San Diego

San Diego’s retail landscape has changed radically in recent years with the opening of several new shopping centers—some in historic buildings—that are focused more on locally owned boutiques than national retailers. Where once the Gaslamp was the place to go for urban apparel and unique home decor, many independently owned boutiques have decided to set up shop in the charming neighborhoods east of Balboa Park known as North Park and South Park. Although Downtown is still thriving, any shopping trip to San Diego should include venturing out to the city’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Not far from Downtown, Little Italy is the place to find contemporary art, modern furniture, and home accessories.

Old Town is a must for pottery, ceramics, jewelry, and handcrafted baskets. Uptown is known for its mélange of funky bookstores, offbeat gift shops, and nostalgic collectibles and vintage stores. The beach towns offer the best swimwear and sandals. La Jolla’s chic boutiques offer a more intimate shopping experience, along with some of the classiest clothes, jewelry, and shoes in the county. The new La Plaza La Jolla is an open-air shopping center with boutiques and galleries in a Spanish-style building overlooking the cove. Point Loma’s Liberty Station shopping area in the former Naval Training Center has art galleries, restaurants, and home stores. Trendsetters will have no trouble finding must-have handbags and designer apparel at the world-class Fashion Valley mall in Mission Valley, a haven for luxury brands such as Hermès, Gucci, and Jimmy Choo.

Enjoy near-perfect weather year-round as you explore shops along the scenic waterfront. The Headquarters at Seaport is a new open-air shopping and dining center in the city’s former Police Headquarters building. Here there are some big names, but mostly locally owned boutiques selling everything from gourmet cheese to coastal-inspired home accessories. Just next door, Seaport Village is still the place to go for trinkets and souvenirs. If you don’t discover what you’re looking for in the boutiques, head to Westfield Horton Plaza, the Downtown mall with more than 120 stores. The sprawling mall completed a major restoration project in 2016 to include a new public plaza, amphitheater, and fountains.

Most malls have free parking in a lot or garage, and parking is not usually a problem. Westfield Horton Plaza and some of the shops in the Gaslamp Quarter offer validated parking or valet parking.

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  • 1. Aloha Beach Club

    North Park | Clothing

    This carefully curated boutique with high ceilings and blond-wood accents carries no Billabong or Quiksilver, but make no mistake, this is a...Read More

  • 2. Artelexia

    North Park | Souvenirs

    Browse the colorful selection of Mexican gifts, cooking supplies, and decor at this inviting local boutique. ...Read More

  • 3. Bazaar del Mundo Shops

    Old Town | Shopping Centers/Malls

    With a Mexican villa theme, the Bazaar hosts riotously colorful gift shops such as Ariana, for ethnic and artsy women's fashions; Artes de Mexico...Read More

  • 4. Fashion Valley

    Mission Valley | Shopping Centers/Malls

    San Diego's most upscale mall has a contemporary Mission theme, lush landscaping, and more than 200 shops and restaurants. Acclaimed retailers...Read More

  • 5. Gold Leaf

    South Park | Household Items/Furniture

    This home decor shop is run by a husband-and-wife duo. There's furniture, kitchenware, jewelry, greeting cards, and a kids' section....Read More

  • 6. Hotel del Coronado

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    At the gift shops within the peninsula's main historic attraction, you can purchase sportswear, designer handbags, jewelry, and antiques. Spreckels...Read More

  • 7. Mimi & Red Boutique

    North Park | Clothing

    Laid-back ambience, friendly service, and racks full of moderate to high-end women's fashions have made this shop a favorite with cool San Diegans...Read More

  • 8. Pangaea Outpost

    Pacific Beach | Souvenirs

    This collective houses dozens of local shops under one roof and is a great place to pick up beachy clothing and decor or unique gifts for everyone...Read More

  • 9. Pigment

    North Park | Household Items/Furniture

    This beautifully styled shop carries a wide variety of design-conscious goods for the home, including geometric print pillows, outdoor bistro...Read More

  • 10. The Book Catapult

    South Park | Toys

    This exceptional bookstore offers well-curated local interest materials, best sellers, and an excellent children's section. Puzzle enthusiasts...Read More

  • 11. The Headquarters at Seaport

    Downtown | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This new upscale shopping and dining center is in the city's former police headquarters, a beautiful and historic Mission-style building featuring...Read More

  • 12. Vignettes

    Ocean Beach | Antiques & Collectibles

    Expect a pleasant culture shock when you step from the bohemian Newport Avenue into this French-inspired antiques shop with timeworn pieces...Read More

  • 13. Adams Avenue Bookstore

    Hillcrest | Books/Stationery

    Literature, history, philosophy, and theology are the specialties of this popular bookstore that carries used, rare, and out-of-print titles. ...Read More

  • 14. Architectural Salvage of San Diego

    Little Italy | Household Items/Furniture

    If you have any interest in home design and renovation, this shop that specializes in reusing old materials should be top of your list. The...Read More

  • 15. Ascot Shop

    La Jolla | Clothing

    The classic Ivy League look is king in this traditional haberdashery that sells menswear by Saxx, Robert Talbott, and Peter Miller. In-house...Read More

  • 16. Azzurra Capri

    Little Italy | Clothing

    Walking into this white shop with blue trim will transport you instantly to Italy's stylish and sophisticated Amalfi Coast. Inspired by the...Read More

  • 17. Bay Books


    This independent bookstore is the spot to sit, read, and sip coffee on an overcast day by the sea. Great for international travelers, there...Read More

  • 18. Blends

    Gaslamp Quarter | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Minimalist decor provides a perfect backdrop for the wild colors and patterns featured on original sneakers from Adidas, Nike, Vans, and other...Read More

  • 19. Blick Art Materials

    Little Italy | Other Specialty Store

    Besides supplying local artists with their tools, Blick also carries art books, fine stationery and pens, ornate gift wrap, and beautiful leather...Read More

  • 20. Bottlecraft Beer Shop

    Other Specialty Store

    This boutique beer shop and tasting room stocks the best craft beer from San Diego and around the world, from double IPAs and pale ales to saisons...Read More

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