Top Things to Do in Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy is the place meant for shopping lovers, or those seeking solace in quaint street-side cafes, visiting art galleries, urban park and of course Italian food! You can stroll around the beautiful place that spans over a 48-square-block area of northwest Downtown San Diego and the airport. Being uniquely the biggest ethnic enclave of the county, Little Italy is the place where numerous festivities go on during the year. With its renovated streets, various art galleries, home decor shops, antique dealers and the famous Saturday Farmer’s Market, Little Italy is a huge attraction among the people.

From a very long time, this place has earned an exceptional distinction for being one of the must-visit culinary destinations in San Diego. That is why food lovers should not afford to miss a visit here. You will find some of the best Italian restaurants that serve something or the other to treat your taste buds from various parts of Italy.

Where to Eat?

Little Italy is famous for delicious food all over in San Diego County. From pizza, pasta, gelato, Italian, Mexican to Ramen, you can taste any cuisine here. There are many good restaurants in Little Italy that were really difficult to narrow a list to just 10. Here is the list of top 10 restaurants in Little Italy where you can taste everything from

  1. Juniper & Ivy – One
  2. Craft & Commerce
  3. Davanti
  4. Isola
  5. Monello
  6. Prepkitchen
  7. Buon Appetito
  8. Bencotto
  9. Po Pozzo
  10. Monello

 Monello’s serve some of the best homemade organic pasta, Davanti Enoteca’s has the delicious focaccia di recco and honeycomb, Pan Bon’s provides amazing radicchio-filled ravioli, and Civico 1845’s salumi e formaggi with six prosciuttos and cheeses! Now who wouldn’t want to try that out? And if Italian food is not enough then at Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood you can try out the fresh seafood that is stuffed with mouthwatering flavors. You can also pay a visit to celebrity chef Javier Placencia’s Bracero which provides the modern Mexican cuisine. And of course, there is the Crack Shack to visit as it is among the busiest restaurants in San Diego.

Where to Sip?

Name any occasion and the Little Italy will be the ideal place for it. In case you want to try out a refreshing cocktail, a nice glass of wine or local brew, everything is available here. Among the shops to visit, one is a beautiful 1888 Victorian house which is now transformed into a wine bar called M Winehouse and they serve principally French varietals and petite snacks. If you want to have the best of both by having an outdoor or indoor seating, then Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen should be on your list where you will be served craft beer. However, if you love history then you should not miss going to San Diego’s oldest tavern Waterfront Bar & Grill which will make you feel like a part of the past.

Where to do Shopping?

And now we come to another important thing that the neighborhood has to offer, i.e. shopping! You can commence your shopping right from the farmers market (Little Italy Mercato). The weekly Mercato (the Italian term for market) is held every Saturday from 9 am to 1:30 pm. Every Saturday, it lines Date Street from Kettner Boulevard to Union Street where the farmers sell fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants to the visitors. There are also around 150 booths that incorporate craft assets, artisan foods, and other specialty items. You can stroll down the various boutiques and galleries where you can purchase items for women and men. You can get your hands on some of the best contemporary fashion items such as the leather goods, home furniture, art, and stationary.

Neighborhood Attractions

You can stroll down the charming neighborhood where we are sure your camera will not stop clicking the beautiful sights that welcome you at every step. You should not only shop and eat but also explore the neighboring areas. You can go to the Amici Park or have your kids rush off to play in the green field as you sit and enjoy the scenery. You should also visit the San Diego Firehouse Museum where the firefighting memorabilia is around 100 years old. Isn’t a photo along with it supposed to be on Instagram? If you love arts and want to see some of the best contemporary artworks by famous painters, then you can also pay a visit to the Meyer Fine Art gallery. There is also the Embarcadero and Waterfront Park, Little Italy features historic architecture, the quaint Amici Park and the Piazza Basilone Memorial to visit. Or simply sit at the Piazza Basilone fountain as the water splashes down in sprinkles and watch the world blur past you.

Annual Festivals

You should visit the Little Italy Carnevale which is a Venetian mask event done by local businesses and restaurants comprising of live performances and additional distinctive attractions. It is held on the Saturday prior to Mardi Gras. Little Italy Festa and Mission Federal Artwalk are the two festivals that one cannot miss to attend.

Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego is another event that takes place in April in Little Italy where you can enjoy cycling, cuisine, and other exciting shows. Mission Federal ArtWalk is hosted by studios, galleries and outdoor venues where you can witness different types of works in various media.

Little Italy Summer Film Festival is held at the Amici Park Amphitheater where you can enjoy the Italian films (of course with English subtitles!) During October, there is held the Bulls of St. Agata Charge Lamborghini car show and the Little Italy Festa that commemorates the art, music, cuisine, heritage of the community.


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