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Welcome to

Little Italy

Where top chefs and brewers have set up shop

Photo By Paul Body

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 with cozy patio cafés, international restaurants, craft brew stops, urban wineries, art galleries, sophisticated shops, boutique hotels, and the festive Piazza della Famiglia.

San Diego's Dynamic Culinary Hot Spot

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 Juniper & Ivy, Cloak & Petal, Born and Raised, 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.

No Little Italy neighborhood would be complete without a true Italian market and Mona Lisa Italian Foods fits the bill. The deli offers a selection of foods, wine and delicious deli sandwiches.

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 Brewing and Bottlecraft  Beer Shop & Tasting Room. And for wine lovers, Carruth Cellars Wine Garden and Pali Wine Co. are perfect places for local wine tasting.

The Heart of Little Italy

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 features 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 and a full bar with local beers and craft cocktails.

Shopping and Farmers Markets

Little Italy also features some great local boutiques including Rosamariposa, Vocabulary Boutique, and Stroll where you can find fun women’s fashions and handmade local items, and the NoLi Art & Design District which encompasses a group of retail shops, design stores and art galleries. Klassic and Architectural Salvage are both worth a visit for home goods and unusual finds.

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.

Events

Little Italy San Diego is also known for several fun festivals including the Mission Federal Artwalk 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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San Diego International Film Festival

Oct 19 - Oct 23, 2022

The 21st Annual San Diego International Film Festival is really 'Putting the Fest Back in Festival!' This year includes the return of the Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more in-person parties, panels and networking events.

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San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 25 - Oct 2, 2022

San Diego Restaurant Week, hosted by the California Restaurant Association, returns with over 100 restaurants across 30+ neighborhoods for eight days of dining.

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Vino! Vino!

Feb 11, 2022 - 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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LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 15, 2022 - 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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San Diego International Film Festival

Oct 19 - Oct 23, 2022
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San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 25 - Oct 2, 2022
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Vino! Vino!

Feb 11, 2022 - ongoing
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LEARN YOUR CAMERA - PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION

Jun 15, 2022 - ongoing
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Little Italy on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Venues

Kid's Eat Free

Little Italy Food Hall
Valid: Oct 1 - Oct 31, 2022

Enjoy one free kid's meal at Samburgers (Little Italy Food location). Kid's Eat Free free kid's meal requires purchase of "adult" meal. Limit one free meal per order. Must present this offering at...

Accommodation

Kids Eat Free

Carte Hotel San Diego
Valid: Oct 1 - Oct 31, 2022

Enjoy October in San Diego while your kids eat free at the stylish Carte Hotel in Downtown San Diego. Spacious king or 2 queen bed rooms with bay or city views, access to FIT gym, several dining...

History & Heritage

Show Your Badge & Save at Murder n' Mayhem

Murder n Mayhem
Valid: Jun 24, 2022 - ongoing

Save 10% on all Tours & Experiences offered by Murder n' Mayhem. Redeem online at murdernmayhem.com or via phone 619-781-8013 with Discount Code: SHOWME Public and private tours...

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