Robert Arends

Find a Unique Holiday Gift While Shopping in Charming Coronado!

Orange Avenue on Coronado
Orange Avenue on Coronado

Coronado’s Orange Avenue, a shopper’s delight!

What, you haven’t finished your holiday shopping?! No worries…Santa’s elves in Coronado, across the bridge from downtown San Diego, have a stocking full of gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

Skip the crowded malls and head to Coronado’s charming Christmas tree-lined main street, Orange Avenue, to discover delightful boutique shops and galleries selling all sorts of unique gifts. Following are some of my favorites:

Shorelines Gallery

Shorelines Gallery on Coronado

Shorelines’ one-of-a-kind gifts include colorful Spiritiles.

The new Shorelines Gallery sells handcrafted jewelry, glass art, chic home decor and exclusive art collectibles like the colorfully playful Spiritiles (as in “Spirit” – “tiles”).

Location: 918 Orange Ave (map)

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery

Populous Hotel Del by Craig Alan

Craig Alan’s people-pleasing Hotel del Coronado painting.

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery features paintings and sculptures by local and world-renowned artists. I especially love Craig Alan’s fantastical people paintings. His depiction of The Del (see above) is brilliant!

Location: 936 Orange Avenue (map)

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils – yum!

For the foodie, Coronado Taste of Oils sells delicious gourmet olive oils and fine aged vinegars. Tastings are Free. The Red Apple Balsamic is off the charts!

Location: 954 Orange Avenue (map)

Emerald City

Hang ten at Emerald City surf shop. Next Monday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 21, the entire store is 20% off. Cowabunga!

Location: 1118 Orange Avenue (map)

The Latests in Fashion

La Mer Boutique

Lovely La Mer for women’s fashions.

For fashionistas, there’s the hip new Studio 12-20, Pretty Please Fashion and upscale women’s boutique, La Mer.


Hop to the new Jackrabbits for home & garden décor, vintage handbags, antique toys and beach-themed items.

Location: 1017 Isabella Avenue (map)

Coronado Holiday Guide

2012 Coronado Holiday Guide

While shopping, be sure to pick up the new Coronado Holiday Guide, chock full of gift ideas, holiday happenings, happy hours and more. You can also download it off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the greatest gift of all: free two-hour metered parking through Dec. 28!

Now that’s the holiday spirit!


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.


San Diego’s Fashion Originals

Rose Rags

Local California clothing designer, Jessica Delee, had pretty much known she had a talent for creating “looks” ever since stapling fabrics together in kindergarten and making her own Halloween costumes at 9 years old! When Jessica met the owner of Cecilia Boutique, a must-shop boutique in Mission Hills, she knew it was a perfect match to help sell her eco-friendly designs “RoseRags.” San Diego’s laid back beach atmosphere has inspired her to create a mesh of California beach, meets shabby chic, meets vintage clothing. Jessica uses recycled fabrics with new fabrics and one-of-a-kind vintage extras. She is known for creating a blend of patterns, solids and textures to create a bohemian-chic look for the everyday California-inspired girl. “RoseRags” is for the classy girl that is not afraid to stand out and make a statement! You can check out Jessica’s designs at Cecilia Boutique located at 928 Fort Stockton Drive, #115, San Diego.

Studio 12.20

San Diego is home to a fabulous series of boutiques called Studio 12.20. In 1996 the original boutique opened in the heart of the lively community of downtown Hillcrest. Over the years the owners Heather Payne and Song Bledsoe have been committed to offering a multitude of refreshing styles for all ages and at great price points. Their boutiques are known for carrying the most coveted looks by having just the right mix of daytime chic to evening sophistication with an edge. Their eye for contemporary fashion for both women and men have created a go-to shopping experience that all must see. Since the original boutique opened, five other locations have been added creating one of the most successful series of boutiques here in San Diego. Studio 12.20 has become the retailer to watch in Southern California!


In The “New”

I am excited to report on some new boutique openings throughout San Diego!

dolcetti boutique, Downtown San Diego

Starting with dolcetti boutique located downtown at 635 Fifth Ave. This boutique offers many urban-polished pieces for both women and men. The options are endless for ultra-fresh fashions from day to evening looks. In addition to clothing and accessories they operate, within their boutique, their own salon called A Style Concierge. You can shop while getting your hair and make-up done!

Eden Boutique, Downtown San Diego

Right down the block is Eden Boutique located at 520 Fifth Ave. Visually, Eden is very easy to navigate through. They specialize in up-and-coming designers at affordable prices. The options are endless with laid-back luxe clothing and accessories.

Mimi & Red, La Jolla

A second location for Mimi & Red Boutique just opened in La Jolla at 5630 La Jolla Blvd. The effortless combinations of bohemian-chic to urban-polished looks makes this shopping experience an easy one. The accessory choices are endless and at great prices!

Kyss boutique, Carlsbad

Just a quick trip north to Carlsbad is Kyss Boutique located at 2641 Gateway Road. With the motto of “Our Store is Your Closet!” this boutique portrays a relaxed shopping experience. The boutique features oversized dressing rooms, on-site make-up services, and tailoring services. The goal is to provide quality fashion at affordable prices with the idea that there is something for everyone.

On your next shopping venture be in the know and visit these new boutiques!


Hot/Haute Boutiques in San Diego

San Diego has an array of unique boutiques located throughout the different neighborhoods of the city. In most cases Haute would define the upper class but in this case it purely defines the effortless chic fashions of San Diego and just a glimmer of what the city has to offer.

Goga Boutique, Downtown San Diego

Downtown has Goga Boutique located at 401 Market Street, showcasing Gordana Gehlhausen’s clothing and jewelry designs. Gordana was featured on the 6th season of the reality show “Project Runway.” Not only does she create one-of-a-kind pieces (check out her gowns!) but she also carries other lines that have an edgy-elegant look to them.

Le Bel Age Boutique, Mission Hills

Just north of downtown in Mission Hills is Le Bel Age Boutique at 1607 W. Lewis Street. This exclusive boutique offers an abundance of must-have fashions, from exquisite statement jewelry to hard-to-find clothing brands and glamorous accessories.  It truly is a one-stop-shop!

Capricorn Boutique, La Jolla

Continuing north to La Jolla is Capricorn Boutique at 5544 LaJolla Blvd. Capricorn offers ultra-fresh laid-back SoCal style. Carrying a variety of unique delicate jewelry, beach-chic clothing, yummy candles and hip urban-style’s for men!

Camellia Boutique, Solana Beach

A little further north brings us to Solana Beach and Camellia Boutique at 301 N. Highway 101. The openness of this boutique truly represents a relaxed ambiance with plenty of choices for casual pieces or date-night ensembles. Their stylish jewelry selection features many unique local designers.

Be sure to check them all out!