San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Mission Hills

    mission hills

    Bordering Banker’s Hill, Hillcrest, Old Town, and Middletown/Little Italy, Mission Hills is an affluent neighborhood filled with charming houses in a variety of styles with fantastic views of the San Diego Bay and Downtown San Diego. Mission Hills is primarily a residential neighborhood with a handful of boutique shops, restaurants, and parks. It also features a beautiful topiary garden. Find out what makes this neighborhood so unique in San Diego.

    mission hills

    History of Mission Hills San Diego

    old mission hills san diego

    In 1869, Captain Henry James Johnstone purchased 65+ acres for $16.25 in the area that is now known as Mission Hills. Unfortunately, he died young and his wife left the land to their daughter, Sarah Johnston Cox Miller who named the land after her father, Johnston Heights. She built a Victorian style home named “Villa Orizaba” after her father’s ship. 30 years later, Sarah’s son moved the house to its current location and remodeled it to a Prairie style house. This home is still standing today along with salvaged parts of the ship and other old artifacts. From there, Henry renamed streets and redrew lot lines. Johnston Road was changed to Sunset Boulevard and he named his subdivision Inspiration Heights.

    Like most areas in San Diego, Mission Hills was developed in the early 1900’s and was connected by the Class 1 streetcars as part of the San Diego public transit system. Developers followed the Progressive’s guidelines for building on the natural terrain instead of grading it. This is why Mission Hills doesn’t follow the typical grid structure most cities follow. Although there are lots of dead ends, this gives every street a unique feel.

    Brought to San Diego by the Villa Orizaba was Kate Sessions, the famous horticulturist. Kate founded the Mission Hills Nursery in 1910 which is still standing today! Mission Hills has a long history and you can view its historical districts where you can find homes that have been standing since its development. Interestingly enough, Mission Hills has 2,315 homes that were built before 1939 compared to the San Diego average of 321. This is one of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods.


    Mission Hills Restaurantsshakespeare pub and grille

    Mission Hills is home to lots of local restaurants with a variety of flavors that suit any taste. For British Literature lovers or those who enjoy authentic British pub food, there’s the Shakespeare Pub & Grille where you can find your favorite European beer and authentic fish and chips. There’s also Starlite which is a gastropub and cocktail bar great for a date night. Along Washington Ave, you will find a bunch of restaurants to suit all your cravings like Jo’s Mission Hills Diner for diner food or Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria for Chicago style pizza. You can also a variety of coffee shops for your morning coffee fix.


    Shopping in Mission Hills

    mission hills nurseryAlthough it’s a bit small, there are still a lot of boutique shopping stops to bring out your inner shopaholic in Mission Hills. Once you’re done scarfing down fish and chips at the Shakespeare Pub & Grille, you can head over to Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe Store for British candy, food, and tea. If you’re looking for some DIY home projects, head over to the Mission Hills nursery to help plan out your new yard or find some nice houseplants to spruce up your home. For music lovers, you can visit M-Theory Music to find new and used records for sale. Need to find a gift for someone? Visit With Love to find everything from cards and stationery to antiques and jewelry. Mission Hills has a little shop for all your needs.


    Mission Hills Demographics

    Mission Hills Population (via City-Data): 8,459

    Estimated Median House Sales Price in November 2017 (via SDAR): $990,000

    Estimated Median Condo/Detached Sales Price in November 2017 (via SDAR): $513,750

    Median Gross Rent 2015 (via City-Data): $1,096

    Median Household Income 2015 (via City-Data): $91,529


    Mission Hills Housing Styles

    Because it is an older neighborhood, Mission Hills has a large variety of housing styles. Among these styles includes the “Bungalow” that features a low pitched roof, open floor plan, built-in cabinetry, large front porches, large fireplaces and beamed ceilings. This style had influence from the native architecture style in Bengal, India. Not to be confused with Bungalow homes, Craftsman homes have similar characteristics to Bungalows, however, they carry more attention to fine details, have decorative knee braces, double hung windows and hammered metalwork in bronze in copper and art tiles.


    There is also Prairie School style houses in Mission Hills which was prevalent during the early 20th century. Prairie School homes have strong horizontal lines, a low pitched roof, prominent central chimneys, ribbons of windows to emphasize the horizontal design, built-in cabinetry, open floor plan and a use of natural materials like stone and wood. Another old style used is the Colonial Revival home which has been quite popular on the East Coast since the American Revolution. The Colonial Revival home features a rectangular shape, usually with a side porch, a hipped or gabled roof with a narrow overhang, windows with shutters, center entrance with columns or pillars for a covered porch and a brick or wood exterior.

    prairie school
    Prairie School
    Colonial Revival
    Colonial Revival

    Next is the Mission Revival home which evolved from both the Craftsman style home and the Prairie school style. These homes feature a simple plaster or smooth stucco siding, exposed rafters, broad, overhanging eaves, roof parapets, gabled or hipped roof, twisted columns or large square pillars, an arched entry and windows, round or quatrefoil windows, and not many decorative elements. Lastly is the Spanish Revival home, similar to the Mission Revival. The Spanish revival home is usually a two-story home with a balcony, it’s asymmetrical, features a flat hip or gable roof, stucco or adobe brick exterior with plaster interior walls, wrought iron, woodwork or ornate tile and half round doors, windows, and arches. Mission Hill’s variety of home styles allows each street to have a unique and historical feel without that cookie cutter suburb look.

    Mission Revival
    Mission Revival
    spanish revival
    Spanish Revival

    Mission Hills San Diego Real Estate

    If you are interested in living in a unique and historical neighborhood with San Diego Bay views, lots of restaurants, walking distance to fun neighborhoods like Hillcrest, Old Town, and Downtown San Diego, then Mission Hills real estate might be of interest to you. Mission Hills has a variety of homes and condos for sale whether you are looking for a luxury home or a starter condo. Find out how Ascent Real Estate can help you buy or sell your home in Mission Hills San Diego today. View current homes for sale in Mission Hills here. Contact Ascent Real Estate in Mission Hills today to find the best REALTOR® to help you buy or sell your next home.

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