San Diego Shopping

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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Africa and Beyond

  • Gifts/Souvenirs

This La Jolla art gallery has been selling traditional and contemporary African art for more than 25 years. Find Shona stone sculptures...

Fair Trade Decor

  • Crafts

This home store in Del Mar Village stocks only fair trade items from more than 40 countries, including goat wool rugs from Mexico, colorful...

Tafoya & Son Pottery

  • Crafts

This shop in a historic adobe building specializes in Mexican Talavera pottery and Turkish porcelain. Look for sterling silver jewelry...

Tienda de Reyes

  • Crafts

This festive "store of the kings" stocks Old Town's largest selection of Day of the Dead art, and carries sculpture, handbags, and glassware...

West Grove Collective

  • Clothing

Find books, kitchenware, fair-trade items, and travel gear at this shop that was completely remodeled in 2015. Also here are organic...

The Artful Soul

  • Crafts

There are jewelry, handbags, and gifts by more than 130 contemporary crafts artists, many of whom are local. ...


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