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The shopping landscape in San Diego includes an eclectic assortment of trendy boutiques, local independently owned shops and big box retailers. You can shop for unique handcrafted items and designer clothing in the city’s modern downtown shopping malls and specialty shops situated in vibrant historic neighborhoods. San Diego’s colorful multi–cultural shopping scene also features antique stores, retro consignment shops and bargain-filled outlet centers. Whether you are looking for a new wardrobe or a keepsake, you will be thrilled by the abundant retail options that the city has to offer.
Popular Shopping Districts
The shops and boutiques of Old Town San Diego are the top destination for ceramics, jewelry and other handcrafted items. Featuring a festive atmosphere, the distinctive shops capture the cultural history of San Diego. Fiesta Reyes is a popular place for food, fun and folklore. The Old Town San Diego Market offers galleries and a Southwestern-style marketplace.
The Gaslamp Quarter is renowned for shops and boutiques offering urban apparel and home décor. The Galeria del Sol features a large selection of furniture from Mexico and Latin America. Urban Lighting displays contemporary fixtures in an award-winning showroom. Located in the heart of the Quarter, the architecturally significant Westfield Horton Plaza is a full-scale mall featuring more than 130 shops, eateries and specialty retailers. Stores include like Nordstrom and Macy’s as well as boutiques, like Arden B, Bebe and Louis Vuitton.
The Little Italy Mercato is the place to go if you want to find contemporary art as well as modern furniture and home accessories. The shops and galleries centered on Kettner Boulevard and India Street are collectively known as the Kettner Art and Design District. Little Italy also hosts a farmers’ market each Saturday that features more than 150 vendors offering fresh produce, meats, flowers, crafts and so much more.
Mission Valley is the setting for the 1.7 million-square-foot Fashion Valley Mall, a haven for shoppers looking for luxury brands like Jimmy Choo and Hermès. The mall is known as the Rodeo Drive of San Diego. In addition to sophisticated specialty retailers and stylish high-end boutiques, the open-air, two-level shopping destination includes major department stores, such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Nordstrom. There is also a variety of eateries and an 18-screen movie theater.
The Hillcrest neighborhood is the ideal shopping destination for hip fashions and chic household goods as well as vintage books and retro clothing. The shops are centered on the intersection of Fifth and University Avenues. Specialty boutiques include Co-Habitat, Nativa and Studio 1220. Browse the antique shops along Adams Avenue. The neighborhood is the setting for a weekly farmers’ market each Sunday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Seaport Village and Coronado Ferry Landing feature art galleries, one-of-a-kind specialty retailers and waterfront dining. Seaport Village is the best place for visitors to find trinkets and souvenirs. Situated on San Diego Bay, it is a 14-acre shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Recreating the harbor from a century ago, Seaport Village has miles of cobblestone pathways, fountains and lush landscaping surrounding over 50 themed stores, award-winning restaurants and sidewalk cafes. As the name implies, Coronado Ferry Landing occupies the city’s original ferryboat landing. The historic docks have been re–developed into a shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Ferry Landing boasts art galleries, clothing boutiques and trendy accessory shops.
The Carlsbad Premium Outlets is a shopping center boasting more than 90 stores offering 25 to 65 percent off everyday prices. Retail outlets include Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren. From March to May, the shopping complex is the setting for the Flower Fields at Carlsbad – 50 acres of colorful springtime blooms that attract more than 100,000 visitors annually. Enjoy the wagon rides and themed gardens as well as a day of shopping for bargains.
Know Before You Go
The majority of malls have free parking in an adjacent lot or garage. When shopping in various neighborhoods, on-street parking may be limited and available for a short duration. Place the receipt on the dashboard of your car. Many shops, including several in the Gaslamp Quarter, offer validated parking.