Benvenuti a Little Italy in San Diego, California! Little Italy is located very close to downtown San Diego and its hotels, a short drive from the airport and within walking distance to Waterfront Park.
About Little Italy, San Diego
Little Italy in San Diego has been around since the 1920’s. The people who lived in Little Italy at that time were mostly immigrant, tuna fisherman. But when the tuna industry began to decline on the West Coast of California, and with the construction of the I-5 freeway in the mid to late 60’s, the town and its residents began to dwindle. 30 years later, in the 90’s, the remaining people of Little Italy decided to revive their neighborhood. Now, Little Italy is a mix of old-world culture and a modern mecca of shops, art, restaurants, pubs, coffee houses and wineries.
Things to Do In Little Italy
I’m not sure there’s enough room to write everything there is to do in Little Italy in just one blog post, but I’ll give you a list of some of my favorite things. Honestly, you can drop yourself in the middle of this quaint little town and just explore the streets to find your vibe. But here goes…
- Little Italy Food Hall – The food hall is located in the heart of Little Italy. Inside there are food stations which include, Mexican, Asian, Crepes, Burgers, Chicken, Gelato & Mini Donuts. There are also two full bars which serve local beers and craft cocktails. You order your food and then take your food and drink into the open-air Piazza della Famiglia to dine in the beautiful sunshine.
- Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market – Little Italy is lucky enough to have a farmer’s market twice a week! Wednesday’s are from 9:30am to 1:30pm, and Saturday’s are from 8:00am to 2:00pm. “Find local farmers offering produce, eggs, honey and flowers. Discover artisan foods and crafts and art by local makers on the beautiful Piazza della Famiglia and surrounding blocks.” – via Little Italy S.D. Click the link above for more info on the largest farmer’s market in San Diego.
- Bolt Brewery – Bolt Brewery has three locations, but the one on India Street in Little Italy is by far my favorite. It’s located right on the corner of India and Grape street, perfect for people watching and there is a small patio out front to do so. They offer a full bar, wine, prosecco and beer of course, plus an amazing all day Happy Hour on Tuesdays. Regular Happy Hour is Monday & Wednesday – Friday from 3pm – 6pm. If you’ve had a full day of shopping in Little Italy and need to wet your whistle, stop by Bolt Brewery.
- Pali Wine Co. S.D. – Pali Wine Co. offers a wonderful list of wines and wine tasting flights. They also have a great food menu and Happy Hour, which is Monday – Friday from 4pm to 6pm at the bar or in the front room. But a must try, especially if you have a small group, is the Solid Oak Sampler. It has tasty meat, cheeses, pickles, mustard, sourdough bread and everything you want it a charcuterie platter. It’s delicious!
- Nonna S.D. – There are a lot of Italian places to choose from in Little Italy, but one of my favorite’s is Nonna. Located on India Street, right next to the “Little Italy” sign, (and across from the gold Bentley) is where you’ll find Nonna. The food is authentic Italian cuisine and the meals are very reasonably priced. From Salads to Pasta, you can tell the food is made with love. They also offer a full bar, a great wine and beer list and friendly service with a smile. There’s outdoor dining, which is so wonderful on a cool summer’s night, or sit inside and enjoy the warm ambiance.
- Princess Pub & Grille – I love everything about the Princess Pub & Grille! It’s nice and laid back, there’s a great, roomy bar with plenty of seating, 3 outside patios, friendly staff, good food, and that perfect “pub feel” that I just love. I’ve never been to Britain, but this is exactly how I imagine it. Being as it’s owned by a real Brit, it all makes sense. And the fish and chips… to die for! The Princess Pub is easy to find because it’s also located in the heart of Little Italy, on the corner of India Street and the Piazza della Famiglia. Of course, they promote Happy Hour Monday – Friday from 4pm -7pm and offer live music to boot. If you’re looking for a place to just hang out and chill or maybe watch a game, Princess Pub is the place to go.
- Craft & Commerce – This establishment is a little bit fancier and you will most likely need a reservation to be seated. But, they have an eclectic menu and a myriad of wonderful craft cocktails. There’s also a speakeasy, called False Idol, on the property that is so much fun. Since neither Craft & Commerce nor False Idol have an official website, I took it upon myself to write about my own experience there.
Another thing to note about the area around Little Italy is that the parking is tough! It’s very limited and can be frustrating at times, so if you’re here visiting, take an Uber/Lyft or enjoy the short waIk from downtown. If you live here, do your research on parking ahead of time so you don’t lose your cool.
I hope you’ve found my article about Little Italy useful and that you get time to take a visit to this amazing little part of San Diego soon! Oh! And don’t forget to take a picture in the famous Little Italy Big Read Chair! You can’t miss it right along India Street.
Do you have anything to add to my list? If so, let me know in the comments below!