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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Casa Artelexia

    Little Italy | Household Items/Furniture

    This colorful shop specializing in Mexican gifts and art started as a booth at a farmers' market by a father-daughter team, but has since evolved...Read More

  • 8. Central Library Library Shop

    East Village | Books/Stationery

    One of the highlights of San Diego's new nine-story Central Library in the East Village neighborhood is the well-curated gift shop, which carries...Read More

  • 9. Dolcetti Boutique

    Gaslamp Quarter | Clothing

    With everything from flirty dresses to casual daytime outfits and a full-service hair salon on-site, this Gaslamp Quarter boutique is a one...Read More

  • 10. FeeLit Records

    Gaslamp Quarter | Music

    This all-vinyl record shop features a wide selection, from curated new releases to budget used records, that crosses a wide spectrum of genres...Read More

  • 11. Gaslamp Garage

    Gaslamp Quarter | Clothing

    Crammed floor to ceiling with merchandise and decorated to look like a 1950s auto repair shop, the city's largest souvenir shop is the place...Read More

  • 12. Goorin Bros. Hats

    Gaslamp Quarter | Other Specialty Store

    Established in Pittsburgh in 1895, this company has helped make hats hip again with its stylish takes on fedoras, bowlers, and Panama hats....Read More

  • 13. Love & Aesthetics

    Little Italy | Household Items/Furniture

    Located inside one of the cozy yet stylish Fir Street Cottages, this boutique offers a variety of home goods that defy conservative decor aesthetics...Read More

  • 14. Magic Shop San Diego

    Gaslamp Quarter | Other Specialty Store

    Like something out of a bygone era, this shop stocks an impressive amount of magic supplies, games, books, magazines, and other items for the...Read More

  • 15. Seaport Village

    Downtown | Shopping Centers/Malls

    If you're looking for trinkets and souvenirs, this is the place. This complex of kitschy shops and waterfront restaurants has upped its hip...Read More

  • 16. The James Coffee Space

    Little Italy | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This spacious warehouse building bears James Coffee's logo on the front and the intoxicating scent of its pour-over brews inside, but the building...Read More

  • 17. Vitreum

    Little Italy | Ceramics/Glassware

    The Japanese artist Takao owns this gallery-like shop that sells beautifully handcrafted home-decor items—tableware, glass vases, tea sets,...Read More

  • 18. Vocabulary Boutique

    Little Italy | Clothing

    A local favorite for its friendly vibe and stylish inventory, this cozy boutique often stars in regional fashion shoots. It's known for unique...Read More

  • 19. Wine Bank

    Gaslamp Quarter | Wine/Spirits

    This overwhelmingly stocked emporium with a large selection of wines also features a long list of other beverages, from rums and tequilas to...Read More

  • 20. Bella Stanza

    Little Italy | Household Items/Furniture

    The elegant Italian handmade gifts for the home sold here include colorful ceramics, glass, and art pieces. ...Read More

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