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It's All About Outdoor Shopping

Sunshine and shopping - what could be better!

Enjoying the sights and warm sun of San Diego goes hand-in-hand with shopping. Malls, shopping centers and certified farmers markets here aren't your typical retail experience; they're all about the lively outdoors.

Here are some highlights from different shopping areas throughout San Diego County.

By: Sandra Veum, Personal Shopper

Downtown, Uptown & Nearby

Gaslamp Quarter

Downtown San Diego is the place to be and be seen, with the latest fashions from both national and local boutique stores located throughout the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter.

Headquarters at Seaport Village

Headquarters at Seaport Village turns an old police headquarters into a shopping and dining haven with an outdoor plaza that provides a unique backdrop for evening and daytime events.

Little Italy

Just North of Downtown is the neighborhood of Little Italy with blocks of great restaurants, galleries, brew pubs, wine bars, microbreweries, and boutique shopping. A few don't-miss boutiques include Maison Armani, Stroll Boutique, Rosa Mariposa, Bobbi Rocco, Luci and Lola Boutique, Verde, and Love & Aesthetics, where you'll find unique clothing, jewelry and gifts. The area also features several great home goods, antique and modern furniture stores, including Often Wander, Vitreum, Architectural Salvage, India Street Antiques, Klassik, and D3 Home Modern Furniture.

Downtown & Uptown Neighborhoods

Neighborhood shopping is definitely worthwhile in San Diego where you can find unique treasures while you mix and mingle with the locals. Some of our favorite walkable neighborhoods for outdoor shopping include Hillcrest, Little Italy, North Park, South Park, Mission Hills, Liberty Station/Point Loma and Coronado. They are all easily accessible from Downtown San Diego and offer their own unique vibe and offerings.

Point Loma Peninsula

Liberty Station

The inviting community of Point Loma is home to the highly popular arts, dining, retail and recreation hub of Liberty Station, developed on the site of a former naval training base. Among its top attractions is Liberty Public Market, a food and retail emporium surrounded by numerous indoor and outdoor seating spaces.

The Public Market boasts some great shopping for women’s and men’s styles and jewelry, at such shops as Nobel Rags, Barrack22, Imperfects, Kai & Skye, and The Old Town Soap Company.

Directly across from Public Market is Pigment and Moniker General, showcasing clothing, home goods, gifts, jewelry, specialty coffee and craft beer on tap. This area is also home to the hub of local artisans and vendors called Sea Hive Station, a 23,000-square-foot indoor space where you will find over 150 San Diego-based brands and small-business vendors. An outdoor vintage market takes place here every second Sunday of the month.

Ocean Beach

In the neighborhoods of Point Loma and Ocean Beach, a few standout places to shop are the Rare Bloom Boutique, Miss Match, Creation Boutique, and Vignettes for antiques and collectibles.

Mission Valley & Old Town

Fashion Valley

Mission Valley, in the heart of San Diego, is the place to go for everything from casual to couture. Fashion Valley, a two-level, open-air complex, showcases the major department stores Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and JC Penney, while featuring nearly 200 specialty and luxury stores, including Tiffany & Co., Gucci, YSL, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Carolina Herrera, Cartier, Breitling Boutique, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, All Saints, ZARA, Janie and Jack, Hugo Boss, Kendra Scott, Alo, and Madewell. Fashion Valley also offers multiple restaurants and bistro cafés, as well as an 18-screen theater.

Westfield Mission Valley

Just a few miles east, the Westfield Mission Valley is perfect for all of life's necessities, with a two-story Target, DSW Shoes, Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdale's Outlet, Macy’s Home, Lane Bryant, Pacsun, Vans, Sunglass Hut, Francesca’s, and a 20-screen movie theater. Feeling famished after shopping? Try Cava, Mendocino Farms or Tender Greens.

Bazaar del Mundo

Immerse yourself in the colorful culture of the Americas at San Diego's Old Town and Bazaar del Mundo Shops a colorful shopping area with stores carrying Mexican décor, art, clothing, housewares, and accessories, to unique displays of wearable and one-of-a-kind folk art from Southwest turquoise and pottery to Mexican and South American tapestries.

La Jolla & UTC

Westfield UTC

In La Jolla's Golden Triangle, between Interstates 5 and 805, Westfield UTC offers visitors a unique mix of 160 specialty stores, services and award-winning restaurants in an open-air setting. Department stores include Nordstrom and Macys, with other popular stores including Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Bonobos, Chico's, Goriana, Chico's, Eddie Bauer, Crate & Barrel, J. Crew, Janie and Jock, Jo Malone London and Pottery Barn. UTC also features a full-size skating rink and a 14-screen cinema.

Village of La Jolla

Perched on the edge of the Pacific is the Village of La Jolla shopping district. Start at Girard Avenue and Prospect Street and make your way along blocks of walkable and wonderful shopping. Here you'll find everything from haute couture boutiques such as Julyette Paris, Simple, la Donna, Lissilaa Boutique, Sigi’s, and The Ascot Shop, to such old familiars as Lululemon, Talbots, and Tommy Bahamas. Be sure to stop into Warwick's bookstore, a San Diego icon where authors regularly do readings.

North Coastal

North County offers everything from expansive outlet malls to small boutiques. 

One Paseo

One Paseo is the newest addition to the community of Del Mar. Just off Interstate 5 and north of Route 56, this convenient and elegant mixed-use center combines luxury apartments with an open, laid-back and stylish setting for shopping and dining. Some must-shop boutiques are Faherty, West of Camden, Van De Vort, Shop Good, Whiskey and Leather, and Pigment. Even if you don't live or work here, One Paseo invites you to meet up, hang out and join in the local community.

Del Mar Highlands Town Center

Del Mar Highlands Town Center sits next door and entices shoppers to explore a unique collection of boutiques, outdoor dining, specialty shops, groceries and more. Some local favorite boutiques are LOLO, Pretty Please, Tucci Boutique, Daisy Blue, and little APPLE.

Flower Hill Promenade

Just a little further north in Del Mar is the Flower Hill Promenade, offering a variety of boutiques, a wine and tobacco store, cafes and restaurants. Some of the best boutiques here are TRE, Annmarie D’Ercole Jewelry, Patrick James, Van De Vort, Geppetto’s, and Mia Bella Couture. This shopping center is also home to Milton’s deli, featuring traditional kosher food. Directly across is another must-shop boutique, Matti D.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Shopping at outlets like Carlsbad Premium Outlets is practically a sport here, with famous names selling shoes, clothing, housewares and jewelry at desirable discounts. Conveniently located just over an hour's drive from Los Angeles and just thirty minutes north of downtown San Diego on Interstate 5, the mall features more than 85 outlet stores offering everyday savings of 25% to 65% in an attractive outdoor village setting, with indoor and outdoor dining options. Some familiar brands to shop here are Tory Burch, Coach, Banana Republic Factory, Theory, Zadig & Voltaire, PUMA, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Cedros Design District

The Cedros Design District in Solana Beach  is a shopper's mecca when it comes to a variety of interests, with a specialty in interior design and some of the most inviting boutiques in San Diego. This quaint, dog-friendly area contains blocks of cafes, olive oil tastings, a few restaurants, galleries, garden stores, fashion boutiques, art and custom-designed furniture and décor studios. Some must-shop boutiques include SoLo, an upscale collective emporium featuring unique artists and vendors.

For the women looking for that unique upscale style, check out Gerhard, Tucci Boutique, Cedros Soles, Pink Lagoon, Suzan’s (voted Best Jewelry by Ranch & Coast magazine), Satori Collective & Satori Design, His for Men and His for Kids, Mable’s Clothing & Gifts for women and children’s fashions, Muttropolis for the fashionable pet in your family, Kites by Carla Manuel (a local designer), Golden Maas (featuring designs from Italy and New York), Weeds Clothing, Munn (a Mexican concept boutique), local favorite Ardsley Road Boutique, Ta Dah for beachy home décor & gifts, and Kern & Co. and Bixby & Ball, which are must-stops for home furnishings. Don’t miss out on visiting Madison Gallery, a 4,000-square-foot space showcasing emerging and established international artist swho work in a range of media. Just a block away along Coast Highway 101 in Solana Beach is a go-to boutique for the true beach-chic style, Camellia Boutique, and right next door is Seaside Home & Patio for some beachy home goods and furniture.

South Bay

Otay Ranch Town Center

South Bay's Otay Ranch Town Center is where even the pets get to play at this mall’s playground, with a dazzling Apple store and clothes from various well-known stores such as Cotton On, H&M, Hollister, Loft, and Macy’s.

Las Americas Premium Outlets

Finish off your marathon of shopping a little farther south at San Diego’s Las Americas Premium Outlets, another premium outlet mall. This mall contains more than 125 stores, including Ann Taylor Factory, Billabong, Boss, Calvin Klein, Abercrombie Kids, Cole Haan, Ecco, Kate Spade New York, and Under Armour, with beautiful courtyards and elegant architecture. Las Americas is less than 1,000 feet from the international border with Mexico, including Tijuana's historic Avenida Revolucion tourist district, and only 20 minutes from downtown San Diego. Easily accessible from the San Ysidro/Tijuana trolley stops.

East San Diego

Viejas Outlet Center

Viejas Outlet Center is a 37-acre, open-air shopping, dining and entertainment paradise. It features around 40 of America's favorite brand-name stores, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Eddie Bauer, Levi’s, Skechers, Michael Kors and Coach, just to name a few. Before ending your shopping journey, relax near a waterfall and enjoy the culture and history of the Kumeyaay, the San Diego area’s original settlers.

South of the Border

Some of the region's best bargains can be found south of the border in Tijuana, Mexico. For visitors who choose to drive into Tijuana, car insurance is easily available and recommended. Mexican clothing, jewelry, leather, pottery and tequila are just a sampling of the bargain gift items available in this festive international city. Tijuana is a duty-free zone. Shoppers can pay with U.S. currency, pesos, traveler's checks or major credit cards. U.S. residents may return home with up to $800 worth of merchandise (duty free), including one liter of alcoholic beverages (if 21 or older), 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes. Some merchandise, such as certain fruits, vegetables, and products from endangered species, are not permitted.

Farmers Markets

San Diego’s Mediterranean climate provides an ideal place for local agricultural and livestock products, allowing our city to have certified farmers markets every day of the week. Over 360 local farms are represented at these markets selling organic products, local honey, organic fruits and vegetables, cheese, fresh-baked bread, flowers, olive oils, nuts and other locally sourced items. In addition to food, you’ll find vintage clothing, hand-crafted jewelry and accessories, local art, and unique vendors throughout, including live music at some. Each certified Farmers Markets around San Diego County has its own special touch.

Whether collecting gifts, souvenirs, mementos or new additions to your wardrobe, San Diego couldn't be more pleasurable with its beautiful weather and endless outdoor shopping opportunities. .

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