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Your Guide to Best of San Diego, 2024

More than 100 of the raddest things happening in our fair city, according to us and you
Best of San Diego 2024 Awards by San Diego Magazine

By Danielle Allaire, Sara Clemence, Beth Demmon, Randy Dotinga, María José Durán, Leorah Gavidor, Cherie Gough, Mateo Hoke, Troy Johnson, Lili Kim, Marissa Kozma, Kai Oliver-kurtin, Nicolle Monico, Cole Novak, Amanda Parmele, Will Riddell, Amelia Rodriguez, Jay Smith, and Claire Trageser

A solar eclipse may have blocked out most of SD’s legendary sunlight a few months back, but our city is shining brighter than ever. Michelin bestowed a constellation of stars on our always-innovative food scene.

The city’s sports fever heated up, drawing two more pro teams to the landscape. Locals joined hands to pull a few beloved institutions from the brink (see Coop’s and The Harp). A mega revamp of a particular iconic North Park hotel beckoned hordes of visitors—and a gazillion international eyes. Even orcas want to live here.

And when disaster struck—catastrophic flooding, especially in the county’s most under-resourced areas—San Diegans came together to save and rebuild the lives of those impacted. Courageous residents helped rescue grandmas. GoFundMes got funded. Volunteers scooped away water and cleared debris.

Then, we kept pushing this place forward, creating community and starting small businesses and making more and more cool things. Here are over 100 of the coolest of them. Check ’em out, then go forth and make your own list. Or start your own thing. This town’s big enough for all of us.

Food & Drink | Arts & Culture | Retail & Shopping | Health & Fitness | Kids & Family | Reader’s Picks

Best of San Diego 2024 Awards featuring the Gaslamplighter a new karaoke bar downtown
Courtesy of the Gaslamplighter

Best of San Diego Food & Drink

Best Upgraded Take on Your Fave Dive


Gaslamplighter is more than a glammed-up karaoke palace with a not-hyped-enough burger (a double-stack of juicy Wagyu beef served in a O’Brien’s strikes again. One of the Louis Vuitton knockoff). It’s a fifth-generation San Diego success story. Owner Frankie Scuito’s great-great-great grandparents opened San Diego’s first first deli with a liquor license, and his uncle and dad brought us the dark, cozy karaoke icon The Lamplighter. For the sister concept, Scuito and his brother put in ultra-upscale roaring-’20s décor, enlisted the city’s top cocktail minds, and garnered all the Gloria.

San Diego Futbol Club soccer player standing on Snapdragon Stadium ahead of their inaugural 2025 season in the MLS
Courtesy of San Diego FC

Best of San Diego Arts & Culture

Best Team That Hasn’t Won A Single Game… Yet

San Diego FC

Soccer and San Diego are pretty tight right now. That bond will continue to grow when San Diego FC joins MLS in 2025 as the league’s 30th team. The club will look to cultivate homegrown talent like local teenage goalkeeper Duran Ferree) and give San Diego its first major sports championship since 1963. Oh, and one more thing: The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, a part-owner of the club, is now just the second Native American tribe in the country to have an ownership stake in a pro sports team.

Best of San Diego 2024 featuring an aerial view of the $1 Billion Chula Vista Bayfront Project
Photo Credit: Cole Novak

Best of San Diego Retail

Best Bay-utification

Don’t get us wrong—roadwork and city renovations aren’t always our idea of positive news (especially when they add 15 minutes to our commute to work). But this $1.2 billion bayside project in Chula Vista is promising to be worth leaving the house a little earlier. Scheduled for completion in 2025, the redevelopment will include a new park, resort, convention center, RV resort, and residential area, creating space for locals and visitors to enjoy Chula Vista to the fullest.

The Best of San Diego 2024: Health & Outdoors featuring Fit4Mom fitness classes for mom's post childbirth
Courtesy of Fit4Mom

Best of San Diego Health & Fitness

Best Postpartum Power-lift


Held outdoors in the fresh air, Fit4Mom’s stroller-based classes incorporate resistance bands and structures like stairs, curbs, and walls to get mamas moving. Headquartered in San Diego, the fitness company has eight franchise locations across the county and more than 250 nationwide. Especially popular among new mothers on maternity leave and stay-at-home parents with young kids, Fit4Mom is a great avenue to make mom friends, seek parenting advice, and ease back into exercise postpartum.

Best of San Diego 2024 Kids & Family featuring Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas
Courtesy of Coastal Roots Farm

Best of San Diego Kids & Family

Best Day in the Dirt

Coastal Roots Farm

Everyone needs to get their hands dirty sometimes. Thursday, Friday, and Sunday mornings, parents cart their little ones to Coastal Roots nonprofit Jewish community farm in Encinitas for Nature Play. Designed for kids ages zero to 10 and their families, the program is run by farm staff, who oversee interactive storytime, animal encounters like feeding chickens, and other sensory activities, including play in the outdoor “kitchens.” Afterward, stop by their pay-what-you-can farm stand (those in need can get up to $30 of produce free) to take home organic veggies and herbs.

Best of San Diego 2024 Reader's Picks featuring the Little Italy farmer's market
Courtesy of Little Italy Mercado

Best of San Diego Reader’s Picks

See our reader’s top picks across the city


By SDM Staff

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