College Area is a vibrant residential community located in San Diego’s mid-city region. It is bordered by Interstate 8 in the north, El Cajon Boulevard in the south, the communities of Kensington and Talmadge to the west and the city of La Mesa to the east. College Area is approximately 8 miles northeast of San Diego’s downtown core.
Covering 283 acres, San Diego State University’s (SDSU) main campus is located here. SDSU is an integral part of College Area, dominating every facet of the community. The area saw its first housing developments in the 1930s, with subdivisions being built alongside the main commercial artery of El Cajon Boulevard. 1931 saw the relocation of San Diego’s State Teachers College to the area, from which College Area derives its name. By 1935 the teachers’ college grew in scope to become San Diego State College. A series of post-World War 2 expansions saw the state college blossom into San Diego State University in 1974. The postwar boom in suburban housing combined with the completion of Interstate 8 also played a major role in the growth and development of College Area.
Redevelopment of University controlled property in the 1990s resulted in even more homes and businesses sprouting around campus. The renewed development also resulted in an extension of San Diego Trolley to the area with two new stations; one near Alvarado Hospital on Alvarado Road and one on the SDSU campus itself. Further rounds of redevelopment are in the works – a second proposed plan aims to revitalize College Area’s historic commercial core along El Cajon Boulevard.
Today College Area is vibrant and growing residential community with a bright future ahead of it. It is the proud home of San Diego State University and Alvarado Hospital and features many historically significant neighborhoods. El Cajon Boulevard cuts across College Area and is its main commercial hub, although there are significant retail areas in or around the SDSU campus as well.
Popular College Area Events and Festivals:
- The largest and most popular College Area event has to be the annual Boulevard BOO! Parade. This takes place each October and bills itself as “San Diego’s ONLY Halloween Parade.”
- The College Area Food Experience (CAFE) – An annual foodie-event held every May, CAFE celebrates the many excellent (and not to mention affordable!) student-friendly dining options in the neighborhood.
Both of the above events are coordinated by the College Area Business District, a local non-profit advocacy group responsible for promoting the district as a premiere shopping and dining destination.