LIVING IN THE CITY: She's Sold On East Village

Iowa native Madeleine McCormick came to San Diego for a visit, but decided to stay awhile

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun‘s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is an ongoing series.

Name: Madeleine McCormick

Location: 13th & Market in East Village

Personal deets: Born in Huxley, Iowa. Came from Des Moines to San Marcos this past New Year’s Eve for a visit. My current roommate, Haley Manning, convinced me that what I brought in two large suitcases was enough for a longer stay and I agreed. By coincidence, I moved from Des Moines’ East Village to San Diego’s East Village.

Work deets: I’ve been in print advertising sales (yes, people still do that) for the last five months. Was previously a freelance podcaster and CEO of a women-only personal training company that I started with my mom. I come from a media background, doing nearly two years at iHeartRadio as a morning news anchor in Des Moines.

“Smile” mural by Pandr Design Co.

Working from home: I work everywhere. It’s important for me to be out in the field seeing business owners and making connections. I like the flexibility of my schedule.

Best aspect of location: My building is central to lots of places. We’re close to Petco Park, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, Golden Hill…I can walk or take a scooter across town in minutes. The building is nice and has decent amenities: a gym, pool, conference center and rooftop space.

Worst aspect: There aren’t many parks nearby (with real grass), so people with dogs let their furry friends defecate all over the sidewalks. That’s not cool. One thing I miss about Des Moines’ East Village: real grass.

Cost of living: California life is so expensive. The cost of living here is three to four times higher than what I was exposed to in the Midwest. I’ve struggled to make ends meet, and know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. I can pay for a downtown apartment, though, so it could be worse.

Petco Park.

Positives about downtown life: I like walking to Padres games at Petco Park. My first game was as a guest in a box suite. It was air-conditioned, catered and stocked full of beer. That’s the way to do it.

I like having plans downtown and only having to stumble a few blocks home at night. I also like watching airplanes fly over the high-rises. And hearing sirens wail at night. It adds to the hustle and bustle of an easygoing Southern California city.

Negative about downtown life: Well, it doesn’t smell like roses.

Transportation breakdown: I walk as much as I can.

Scooters: I like them. My parents bought a couple when we lived in Des Moines, before scooters had been approved by the city. I crashed one once. Yowch.

Seahorse Coffee at Quartyard.

Coffee shop: Seahorse Coffee. It’s right across the street from my building. Great, quick service! I get a Dr. Rockso. It’s coffee with coconut syrup and sweet and condensed milk. Clearly, I like coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee.

Lunch place(s): Lolita’s Mexican Food near Petco is good. I also like BESHOCK Ramen & Sake Bar. They have a nice happy hour deal–half-off food and specialty cocktails.

Dinner spot: Lola 55 is a Michelin-recognized restaurant. The food is great, and the owner is a kind person. It’s upscale in its approach to food, but the service is casual.

Go-to bar(s): Parq and the Oxford Social Club are cool spots. I’ve also been to the University Club on the top floor of Symphony Towers. Quartyard is a unique concept. They’re a bar and an event venue. It’s always poppin’.

Food shopping: I shop for groceries at Grocery Outlet first, because I can get so many things that I need to use right away. After that, Albertsons and Smart & Final.

University Club atop Symphony towers. (Courtesy photo)

Safety: I’ve never felt scared to be downtown. There are some dicey characters here and there, but I’m not afraid to walk anywhere or be out past a certain time. I’m usually not alone and stay aware. I also carry a Birdie. It’s a personal safety device that has a loud alarm and a flashing strobe light to deter an attacker.

Homelessness: The houseless population doesn’t affect my daily life. Is it a challenge to my ego when I’m inconvenienced by other people? Yes. But I can’t say people in that situation cause or contribute to any of my grievances. I’m privileged, and fortunate, to have an apartment downtown.

Parking woes: My boyfriend and I went to a Padres game. Someone let him park in their building’s parking garage. Overnight, his car was towed. We spent three hours the next morning trying to figure out who had it and how to get it back. A nightmare.

Funniest experience: Funny but also gross. We were celebrating my 26th birthday at Bloom. It’s an 18+ bar and a draw for college kids. We were on the dance floor and it felt like someone spilled their drink and splashed my leg. Turns out, a kid was peeing on the dance floor. He was thrown out.

Croissants at Izola Bakery. (Courtesy photo)

Currently streaming: I lived in Iowa most of my life but just recently watched The Bridges of Madison County, with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, one of the best actors of our lifetime. I also started watching Squid Game on Netflix.

Podcasts: As a podcaster myself, I like to listen to long-form journalism and true crime. I just re-listened to NPR’s Serial, hosted by former This American Life producer Sarah Koenig. I get goosebumps when the theme music fades in. I’m a big fan of My Favorite Murder. It’s hosted by California natives-comedians-feminists-mental-health-advocates Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. They rock.

Parting tip: Try the croissants at Izola Bakery.


Want to tell your downtown San Diego “Living In The City” story? Email


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top