Neighborhood Shopping Spotlight: Little Italy

Vocabulary Boutique in Little Italy San Diego

San Diego is home to dozens of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own style and flair, and it’s in these neighborhoods that you’ll often find San Diego’s best hidden treasures.

Though the neighborhood may once have been home to San Diego’s flourishing tuna fishing industry, today’s Little Italy is a lively and design-conscious neighborhood filled with patio cafes, restaurants, pubs, art galleries and some of the city’s most stylish shops.

Fashionable Finds

Be Beauty Boutique in Little Italy

Be Beauty Boutique

On Fir Street, a block of colorful cottages house boutiques that offer ultra-stylish options including independent designers of women’s clothing, accessories and shoes. Tucked into an adorable yellow cottage, Be Beauty carries hip fashion and great accessories by local designers.

Vocabulary Boutique in Little Italy San Diego

Vocabulary Boutique

Vocabulary on Cedar Street is a great stop for both men’s and women’s fashion. Chic housewares and accessories round out their style-savvy collection.

Residing in the historic “Pray House” built in 1888, Melero Boutique & Gallery stocks some of the hottest designer names, like Black Halo, Paul & Joe and Sachin + Babi.

The Kettner Art & Design District

Head north along Little Italy’s Kettner Street and you’ll discover a group of retail shops and art galleries that feature creative selections of home furnishings and one-of-a-kind accessories.

Mixture design shop in San Diego's Little Italy

Mixture design shop

With a setting as stylish as the items it sells, Mixture features a young and fresh take on contemporary furniture and home accents. The handbags, jewelry and artworks by local artists all make wonderful souvenirs friom a trip to San Diego.

Also on Kettner Street, Architectural Salvage is a haven of vintage home décor and accessories like antique drawer handles, and truly unexpected items you won’t find anywhere else, like recycled carousel horses or the entrance sign to a long-gone casino.

The Bungalow Store stocks antiques and artifacts in San Diego's Little Italy

The Bungalow Store stocks antiques and artifacts in San Diego’s Little Italy

The Bungalow Store is another treasure trove of unexpected finds. This antique shops specializes in furniture, lighting and decorative arts for collectors of the Spanish Revival, Rancho and Hacienda styles, but even non-collectors will love browsing their unique stock of items.

> Discover more great shopping ideas in San Diego

Know of any other great Little Italy shopping spots? Let us and others know in the comments below.


Arts Month San Diego: Little Italy

This week, Arts Month San Diego is highlighting the cultural neighborhood of Little Italy.

Little Italy, located on the northern edge of the San Diego bay, is a vibrant neighborhood steeped in history and tradition. The area is well-known for authentic Italian restaurants and shops that stock Italian imports, but also boasts a nascent art and design district centered around galleries, design showrooms, and marquee arts and culture events.


With galleries, antique shops, and home accessory stores Little Italy North (North of Grape Street) has been dubbed San Diego’s newest Art & Design District.

The Art and Design District of San Diego’s Little Italy was modeled after New York City’s trendy SoHo and Chelsea districts

Two popular galleries are Meyer Fine Art and The Andrews Gallery. Meyer Fine Art specializes in limited-edition prints and works on paper, ranging from pieces by Miró and Chagall to vintage Italian posters. The Andrews Gallery is an artist space that combines the roles of art gallery, creative studio and performance venue in one interactive environment. The Gallery focuses on solo-exhibitions of emerging and mid-career artists, as well as hosts musical performances, poetry readings, and other creative happenings.

Insider Tip:  Many of the art galleries in Little Italy have limited business hours, but will open by appointment only. Kettner Nights is a great time to explore the area and get a lay of the land.


Little Italy hosts Kettner Nights and Festa, two signature arts events that offer fun for the whole family.

  • Kettner Nights (Sept. 9): Discover the art, design and antiques on display and for sale in Little Italy during Kettner Nights, an art walk held the second Friday of every other month from 6pm to 9pm.

Authentic chalk art at Little Italy Festa

  • 17th Annual Little Italy Festa (Oct. 9): Celebrate the romance of Italian culture with authentic music, fine foods and specialty crafts. Don’t miss the Gesso Italiano chalk art painting exhibition created by more than 150 artists in two days.