You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve left the US and flown to Europe, if you drop into San Diego’s Little Italy district. It’s not just a name, it’s truly authentic, with the neighborhood having been home to generations of Italian families over the years. They mainly carved out a living from the sea. The tuna industry was big business once upon a time. These days, it remains a bustling place to visit. If you adore the smell of coffee and have a taste for fine food, then you may just fall in love. And it’s not just foodie heaven, there’s also an arts scene in Little Italy – and lots of high-class shops.
A feast for the senses
Say “Italy” to most people and they’ll probably think of pizza, pasta, and good wines. Little Italy won’t disappoint. It’s the epicenter of eating out for San Diego – and very much a mixture of traditional and new menus.
If you’re after some top-class food action, then head for Kettner Boulevard, with lots of big names on offer. Or, for a taste of Southern and Northern Italy, you should set your sights on India Street, which is full of restaurants specializing in these regions. There’ll you’ll find Filippi’s Pizza Grotto – you’ll get a good old Italian experience, and there’s also a deli and market too.
And alongside the Italian food and drink, you’ll also find a craft beer scene – offering something unique to whet your palette.
If you love shopping, Little Italy will have you beaming from ear to ear. You’ll find boutiques, offering all sorts of clothing, jewelry and crafts. There’s also art galleries and home goods shops to keep you busy.
San Diego is home to thousands of small farms. It produces all sorts of produce, ranging from avocados to strawberries. Loads of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Every Saturday, you can get your hands on some at a farmers’ market called ‘Little Italy Mercato.’ Four blocks are closed off, giving you an idea of the size of it, with street sellers setting up shop to tempt you. Why not try some cured meats and then grab an espresso? It’s also a good chance to get to meet the farmers and talk about their produce.
And if the market in Little Italy isn’t enough, many others are also held in San Diego. They’re just one of many types of events you can enjoy here. Check out the latest listings for things to do in San Diego this weekend.
Little Italy also hosts lots of events, including the Little Italy Festa! in the Autumn. There’s also the popular Mission Federal Art Walk every Spring.
Where to stay
If you’re staying over for a night or two, then there’s all sorts of accommodation on offer in and around Little Italy – to suit all tastes and budgets.
How to get to Little Italy
You can sniff out Little Italy easily in San Diego, with the neighborhood sitting between the downtown area and waterfront. You can walk from downtown.