San Diego

San Diego’s retail landscape has changed radically in recent years with the opening of several new shopping centers—some in historic buildings—that are focused more on locally owned boutiques than national retailers. Where once the Gaslamp was the place to go for urban apparel and unique home decor, many independently owned boutiques have decided to set up shop in the charming neighborhoods east of Balboa Park known as North Park and South Park. Although Downtown is still thriving, any shopping trip to San Diego should include venturing out to the city’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Not far from Downtown, Little Italy is the place to find contemporary art, modern furniture, and home accessories.

Old Town is a must for pottery, ceramics, jewelry, and handcrafted baskets. Uptown is known for its mélange of funky bookstores, offbeat gift shops, and nostalgic collectibles and vintage stores. The beach towns offer the best swimwear and sandals. La Jolla’s chic boutiques offer a more intimate shopping experience, along with some of the classiest clothes, jewelry, and shoes in the county. The new La Plaza La Jolla is an open-air shopping center with boutiques and galleries in a Spanish-style building overlooking the cove. Point Loma’s Liberty Station shopping area in the former Naval Training Center has art galleries, restaurants, and home stores. Trendsetters will have no trouble finding must-have handbags and designer apparel at the world-class Fashion Valley mall in Mission Valley, a haven for luxury brands such as Hermès, Gucci, and Jimmy Choo.

Enjoy near-perfect weather year-round as you explore shops along the scenic waterfront. The Headquarters at Seaport is a new open-air shopping and dining center in the city’s former Police Headquarters building. Here there are some big names, but mostly locally owned boutiques selling everything from gourmet cheese to coastal-inspired home accessories. Just next door, Seaport Village is still the place to go for trinkets and souvenirs. If you don’t discover what you’re looking for in the boutiques, head to Westfield Horton Plaza, the Downtown mall with more than 120 stores. The sprawling mall completed a major restoration project in 2016 to include a new public plaza, amphitheater, and fountains.

Most malls have free parking in a lot or garage, and parking is not usually a problem. Westfield Horton Plaza and some of the shops in the Gaslamp Quarter offer validated parking or valet parking.

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  • 1. Artelexia

    North Park

    Browse the colorful selection of Mexican gifts, cooking supplies, and decor at this inviting local boutique....

    Browse the colorful selection of Mexican gifts, cooking supplies, and decor at this inviting local boutique.

    3803 Ray St., San Diego, California, 92104, USA
    619-501–6381
  • 2. Fashion Valley

    Mission Valley

    San Diego's most upscale mall has a contemporary Mission theme, lush landscaping, and nearly 200 shops and restaurants. Acclaimed retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's,...

    San Diego's most upscale mall has a contemporary Mission theme, lush landscaping, and nearly 200 shops and restaurants. Acclaimed retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, and Tiffany & Co. are here, along with boutiques from fashion darlings like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Ted Baker. H&M is a favorite of fashionistas in search of edgy and affordable styles. Free wireless Internet service is available throughout the mall. Select "Simon WiFi" from any Wi-Fi–enabled device to log onto the network. If you're visiting from out of state, are a member of the military, or have a AAA membership, you can pick up a complimentary Style Pass at Simon Guest Services (located on the lower level beneath AMC Theaters near Banana Republic), which can get you savings at more than 70 of Fashion Valley's stores and restaurants.

    7007 Friars Rd., San Diego, California, 92108, USA
    619-688–9113
  • 3. Gold Leaf

    South Park

    This home-decor shop is run by a husband-and-wife duo. There's furniture, kitchenware, jewelry, greeting cards, and a kids' section....

    This home-decor shop is run by a husband-and-wife duo. There's furniture, kitchenware, jewelry, greeting cards, and a kids' section.

    2225 30th St., San Diego, California, 92104, USA
    619-738--8120
  • 4. Hotel del Coronado

    At the gift shops within the peninsula's main historic attraction, you can purchase sportswear, designer handbags, jewelry, and antiques. Spreckels Sweets & Treats offers old-time...

    At the gift shops within the peninsula's main historic attraction, you can purchase sportswear, designer handbags, jewelry, and antiques. Spreckels Sweets & Treats offers old-time candies, freshly made fudge, and decadent truffles. Monroe has designer fashions and accessories, inspired by its Hollywood namesake, while Brady's for Men, with its shirts and sport coats, caters to well-dressed men. S.R.F. is the spot to hit up for outdoor and action sports accessories. En Route is a haven for travelers, offering a selection of top-quality luggage and leather goods.

    1500 Orange Ave., San Diego, California, 92118, USA
    619-435–6611
  • 5. Pangaea Outpost

    Pacific Beach

    This collective houses dozens of local shops under one roof and is a great place to pick up beachy clothing and decor or unique gifts...

    This collective houses dozens of local shops under one roof and is a great place to pick up beachy clothing and decor or unique gifts for everyone on your list.

    909 Garnet Ave., San Diego, California, 92109, USA
    858-581–0555
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Pigment

    North Park

    This beautifully styled shop carries a wide variety of design-conscious goods for the home, including geometric print pillows, outdoor bistro chairs, and home bar accessories....

    This beautifully styled shop carries a wide variety of design-conscious goods for the home, including geometric print pillows, outdoor bistro chairs, and home bar accessories. In Pigment's plant lab, you can build your own terrariums, which make great souvenirs.

    3801 30th St., San Diego, California, 92104, USA
    619-501–6318
  • 7. Seaside Papery

    Customize your correspondence with products from Seaside Papery, including high-end wedding invitations, greeting cards, luxury personal stationery, and wrapping papers....

    Customize your correspondence with products from Seaside Papery, including high-end wedding invitations, greeting cards, luxury personal stationery, and wrapping papers.

    1162 Orange Ave., San Diego, California, 92118, USA
    619-435–5565
  • 8. The Book Catapult

    South Park

    This exceptional bookstore offers well-curated local interest materials, best sellers, and an excellent children's section. Puzzle enthusiasts will appreciate the unique jigsaw selection, guaranteed to...

    This exceptional bookstore offers well-curated local interest materials, best sellers, and an excellent children's section. Puzzle enthusiasts will appreciate the unique jigsaw selection, guaranteed to keep you challenged. Don't miss the back room with its selection of local clothing and gifts.

    3010-B Juniper St., San Diego, California, 92104, USA
    619-795–3780
  • 9. The Headquarters at Seaport

    This new upscale shopping and dining center is in the city's former police headquarters, a beautiful and historic Mission-style building featuring an open courtyard with...

    This new upscale shopping and dining center is in the city's former police headquarters, a beautiful and historic Mission-style building featuring an open courtyard with fountains. Restaurants and shops, many locally owned, occupy former jail facilities and offices. Pop into Urban Beach House for coastal-inspired fashion from popular surf brands for men and women, including accessories and home decor. Perfume Gallery offers more than 1,000 different scents in its extensive collection. Madison San Diego offers a great selection of leather goods and accessories, from apparel and handbags to belts and travel accessories.

    789 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-235–4013
  • 10. Verbatim Books

    North Park

    Visible from blocks away, thanks to its large mural paying homage to Stephen King, Verbatim Books boasts an inventory of more than 35,000 books in...

    Visible from blocks away, thanks to its large mural paying homage to Stephen King, Verbatim Books boasts an inventory of more than 35,000 books in its wide-open wonderland of the printed word. Visually stunning inside and out—decked with chandeliers and the store's name spelled out in books on its back wall (which also has a mysterious, colorful door)—the shop carries everything from classics to cookbooks to supernatural and metaphysical volumes, in addition to maintaining a zine library for those interested in DIY publishers.

    3793 30th St., San Diego, California, 92104, USA
    619-501--7466

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues.
  • 11. Vignettes

    Ocean Beach

    Expect a pleasant culture shock when you step from the bohemian Newport Avenue into this French-inspired antiques shop with timeworn pieces with a rich history....

    Expect a pleasant culture shock when you step from the bohemian Newport Avenue into this French-inspired antiques shop with timeworn pieces with a rich history. More than 30 vendors showcase vintage and antique collectibles and fascinating oddities.

    4828 Newport Ave., San Diego, California, 92107, USA
    619-222–9244
  • 12. Architectural Salvage of San Diego

    If you have any interest in home design and renovation, this shop that specializes in reusing old materials should be top of your list. The...

    If you have any interest in home design and renovation, this shop that specializes in reusing old materials should be top of your list. The warehouse space is filled with unusual building and decorative materials, as well as items that come from various time periods throughout the 1900s. Products range from stained-glass windows and light fixtures to cabinets and doors in styles ranging from Victorian to Craftsman.

    2401 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-696–1313
  • 13. Ascot Shop

    La Jolla

    The classic Ivy League look is king in this traditional haberdashery that sells menswear by Saxx, Hagen, and Peter Miller. In-house same-day tailoring is available....

    The classic Ivy League look is king in this traditional haberdashery that sells menswear by Saxx, Hagen, and Peter Miller. In-house same-day tailoring is available.

    7750 Girard Ave., San Diego, California, 92037, USA
    858-454–4222
  • 14. Bay Books

    This independent bookstore is the spot to sit, read, and sip coffee on an overcast day by the sea. Great for international travelers, there's a...

    This independent bookstore is the spot to sit, read, and sip coffee on an overcast day by the sea. Great for international travelers, there's a large selection of foreign-language magazines and newspapers, and for youngsters, there's a section in the back devoted to children's books and games. Because of its close proximity to the Navy bases on Coronado, the shop has a large stock of books dedicated to military history. Bay Books also has regular book-signing events; it has hosted a wide array of authors, from Newt Gingrich to Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. While you're there, grab an espresso or a pastry from the sidewalk-facing Buona Forchetta café within the bookstore.

    1007 Orange Ave., San Diego, California, 92118, USA
    619-435–0070
  • 15. Bazaar del Mundo Shops

    Old Town

    With a Mexican villa theme, the Bazaar hosts riotously colorful gift shops such as Ariana, for ethnic and artsy women's fashions; Artes de Mexico, which...

    With a Mexican villa theme, the Bazaar hosts riotously colorful gift shops such as Ariana, for ethnic and artsy women's fashions; Artes de Mexico, which sells handmade Latin American crafts and Guatemalan weavings; and The Gallery, which carries handmade jewelry, Native American crafts, collectible glass, and original silk-screen prints. The Laurel Burch Gallerita carries the complete collection of its namesake artist's signature jewelry, accessories, and totes.

    4133 Taylor St., San Diego, California, 92110, USA
    619-296–3161
  • 16. Blends

    Minimalist decor provides a perfect backdrop for the wild colors and patterns featured on original sneakers from Adidas, Nike, Vans, and other in-demand brands. Prices...

    Minimalist decor provides a perfect backdrop for the wild colors and patterns featured on original sneakers from Adidas, Nike, Vans, and other in-demand brands. Prices are steep, but many of the urban styles are unique.

    919 6th Ave., San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-233–6126
  • 17. Blick Art Materials

    Besides supplying local artists with their tools, Blick also carries art books, fine stationery and pens, ornate gift wrap, and beautiful leather-bound journals....

    Besides supplying local artists with their tools, Blick also carries art books, fine stationery and pens, ornate gift wrap, and beautiful leather-bound journals.

    1844 India St., San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-687–0050
  • 18. Bottlecraft Beer Shop

    This boutique beer shop and tasting room stocks the best craft beer from San Diego and around the world, from double IPAs and pale ales...

    This boutique beer shop and tasting room stocks the best craft beer from San Diego and around the world, from double IPAs and pale ales to saisons and wheat beers. Owner Brian Jensen offers a wealth of knowledge on the local craft beer scene. Bottlecraft now has additional locations in North Park and Liberty Station.

    2252 India St., San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-487–9493
  • 19. Carlsbad Premium Outlets

    Outlet

    A 40-minute drive north of Downtown San Diego, this outdoor shopping center contains more than 90 outlet stores, including designer brands like...

    A 40-minute drive north of Downtown San Diego, this outdoor shopping center contains more than 90 outlet stores, including designer brands like Coach, Cole Haan, Kate Spade New York, and Michael Kors.

    5620 Paseo del Norte, Ste. 100, Carlsbad, California, 92008, USA
    760-804–9000
  • 20. Casa Artelexia

    Little Italy | Household Items/Furniture

    This colorful shop specializing in Mexican gifts and art started as a booth at a farmers' market by a father-daughter team, but has since evolved...

    This colorful shop specializing in Mexican gifts and art started as a booth at a farmers' market by a father-daughter team, but has since evolved into a large retail space with its own art gallery and event space. Products—handpicked and imported from different parts of Mexico—include hand-blown glassware, Sacred Heart wall hangings, books and paintings depicting Frida Kahlo, and Dia de Los Muertos-themed items. Casa Artelexia also offers weekly art classes, and has a second store located in North Park.

    2400 Kettner Blvd., No. 102, San Diego, California, 92101, USA
    619-544–1011

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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