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Welcome to

Little Italy

Where top chefs and local brewers have set up shop

Photo By Paul Body

Food, Festivals and Farmers Markets

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 now a lively neighborhood filled with patio cafés, packed restaurants, craft brew stops, urban wineries, art galleries, sophisticated shops, boutique hotels and the beautiful Amici Park. 

Today, San Diego's most dynamic food and drink scene is centered in Little Italy. It's a place where the past meets the present, where Top Chef alums have set up shop next to old-school eateries that remain treasured landmarks. 

 A slew of luminary chefs have gravitated to Kettner Boulevard, giving it the moniker of “Top Chef Alley" with distinctive eateries including Born & Raised, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack, Herb & Wood and Kettner Exchange. India Street is lined with restaurants featuring cuisines of both Southern and Northern Italy, including the classic Filippi's Pizza Grotto, featuring an old-fashioned Italian dining experience along with a delicatessen and market, which offers everything from prosciutto to mascarpone. 

Since 1934, the Waterfront Bar & Grill has been a favorite local watering hole serving locally brewed ales and burgers. And the 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.

Craft Beer is also in the spotlight here with establishments such as Ballast Point and BottleCraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room.

The central gathering point in Little Italy is a European-style piazza known at Piazza della Famiglia. The 10,000-square-foot plaza connects India and Columbia streets and featured a dramatic tiled fountain. Enjoy an afternoon stroll across the cobblestone street while relaxing before dinner. The piazza, in the “heart” of Little Italy. is dedicated to the past, present, and future families of the Little Italy neighborhood.

Just steps from the plaza, savor the flavors of Italy in the Little Italy Food Hall. This new social dining concept offers six locally-driven food stations, a mobile outdoor chef's area featuring demonstrations, and a full bar with local beers and craft cocktails.

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. Little Italy also features some great local boutiques including The Shopaholics Boutique, Rosa Mariposa, Vocabulary Boutique and Melero Boutique & Gallery where you can find unique clothing, jewelry and small craft items, and the Kettner Art & Design District which encompasses a group of retail shops and art galleries. The French Garden Shoppe and Architectural Salvage are both worth a visit for home goods and unusual finds.  And each Saturday from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM, several blocks of Little Italy are shut down for the weekly Little Italy Mercato—a dynamic farmers market where locals shop for fresh produce along with gourmet goods, flowers, crafts and ready made foods.

Little Italy San Diego is also known for several fun festivals including Little Italy Festa! each fall and the Mission Federal Art Walk each Spring.  

 

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Getting to Little Italy

The aroma of fresh baked bread and Italian seasonings should be enough to get you close to Little Italy. But on a more practical sense, Little Italy is nestled between the downtown core and San Diego's glistening waterfront. If you're arriving from the North, exit on Front Street, and immediately turn right on Cedar. Welcome to the neighborhood! From the airport, take Harbor Drive to Grape Street (turn left) - you're in the center of Italian cuisine bliss. You could walk from downtown, or grab a pedi-cab for a romantic ride to your favorite Italian spot, but however you get there, save room for cannolis. Mangia!

 

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Walk to the Waterfront

Little Italy is just a short walk from San Diego's big bay and the activities along the embarcadero. 

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Ciao! Little Italy

Little Italy is a place where the past meets the present, where Top Chef alums have set up shop and old-school eateries remain as treasured landmarks.

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San Diego Farmers Markets

Don't miss Saturday mornings at the Little Italy Mercato farmer's market. 

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Dine Diego

Sep 15 - Oct 15, 2020

San Diego’s favorite foodie event, San Diego Restaurant Week will take a break this September.  Instead, Dine Diego (presented by San Diego Restaurant Week), will run September 15 through October 15, 2020.  Dine Diego will feature San Diego’s top eateries showcasing all the current offerings for outdoor dining, to-go options and unique in-house promotions.

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Vino! Vino!

Jul 1, 2020 - ongoing

Vino! Vino! walking tour is a great way to get to know Little Italy, San Diego - one of the chicest neighborhoods in the Downtown area. With many unique boutiques, historic buildings, and luxury high-rises, this area is known today as a great area to stay and find some of the best food and drink establishments in all of San Diego. On this tour, you will visit 4 establishments. You will meet wine fanatics who are eager to share with you small production wines, as well as Italian favorites. Learn about the different styles of wine, and taste your way though Little Italy. Taste not just wine, but Italian foodie favorites such as bruschetta, pizza, calamari and a special sangria.

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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing

This private tour showcases some of the outstanding yet hidden scenery of the La Jolla area, plus funky, quirky and mind-boggling art. You’ll also experience “San Diego’s newest tourist attraction” – a remarkable treasure that even locals don’t know about!

On this private tour, you’ll stroll through a vast outdoor public art collection specifically designed for the landscape and surroundings. Learn about the origin of the collection, how the artists are chosen, and the meanings of the selected pieces.

The La Jolla area is home to some of the most unique structures in the country, including a Brutalism-style gem with a tie-in to Dr. Suess and an architectural wonder which is one of the American Institute of Architecture’s “31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life.” 

But Shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone about these places….they’re secret!

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Cycle September

Sep 8 - Sep 30, 2020

Riding your bike this month? Take part in the Cycle September Challenge for chances to win prizes just for pedaling.
It's not about speed, or distance. It's just about getting out on your bike!

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Walk to the Waterfront

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Ciao! Little Italy

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San Diego Farmers Markets

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What's On

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Dine Diego

Sep 15 - Oct 15, 2020
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Vino! Vino!

Jul 1, 2020 - ongoing
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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing
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Cycle September

Sep 8 - Sep 30, 2020
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Little Italy on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Accommodation

CA Residents Package

Carte Hotel San Diego
Valid: May 22 - ongoing

Our CA Residents Package includes daily parking with in and out privileges in secure/underground lot, breakfast for 2 adults + kids eat free under 12.   Book Now! ...

Venues

2 For 1 Wine Tasting Flight

Pali Wine Co
Valid: Sep 1 - Sep 30, 2020

Show this offer on your phone and enjoy two wine tasting flights for the price of one when you visit our tasting room!

Tours & Sightseeing

Save 20% on an Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Jan 1 - ongoing

Turn San Diego's Old Town or Balboa Park into a giant game board with this fun Scavenger Hunt Adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart...

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