Why is it called Bankers Hill?
Developed in the 1890s, Bankers Hill was given its moniker because of the neighborhood’s bevy of affluent homeowners. Today, quiet streets lined with regal homes built by architects such as Irving Gill and Frank Mead characterize the community. 1
Bankers Hill/Midtown is one of Uptown’s earliest developed communities. Today, it’s an upscale neighborhood characterized by Victorian mansions, some of which have been converted to offices for dentists, lawyers and small companies. Notable historic architects Irving Gill, William Hebbard, Richard Requa and Frank Mead designed homes in the neighborhood, which acquired the name “Bankers Hill” because of its reputation as a home for the affluent. 2
Because of this influx of wealth coinciding with a flourish of master architects working in San Diego at that time, today we have significant works by Irving Gill, William S. Hebbard, Frank Mead, Richard Requa, Emmor Brooke Weaver, Hazel Wood Waterman, the Quayle Brothers, William Templeton Johnson, and many lesser known, but talented builders, as well as landscape design by horticulturalists such as the renowned Kate Sessions. 3
The Bankers Hill area of San Diego is bordered on the west by State street, on the north by Upas street, on the east by 6th avenue and on the south by Date street.
Bankers Hill, sometimes known as Park West, is a long established uptown San Diego neighborhood near Balboa Park. It is bordered to the north by Hillcrest (at Upas St.), to the south, past Date Street, by Downtown (at Interstate 5, the San Diego Freeway), to the east by Balboa Park, and the west by Interstate 5, Little Italy and the neighborhood known as Midtown.
The area is primarily residential south of Laurel Street and west of 5th Avenue. Many new construction projects are ongoing as of 2009, creating condominiums along 6th Avenue facing the park. Locations further west allow an elevated, panoramic view of Downtown, San Diego Bay, the airport, Coronado, Harbor Island and Mount Soledad. 1
Dining in Bankers Hill
There are a variety of restaurants and eateries around Bankers Hill, from chic to international to traditional to dessert-only. With over 30 or more places to eat, according to Yelp, a few trips to the neighborhood will be necessary to taste it all.
Here’s the Zagat Top Eight for Bankers Hill SD:
- Mister A’s
- Extraordinary Desserts
- Cucina Urbana
- Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant
- Hane Sushi & Bar
- Croce’s Park West
- Barrio Star
- Artisan Bento
Getting around Bankers Hill
“Local residents are young professionals, empty nesters and those who enjoy the pedestrian lifestyle of an urban environment with convenient access to both I-5 and SR-163, along with shopping readily available in Hillcrest and Mission Valley as well as Horton Plaza. Balboa Park is within walking distance of most of the homes, offering residents access to its museums and theatre.” cites Dave Schwab for the Uptown News.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has a variety of ways to get in and around Bankers Hill from all directions. Feel free to start planning your trip by bus using the SD MTS Trip Planner.
The City of San Diego has included Bankers Hill in it’s updated Bicycle Master Plan Update to provide new safe bike lanes for making cycling a more practical and convenient transportation option for a wider variety of San Diegans. You can also take one of San Diego’s many Segway Tours.
There are various ways to walk around Bankers Hill, and it seems to have become a trend in the local newspapers. Here’s some examples of self-guided sightseeing tours from the Union Tribune, San Diego History Center, and the San Diego Reader. You can also take a guided walking tour provided by SOHO.
Bankers Hill is known for it’s bridges, and the Suspension Bridge is a favorite, as DiscoverSD: “For those who fear heights, a walk across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge may be a tad unsettling…Access the 1912-built, 375-foot long bridge that bobs and sways with every footstep at the base of Spruce Street, just west of First Avenue. And seriously, don’t worry—Edwin Capps engineered the bridge to hold more than 2,000 people at 150 pounds each at one time.”