South Mission Hills
For the ripe price of $16.25, roughly half the cost of the average utility bill in today’s world, Captain Henry Johnston purchased 65 acres of empty San Diego land. The transaction, which occurred in 1869, would ultimately shape much of what is now the geographical identity of America’s Finest City. Half the acreage would go to Johnston’s first mate Ormsby Hite, and with the construction of Villa Orizaba in 1887, the Mission Hills neighborhood was born.
Often overlooked among the beachfronts and downtown neighborhoods of San Diego, Mission Hills offers residents the luxury of quiet, while in close proximity to a bevy of nightlife opportunities. Broken into two sections North and South Mission Hills, the south runs from Washington Ave down past Hancock Street to the Pacific Coast Highway. The neighborhood is largely residential, although some of the busier streets are lined with businesses, small shops and restaurants. For those looking for local flavor, the boutiques and eateries mesh together to create a vibrant local culture.
The southern section is a bit less residential than northern Mission Hills, but is perhaps more desirably located. Neighboring Old Town, Taco Tuesday and historical recreations of nineteenth century California are in easy commuting distance. Hillcrest, one of the centers of the San Diego nightlife scene is a brief walk away. Similarly, Little Italy and the Gaslamp Downtown are also close by. Fort Stockton, the hidden gem of Mission Hills is right off of Fort Stockton Drive. This large grassy park features exquisite views of San Diego and doubles as one of the city’s more interesting historic points.
A very safe neighborhood, South Mission Hills benefits from multiple medical facilities nearby (Scripps Hospital UCSD Medical Center). A great place for children, Mission Hills is served by a branch of the San Diego Public Library system. Additionally, the Ulysses S Grant Elementary School is a public option for students’ kindergarten through eighth grade. Several private and religious schools are also located in the area, including the lower campus of the Francis Parker School.
An architecturally diverse and aesthetically beautiful neighborhood, homes in Mission Hills range from prairie homes, craftsman bungalows and Spanish revival to high end apartment complexes. The green surroundings seamlessly blend with the housing options, and much of the neighborhood still carries the influence of famed horticulturalist and landscape architect Kate Sessions who was proud to call herself a resident. In fact, Sessions legacy lives on through both the Garden Club of Mission Hills and the Mission Hills plant Nursery which was originally established in 1910.