The iconic Hillcrest sign glows above University Ave. traffic at night. (Reader stock)
My best weekend getaway is when I leave my car parked on the street outside my apartment in Hillcrest from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon til Monday morning at 7:
Jog through Balboa Park.
Friday afternoon I go for a run with my friend through Balboa Park, past the Museum of Man and the Botanical Gardens and underneath the planes at the Aerospace Museum. I catch the orange winter sunset over the city skyline as I run across the Laurel Street bridge and up Sixth Avenue home to Hillcrest.
I clean up to catch an artsy movie at Hillcrest Landmark Cinema, then a late dinner and dessert across the street at DBar – the cake and shake would be the only thing I eat if the brussels sprouts weren't so delicious. I walk home and fall asleep and wake to the sound of my neighbor's chickens.
At the top of Cowles Mountain.
Saturday morning I meet my friend at Bread and Cie for three thick slices of bread from their endless varieties, and we head over to Cowles Mountain for a 30-minute hike with a bunch of our fellow San Diegans and their dogs to catch panoramic views of our city.
One of our busy local street fairs from Adams Avenue Street Fair to Hillcrest Cityfest occupy the afternoon and evening with local vendors, live music, food trucks and amusement rides. If there's not a street fair, I can pop into any local bar or music venue like SodaBar on El Cajon Blvd. or Lestat's on Adams for live music and an even livelier crowd. There's no lack of hip places to eat, from Soda and Swine with meatball sliders and dirty fries (rec'd) to Bronx Pizza for some late slices and New York attitude. I walk four blocks from this busy city street to my neighborhood apartment on a tree-lined quiet street to bed.
Sunday: car still parked.
Sunday morning I wander over to the Hillcrest farmers market, where I eat so many samples of fresh produce, cheesecake in a cup, olive oils and hummus that breakfast is unnecessary. I run into my neighbors and people I know everywhere I go on my vacation in this big/small city.
I get home with no traffic on Sunday afternoon to do laundry, sit out on my roof in the warm winter sun, and look down on my car still parked on the street.