Lowrider cruise nights are back in San Diego’s South Bay after 30 years


Jacob Aere

Deanna Garcia’s Lincoln Town Car 2000 uses hydraulics to have only three wheels touching the ground, May 6, 2022.

Lowrider enthusiasts from across the region are excited to once again ride Highland Avenue in National City.

Lowrider cruising will be permitted in National City on the first Friday of the month through October. This is part of a trial period.

“Lowriders (are) anything you can fix. It is very expensive,” said Teresa Garza, a member of the Viejitos Car Club. “Cruising is enjoying what was happening 30 years ago. Which is simply walking the streets with friends, family and stopping somewhere for a bite to eat. ”

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Jacob Aere

Lowriders are parked outside Sweetwater High School, May 6, 2022.

The Friday night cruise kicks off at Sweetwater High School, according to Garza, who drives a 1952 Chevy Styleline.

“We heard that there were people from Los Angeles, from San Jose, from San Francisco, even from El Paso, Texas, that they would be here. So let’s see if they show up,” Garza said. “We were told at the start (to expect) probably around 200 cars, 250. But now everyone thinks it’s going to be like 500.


Jacob Aere

Deanna Garcia and Teresa Garza talk to a passing couple in their lowrider, May 6, 2022.

National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is eager to see some of her city’s Chicano culture come alive.

“With the Chicano-Latino community, lowriding is sort of synonymous with milestones. You have them for your quinceañera, you have them for your weddings, you probably have them for prom,” Sotelo-Solis said. “And it’s not just a right of passage, but it’s also an investment of your blood, sweat and tears.”


Jacob Aere

A pair of lowriders pass by hydraulically lifted Sweetwater High School on May 6, 2022.

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month, lowriders will be able to ride down Highland Avenue between Sixth and 28th Streets.

Friday’s event marks the first legal cruise to National City since 1992. Now groups of lowriders aim to shake off their previous negative image and make cruises about family.

“I wanted to be louder than the drugs, than the gangs, than the booze, than the streets,” Game Over Car Club member Deanna Garcia said. “So I used lowriding to be that louder voice, to get my kids’ attention and keep it on me, to show them what hard work really does. To show them what unity is. and show them how everyone in a community can become a family.


Jacob Aere

Deanna Garcia stands in front of her lowrider, which is lifted at the rear with hydraulics, May 6, 2022.

Garcia said each lowrider car is specifically tailored to embody its owner.

For her, lowriding is a question of identity.

“The paint job has real 24-karat gold in it,” she said of her bloated 2000 Lincoln Town Car. “My name, my bag of money, my dollar signs, my sheets. I had to go out there and be an individual. That’s why it’s ‘money in the bank’, because this is my bank here .It’s got all my money in it.”


Jacob Aere

The front grille of the ‘Lady Hypnotic’ lowrider is pictured, May 6, 2022.

In early April, the National City City Council voted to allow the temporary period for lowrider cruise nights.

“Seeing the lowriders, seeing the vintage vehicles, the effort that many in our community have put into our cars, even generations. And so we’re really excited to see them coming back,” Sotelo-Solis said.

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Jacob Aere

The ‘Lady Hypnotic’ lowrider is parked among other cars at Sweetwater High School, May 6, 2022.

Lowrider enthusiasts hope cruises will continue for the long term after the trial period ends in October.

Lowrider cruise nights are back in San Diego’s South Bay after 30 years

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