Whether you are looking for haute couture, outlet centers, or antique stores, San Diego’s shopping districts have something to suit all tastes and budgets. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best shopping opportunities America’s Finest City has to offer.
Fashion Valley Mall
Located in Mission Valley and featuring more than 1,700,000 square feet of shopping area, Fashion Valley Mall is San Diego’s biggest shopping mall and one of the largest in the State of California. Fashion Valley, a high-end, open-air shopping center, opened in 1969 featuring four anchoring department stores: Buffam’s, J. W. Robinson’s, The Broadway, and JCPenney.
With over 200 stores and restaurants, this mall attracts over 18 million visitors annually. It features department stores, a food court, water features, and a movie theater.
Liberty Public Market
This daily public market provides a rustic environment where artisans and shops tempt visitors with a variety of meat, fish, produce, and pastries, along with fine wines and beers. Liberty Market also hosts a number of arts and crafts stalls, as well as popup diners, a test kitchen, and educational events.
Liberty Public Market’s mission is to provide visitors with an engaging, authentic experience as they immerse themselves in the craft of local artisans.
Fifteen minutes from San Diego, La Jolla is something of a hidden gem in terms of shopping, where high-end fashion houses neighbor intimate boutiques, in an eclectic mix of styles and fare.
Small Business Saturday is a La Jolla initiative that promotes local businesses, helping them withstand increasing globalization and competition from chain stores. Not only can visitors support local businesses, but they can find truly unique gifts, from preserves to first edition books.
Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market
Open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market features more than 200 tents offering an incredible selection of fresh, locally sourced produce, from eggs, poultry, meat, and fish, to fresh flowers, orchids, and plants. Visitors can dine on crepes, oysters, and freshly prepared paninis as well as chef specialties while enjoying live music.
Ocean Beach Antique District
This specialty shopping district sits right on the beach, just a few miles from downtown San Diego. It houses over 200 individual traders, making it the largest collection of antique dealers in all of San Diego County. Ocean Beach Antique District hosts several events annually, including an Oktoberfest sales event and a Holiday Open House.
In 2015, a San Diego Union-Tribune readers’ poll named Ocean Beach the best antique store in San Diego.
This 14-acre dining, shopping and entertainment complex comprises 17 cafes and restaurants as well as 54 unique boutiques. Situated in downtown San Diego, Seaport Village is a five-minute drive from the airport and ship terminal. Its boardwalk connects with Manchester Grand Hyatt, the Marriott Marquis & Marina, the USS Midway Museum, and the San Diego Convention Center.
Las Americas Premium Outlets
Located in San Ysidro, directly on the United States-Mexico border, Las Americas Premium Outlets attracts shoppers from both countries. This 560,000 square foot mall incorporates outlets from internationally renowned brands such as Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, and Coach, and is one of the biggest shopping outlets in the whole of the United States, attracting customers from far and wide with flash sales and in-store discounts.
Food options include Tokyo SAN, Mongus Grill, Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, and Rice Garden.
Hillcrest Farmers Market
Open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday, Hillcrest Farmers Market features local produce, arts and crafts, jewelry, and clothing. Opened in 1997 with just 27 vendors, today this farmers market hosts 175 individual traders, spotlighting locally sourced, organic produce. Additionally, Hillcrest hosts special events featuring local musicians.
The Gaslamp Quarter offers a unique shopping experience and experience San Diego’s rich cultural makeup. Located in downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is easily accessible via car, trolley, or bus ride. It hosts numerous events, including the Annual Fall Back Festival, which allows visitors to step back in time to San Diego in the 1880s, as well as live musical performances.
Shopping highlights include Bubbles Boutique, an eclectic fashion store featuring myriad bespoke clothing and accessories crafted from rich fabrics and featuring intricate beadwork and butter-soft leather. The Artisan Market, held on Sundays, presents shoppers with an impressive array of arts and crafts, handmade by local artisans.
In 2018 the Gaslamp Quarter presented the San Diego International Film Festival, featuring award-winning screenings and movie premieres.