What To Do in San Diego's Little Italy

What to eat, see and do in this eclectic Italian neighbourhood 

Photo by Joanne DiBona 

With an Italian influence stretching back to the 1920s, this rapidly expanding neighbourhood offers a mix of culture-rich cuisine, well-curated boutiques and pursuits for every taste.

Shop Owned by a father-daughter duo, the colourful Casa Artelexia boutique pays tribute to cross-border culture with handmade products sourced from Mexico, including kitchenware, art prints and Dia de los Muertos decor. 

Coffee Break The chic James Coffee Co. is located within a collective of local businesses that includes a slick menswear shop and a purveyor of midcentury furniture. At James, sip on coffee made with locally roasted beans or unique concoctions like espresso blended with honey and cinnamon. 

Lunch Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais turns out organic, non-GMO, free-range chicken and egg dishes at his new fast-casual, all-outdoor venture, The Crack Shack. Beyond the bird, don’t miss the biscuits served with miso maple butter.

Wander Held Saturday mornings on West Cedar Street, the popular Little Italy Mercato features more than 150 vendors selling local produce, fresh flowers and handmade items. Come hungry—many stations offer samples. 

Eat A fixture of San Diego’s culinary history since 1956, Mona Lisa Italian Foods moved to its current location in 1973. It’s part gourmet grocer, part Italian restaurant. On the go? Grab one of the popular deli subs.

Listen San Diego’s iconic concert venue The Casbah offers live music almost every night of the week. The roster of past performers includes popular indie and alt-rock bands like Weezer, The White Stripes and TV on the Radio. 

Getting there: WestJet flies to San Diego five times a week from Calgary.