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Find Your Shopping Style in San Diego

April 8, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

From trendy neighborhood shopping districts and unique antique stores teaming with unusua; finds, to major outdoor malls filled with name brands and bargain-filled outlet centers, San Diego boasts shopping opportunities to suit all styles and budgets.

The following top shopping spots in San Diego offer a colorful and multi-cultural shopping experience to tempt savvy shoppers.


Throughout the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in the heart of downtown San Diego, shoppers can find well-known retailers like Urban Outfitters and Quicksilver alongside cutting-edge up-and-coming designers like “Project Runaway” finalist Gordana Gehlhausen and her signature store, Goga by Gordana. Modern pin-up styles at Bettie Page Clothing, hand-rolled cigars at theCuban Cigar Factory and hats of all shapes and sizes at Goorin Brothers can also be found tucked away in the Gaslamp Quarter’s Victorian architecture.

Shopping takes on a hip, urban edge in downtown’s East VillageDianne O Studios features high-fashion apparel, accessories and cosmetics from the world’s top fashion meccas like Milan, New York and Paris. At Credible Thread, style-conscious men can pick up classic looks updated with modern twists, while 5&A Dime serves up the latest men’s and women’s urban street styles.

The adjoining neighborhoods of North Park and South Park are home to a bourgeoning fashion district along with crafty shops galore. Affordable, hipster-approved styles can be found at Hunt and GatherMimi & Red BoutiqueJunc Life & Style and Graffiti BeachThe Grove andMake Good are dedicated to the creation of community by supporting locally hand-made arts and crafts. Shoppers can also find everything from fashionable accessories to hip, green home décor items at Progress in South Park and Pigment in North Park.

Along Hillcrest‘s main thoroughfares, University Avenue and the tree-lined Fifth Avenue, shoppers can browse through boutiques and vintage shops stocked with books, clothes and much more.  Highlights include Mint for fashion-forward footwear, Flashbacks for the hippest in retro clothes and Babette Schwartz for quirky novelty gifts.

In downtown’s colorful Little Italy, shoppers can stroll along Fir Street, where a block of bright cottages house boutiques that offer ultra-stylish options including independent designers of women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories. Along India Street, unique boutique finds include posh designer names in women’s fashion at Melero Boutique & Gallery and fine Italian ceramics at Bella Stanza. 


With hundreds of antique dealers in six malls, the Ocean Beach Antique District, located along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach,offers the largest concentration of antique and collectible dealers in San Diego County.  The district offers an array of unique, eclectic retail settings and features one-of-a-kind antiques, mid-century modern furniture, fine estate and vintage jewelry, and specialty memorabilia.

Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District runs the length of Cedros Avenue and is home to a bevy of luxury home décor and design boutiques as well as trendy shops offering designer women’s apparel, accessories for the pampered pet and decadent gifts for family and friends.

Little Italy’s Kettner Boulevard is home to the Kettner Art & Design District, a group of retail shops and art galleries that feature selections of home furnishings and fashion accessories. Among its two dozen shops are Mixture, featuring a young and fresh take on contemporary furniture, andArchitectural Salvage, a haven of vintage home décor and accessories like antique drawer handles.

Located along Girard Avenue in La Jolla, the Upper Girard Design District offers numerous home-furnishing shops ideal for shoppers seeking unique luxury home décor items, from quirky Thomas Paul ceramics at My Own Space to the modern elegance of Ligne Roset‘s fine contemporary furniture.


Sometimes called the “Rodeo Drive” of San Diego, La Jolla’s Prospect Street overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is lined with small antique emporiums, art galleries, high-end boutiques and specialty shops like Tijon, a luxury parfumerie and boutique. In addition to offering elegant, designer fashions in sophisticated apparel shops like Nicole Miller and Brooks Brothers, La Jolla is also known for its shops full of exquisite, original fine jewelry of magnificent and brilliant

The merchant district of Bird Rock, located at the southern end of La Jolla, offers an upscale, eco-friendly environment for posh shopping.  The area boasts everything from an organic coffee shop and green nail salon, to designer boutiques adorned with fashionable shoes, bags and bikinis and upscale children’s clothing boutiques.

Located just north of La Jolla in upscale Del Mar, the European-style retail village Del Mar Plaza is nestled gently into a hillside along the coast. Old World-style stone walkways wind through boutiques, galleries and posh restaurants with ocean view piazzas.  


Seaport Village, a waterfront complex on picturesque San Diego Bay, offers meandering cobblestone pathways, ponds, fountains and lush landscaping with more than 50 theme shops, four restaurants and a dozen sidewalk cafes.

Across from downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay in Coronado, the Coronado Ferry Landingretail center features unique waterfront shops and dining.

Coronado’s historically preserved downtown offers specialty shops chock full of antiques, collectible books, home and garden supplies, and gourmet food items.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park reflects the region’s history from 1821-1872 and includes distinctive shops that capture the essence of San Diego’s colorful past.  At Fiesta de Reyes and the nearby Bazaar del Mundo, guests can discover authentic and eclectic folk art and much more.

With 1,200 lush acres, 16 museums and the Tony-Award® winning Old Globe theatre, Balboa Parkis the largest urban cultural park in the country.  The park’s museums stock innovative and unique gifts like museum books, posters, calendars, jewelry and artistic reproductions for shoppers who love arts and culture.


Located adjacent to the Viejas Casino in Alpine in San Diego’s East County, the Viejas Outlet Center features nearly 50 outlet stores, including big names like Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Guess and Eddie Bauer.  Bargains aside, the center’s striking Southwestern architecture, splashing waterfalls and intricate tile work create a relaxed shopping atmosphere.

Located in Carlsbad in San Diego’s North County, the Carlsbad Premium Outlets offers everyday savings of 25-65% and features 90 outlet stores, including Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren. During March through May, shoppers can also enjoy a picturesque backdrop of the neighboring Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.

Strategically located on the world’s busiest border crossing—San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico—The Shops at Las Americas is the county’s largest outlet mall with more than 100 fashion brand stores.  Retail outlets include BCBG Max Azria, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, Lucky Brand and more.


Westfield Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego offers open-air shopping in dramatic architectural setting that calls to mind a Technicolor M.C. Escher drawing.  With five staggered levels, Horton Plaza offers specialty shops, major department stores, restaurants, a multi-layered food court, 14-screen movie theater and live theater performances at the Lyceum Theater. As part of a $14 million renovation, a new public plaza with a 1.5-acre park is currently in construction, slated to debut later in 2014.  

Fashion Valley Shopping Center, a two-level, open-air complex in Mission Valley, showcases high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom as well retail shops by coveted designer brands like Ted Baker, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Hermès and more. Fashion Valley also offers restaurants, cafés and an 18-screen theater.

In La Jolla’s Golden Triangle, Westfield UTC completed a $180 million renovation in 2012 and offers shoppersaunique mix of specialty stores, services and restaurants in a distinctively Southern California open-air setting. In addition to stores like J. Crew, Apple and Anthropologie, Westfield UTC features a year-round indoor ice skating rink and the new 14-screen Arclight Cinemas, complete with deluxe assigned seating and a full bar.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at

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