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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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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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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 27 - Apr 28, 2019

On April 27-28, 2019, the Mission Federal ArtWalk will celebrate its 35th annual event in the streets of Little Italy. Featuring more than 300 artists filling 17 square blocks of the iconic urban neighborhood with art, craftsmanship and beautiful goods, this event attracts artists from across the globe. More than just an art event, the festival is a family-friendly opportunity to participate in interactive art installations and features live and features live music and dance performances.

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Little Italy Mercato: Farmers' Market

Dec 29, 2018 - ongoing

Come stroll through the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., where over 200 tents line W. Date Street from Kettner Boulevard to Front Street. The options are endless—you can enjoy an incredible selection of farm fresh produce, pastured eggs and poultry, meat, fish, flowers, local artisan food and more! Find food purveyors with sauces and relish, oysters, coffee beans, spices and more, and plants including orchids, fresh flowers, and bedding plants. Dine on crepes, paninis, green smoothies, lemonade and local chefs’ specialties best enjoyed with our live music. Visitors come from all over the world to indulge in our farmers’ market, whether it’s to get a taste of the just-caught sea urchin or to simply soak in the beautiful atmosphere. Mangia Bene!

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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - 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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ARRIVAL From Sweden: The Music of ABBA

May 5, 2019

ARRIVAL from Sweden was founded by Vicky Zetterberg in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and very soon became one of the world's most popular and most selling ABBA show bands. Since the start, the band has toured in 60 countries and has appeared on several TV and radio shows all over the world. Since 2005, ARRIVAL from Sweden has made 58 successful tours in the USA. ARRIVAL from Sweden in this production has sold out arenas and venues all over the world since 1995 and is the absolute best and most authentic ABBA show there is.

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What's Hot

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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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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 27 - Apr 28, 2019
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Little Italy Mercato: Farmers' Market

Dec 29, 2018 - ongoing
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THE SECRET LA JOLLA TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
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ARRIVAL From Sweden: The Music of ABBA

May 5, 2019
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Little Italy on Instagram

 

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Accommodation

Make it a 3-day weekend and save with Hilton

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Valid: Jan 31 - ongoing

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