Once home to San Diego's flourishing tuna fishing industry and generations of Italian families who made their living on the sea, Little Italy is a quaint and lively neighborhood filled with patio cafés, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, shops, hotels, historic Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church and the beautiful Amici Park.
Today, San Diego's most dynamic food and drink scene is centered in this bustling neighborhood that's peppered with quaint cafes, al fresco eateries, craft brew stops, urban wineries, and myriad of restaurants. It's a place where the past meets the present, where Top Chef alums have set up shop and old-school eateries remain as treasured landmarks.
A slew of luminary chefs have gravitated to Kettner Boulevard, giving it the moniker of Celebrity Chef Row with distinctive eateries including Bracero, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack, and Herb & Wood.
India Street is lined with restaurants featuring cuisines of both Southern and Northern Italy, including Sicilian dishes served with a modern flair at Trattoria Fantastica and sophisticated Italian food with a cozy ambiance at Buon Appetito. Indigo Grill serves modern Latin cuisine while Filippi's Pizza Grotto features an old-fashioned Italian dining experience along with a delicatessen and market, which offers everything from prosciutto to mascarpone. You can also find classic American favorites in Little Italy at spots like Burger Lounge.
Since 1934, the Waterfront Bar & Grill has been a favorite local watering hole serving locally brewed ales and burgers.
British-owned and -operated Princess Pub and Grille serves British and Irish beers, along with traditional pub fare such as fish and chips for patrons watching soccer and rugby via satellite TV.
98 Bottles on Kettner Blvd. is a 21+ neighborhood hangout features a large selection of craft beer, wine and sake, along with a full calendar of live entertainment. A great place to mix and mingle with the locals.
Sample more 35+ in-house beers during a stop at Ballast Point Little Italy. Upon arrival on a sunny day order a locally sourced plate from the kitchen, grab seat outside, and watch flights fly overhead toward San Diego's airport while sipping a flight of award-winning brews.
BottleCraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room showcases hundreds of amazing beers in bottle as well as 25 beers on draft and 2 casks. The shop's goal is to truly be a "tasting room" offering the local standbys as well as beers you will not see anywhere else.
Vino Carta, from the proprietors of Bottlecraft, is wine shop and bar with a focus on small, family-run producers and natural wines made through organic and sustainable farming practices.
While it's true that El Camino offers delicious dishes inspred by the modern foods of Mexico, it's the margaritas and 25+ tequilas most locals pop in for. When out with a group of amigos, order one (or two) los Punch Bowls, 60oz of pure vintage fiesta served over ice!
Little Italy's only open-air rooftop lounge, Kettner Exchange offers a unique variety of libation options in our cabanas including, boutique wines, craft cocktail decanters, individual classic cocktails and private, self serve beer taps located right inside private cabanas.
Sitting atop the Porto Vista Hotel, Glass Door offers an craft cocktails, craft beers menu and cuisine influenced from every major culinary capital in the world all served with a panoramic view of the San Diego Marina.
No Little Italy would be complete without a true Italian market and Mona Lisa Italian Foods deli fits the bill. The deli offers a selection of foods, wine and delicious deli sandwiches. Located on the corner of India Street and Hawthorne.
Little Italy has some great local boutiques worth a stop on your San Diego visit including The Shopaholics Boutique, Rosa Mariposa, Vocabulary Boutique and Melero Boutique & Gallery where you can find unique clothing, jewelry and small craft items.
The Kettner Art & Design District encompasses a group of retail shops and art galleries that feature grand selections of home furnishings and fashion accessories. Among its 21 shops is India Street Antiques, offering affordable European dressers, armoires, cabinets, and other collectibles. And for the artist in the group, a must-stop is Blick Art Materials where you can find everything from a sketch book to archival supplies.
Italian-inspired retail includes colorful sconces and sparkling chandeliers at Simply Italian and elegant Italian ceramics and gifts at Bella Stanza.
Fir Street Shops is a block of colorful cottages housing stylish and unique boutiques, such as the Carol Gardyne Gallery, which offers designer scarves and jewelry. The French Garden Shoppe on India Street offers European home furnishing and kitchen decor.
Architectural Salvage is a haven of vintage home décor and accessories like antique drawer handles.
Each Saturday from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM, several blocks of Little Italy are shut down for the weekly Little Italy Mercato. Here you'll find the locals shopping for fresh produce but also gourmet vinegar, crafts and ready made foods.
Art galleries include Scott White Contemporary Art, which promotes the works of emerging and mid-career artists, and Perry L. Meyer Fine Art, specializing in 18th-century art to contemporary works on paper.
Southern California meets Italy in this celebration of cycling, food, and San Diego's picturesque water front during the Campagnolo GranFondo San Diego in April.
During the annual Mission Federal ArtWalk in April, guests enjoy a variety of art media displayed in outdoor venues, studios, galleries, and local businesses, along with live entertainment.
Over the Summer, enjoy amazing Italian films, with English subtitles, at the Amici Park Amphitheater during the Little Italy Summer Film Festival.
June's VanGo Steam features a silly soap box race; fine arts exhibition, live music as well as visual & performing arts entertainment and a beer & wine garden.
Every October is the annual Little Italy Festa, a traditional street festival with music, fine foods and specialty crafts.
Stroll down the sidewalks, while enjoying the Lamborghinis and pop into the various storefronts to explore what stores, eateries and galleries the Little Italy neighborhood has to offer during The Bulls of St. Agata Charge Little Italy in October.
Get in the holiday spirit during the Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village with festive decorations, live music and entertainment, snacks, holiday beverages and more!