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View of Adams Avenue, the heart of Normal Heights.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Normal Heights

View of Adams Avenue, the heart of Normal Heights.
  • By Nina Garin
  • Photos by Sandy Huffaker
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Normal Heights
San Diego
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You know how Iceland is actually green and Greenland is icy? Apply that theory to this neighborhood, because there’s nothing normal about Normal Heights. Founded in 1906 and named for a teaching college, it’s evolved into an area with (relatively) affordable apartments, dive bars, antique shops and markets. It’s one of the few neighborhoods that actually reflects the city’s ethnic makeup. And if you’re a fan of the TV show “Veronica Mars,” you just might recognize the building that housed Mars Investigations.

Meet Nina Garin

Nina is a San Diego native who was also partly raised in Baja California, Mexico. She’s an arts journalist who, as a reluctant stage mother to two daughters, spends more time in theaters than the outdoors. Although she lives a few blocks from the ocean, she’s never been surfing and is too terrified of rip currents to try.

Want to get in touch?

mail-solidEmail bytheway@washpost.com
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Normal Heights

Blind Lady Ale House
Blind Lady Ale House is an ultrahip neighborhood pizza place for beer snobs. Find a seat at one of the many communal tables and ask the staff about the craft brews. Before dark, it’s kid-friendly; after 8 p.m., it’s all loud music and good times.
Blind Lady Ale House, 3416 Adams Ave. San Diego, Calif. 92116
Mariposa Ice Cream
This no-frills ice cream parlor channels peace, love and the Beatles. Everything is homemade, but be sure to try the Mexican chocolate; owners say it was Kristen Bell’s favorite in the “Veronica Mars” days.
Mariposa Ice Cream, 3450 Adams Ave. San Diego, Calif. 92116
Ken Cinema
This one-screen movie theater has not-so-comfy seats but high-quality snacks and great independent films. Cult favorites often screen at midnight, and there are weeks devoted to classic films.
Ken Cinema, 4061 Adams Ave. San Diego, Calif. 92116
La Loupe Vintage
Inspired by ’60s and ’70s rock-and-roll, this popular vintage boutique has a good selection of jeans, dresses and sterling-silver jewelry.
La Loupe Vintage, 3337 Adams Ave. San Diego, Calif. 92116
Polite Provisions
This bar really commits to its old-timey apothecary theme, down to the sparkling and airy decor. Creative cocktails are on draft, and if you’re with a group, you can get your drinks served in a communal punch bowl.
Polite Provisions, 4696 30th St. San Diego, Calif. 92116
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Nina Garin
Nina is a San Diego native who was also partly raised in Baja California, Mexico. She’s an arts journalist who, as a reluctant stage mother to two daughters, spends more time in theaters than the outdoors. Although she lives a few blocks from the ocean, she’s never been surfing and is too terrified of rip currents to try.
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Sandy Huffaker
Sandy, a contributing photographer for The Washington Post, arrived in San Diego 30 years ago and fell in love with the diversity of the border region. When he’s not shooting, he loves eating great Mexican food, trail running and snorkeling with the seals off La Jolla.

CITY GUIDES