University Heights is a neighborhood in Central San Diego centered around Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. The area is filled with a number of restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and artist’s studios primarily on Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. Live entertainment can be found most nights. Adjacent to Hillcrest and Normal Heights, additional restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and night clubs are within easy reach.
Trolley Barn Park on Adams Avenue, just east of Park Boulevard, is popular with young families and hosts free concerts on Friday evenings during the summer. This park, as noted by its name, was the site of the “trolley barn” where trolley cars went for repairs and down time until the system wasreplaced by busses in the 1950s. Sidewalks around the playground in the park are laid out in a pattern mimicking the local street plan, a design also echoed on the carved stone plaque.
The neighborhood sits in a central San Diego location with a broad spectrum of housing options, from cottages, apartments and condominiums, to million-dollar homes. Downtown, Balboa Park, San Diego Airport, Mission Valley, San Diego State University, are only a few minutes away.
The name “University” (both for the neighborhood and nearby University Avenue) derives from a plan, originally boosted during the land boom of the 1880s, to build a university in the area, to be located on a tract of land later used for the State Normal School (predecessor to San Diego State College [now a State University]). The headquarters of San Diego Unified School district currently occupies the site near the corner of El Cajon and Park Boulevards.
“Heights” no doubt refers to the elevation, on top of the greater San Diego mesa north of downtown.
On the far northern edge of this mesa, at the scenic rim of Mission Valley, an ostrich farm and public garden spot was constructed near what is now the corner of Adams Avenue and Park Boulevard. The little neighborhood of homes subsequently built on the site is still called Mission Cliff Gardens and still sports the original garden boundary wall of rounded stones. The gardens were a popular tourist site, and were served by trolley car.
University Heights is home to young, cultured, men and women, as well as university students and college graduates who moved to the area because of the location, great views, and city atmosphere.