Kensington is an idyllic, family-friendly neighborhood that totally flies under the radar. If visitors are interested in checking out an adorable part of town that’s free from tourist traps and cheesy chain restaurants, look no further. This quaint community at the East end of Adams Avenue is full of charm and character you’re looking for.

There are some terrific restaurants hiding in this pocket of San Diego. Settle in with the regulars at Kensington Cafe, a delightful spot that’s open all day. It’s especially busy during breakfast, for good reason. From creative egg dishes to decadent pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and bowls, there are plenty of options if you feel like indulging or if you want to start your day with a healthy meal. The cafe is a cozy spot for an afternoon snack too; their baked brie, hummus plate and flatbreads are all great for sharing. The Haven Pizzeria is another casual spot that’s a great option for the whole family. Most of their dishes including bruschetta, brussel sprouts, pastas and more can be made vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. Choose from their craft pies or create your own (there’s even a cauliflower crust option). The Haven has a great daily lunch special and Happy Hour prices all night on Tuesdays.

Start your trip by going for a short drive to swoon over the historic homes. The neighborhood’s many Spanish Eclectic, Craftsman and quintessential California Bungalow homes are flecked with succulents, palm trees and immaculate landscaping. The main street in Kensington is just a few blocks – perfect for exploring on foot. Get more home inspiration at Bench, a shop filled with furniture, home decor and gifts that also offers interior design services. Another eye-catching spot is Ken Cinema. The retro movie theater screens classic movies and their popcorn gives the swanky new luxury theaters a run for their money.

Feeling thirsty? Kensington Brewing Company is a laid-back kid and dog-friendly spot for beer tasting. Clem’s Tap House across the street always has an extensive list of beers on draft, and Clem’s Bottle House is a true San Diego institution. The family owned shop has an epic selection of beer, wine, and spirits, and has built a reputation for making some of the best deli sandwiches in town since 1987. There’s wine, cocktails and more at the trendy CUCINA sorella, a cute dinner spot with pasta and small plates. The restaurant group has a Sip + Support program and donates a portion of their house wine sales to a different local charity each month: cheers to that!

For a romantic meal with serious ambiance, visit Bleu Bohème. Serving traditional French cuisine with a rotating seasonal menu, they have over 100 wines to choose from. Their rustic decor is the perfect setting for a date night filled with fromages and escargot. Just across the street is Village Vino, an easygoing wine bar that’s a nice place for a nightcap. The buzziest place in Kensington has to be Ponce’s. The Mexican restaurant is perpetually packed, and is notorious for serving strong (and we mean strong) margaritas. End the night at Kensington Club, a tried and true dive bar with pool tables, live music, and more events.

Alexa Brynne

Alexa Brynne

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