Of course, sunny Southern California is no stranger to laid-back, breezy vibes. Explore the hip downtown area of San Diego’s Little Italy, a storied pocket with immigrant Italian roots dating back to the 1920’s and warm, timeless charm. Amid palm trees and Havaianas, savor a sense of urban cool from modern furniture shops to local art, outdoor spaces and world-class cuisines.
Known as a design hub, Little Italy has plenty of home shops and galleries.
- Boomerang For Modern stocks classic designs from designers like Ray and Charles Eames.
- Klassik fills in the contemporary void with other mid-century gems.
- Meyer Fine Art is the place to browse for prints.
Colorful SoCal Wares
- Artelexia stocks a bounty of colorful Mexican goods.
- Vocabulary carries modern his and hers clothing labels.
- Love & Aesthetics, a longstanding boutique, sells indie tees, candles and sweet vases.
And, Surf’s Up
- Atacama supplies all your water sport needs, with McCallum boards and Vissla wetsuits.
- Speaking of water, the nearby Embarcadero shows off the city’s savvy maritime roots with its fishing harbor and massive old ships.
Italian (Of Course) and Seafood, Plus Ramen
It’s true, you won’t just find Italian food in Little Italy, but so much more.
- Mona Lisa Delicatessen breathes new life into old-lore Italian with classic breads and layered sandwiches (psst: the family-friendly dining room whips up pasta for all ages).
- Bencotto, a bi-level mod spot, serves sharable plates of meat and cheeses while its next door sibling, Monello tosses airy pizzas.
- Underbelly is the spot to pop by for steamy bowls of ramen.
- Craft and Commerce doles out veggie omelets and Korean BBQ wings.
- Ironside Fish and Oyster Bar buzzes with fresh catches.
- Dallman Fine Chocolates has plenty of confections for all ages.
- The Waterfront, est. 1933, is an old tavern for happy hour suds and pub grub.
- Last but not least, local brewer Ballast Point‘s tasting room is aces for local pints and afterwards, robust espressos are best sipped at Caffe Italia.
Outdoor Festivals, Live Music and Family Time
The event calendar is awash with fun – besides that you’ll also uncover a wealth of outdoor activities.
- Waterfront Park, great for kids, has a new playground and grassy park area. Make a stop while strolling, jogging or biking along the San Diego Bay.
- The Little Italy Mercato is the neighborhood’s wildly popular, California-certified Saturday market, showcasing over 150 vendors hawking fresh produce, meat and eggs from nearby farms.
- The fountain at Piazza Basilone channels Rome for people watching or sunsets, especially with a creamy gelato scoop from Pappalecco.
- Music Box is a concert hotspot with live funk, hip-hop, soul and more.