Why go now: Get a taste of retro architecture dressed up for the holidays.
The neighborhood’s namesake: A royal borough in London.
Main drag: Adams Avenue.
1930s state of mind: Staying out late? Drop by the Kensington Club (4079 Adams Ave.; 619/284-2848)―locals just call it the Ken―which dates to 1936.
’40s innovation: Ken Cinema was the first San Diego theater to show foreign and art films―a revolutionary idea when it opened in 1946.
Timeless good eats: The chiles rellenos at Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant ($; closed Sun; 4050 Adams Ave.; 619/282-4413), a neighborhood institution since 1969, never go out of style.
Best way to waste time: People-watching in San Diego Coffee, Tea & Spice at Kensington (4141 Adams Ave.; 619/640-0494).
Take it home: Visit Craftsman-style ceramics studio Clay Associates this month for its twice-annual sale. Pick up last-minute holiday gifts like Asian-inspired teapots with rattan handles or glossy, glazed abstract pots. Closed Sun except during Dec 6–21 sale; 3667 Adams Ave.; 619/563-1806.Kensington day trip gallery