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What to Do and Where to Eat in Little Italy, San Diego

San Diego
by Matador Creators Mar 7, 2023

Spanning 48 blocks, Little Italy San Diego is one of the largest of these neighborhoods in the United States. At the heart of the neighborhood is the Piazza della Famiglia, a 10,000-square-foot plaza decorated with a tiled fountain that is meant to evoke similar public spaces in Italy and all over Europe.

Often considered the culinary heart of San Diego, Little Italy is where some of the best restaurants in the city are located. If you want to sample a little bit of everything at the Little Italy Food Hall, where six different Italian-focused food vendors are located as well as a full bar.

Not only do several unmissable restaurants call Little Italy home, but it’s a great place to stop by for a casual beer: Ballast Point Brewing and Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room highlight craft beers.

The Little Italy farmers market, also known as Little Italy Mercato, is one of the neighborhood’s most popular events. The market takes place on Saturdays from eight in the morning to two in the afternoon; guests can shop for fresh produce, flowers, and crafts. For more Italian treats to bring home, stop by the deli at Mona Lisa Italian Foods.

Even if you’re not eating, there’s so many things to do in Little Italy, San Diego – and many of these activities are family friendly. Visit the San Diego Firehouse Museum or spend the day exploring Amici Park, or attend one of the ArtWalk happening in the spring and summer, when the work of local visual artists will be on display throughout the neighborhood.

With so many opportunities for shopping and dining in this neighborhood, it will be hard to stay still. However, Little Italy San Diego is one of those rare but magical places that is outfitted with plentiful public seating, where you’re not required to do (or buy) anything but relax, people watch, sip a cup of coffee, or read a book.

No matter why you’re visiting, you’ll find entertainment and adventure in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Where to eat Little Italy, San Diego

A neighborhood with colorful apartments in Little Italy San Diego

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Juniper & Ivy: Inspired by  Latin and Asian, Juniper & Ivy is all about highlighting local and hyper seasonal ingredients. The menu changes frequently based on the freshest ingredients that are available. However, seafood is what really shines here – past menus have included uni, yellowtail, and halibut.

Juniper & Ivy: 2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, 92101, USA

Born and Raised: The glamorous dining room at this steak focused restaurant features plush leather booths. Look out for king crab and lobster on the menu as well. It’s one of the trendiest restaurants in San Diego – the walls are lined with photos of rap legends and waiters wear tuxedos with Converse sneakers – so be sure to dress the part when you show up. The rooftop bar overlooks the sparkling lights of Little Italy.

Born and Raised: 1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Herb & Wood: Seasonal vegetables are transformed at this restaurant, which serves Mediterranean dishes prepared in wood-fired ovens. Open air seating near a fireplace gives the space a romantic atmosphere. The upscale menu might not be cheap, so save this restaurant for a celebratory date night.

Herb & Wood: 2210 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Where to stay in Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy San Diego is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city – so interesting in fact, that you might not want to leave. These accommodations are either in the neighborhood or within walking distance. Comfortable, highly rated, and all within close proximity to the best San Diego has to offer, these places will have something to offer every type of traveler. There are also many San Diego Airbnbs near the beach or San Diego bed and breakfasts that are just as charming.

Upscale loft

spacious living room with high cellings in upscale loft in little italy

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Huge windows and high ceilings give this loft its upscale atmosphere. Matching all gray interiors adds to its minimalist aesthetic. The loft sleeps five people, making it the perfect landing place for a group of close friends who don’t mind sleeping in some communal areas. It’s located close to the beach, as well as Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

Price: $192 per night

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Carte Hotel San Diego

Carte Hotel outdoor pool

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With its stylish outdoor pool and rooftop bar (complete with a fire pit and views of San Diego Bay), the Carte Hotel has a youthful energy. There is a seafood restaurant on site, as well as a wine bar called Carruth Cellars. Floor to ceiling windows in the rooms offer spectacular views of San  Diego.

Price: From $243 per night

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Hotel Republic

Hotel Republic lobby

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Hotel Republic proudly advertises itself as one of the most LGTBQ friendly hotels in San Diego. Within walking distance of both Little Italy and the Gaslamp District, this hotel is one of the most centrally located in San Diego. Visit Topside Terrace for rooftop drinks and dinner.

Price: From $197 per night

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Little Italy farmer's market with vendors selling flowers and other goods

Photo: Walter Cicchetti/Shutterstock

Is Little Italy San Diego walkable?

Little Italy is one of most walkable neighborhoods in San Diego. Covering 48 blocks, one of the best ways to become familiar with Little Italy is to take yourself on a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood. Along the way, stop at one of the many bakeries and coffee shops in the neighborhood for a treat.

How far is Little Italy San Diego from the beach?

There are several beaches that are close to Little Italy. To get to the Mission Beach Boardwalk from Little Italy, take the San Diego Trolley to the Old Town Transit Center. From there, Mission Beach is just a short bus ride away. Coronado is another beach that is close to Little Italy. To get there, walk about 15 minutes to Ferry Landing and take the ferry to Coronado. Once you’re there walk, or take the bus, to the beach.

Does the San Diego Trolley go to Little Italy

The San Diego Trolley does go to Little Italy. The blue and green lines of the trolley stop at the County Center/Little Italy station. The Old Town Trolley also stops in Little Italy, and offers a two-hour narrated tour of different locations around the city, including Old Town and Seaport Village. Riders can also hop on and off as they please.

How many blocks is Little Italy in San Diego?

Little Italy in San Diego is 48 blocks. It is the largest Little Italy neighborhood in the United States. The neighborhood is home to around 1,000 people, and is situated near San Diego harbor.

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