuchila Fresheners.
Also, the shop offers workshops how to make sugar skulls and piñatas.
3803 Ray Street
San Diego 92104
Eat: Lucha Libre – Gourmet Taco Shop
Ready for more tacos, but looking for a unique twist? Try a chicken mole taco or better yet, a squash taco (squash blend, onions, corn, and poblano chile). Lucha Libre Tacos has three locations in San Diego, North Park, Mission Hills, and Carlsbad. The decor is filled with images of luchadores!
3016 University Ave
Crossing The Border
Valle de Guadalupe
Just imagine only a 90-minute drive from San Diego; you'll find Mexico’s best kept secret, Valle De Guadalupe; the Napa Valley of Mexico, Valle de Guadalupe produces 90% of Mexico's wine and attracts wine aficionados worldwide. There are more than 100 wineries to explore, ranging from artisan and boutique winemakers to large and small commercial vineyards. In addition to offering tours and wine tastings, some of the wineries are also home to outstanding restaurants, serving gourmet farm-fresh cuisine and local seafood.
The Valle de Guadalupe is more than a day trip, plan a long weekend. To maximize your experience, hire a tour guide, or join a tour offered by Dulce Vida Travel.com
My trusted local guide: W Scott Koenig (A Gringo in Mexico)
Learn More About the Valle De Guadalupe
Disfruta La Vida! Enjoy Life!
Rose Mendoza in front of Salud Tacos Mural representing La Chicana del Barrio