Where to Eat
· Urban Solace
The most talked-about restaurant is this contemporary American comfort food haven. You can take comfort in starters like warm cheese biscuits with orange-honey butter and standout entrees like the Not Your Momma's Meatloaf, with ground lamb, figs, pine nuts and feta splashed with fig jus.
· Heaven Sent Desserts
For dessert, walk around the corner to Heaven Sent. Its menu of upscale desserts changes frequently, but we're partial to the fruity goodies. Warning: the place counts Beyoncé as a client, so you know that the rich desserts will make you bootylicious.
If you're want romance, go this small Italian-Mediterranean restaurant, which oozes chic amore with all-white decor and lots of candlelight. You'll fall for the walnut Gorgonzola—with garlic, onions, tomato, caramelized walnuts, sautéed in a Gorgonzola cream sauce over veggies and rigatoni.
Where to Shop
Head here for one-of-a-kind accessories, art and accents for your casa. You'll find everything from dainty tea towels printed with menacing skulls to palm-sized glass plant orbs, popular window eye candy that always draws people into the store.
· Mimi & Red
This women's clothing shop offers trendy boutique threads at affordable prices. Be sure to check out the cute jewelry, which is even more of a steal.
Where to Find Culture
· Ray Street
North Park may be most well known for the art galleries that line a small block of Ray Street. You'll find everything from paintings from tattoo artists to custom furniture made out of wine barrels. If you're in town on the second Saturday of the month, the galleries along the one-way road open their doors for Ray at Night, an art walk that allows you to see great local pieces and get drunk on free wine.
· Birch North Park Theatre
If you prefer your divas to be less Beyoncé and more Renée Fleming, come to this 730-seat theater, which is the home of the Lyric Opera San Diego. When sopranos aren't belting it out, the theater hosts other shows, like a monthly jazz series that will debut in February and feature prominent players such as saxophonist-composer Benny Golson. Tickets go on sale January 1.
· Other 'Neighborhoods to Know and Go' [Jaunted]
[Photos: Jennifer Kester]