San Diego is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. For those who buy and rent here, this means that various neighborhoods throughout this coastal Californian city highlight the best in food, culture, and entertainment from around the world.
You can truly see the city’s unique diversity accentuated in places like Little Italy, a San Diego neighborhood that has supported local Italian businesses since the 1920s. Originally a thriving fishing community based around the tuna industry, Little Italy experienced a revival in the 1990s, and now shares its history and immigrant culture, incredible Italian food, world-class shopping opportunities, and entertainment with the community.
If you’re looking to buy or rent near Little Italy, you’ll love the opportunity to live within walking distance to this thriving neighborhood. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Little Italy so unique:
1. Enjoy Fine Dining, Cafes, Coffee Shops, and Wine Near Little Italy
Little Italy is one of the best places in San Diego to enjoy fine dining, as evidenced by the fact that several Little Italy restaurants make the Zagat list for Best Restaurants in San Diego. When looking for fine-dining in Little Italy, you won’t have to look far ? enjoy handmade pasta from restaurants like Monello, wood-fired pizza at Herb & Wood, and incredible beer pairings at the Kettle Room. Want something light? Stop by Bar Bodega for tapas, cheese, and wine.
However, Little Italy is also an amazing place for foodies to enjoy more casual cafes, bars, desserts, and coffee shops. Get a treat, walk around town, and enjoy the ambiance of the neighborhood. Health-conscious visitors can enjoy a juice at Juice Crafters, while those in the mood for a decadent espresso and desserts should check out Caffe Italia.
2. Soak in the History and Culture of the Unique Neighborhood
If you love to immerse yourself in culture, history, and architecture, then you’ll definitely want to explore and possibly even live near Little Italy. The entire neighborhood is thoughtfully tended to by the Little Italy Association of San Diego, a non-profit that ensures the community remains beautiful, safe, and connected to its roots. Though the entire neighborhood breathes history, you can check out these places in particular if you want to enjoy a dose of culture on your outing:
- The Italian Cultural Center of San Diego was founded in 1981 and serves as a gathering place for those interested in Italian language and culture. They offer classes in basic, intermediate, conversational, and advanced Italian?? as well as a language course for travelers.
- Stroll through the various Piazzas in Little Italy that serve as gathering places for the local community. Some, like Piazza Giannini and Piazza Basilone, are dedicated to famous Italian-Americans. Meanwhile, Piazza Pescatore tells the history of Little Italy with gorgeous artistic renderings in bronze and tile, and Piazza Della Famiglia is a central gathering place for the community.
- Love touring old buildings? Built in 1925, Our Lady of the Rosary is a gorgeous Catholic church with unique architectural details and stunning stained glass windows.
3. Attend Various Annual Events and Attractions
One of the major perks of living within walking distance of Little Italy is the fact that there’s always an event or an attraction right around the corner. This small neighborhood hosts events throughout the year, and you’ll definitely find events that resonate with you and your friends. Little Italy’s events range in size, including classes on cheese and wine tasting, community yoga sessions, art exhibits, and the renowned Little Italy Summer Film Festival.
Though it’s fun to simply walk through Little Italy and see which entertainment is currently unfolding, there are a few events you definitely won’t want to miss. For example, each year the Taste of Italy event offers a chance to savor all the local flavors of the neighborhood. And in August, the Marine Band San Diego Summer Concert hits the town.
4. Enjoy the Outdoors in this Walkable Neighborhood
Little Italy was rated one of the most walkable neighborhood in San Diego by Walk Score, and it’s easy to see why. It’s flat and easy to navigate, close to various neighborhoods like Mission Hills, Columbia, Civic Core, Harborview, and Bankers Hill.
There’s no need to use a car when checking out Little Italy. At any given point in the neighborhood, you can access close to 40 different restaurants in as little as five minutes in this closely-packed yet neatly-maintained district. In addition to allowing you to enjoy the gorgeous year-round weather unique to San Diego, taking a walk in Little Italy means you have access to various outdoor areas to hang out.
For example, you’ll love the proximity to Amici Park ? which features a dog park for your four-legged friends, a bocce ball court for some weekend fun, and a beautiful amphitheater that hosts several events. Little Italy’s outdoor piazzas highlight trees, landscaping, and local culture.
5. Go Shopping: Basics and beyond
When you live close to Little Italy, you’ll benefit from the convenience of having the basics nearby. For example, there’s a Chase Bank right on India Street in Little Italy. With a brief walk, you can drop your clothes off at the dry cleaners, catch a Pilates class, go to physical therapy, take your pet to the vet, and access convenience stores and pharmacies.
In addition to the convenience, a trip to Little Italy is not complete without checking out some of their unique shopping opportunities. For example, you can find fair-trade, socially conscious wares at Verde, request custom pieces at Irelia Fine Jewelry, and browse the designer collection at Vocabulary Boutique– some of the best shops near Little Italy.
6. Don’t miss the Little Italy Mercato
Every Saturday ? rain or shine, year-round ? you can stroll through the Little Italy Mercato between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, you’ll love walking through this cheerful farmer’s market on W. Date Street. Considering the variety of goods on sale from unique local vendors, you’ll probably find something you love:
- Raw Californian honey
- Vibrant microgreens
- A huge variety of local, organic, and seasonal vegetables and fruit
- Delicious farmstead cheese
- Artisan goods like pesto, hot sauces, spreads, and olive oils
- Various gift items like jewelry, art, ornaments, soap, specialty dog treats, and more
- Prepared foods like smoothies, tamales, and paninis
Saturdays don’t work for you? The massive farmers’ market has recently started a mid-week version on Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Though the list of vendors may change, you can still enjoy the feeling of community and camaraderie as you stroll along W. Date Street looking for the perfect vendor.
Find Your Perfect San Diego Neighborhood
If you’re looking to buy or rent in San Diego, then finding a home in proximity to Little Italy might be the ideal fit for your lifestyle. We have an intimate knowledge of this area and can help match you with your perfect home and neighborhood. Ready to learn more? Reach out to Nick Zamonis, REALTOR? for the inside scoop on Little Italy and beyond.