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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.  

 

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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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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2021

San Diego area residents and visitors are in for a special treat in February! Pick up your Museum Month discount pass at participating libraries or when you stay at a Hilton to enjoy 50% off the cost of admission at more than 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums. The San Diego Museum Month pass is free; one pass can be used at several museums* throughout the month of February.

Whether you are an art aficionado, history buff, science or nature lover, the San Diego Museum Council has a variety of member organizations that are bound to capture your interest.

Take advantage of this annual program to visit both old favorites and new attractions you have never even heard of!

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Mission Federal ArtWalk Virtual Edition

Dec 5 - Dec 31, 2020

Mission Fed ArtWalk will be marking its 36th annual fine arts festival with a virtual experience beginning Saturday, December 5 through Thursday, December 31.

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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Nov 4, 2020 - ongoing

Journey with award winning tour guide Julie around San Diego’s cultural and historic sites—on a private tour of fun and informative must-see sightseeing hotspots.

OLD TOWN:   Take a trip into the past and learn about our rich Spanish and Mexican heritage and why we are the “Birthplace of California.” Experience our original city—colorful and festive now, but find out why it wasn’t always that way.

DOWNTOWN:  Explore these San Diego Downtown essentials: scenic San Diego Bay’s Embarcadero waterfront, the famous and vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, hip and historic Little Italy, and Petco Park.

BALBOA PARK:  The cultural heartbeat of our city; you will fall in love with the country’s largest urban cultural park and be dazzled discovering its origins as you take in its incredible vegetation, gorgeous flowers and ornate architecture.

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LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing

Raise your photography to the next level with a private photography training session or a photography tour led by Julie Kremen, an award winning professional photographer and certified tour guide. Read the reviews and see why she is top-rated on TripAdvisor, and Yelp.

The instruction is completely customized to your abilities, interests, and goals; so you get the maximum amount of one-on-one instruction tailored to suit your needs. Personal instruction and the ability to shadow a skilled professional photographer allows you to receive immediate feedback as you shoot and get on-the-spot guidance as to how to improve.

Julie works closely with you before the session to nail down exactly what you want to concentrate on so you can get the most out of your experience. Contact us to book a private session and your boost your shooting skills!

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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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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2021
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Mission Federal ArtWalk Virtual Edition

Dec 5 - Dec 31, 2020
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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Nov 4, 2020 - ongoing
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LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 24, 2020 - ongoing
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Little Italy on Instagram

 

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