Northeastern San Diego is home to a sprawling landscape of scenic rolling hills. This vast corner of the county is where many locals make their homes, as do a few local wineries and breweries. For most visitors, northeastern San Diego is still undiscovered, but there is plenty to uncover in this historic and artistic region.
Discover the Arts and Culture of Northeastern San Diego
History in the Hills
Secrets to San Diego’s past are scattered throughout Northeastern San Diego – you just have to know where to look.
The San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park commemorates the battle between U.S. and Californio forces during the Mexican-American War. The park and small museum are great year-round but come to life with battle reenactments in the winter.
From the big and stylish outdoor malls such as Horton Plaza and Fashion Valley Mall to niche retailers tucked into urban neighborhoods, San Diego is a shopper’s paradise that caters year-round to consumers on the hunt for deals and one-of-a-kind merchandise. Among them are several unique stores and outlets that LGBT shoppers shouldn’t leave town without visiting.
The shelves are full of surprises at Babette Schwartz. Photo courtesy of Babette Schwartz
Long established within San Diego’s LGBT community, the store carries novelty items of every stripe along with odd books, gay wedding-cake toppers, T-shirts and one of the most extensive and campiest greeting card collections in the city.
Obelisk Mercantile in the heart of Hillcrest. Photo courtesy of Obelisk Mercantile
From designer watches by Daniel Wellington to skin care products by Billy Jealousy, the inventory extends to an array of other products favored by LGBT shoppers such as stylish backpacks, flasks, belts, T-shirts and a full line of sandals by Cobian.
Enter Mankind for the hottest LGBT fashions. Photo courtesy of Mankind
Buy your gay apparel at this upscale, LGBT mega store, which brims with everything from sexy swimwear and designer clothing (including Diesel jeans) to DVDs, accessories and party supplies of an adult nature.
A hardware store with panache. Photo courtesy of Hillcrest Ace Hardware
LGBT shoppers will find a lot more here than nuts, bolts and power tools. The two-level store is a favorite destination in the community for gifts, home décor and kitchen items. It’s also one of the few hardware stores in the country boasting creative front-window displays designed to catch gay eyes.
Tabletop accouchements and more are available at Pigment. Photo courtesy of Pigment
With a smart, new line of instant cameras by Lomo, combined with pantry items, cocktail mixers and modern table-setting merchandise, this 3,000-square-foot emporium carries everything under the San Diego sun for both outdoor living and home decorating. The shelves also feature a fine collection of the latest and greatest cookbooks on the market.
Craft your favorite beers at home with the help of The Homebrewer
If you’re trying your hands at home brewing after becoming swooned by San Diego’s prolific craft-beer scene, The Homebrewer is your one-stop shop for buying grains, yeast and hops for small-batch recipes. Fermentation accessories are also available. The store is situated in proximity to several craft beer bars and staffed by knowledgeable brew masters eager to share tips and advice.
The LGBT section at Bluestocking Books. Photo courtesy of Bluestocking Books
Touted as having one of the biggest and best inventories of LGBT titles, this landmark bookstore also carries music CDs and vinyl record albums. Selections on everything are updated daily. Most of the books are used, although new releases and bestsellers enter into the stock.
A place for artisan merchandise in South Park. Photo courtesy of Graffiti Beach
If you’re looking for eco-friendly products crafted by up-and-coming designers and artists, you’ve come to the right place. Located in South Park, which is home to several other quaint shops, the store greets with a unique fashion accessories, apparel, home décor and kids clothing.
Olives galore at Temecula Olive Oil Company. Photo courtesy of Temecula Olive Oil Company
Situated in Old Town among a host of colorful shops, visitors will encounter a dazzling array of products made from plump, meaty olives grown and harvested in nearby Temecula. The inventory features flavored oils and more than 20 types of jarred olives, any of which will fit snuggly into your luggage and jazz up your next party buffet.
San Diego’s favorite fetish store doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to stocking leather gear, bedroom toys corsetry, erotic art books and other merchandise that you won’t find at the major retailers. The shop is open daily from 10:00 AM to midnight.
La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Happy Holidays from La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most magical winter getaways. Sparkling beaches, warm sun shiny days and a welcoming Village vibe await holiday visitors to this enticing seaside enclave.
Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!
Festivities kick off this Sunday during the popular annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival. This year’s theme is “Spirit of Christmas – Peace on Earth.” Parade begins at 1:30 PM along Girard Ave. and Prospect Street. There will be marching bands, vintage cars, equestrians and floats. Arrive early for prime viewing spots.
Afterward, head to the La Jolla Recreation Center (615 Prospect Street) for a fun festival featuring local businesses like Birch Aquarium and Surf Diva, photos with Santa Claus, a live entertainment stage and Christmas tree lighting at 5:00 PM.
Did you know: One of the parade sponsors is Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was one of La Jolla’s most famous residents!
La Valencia Hotel’s 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge
Shop for everyone on your holiday list – and yourself! – at the shops in La Jolla Village, particularly along Prospect St. and Girard Ave. The La Jolla Festival of Lights is sure to bring a twinkle to your eye as storefronts and hotels glow with colorful lights, Christmas trees, menorahs and other eye-catching holiday décor.
This Friday, the Allied Artists Association of San Diego (aaaSD) presents an Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar at the La Jolla Community Center; a great chance to meet and mingle with local artists and shop for one-of-kind handmade holiday gifts including crafts, glass creations and paintings.
The holidays are upon us once again, and the thought of gift buying can sometimes add additional stress to an already busy season. San Diego is fortunate to have an abundance of shopping options for the hard-to-buy-for loved one. My first rule of thumb when selecting a gift for someone is to know something unique about them, e.g. hobbies, passions, and favorites. Once you know this you can tailor their gift perfectly for them.
With Love Gift & Paperie
Find a unique holiday gift at With Love Gift & Paperie
One of my favorite places to find unique gifts is With Love Gift & Paperie. With an ever changing inventory of cards, jewelry, French journals, and one-of-a-kind home accessories, this is a grand slam. I can always find something for a home or maybe the latest hip interior design coffee table book, or some luxurious smelling soap with an antique soap holder. The choices are never ending here in this treasure chest of fabulousness.
Simply Local is just one of the amazing boutiques located at The Headquarters
The Headquarters shopping area offers two of my preferred stores. Simply Local‘s impressive location features over 50 local merchants and artists combined with treasures from around the world. Picture an indoor upscale farmers market. I love the jewelry, purses, gourmet kitchen and food items. Their newest location just opened this month in North Park, 3013 University Ave. Seaside Paper/Home offers luxury candles, personalized stationery, hand selected home accessories and some exclusive proprietary lines. If you happen to be in Coronado, be sure to check out their second location at 1162 Orange Ave.
Seaside offers unique gifts ranging from luxury candles to home accessories
Discover the perfect gift from ol’ Parie at Vignettes
I love shopping at antique stores for people. Vignettes, my go-to antique store, is located in Ocean Beach. I can always find the perfect piece of antique jewelry or accessory. Maybe an exclusive home or garden accessory is on your list? No matter what, be sure to check out the Chanel corner! This a one-of-a-kind antique store that makes you think of the splendor of Old Paris…Vive La France!
The area of Little Italy features Love & Aesthetics. The owner of this lifestyle boutique carries items that he believes in and lives by. Representing local artists and independent companies, this boutique carries everything from jewelry to local re-purposed woodwork furniture to stunning vases and art. The second location in the neighborhood of North Park has a more masculine vibe.
Find a Christmas gift for your loved one at any of the vendors housed inside of SOLO
Further north in Solana Beach is San Diego’s design district in which resides a fabulous store called SOLO. With a 4,000 sq. ft. retail space and more than a dozen distinctive boutiques within the location, this is the place to find the perfect linen, jewelry, antiques, table top displays, collectible architectural books, and furniture.
Folks checking out the new Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
I didn”t know what to expect when I ventured to the market a recent Saturday morning with my camera at the ready. Some fish on ice…perhaps an unusual sea creature or two. But when I saw spiky crabs clawing for attention and a massive 5-foot octopus wriggling for a close-up, I knew I was in for a treat!
Fresh catches of the day at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
Hours are from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and folks line up early for the best seafood picks online casino to purchase before they”re sold out. I opted to arrive a bit later (around 9:30 AM) and though the line was a few dozen people deep, it moved along at a nice steady pace.
For shutterbugs like me, there”s no line to wait in. Just aim your camera between folks as they shuffle by, zoom in on the bountiful sea life and click away!
What I saw was amazing! Albacore and skipjack tuna, yellow tail, blue fin, lots of bright red-colored rock fish, black cod, Mahi Mahi, halibut, sea urchin (San Diego”s known for delectably fresh sea urchin/uni – yum!)…
Sea urchin/uni, a local San Diego seafood delicacy!
…three varieties of crab, including rock crab…
Rock crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
…and my favorite, the feisty box crab; check out this cool video I took!
The weekly catch is posted here. The fisherman and women are very friendly and more than happy to pose with their catches and fishing boats anchored in the background!
If you”re looking for a fun, photo-worthy San Diego experience second-to-none, head downtown to the Big Bay on Saturdays and dive into the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. San Diego”s legendary commercial fishing and maritime heritage come alive before your eyes! 🙂
With the eagerly awaited arrival of Comic-Con International this week, San Diego is gleefully celebrating all things comic. And whether or not you were lucky enough to have scored Comic-Con tickets, you can certainly partake in San Diego’s love affair with the genre.
No need to get angry! There are plenty of places outside of Comic-Con to stock up on comics.
Just wandering the street of downtown during Comic-Con is entertaining. The general fanfare of the event spills out from the Convention Center with revelers and vendors costumed and ready to party. But no matter what time of year you visit San Diego, you’ll find the spirit of Comic-Con thriving at San Diego’s many comic book stores. Here are a few to seek out:
Villainous Lair is one of two San Diego comic book stores named among the world’s best by Comic-Con in 2014. It is a one-stop shop for comics, RPGs, board games and collectibles. They also host Yu-Gi-Oh and other gaming tournaments throughout the year.
3320 Adams Ave. San Diego, 92116
Southern California Comics has such a big selection you might be overwhelmed, too.
Southern California Comics
Southern California Comics was the other local store named by Comic-Con as one of the world’s best this year. Located in a large warehouse, they offer a great selection of comics plus an equal amount of space devoted to graphic novels. But what makes this store special is that they buy directly from collectors so they have a lot of exotic and rare comic books. They also have hundreds of boxes of $1 comic books, a revolving selection of comic book sets, original art and a special Kids Corner for young enthusiasts.
8280 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. #124 San Diego, 92111
Rising Sun Creations (Ani-Manga)
Rising Sun Creations carries a good selection of both comic books and manga materials including model kits and merchandise. Located directly across from the Mission Valley Mall, look for the Ani-Manga sign.
1640 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 1478 San Diego, 92108
Comickaze Comics Books and More
Stocking a good selection of comics, graphic novels, manga and collectibles, Comickaze is a local favorite. The store is very engaged with the larger comic community, including hosting events, fan forums and involvement in a retailer network. The staff is very friendly and will happily special order any comic or book you’re after.
5517 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite AB San Diego, 92117
Fans gather for an event at Mysterious Galaxy.
This bookstore’s tagline is “books of martians, murder, magic and mayhem,” and as it suggests, they offer a great selection of science fiction, mystery, fantasy and horror books. The owners are also very involved in the community, and the store hosts regular author signings and other events.
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, 92111
Comics N Stuff
Comics N Stuff has seven locations in San Diego, but the one in San Diego’s east county is the largest. The store has a huge selection of comic books, both newly released, back issues and harder to find comics. They also have a large selection of collectibles, toys, apparel, trading cards, DVDs, etc. and an adult section. The great staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.
1020 El Cajon Blvd. El Cajon, 92020
What is your favorite comic book store in San Diego? Tell us in the comments below!
Chic is defined as stylish, elegant, and sophisticated. San Diego’s boutiques embody this with an effortlessness-chic approach. What better way to describe the following women’s chic shopping boutiques located throughout the region.
Fashion in the Heart of Mission Hills at LeBelAge Boutique
One of my do-not-miss boutiques for some chic shopping is, LeBelAge Boutique, located in the shopping district of Mission Hills. Imagine a treasure chest of the latest styles with an abundance of accessories to choose from. This fashion-forward boutique has been a neighborhood staple for over 28 years. If you are looking for inspiring clothing to wear from day to evening this is the place. The colorful maxis, Jackie O Capris, summer cotton dresses and versatile tops, create an easy glamorous option for any summer trip. Be sure to shop every nook and corner to not miss the gorgeous jewelry, scarves, and handbags.
Discover California on-trend fashion at KERUT Boutique
KERUT Boutique in the heart of La Jolla is the epitome of California on-trend fashions. Lots of colorful ensembles and a limited edition denim selection from modern skinny to boyfriend jeans. A few of my favorite pieces are the effortless-chic dresses with digitized photographic photo art, the tunics with Swarovski crystals, and the caftans from Australia. This boutique is also known for featuring local jewelry designers and their one-of-a-kind pieces, like the statement cuffs by LFR Designs. With a philosophy of “Fun. Adventurous. Unique. You”, and a complimentary hotel delivery service, this boutique is a must-see.
Build a wardrobe that fits your individual style at Pink Lagoon
Pink Lagoon was founded on the principle of building a wardrobe that fits your individual lifestyle. The designer brands evokes that laid-back California style with just a touch of edge. Think drapey t-shirts half tucked into a pair of skinny boyfriend jeans, crop tops layered over cotton maxis, and an array of candy colored bathing suits. The dainty jewelry collections that Pink Lagoon carries are perfect for layering multiple necklaces and bracelets at a time. Complete your summer-chic look with a new sandal or espadrille.
Enjoy a day of chic shopping in San Diego with a stop at Poppy Boutique
Poppy Boutique in Rancho Santa Fe is the place to shop for “Girl’s Night Out” to “Date Night” ensembles. It is also known as the go-to place to find your Opening Day at the Races dress and show-stopping hat. If you are looking to be a bit more casual try the drapey silk button-up shirts with skinny ankle jeans paired with a metallic sandal. Don’t miss the home goods area carrying chic agate coasters, wine stoppers, and the latest fashion books. The colorful selection of rompers, jumpsuits, and silk dresses promotes summer shopping at its best.
Even though San Diego is known for its laid back and comfortable style, the region is home to plenty of upscale, luxury boutiques that will satisfy even the pickiest fashionista.
Gerhard’s customers say that this boutique is “like shopping in New York without the hassle”
Some of the prominent boutiques that cater to posh-style shopping needs are Gerhard Boutique in the Design District of Solana Beach. Gerhard’s customers say that this boutique is “like shopping in New York without the hassle.” With a strategic customer based clientele, Gerhard carries a well thought out, high-end inventory. The minimally designed space allows for an easy overall shopping experience. Carrying designers such as Narciso Rodriguez, Stella McCartney, and the gorgeous cashmere items by Casmari you won’t be disappointed with the selection. Be sure to check out the one-of-a-kind designer sunglasses by Salt.
Laura Gambucci Boutique is a one-stop-shopping experience for all of the fashion jet-setters out there
Just south from Cedros, located in the village of LaJolla, is Laura Gambucci. This boutique provides a one-stop-shopping experience for all of the fashion jet-setters out there. Think of everything from unique layering pieces to great date night ensembles. Laura Gambucci carries sought-after designer pieces from Barbara Bui, and French designers such as Emanual Ungaro, and Jean Paul Gaultier. The boutique also collaborates with the jewelry designers of Erickson Beamon creating exclusive pieces just for this boutique. Be sure to check out their refined leather handbags, on-trend hats, and extraordinary collection of shoes. This boutique is high-end heaven.
Where: 7629 Girard Ave., Ste. C-3, La Jolla, CA 92037
Chateau Bel Age Boutique
Chateau Bel Age Boutique is like shopping in an elegant French women’s personal closet
Situated on a chic shopping street in Mission Hills, Chateau Bel Age Boutique is like shopping in an elegant French women’s personal closet. With an electric array of uptown-smart ensembles for day to elegant evening dresses for night, this boutique exudes luxury. Be sure to look in every case to see the noteworthy jewelry and accessories. They are known for carrying exclusive pieces made just for the Chateau and with designer brands such as Cop. Copine out of France and Joseph Ribkoff, it won’t be hard to add some new sophisticated pieces to your high-end wardrobe. Don’t leave without purchasing one of the fabulous caftans designed by local designer Jennafer Grace.
This luxury brand flagship boutique carries exquisite Italian hand-made leather sandals
San Diego is excited to have the new boutique in the quaint area of Little Italy aptly named Azzurra Capri. This luxury brand flagship boutique carries exquisite Italian hand-made leather sandals, created by top-notch Italian craftsmen using the finest Italian leather. Each unique sandal is adorned with their trademark Swarovski crystals, making your feet be the stand-out item. This is one way to get that classic Jackie “O” look. In addition to the exquisite sandals, this boutique carries imported resort wear from Italy & France and showcases Terracotta New York silk scarves and jewelry by Ocnarf Sairutsa and Hokise. This is a must-see boutique.
You may think that San Diego’s ideal weather would lend itself to always wearing flip-flops, t-shirts, and shorts, but think again. San Diego’s style has evolved into more of an effortless-chic, yet still comfy vibe. Think non-complicated pieces that allow for layering options with colors ranging from vibrant to neutral to pastels.
Here are four of my go-to boutiques to find that perfect San Diego outfit.
For laid back beach-chic styles, Capricorn Boutique is your place
One of my favorite boutiques that represent true San Diego-Style is Capricorn Boutique. Offering quality items at affordable prices, this boutique has something for everyone. Specializing in women’s clothing, accessories, dainty to statement jewelry, and gift items. Think maxi dresses, jumpsuits, rompers, wide brim hats, and chic t-shirts that can be worn with jeans or as a bathing suit cover-up. For laid back beach-chic styles, this is your place.
Rica Boutique has an amazing selection of colorful layering pieces that won’t break the bank
Right in the village of La Jolla is the popular, Rica Boutique. This women’s specialty boutique has an amazing selection of colorful layering pieces that won’t break the bank. Try a tangerine colored sundress with a fitted jean vest. Add a piece from one of their local jewelry designer collections, like a long gold semi-precious stone necklace, some bohemian-chic sandals, a straw fedora hat to complete the look.
Tucci Boutique carries sought after American and European women’s brands and designers
Del Mar’s Tucci Boutique carries sought after American and European women’s brands and designers that showcase San Diego’s sophisticated chic-style. Try a pair of their cropped skinny denim with a pastel peasant blouse, add an open-toe ankle bootie, a pair of handcrafted statement earrings, and one of their exclusive handbags and you are set.
Docetti Boutique offers everything from casual daytime looks to the perfect girls-night-out ensembles
Dolcetti Boutique in the Gaslamp Quarter is one of my go-to boutiques for both women and men’s clothing, accessories, gift items, books, and jewelry. Offering everything from casual daytime looks to the perfect girls-night-out ensembles. Dolcetti carries the latest trends on men’s jeans, graphic t-shirts and lightweight jackets. For women check out their digital print dresses, add a lightweight jacket, statement earrings, a pastel pump to complete the look. The additional full service salon with make-up artists creates the perfect one-stop-shop location for getting ready.
SoCal’s largest ice skating rink at Viejas Outlet Center!
“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” everywhere else but here, in sunny San Diego! With temps in the high 60s, winter is a wonderful time of year to check out the city sights, as well as activities in our East County region where ’tis the season to see charming foothill, mountain and desert communities decked in holiday splendor.
Following are 5 Holiday Festivities to Try – sure to have families humming “fa la la la la” all season long:
1. Christmas in the Village
It’s a winter wonderland at La Mesa Christmas in the Village
The delightful downtown of La Mesa transforms into an old-fashioned Christmas in the Village. There’s fun for the whole family: horse-drawn carriages, Santa Claus, carolers, carnival rides, live music stages and an outdoor market to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Join Santa’s Elves for a night of holiday merriment and Christmas caroling
Just up the hill on La Mesa’s majestic Mt. Helix – featuring spectacular 360 degree views of San Diego – the Annual Christmas Caroling Sing Along. Join Santa Claus, a choir of carolers and concert bands in musical merriment. There will also be free baked goods, hot drinks, and a raffle for prizes.
In the historic Gold Rush mountain town of Julian, enjoy a rousing rendition of Handel’s Messiah by the Julian Community Choir in the Town Hall. While you’re there, be sure to sample Julian’s famous apple pies with a cup of hot cocoa. Our local U-T San Diego paper recently touted their top Julian pie shop picks.
Look but don’t eat the incredible Barona’s North Pole Gingerbread Village at Barona Casino in Lakeside. This 50-foot culinary wonder – which took 900 hours to create! – features a snow-covered village complete with Santa’s workshop, an elf tavern and train station made entirely of gingerbread! It’s located at the entrance to the bustling Season’s Fresh Buffet and will be on display through Dec. 30. Yum! 😉
Where: 1932 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040 When: Through December 30, 2013