Located in the foothills of eastern San Diego county approximately 30 miles from the city of San Diego, Alpine has classically had a reputation as a sleepy mountainside town. However, in modern times Alpine has become a thriving, bustling little city in its own right.
Alpine's name comes from its location — situated around 2,000 feet above sea level, its landscape mimics those of the Swiss Alps, although snow remains a relatively rare occurrence here. Still, the elevation makes for great stargazing by night and yields fresh, crisp mountain air by day.
Restaurants & Nightlife
When it comes to dining out, Alpine has a few options that hold particular appeal outside of the chain restaurants and fast food establishments that dot the area. Most restaurants and bars in the area have set up shop near the Interstate 8, making them easily accessible for residents and visitors alike.
If you like pub fare and great beer, you will love Alpine Beer Company, located centrally on Alpine Avenue. A combination pub and brewery, Alpine Beer Company serves up bar food favorites and has a long list of beers brewed on site to complement your meal. If you are a fan of stout, try a bottle of Odin's Raven, a brew crafted in the imperial stout tradition. Soak it up with a plate of batter-fried green beans, featuring long string beans coated with a batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. If appetizers aren't enough to sate your appetite, try the beef brisket dinner plate and choose two side items, available in large or small sizes, to complement the juicy, tender meat of the entree, such as the house-made cole slaw or potato salad. Even if beer doesn't suit your fancy, the wine list at Alpine Beer Company comes close to rivaling the beer menu, so don't be put off by the name; this pub has something for everyone over the age of 21.
When thoughts of sushi rolls dance in your head, Alpine surprisingly has more than one option to satisfy the craving. Panda Machi, located in the strip mall at the corner of Alpine Boulevard and Tavern Road, serves up fresh sushi daily for prices that cannot be beat. For a taste of the Far East in San Diego's east county, Panda Machi has what you are looking for, whether you want to try a "sexy roll," featuring a blend of spicy crab and avocado, or sample the signature chicken teriyaki if your find yourself in the mood for hot food. Pandi Machi also serves Chinese food favorites like broccoli beef and orange chicken and operates from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, so stop in and enjoy some scrumptious Asian cuisine in a casual atmosphere whenever the mood strikes.
Most locals who want to enjoy a bit of nightlife flock east of town to Viejas Casino, located on Willows Road within the Viejas Indian Reservation just one exit up from Alpine proper on the Interstate 8. If you like the sound of having a slice of Las Vegas in east San Diego county, you will love what Viejas has in store. Featuring several bars, lounges and eateries as well as a full casino floor with blackjack tables, hundreds of slot machines and more, you can stop in for a drink and gamble the night away, as Viejas Casino never closes.
If you get hungry while gambling there, Viejas has a place where you can get a quality meal any time, day or night. The Cafe at Viejas serves up everything you would expect at a cafe, including sandwiches, salads and plates of sizzling hot food. Those in the know keep coming back for the chicken fried steak and eggs, which will surely leave you full and satisfied. Featuring a battered and breaded cube steak fried to a rich golden brown and topped with brown gravy, a side of hash browns, two eggs cooked in the style of your choosing and a fluffy biscuit, the chicken fried steak and eggs will give you the fuel you need to hit the slots just one last time. If a sandwich sounds like it would hit the spot, try the hot pastrami. This treat consists of piping-hot meat, stone-ground mustard and a crunchy dill pickle slice atop marbled rye bread
History & Culture
Alpine's history extends back beyond the time of the American Civil War, when its location and relatively flat landscape made it ideal as a stopping point between Yuma and San Diego. When Interstate 8 extended its reach to the Alpine area, a roadway was paved to welcome more new residents than ever before, enabling Alpine to become the busy little town you see today.
The Cleveland National Forest borders the town to the east and north, preserving the wilderness for the enjoyment of all. You may wish to visit the Lions Tigers and Bears Wild Animal Rescue. This rescue takes in wounded or lost wild animals and provides them with a home where other measures have failed. Lions Tigers and Bears gives tours to visitors, so if you would like to see a lion, tiger, bear or other wild animal up close, call the rescue and schedule a tour.
Most residents of Alpine drive to get around, as taxi options and transit options in the area can be rather limited. Uber provides limited service to the area, usually catering to the casino-going crowd. Alpine's expansiveness makes it less than walkable, though the downtown areas do have sidewalks. Although two bus routes service Alpine and the surrounding region, the times of operation seem typical of a rural bus line, catering to day workers and not leaving much room for using public transit to explore the nightlife. Cyclists enjoy taking rides around town to soak up the scenery, but if you work in San Diego city, biking to work may prove challenging unless you are a fan of long-distance rides on a daily basis. Parking in the area tends to be free and ample, so if you enjoy driving, Alpine will make you smile.
The cost of living in Alpine reflects its status as a beautiful mountainside getaway location. It has a reputation for being a place where east county's affluent individuals settle down, as evidenced by the high home prices and rental rates.
The average price of a rental runs about $1,275 per month for a one bedroom. Thankfully, shopping and entertainment prices in the area have remained low, perhaps to make up for the high housing prices.
Unique shopping options in Alpine can be hard to come by, but that doesn't make them nonexistent. Most shops, both of the chain and mom-and-pop variety, can be found along the Interstate 8 freeway on the main roads of the town.
Victorian Divine Indulgence on Alpine Boulevard caters to the sort who want a hand-crafted alternative to the offerings from Bed Bath and Beyond. Specializing in hand-made soaps and scrubs, Victorian Divine Indulgence has a cozy boutique setting and a broad inventory, making it the perfect place to shop for a gift for that special someone. If you want the ultimate in artisan skin care, stop by and see why Victorian Divine Indulgence has a reputation as a favorite among local ladies looking to pamper themselves with products made from natural ingredients.
If biking and skating give you a thrill, head over to Alpine Ride Shop on the corner of Alpine Boulevard and Marshall Road. Featuring a huge selection of biking and skating accessories, Alpine Ride Shop has been a favorite of local extreme sports enthusiasts since opening its doors in 2010. It operates seven days a week, making it a convenient place to shop even for those with the busiest schedules. If you live to ride and want bargain prices on bikes, scooters and accessories, come out to Alpine Ride Shop and see what makes it so popular.
Those with a passion for fashion will love Chic Boutique. Located on Arnold Way at the Alpine Boulevard intersection, Chic Boutique features a variety of new and used clothing and fashion accessories in a cozy, quaint small-town shop atmosphere with friendly service. It features a well-organized inventory in a tidy environment and staff who greet you with a smile. The low prices make this place a real draw for both locals and visitors who enjoy a different kind of boutique experience.
Albertsons grocery store provides residents with quality produce, while the Ranch Farmer's Market stands as a quaint, neighborhood establishment that includes a butcher on the premises.
Although Alpine finds itself situated among a copious amount of natural beauty, options for neighborhood parks seem to be limited in the area. However, one family-friendly option does remain for locals and visitors with small children. Although pets may not visit without a leash, Boulder Oaks Neighborhood Park on Tavern Road near White Oaks Drive can be a great place to enjoy a day of leisure with the family, where parking and admission come free of charge. Featuring a small playground and a grassy area where you can spread out a picnic blanket, Boulder Oaks Neighborhood Park has a welcoming, small-town park feel and receives weekly maintenance to keep it beautiful for all to enjoy.
Each spring, the Center to Help Instill Respect and Preservation for Garden Wildlife hosts the Sage and Songbirds Festival, located at 1460 Midway Drive near the intersection with Peaceful Place. The festival includes a tour of the main garden, a plant sale and the chance to see dozens of butterflies as they are released into the wild to fly free. Tickets to this event cost $20 per person and may be purchased at Jennifer's Feed Store on Alpine Boulevard.