Once home to generations of Italian families who who made their living in San Diego’s flourishing fishing industry, Little Italy is now a lively neighborhood packed with restaurants, patio cafés, craft brewpubs, urban wineries, and little plazas with fountains and views of the bay. The trendy, walkable neighborhood—in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter—also has upscale boutiques, art galleries, chic shops, boutique hotels, and live music venues, so there is far more to experience here than just the delicious food.
At 48 square blocks, San Diego’s Little Italy is the largest in the United States and is best seen on foot. The eclectic neighborhood’s charming sidewalk cafés and one-of-a-kind specialty stores are reasons enough to head to this district, with locals and visitors alike strolling the streets to get a feel for the mom-and-pop restaurants, art galleries, and retail shops that make the northwest end of downtown San Diego so famous. On Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm, the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market draws crowds to its stalls offering fresh, California-grown produce, trendy foods, and crafts. Many visitors choose to eat and drink their way through this Old World slice of San Diego—a Little Italy food tour is a great way to explore the area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Travelers into food and fun will enjoy Little Italy’s culinary and entertainment options.
- The heart of Little Italy is the one-way India Street, with cars able to travel only south-to-north. Most people enter Little Italy from the corner of Ash and India streets.
- Look for the landmark Little Italy sign arched over India Street at the corner of India and Cedar streets in the heart of Little Italy.
- Little Italy is a pedestrian-friendly area prime for walking tours.
How to Get There
Little Italy is located on a hill in the northwest end of downtown San Diego, a few blocks away from the Embarcadero. The district’s geographic boundaries are Union Street on the east, Harbor Drive on the west, Ash Street on the south, and Laurel Street on the north. The San Diego Trolley stops two blocks from the heart of Little Italy.
When to Get There
Little Italy is a city neighborhood, with varied opening times for the different businesses contained within it.
Festivals in San Diego’s Little Italy
Little Italy in San Diego is known for several fun festivals, including Little Italy Festa! in the fall and the Mission Federal ArtWalk every spring. Halloween time brings out the trick-or-treaters, and during the holiday season there’s a tree lighting and a Christmas village.