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Shopping Areas Not To Miss

Shop along these boutique-lined streets of San Diego

If shopping is on the docket for your visit to San Diego, this dynamic region has many neighborhood retail districts you won't want to miss.

Neighborhood boutiques are great places to find local artisans' clothing designs and accessories, as well as artwork, jewelry and household furnishings. They're also ideal spots to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a gourmet coffee, craft beer or craft cocktail while mixing and mingling with the locals.

By: Sandra Veum, Personal Shopper

Gaslamp Quarter

Downtown San Diego's thriving and well-known historic district, the Gaslamp Quarter, is home to many uber-popular restaurants, bars, galleries, theaters and coffeehouses, but it also features unique boutique shopping. Whether your shopping list is downtown-cool or streetwear-smart, the Gaslamp Quarter portions of Fifth and Sixth avenues offer lots of options.

For women's fashion accessories, check out Wild Dove Boutique. If shoes and those latest cool sneakers are a must, try Blends, Sparks, Sole Concepts, Vans and Skechers. Looking for those standout specs and shades? Be sure to stop by Eyes on Fifth to check out their collections. And don't miss one of the region's coolest hat stores: Goorin Bros., founded way back in 1895. Located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of the Gaslamp, the shop is known for its trucker hats, fedoras and streetwear apparel — you won't want to miss it!

Little Italy

Another bona fide shopping area is the eclectic neighborhood of Little Italy. Great shopping blocks include India Street, Fir Street & India, the 400 block of West Cedar Street and the 2000 block of Kettner Boulevard. This area is a treasure trove of quaint piazzas with shopping galore! Areas of interest include women's, men's and children's fashions, jewelry, accessories, antiques, art, interiors, furniture and home goods. For home shopping, explore Love and Aesthetics, Vitreum, Often Wander, and India Street Antiques. If you're looking for fashion and jewelry, check out Stroll, Luci and Lola Boutique, Rosamariposa, Bobbi Rocco, Maison Amani, and Verde. Little Italy also has many restaurants, wine bars, craft cocktail bars, cafes and gastropubs to help you refuel during or after shopping. Don't miss the weekly Mercato Farmers Market, showcasing local produce, gourmet food, art and artisan gifts.

Mission Hills & Bankers Hill

The charming area of Mission Hills and Bankers Hill offers one-of-a-kind boutiques, a high-end consignment shop, quaint bars, cafes, coffeehouses and dog-friendly restaurants. The 1600 block of West Lewis Street and 800 block of Washington Street host a variety of unique boutiques, including Chateau Bel Age, Lewis & Fay, Taboo Jewelry, and Moon & Sun Studio, plus a gourmet coffee shop, Kettle & Stone, showcasing local gifts. For the vinyl junkies, be sure to browse for retro and current records at M-Theory Music, or pick up artisan cheese and gourmet food items at Venissimo Cheese. The Bankers Hill stretches of Fourth and Fifth avenues boast such local boutiques as Thread + Seed as well as a high-end consignment store, Majolie Designs.

Old Town San Diego

Whether it's the 40 individual vendors within the Old Town Market, the colorful shops and restaurants within the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard or the famous Bazaar del Mundo, Old Town San Diego is the ideal place to shop for a piece or a taste of San Diego and its history and heritage. From folk art and colorful crafts, to clothing, hats and jewelry, and plenty of unique home decor, there is a shop for everyone at every price point. And don't miss Temecula Olive Oil Company's tasting room and retail store for a real taste of the region and its history. It was the Spanish missions that first introduced olive trees to California, and Temecula Olive Oil was the first to introduce an olive oil tasting room in the state.

Point Loma & Ocean Beach

The inviting community of Point Loma is home to the historic naval hub turned town square, Liberty Station. The former Naval Training Center has been transformed into a center for arts, shopping, restaurants, bars, cafes, golfing, luxury cinema and the highly popular Liberty Public Market. The market offers a dazzling variety of cuisine and beverages that can easily be enjoyed outside in one of Liberty Station's many cozy grass and tree-lined areas. There's also great shopping for both women and men, at shops such as Nobel Rags, Barrack22, Imperfects, Kai & Skye, and The Old Town Soap Company.

Directly across from the 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 a hub of local artisans and vendors called Sea Hive Station, a 23,000-square-foot indoor space where you'll find over 150 San Diego-based brands and small business vendors. An outdoor vintage market takes place every second Sunday of the month. In Point Loma and nearby Ocean Beach, a few standout shopping destinations are the Rare Bloom Boutique, Miss Match, Creation Boutique, and Vignettes for antiques and collectibles.

North Park & South Park

For the hip and happening local scene, the places to be are along 30th Street at University Avenue in North Park and 30th Street and Fern in South Park. Both areas offer a diversified variety of restaurants, coffeehouses, dessert bars, craft-cocktail bars, beer pubs, vintage stores and colorful boutiques. In North Park, Pigment boasts great home goods, gifts, jewelry, clothing and more. Hunt & Gather offers great vintage finds on clothing, jewelry and accessories, as do La Loupe Vintage and Day to Day Vintage. Mila North Park is known for its women's fashions, and the boutique Overload has street-style sneakers, sunglasses and hats. If rare books and fun trinkets are your interests, try Verbatim Books. For an eclectic selection of used vinyl albums, check out Nickelodeon Records. Need some spa-like gifts or natural-ingredient beauty products? Be sure to shop at Shop Good.

A few streets south of North Park is another inviting neighborhood, South Park. This walkable area around 30th Street and Fern has wine bars, craft-beer eateries and cafes with unique shopping, both modern and vintage. Some local favorite boutiques are Thread + Seed, Gold Leaf, Bad Madge, Verbatim Books, Native Poppy, Communal, Ayi Accessories, Haven and Vinyl Junkies. Whether you're in the market for vintage clothing and furniture, women's clothing, home goods, jewelry, records or rare books, these are some of San Diego's favorites.

La Jolla

La Jolla, known as San Diego's jewel by the sea, is one of the best shopping areas in San Diego. It's also home to great ocean-view restaurants, cafes, art galleries and the newly renovated flagship location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. A couple of noteworthy shopping blocks you will not want to miss are Prospect Street, then on to Girard Avenue. All around La Jolla, you'll find fashion, food and fun. This gorgeous walking-friendly area offers a variety of boutiques for the whole family, with plenty of choices for dining, wine, desserts — even an olive tasting room. For women, be sure to stop by Be Boutique, Robina Apparel & Accessories, La Donna for European fashions, Mila Women's Clothing, Lissilaa Boutique, Sigis for more upscale styles, Hammitt for leather goods and purses, 2 Bella for everyday chic, Julyette Paris for high-end Parisian styles, Sunny Days for more casual California styles, and Lunisol, where the locals shop.

For both men and women, be sure to stop by Whiskey and Leather, Simple, Quicksilver, Tommy Bahama, Visalia for swimwear, Ralph Lauren for designer looks, Brooks Brothers for the classics, The Ascot Shop (men's high-end), and Lululemon for "athleisurewear." For children, there's Geppetto's Toys. Finally, don't miss the iconic Warwick's La Jolla, one of the best independent bookstores around.

Cedros Design District and Solana Beach

The Cedros Design District in Solana Beach is a shopper's mecca, specializing in interior design and offering some of the top boutiques in the San Diego region. This quaint, dog-friendly area takes in blocks of cafes, tasting venues, restaurants, galleries, garden stores, fashion boutiques, art, and custom-designed furniture and décor studios. Among the must-shop boutiques is SoLo, an upscale collective emporium featuring unique artists and vendors. For women seeking that unique, upscale style, check out Gerhard, Tucci Boutique, Cedros Soles, Pink Lagoon, Suzan's (voted Best Jewelry by Ranch & Coast magazine), Satori Collective and Satori Design, His for men and His for Kids, Mable's Clothing & Gifts for women's 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), the local favorite Ardsley Road Boutique, and Ta Dah for beachy home décor and gifts, while Kern & Co. and Bixby & Ball 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 artists who work in a range of media. Just along neighboring Coast Highway 101 is a go-to boutique for true beach-chic style, Camellia Boutique; and right next door is Seaside Home & Patio for some beachy home goods and furniture.

Encinitas

Just three miles north of the Cedros Design District, along the gorgeous coastline traced by Highway 101, is the inviting surf town of Encinitas. Home to Nixon watches and accessories, this beach community includes casual restaurants, wine bars, sidewalk cafes and yoga studios, intermingled with quaint boutiques. The shopping block on the main road, South Coast Highway 101 near H Street, offers boutiques such as Brixton for men and women, Vuori for athleisurewear, Gypsy Feather for festival and beachwear, Blenders for cool eyewear, Station for women and children's clothing, accessories and gifts, Flashbacks for retro and vintage clothing, Queen Eileen's for Bali-inspired clothing, jewelry and gifts, Bliss Boutique, and Artifact Books for vintage and rare editions.

A unique marketplace, Coast Highway Trading Gift Shop, houses up to 20 local artists and vendors under one roof, concentrating on that true California style for the family. There are also plenty of surf shops, with Progression Surf, Catch Surf, SALT SURF, Rip Curl and Hansen Surfboards among the best.

Whatever your interests and tastes, be sure to carve out some quality time for these San Diego shopping blocks—you won't be disappointed.


Follow this link to discover more of San Diego's shopping opportunities!

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