Hanging Out in San Diego’s New Hipster Haven, North Park

It’s edgy, it’s cool — and it’s official: San Diego’s North Park made Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods in September, joining such spots as L.A.’s Silver Lake and San Francisco’s Mission District. North Park has all the ingredients for the cool school: It’s culturally diverse and has art galleries, boutiques, trendy bars with handcrafted cocktails and local brews, and foodie-approved eateries. If you’re hip to this scene, check it out.

The bed

The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows (2223 El Cajon Blvd.; [619] 296-2101, 131 rooms, rates start at $76), built in 1946 in the Grand Colonial style and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has an “If only the walls could talk” vibe. The hotel has hosted such Tinseltown luminaries as Bob Hope and Ava Gardner. Legend has it that the pool was designed by Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, aka Tarzan. After a recent $6-million restoration, the hotel is ready for its close-up. My husband and I checked into our small, pleasant room in the main building, but I had instant envy: The best rooms were booked, including the two-story bungalows and the family suites with bunk beds.

The meal

It was a cold Saturday night, so we stopped at Caffé Calabria  for a decadent hot Mexican cocoa. The Italian-style coffeehouse makes seriously good espresso too; it was once a Bank of America (the vault is still there). The Neapolitan pizzas smelled great, but we had other plans for dinner and headed to the Linkery (3794 N. 30th St.; [619] 255-8778, http://www.thelinkery.com), a rock star of the local dining scene. This farm-to-table indie is a shrine to handmade sausages, craft beer and much more. We had linguica with handmade sauerkraut and knocked back some brews.

Read more: Irene Lechowitzki, LA Times

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