Shopping enthusiasts delight in San Diego's neighborhood shopping districts, major malls, antique stores and bargain-filled outlet centers. Following are some of San Diego's popular shopping opportunities, where colorful and multi-cultural shopping experiences tempt savvy consumers.
In the heart of downtown San Diego, throughout the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter, shoppers can find cutting-edge fashion in quirky independent boutiques and retailers like Urban Outfitters, The Puma Store and Quicksilver. Unusual shopping opportunities also abound, like cigars hand-rolled on-site at the Cuban Cigar Factory.
Along the main thoroughfares, University Avenue and the tree-lined Fifth Avenue, in Hillcrest, strolling shoppers can browse through boutiques and vintage shops stocked with books, clothes and much more. Highlights include Mint for fashion forward footwear, Flashbacks for the hippest in retro clothes and Babette Schwartz for quirky gifts.
On Fir Street in Little Italy, colorful cottages house boutiques that offer ultra-stylish options including independent designers of women's clothing, accessories and shoes. On nearby India Street, shoppers find imported accessories of all kinds in an array of stylish boutiques.
With hundreds of antique dealers in six malls, the Ocean Beach Antique District, located along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, offers the largest concentration of antique and collectible dealers in San Diego County. The district offers an array of unique, eclectic retail settings and features one-of-a-kind antiques, mid-century modern furniture, specialty memorabilia and fine estate, vintage jewelry.
Solana Beach's Cedros Design District runs the length of Cedros Avenue and is home to a bevy of luxury home décor and design boutiques as well as trendy shops offering unique women's apparel, accessories for the pampered pet and decadent gifts for family and friends.
In Little Italy, from the hip contemporary flair of Mixture to the downright mod styles of Boomerang for Modern, the area is a treasure trove of unique furnishings and accents for the home.
In the Gaslamp Quarter, shops serve up unusual trinkets for house and home, such as Galeria del Sol's huge selection of furniture from Mexico and Latin America to Urban Lighting's contemporary selections in their award-winning showroom.
In La Jolla, along Girard Avenue, the Upper Girard Design District offers numerous home furnishing shops ideal for shoppers seeking unique luxury home décor items.
Sometimes called the "Rodeo Drive" of San Diego, La Jolla's Prospect Street overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is lined with small specialty shops, boutiques, antique emporiums and art galleries. In addition to offering elegant, designer fashions in sophisticated apparel shops, La Jolla is also known for its exquisite and original fine jewelry of magnificent and brilliant gems.
Farther north in Del Mar, the European-style retail village Del Mar Plaza is nestled gently into a hillside along the coast with walkways of Old World stone winding amid boutiques, galleries and restaurants with ocean view piazzas.
The revitalized merchant district of Bird Rock, located at the south end of La Jolla, offers an upscale, eco-friendly environment for posh shopping. It boasts everything from an organic coffee shop and green nail salon, to designer boutiques adorned with fashionable shoes, bags and bikinis. The district even has upscale children's clothing boutiques.
San Diego includes several historically rich locations for fascinating and fun shopping experiences. Nestled in Old Town State Historic Park, Fiesta de Reyes is a popular destination for food, folklore and fun. This cultural oasis reflects the era of 1821-1872 through a festive environment and traditional and distinctive shops, which capture the essence of three distinct periods in San Diego's colorful history. Also in the heart of Old Town is the Old Town Esplanade, offering specialty shops, restaurants, galleries, and a Southwestern marketplace.
Across San Diego Bay on Coronado peninsula, the San Diego-Coronado Ferry docks at the Ferry Landing. The original ferryboat landing site has been redeveloped into a retail and specialty/entertainment complex, featuring waterfront dining and one-of-a-kind shops. The Hotel Del Coronado is filled with history, having hosted movie stars and diplomats over its many years, and its 20-plus specialty shops offer a truly Southern California shopping experience. You'll find upscale men's and women's apparel, fine jewelry, home and bath accessories and authentic Del merchandise. Coronado's historically preserved downtown offers one-of-a-kind specialty shops, bookstores, antique shops, home and garden stores, and gourmet food shops.
Seaport Village, a 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex along San Diego Bay, recreates a California harbor setting of a century ago. With four miles of meandering cobblestone pathways, ponds, fountains, and lush landscaping, Seaport Village offers more than 50 theme shops, four award-winning restaurants and 13 sidewalk cafes.
With 1,200 lush acres, 15 museums and the Tony-Award® winning Old Globe theatre, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the country. The park's museums stock innovative and unique gifts for shoppers who love arts and culture, including museum books, posters, calendars, jewelry and artistic reproductions.
Located adjacent to the Viejas Casino in San Diego's East County, Viejas Outlet Center features nearly 50 outlet stores, including big names like Guess, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Coach. Bargains aside, the center's striking Southwestern architecture, splashing waterfalls and intricate tile work create a relaxed shopping atmosphere.
Located in San Diego's North County, Carlsbad Premium Outlets offers everyday savings of 25-65% and features 90 outlet stores, including Banana Republic, Barneys New York Outlet, Brooks Brothers, BCBG Max Azria, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Jones New York, Juicy Couture, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, Theory and many more. From March through May, shoppers can also enjoy a picturesque backdrop of the world-famous Flower Fields at Carlsbad.
Strategically located on the world's busiest border crossing—San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico—with 125 fashion brand stores, Las Americas Premium Outlets is the county's largest outlet mall. Retail outlet stores include Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, BCBG Max Azria, Adidas and Ann Taylor and more.
Westfield Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego offers open-air shopping in a dramatic architectural setting that calls to mind a Technicolor M.C. Escher drawing. With its five staggered levels, Horton Plaza offers specialty shops, major department stores, restaurants, a multi-layered food court and attractions including a 14-screen movie theater and live theater performances at the Lyceum Theater.
Fashion Valley, a two-level, open-air complex in Mission Valley, showcases major department stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Macy's and Nordstrom, while featuring specialty and retail shops like Tiffany & Co., Betsey Johnson, Apple, Louis Vuitton, A|X Armani Exchange, Coach and MAC Cosmetics. Fashion Valley also offers restaurants, cafés and an 18-screen theater.
Hazard Center is a specialty shopping center in Mission Valley with a Barnes & Noble bookstore, an independent movie theatre and a variety of restaurants.
In La Jolla's Golden Triangle, Westfield UTC offers visitors a unique mix of specialty stores, services and restaurants in an open-air setting.
Otay Ranch Town Center, located in the city of Chula Vista, combines aspects of a regional mall with an old-fashioned town square and includes a pedestrian-friendly layout with lush courtyards, fountains and a dog park. Located on 85 acres, the open-air complex features upscale specialty stores, department stores and restaurants.