Welcome to Little Italy
Preserved Italian-American culture mixes upscale shopping and a booming culinary scene in one of San Diego’s most active neighborhoods
Little Italy is known as one of the trendiest neighborhoods of downtown San Diego, and it radiates with the invigorating pulse of the Italian culture the community has worked so hard to preserve. Walkable streets are lined with locally owned businesses and authentic eateries, and a palpable sense of chic sophistication has been evident since the neighborhood’s creation in the 1920s. Bordered by the bay’s North Harbor Drive to the west and I-5 to its east, Little Italy maintains a highly urban energy with easy commutes to other portions of San Diego.
While Little Italy communities can be found in many major metropolitan cities, San Diego’s vibrant neighborhood remains set apart from the status quo through its continued dedication to uplifting Italian-American history. It’s a thriving neighborhood in which newly built venues and non-Italian retailers can find harmony with the rich history and strong Italian presence.
Housing in Little Italy can range from multi-story condos and apartment buildings to million-dollar modern masterpieces and luxury penthouses with ocean views. However, the main appeal of all housing in Little Italy comes from the fact that residents are always within walking distance of everything they could need.
What to Love
- Revitalized community with up-and-coming developments to enhance daily life
- Under 10 minutes from the San Diego International Airport and right beside the San Diego Zoo
- Lively community spirit and constant goings-on
People & Lifestyle
A large number of work-live properties in Little Italy is a testament to the area’s popularity with young professionals and the business-minded, particularly those who want to be in the center of all the action. While there may be very few families with children, Little Italy is still an incredibly warm and welcoming place where everyone can find their niche.
Dining, Shopping, & Entertainment
Hip gastropubs, fashionable boutiques, and, of course, authentic Italian eateries all line the streets of Little Italy, where your next great find is always just around the corner. Along stretches of India Street, shoppers can stop in at locations like Verde San Diego, a socially conscious accessory store. Here too are Italian family-owned markets like Assenti’s Pasta, which specializes in traditionally crafted Italian pasta.
Indulge in a cocktail at the unforgettable Craft & Commerce bar, whose upscale New American plates are the perfect complement to creative drinks and a one-of-a-kind venue. It’s also a place for those who enjoy the unusual, as the walls are lined with old books and a collection of aged taxidermy items. The antithesis of Craft & Commerce, Morning Glory beckons to diners in a million shades of bubbly pink. Global breakfast, alcohol-infused specialty coffee drinks, a menu of refreshing morning mixed drinks and plenty of sass on the house are all trademarks of this much-loved eatery.
For fried chicken and bocce ball fun, diners head over to the Crack Shack, the flagship restaurant for the booming brand. Lastly, you’ll want to get a hold of authentic Italian fare when you’re in Little Italy. One of the must-try locations of the area is the upscale Bencotto Italian Kitchen, whose artisanal Italian cuisine and house-made pastas turn first-time visitors into loyal customers.
Things to Do
In Little Italy, there’s always a celebration going on, and with so many exquisite cultural offerings, it isn’t hard to see why. The culinary accomplishments of the area are celebrated during the Taste of Little Italy Festival, and each year, attendees purchase tickets and meander the streets consuming mouthwatering bites from local purveyors and restaurateurs.
The longest-running and largest fine arts festival in Southern California, known as the Art Walk San Diego, is also held in Little Italy. Those who attend the annual event are treated to an impressive collection of local art on display and for sale, encouraging the growth of the arts in the community. Another popular (but much more frequent) event, the farmers market in Little Italy, is referred to as the Little Italy Mercato. Open every Saturday morning, the market brings together residents who want to shop the freshest produce and goods available while supporting their local merchants.
Christmas is a particularly festive time of year in Little Italy, as is demonstrated by the magical displays of the Little Italy Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Christmas Village. Families and neighbors gather as spectators to the ceremony and later as visitors to the village, which boasts food vendors, charity events, and an array of holiday events.
Little Italy is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- Washington Elementary School, K-5, well-rated public elementary school
- California Western School of Law, highly ranked private law university
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