Everything You Need To Know About Shopping In San Diego

Published by: Bounce11 April, 2022

Located on the sunny shores of the Pacific Ocean in southern California, San Diego is a popular tourist town with a plethora of attractions from art galleries to the San Diego Zoo. Whether you are in town for business or pleasure, you can surely find time to stop at the mall for some retail shopping.

When you are looking for shopping in San Diego, you can find it everywhere but certain places are better than others, depending on your likes and dislikes. For example, Fashion Valley boasts more than 200 shops with name brands like Louis Vuitton, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Gucci as well as Nordstrom, Zara, and Sephora.

La Jolla is a quaint area along the coast with arts and crafts, boutique shops, and the Open Aire Market full of artisan items. There are also a variety of eateries (look for a great brunch) and antique shops. The Westfield UTC Mall is also in La Jolla blending shopping with a playground, movie theater, and food trucks.

Las Americas Premium Outlets is the biggest mall in San Diego with more than 100 retail shops including Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Crocs, and J. Crew. You can find it near the Mexican border and it is a very popular place for specialty shops, antique stores, and cafes.

If you are looking for art galleries and artisan items, the Spanish Village Arts Center in Balboa Park is where to go. There are several art galleries and historic spots where you can check out sculptures, paintings, jewelry, and handmade clothing. For antiques, try the Ocean Beach antique district along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach.

The San Diego Tourism Authority is one resource you can use to find out where to go for specific items. They are composed of more than 1,000 members including shops, restaurants, hotels, and attractions. The San Diego Tourism Authority can help you find exactly what you need no matter what it is.

With so many shopping districts, outdoor malls, and streets full of places to shop, San Diego shopping is popular with locals as well as tourists. From Downtown San Diego to the Las Americas Premium Outlets near the Mexican border, you can find whatever you want. But first, drop off your luggage at a luggage storage spot so you can carry all of your new bags.

Fashion Valley

Are you staying in the Mission Valley area? Click here to learn about this wonderful neighborhood. In the heart of Mission Valley in northern San Diego, Fashion Valley is a large shopping center with a vast array of casual shops, boutiques, and chain department stores as well as famous name fashion like Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, and Prada. In fact, there are 196 retailers, eateries, and attractions.

With more than 1.7 million square feet, Fashion Valley is the largest open-air mall in San Diego. Besides retail stores, you can also see a movie at the AMC Theater or test your skills at the Red Door Escape Room. Stop at the food court for some refreshments at places like Rubio's Coastal Grill or Panda Express.

Rodeo Drive

Renowned as one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, San Diego's Rodeo Drive is a stretch of shops from Sunset Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. You can find about 100 retailers with shops like Bvlgari, Hermes, Cartier, Neiman Marcus, and Vera Wang.

Other names you may recognize include Jimmy Choo, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Tiffany & Company, and sophisticated apparel shops like Ralph Lauren, Dior, and Shinobi. You can also grab a bite to eat at the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, an Italian restaurant with high-end dishes on the menu.

La Jolla

Just minutes from the San Diego International airport, La Jolla is a fantastic place to shop for a variety of items from dollar store bargains to high-end boutiques. If you start on Prospect Street and Girard Avenue, you will make your way along blocks of walkable and wonderful shopping.

Not only is there plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, but you are also surrounded by beaches and bluffs with some of the best oceanfronts in San Diego. Visit La Jolla Shores or La Jolla Cove for some sunbathing or a quick swim. You could also visit San Diego's Torrey Pines State Reserve for a break or head to the golf course up on the cliffs.

Westfield UTC Mall

The Westfield UTC Mall is also part of the La Jolla San Diego area offering you trendy restaurants, top-tier retail stores, and the iconic ArcLight movie theater with several screens. There are more than 160 shops within the La Jolla open-air mall including Banana Republic, Louis Vuitton, Macy's, and H&M.

If you work up an appetite, you have the choice of 56 eateries from Bazille Bistro to Zzang Rice, Corndog, and Fried Chicken. There is even a dog park if you happen to have your fur baby with you and a playground if you have the kids. Concierge services and free charging stations are also available.

Liberty Station

In San Diego's Point Loma neighborhood, what was once the Naval Training Center is now Liberty Station where you can shop at all sorts of interesting boutiques and name-brand stores. The whole area is packed with museums and art galleries as well as booths with wares from local artisans.

The art gallery, Pigment, is packed with items like home decor, pottery, furniture, and plants and the Liberty Public Market is full of places to get some gourmet goodies. Out front, Liberty Station NTC Park on the waterfront is a fun place to unwind.

The Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego right next to Petco Park has over a dozen blocks of shopping, dining, and entertainment. From Horton Plaza to Market Street Square, there are several shopping areas to choose from. Whether you are looking for some new kicks at Skechers or a swimsuit at Blue Jeans and Bikinis, you can find it all there.

Urban Outfitters is a great place to get some discount clothing and housewares. For entertainment, don't miss the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House victorian house, or catch a performance at the Balboa Theatre. You also may enjoy a laugh at the American Comedy Company or some chill music at the House of Blues.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Between the Pacific Ocean and the Crossings at Carlsbad Golf Course, the Carlsbad Premium Outlet Mall features almost 100 stores with major discounts on name brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Coach, as well as Cole Haan, Kate Spade, and Adidas.

You can also grab a quick slide at Blaze Pizza or a sandwich at Jersey Mike's Subs before getting some dessert at Haagen Dazs. For something spicy, try the Pepper Palace or Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill.

Old Town San Diego

Old Town is a vibrant shopping and entertainment area in the national historic district between Presidio Park, San Diego Freeway, and the Pacific Highway. The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a popular spot with an open-air museum and the Bazaar del Mundo with arts and crafts.

Take a break from shopping to learn some history at the Whaley House Museum, Mormon Battalion Historic Site, and Fort Stockton. You could also have a drink and some food at the Old Town Tequila Factory Restaurant & Cantina, the Rockin' Baja Lobster, or the Tahona Bar.

Las Americas Premium Outlets

This San Diego shopping center is the largest outlet mall in the city. It is unique being so close to Tijuana, Mexico, and boasts over 100 retail shops from local artisans kiosks to name brands like Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Adidas, and J. Crew. Enjoy your shopping spree at this outlet mall but do not miss the small specialty shops like Janie and Jack, Daniel's Jewelers, and Oakley Vault.

In addition, you can find dozens of eateries from food trucks to fine dining establishments. This is where to go if you are craving authentic Mexican food. Achiote Mexican Restaurant is a popular eatery with chilaquiles, arrachera, and enchiladas.

Solana Beach

Conveniently located along the coast in northern San Diego, Solana Beach is one of the best shopping areas within walking distance to the beach. In fact, it is mostly on the beach. You will not find a big box store here but you will find over 100 retailers, eateries, and bars to enjoy.

Cedros Avenue Design District is San Diego's hottest and hippest shopping avenue and you can find it in Solana Beach. There are almost three blocks of shops, over 85 in total, as well as spas, restaurants, and other attractions. Whether you are looking for jewelry, clothing, or pet supplies, you can probably find it in the Cedros Avenue Design District.

San Diego's Little Italy

In San Diego's Little Italy, you will find numerous art galleries, local vendors, and vintage brick and mortar stores to peruse. The area is actually most well-known for its antique emporiums, items made by local artists, and authentic Italian food.

Specialty vintage shops, gourmet restaurants, and upscale boutiques are also nearby so you have quite an array of antique dealers as well as waterfront dining. You can also spend some time chilling out at one of the pubs, trendy bars, or indie music venues.

Seaport Village

On the waterfront next to the Gaslamp Quarter and downtown San Diego, Seaport Village features waterfront shopping, cafes, and awesome attractions. Some of the quaint and cozy shops include Destination Gift Shop, Ocean Shops, Safari Animal Collection Gift Shop, and Sock Harbor where you can find more socks than you ever thought possible.

If you have your walking shoes on, take a stroll out onto the Market Street Pier or over to the Embarcadero Marina Park. The Edgewater Grill and San Diego Pier Cafe are both spectacular waterside seafood restaurants where you can enjoy the view and the food or just grab an ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.

Balboa Park

With 17 museums, several gardens, and the Old Globe Theatre, you can enjoy free entertainment at Balboa Park while still being able to do some shopping. The San Diego icon boasts 1,200 acres full of history as well as fun with a carousel, zoo, and the Spanish Village Art Center.

Check out the unique gifts at the Bibliotique or the Mingei Shop at the Mingei International Museum. The zoo has more than a dozen unique shops to explore and don't miss the United National International Gift Shop where you can get exotic jewelry and ethnic clothing.

San Diego Shopping

This is not a complete comprehensive list of shopping districts but are the most popular places to shop in San Diego. Carlsbad premium outlets, La Jolla, Fashion Valley, and major department stores are found all over the city so you are always close to a place to calm your retail therapy issues.

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