10 Best Shopping Spots In San Diego, California

shopping in san diego

Known as “America’s Finest City”, San Diego is perennially in vacation mode. Accommodations like spa resorts and beachfront hotels are abundant. The city also consists of sparkling beaches, amazing places to eat, and equally wonderful outlets to shop. From beachside boutiques to upscale stores, there is definitely a place for everyone to go shopping in San Diego. Another great thing about the city is that many of its best shopping districts and malls are open-air ones, which means that you can soak up some vitamin D while you fill up your bags with goodies and souvenirs. So, whip out your credit cards and slip into your walking shoes, and check out these best shopping spots in San Diego, California.

1. Fashion Valley

Mission Valley West, San Diego, CA, USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roman Eugeniusz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located centrally in the Mission Valley neighbourhood, Fashion Valley is a shopper’s delight. The 2-story mall is home to more than 200 restaurants and retail stores, including the likes of JC Penny, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and even Tiffany’s. You’ll also find the only Prada, Louis Vuitton, and AllSaints of San Diego in this mall. What makes the shopping experience here special is the profusion of outdoor restaurants and cafes sprinkled throughout, allowing you to catch your breath during your whole shopping spree.

Fashion Valley

Address: 7007 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA

Website: Fashion Valley

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 7pm

Editor’s Note: Due to Covid-19, the business hours of the restaurant may differ from the stated timings in this article. Please be sure to check the updated hours from the websites.

2. La Jolla

Village of La Jolla, San Diego, CA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roman Eugeniusz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The beachside shopping district of La Jolla is considered as the ‘Rodeo Drive’ of San Diego. Overlooking the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla is full of art galleries, antique emporiums, boutiques, and vintage and speciality shops. Besides its plethora of designer fashion stores, La Jolla is perhaps most well-known for exquisite jewellery boutiques. In recent years, fashion-forward brands like Kate Spade and GAP might have made an entry, but the area retains oodles of small-town charm. We’d also recommend stopping by the quaint family-owned Warwick’s bookstore.

La Jolla

Address: La Jolla Village, San Diego, CA

Website: La Jolla

Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 10am - 7pm; Fri- Sat: 10am - 9pm

3. Gaslamp Quarter

Best Shopping Spots In San Diego, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The 16-block-huge Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego is perhaps the most important and iconic slice of real estate. Not only is it a national historic district, but it’s also a shopping haven. More than 100 restaurants, art galleries, and speciality shops, combined with clubs, pubs, and theatres, call Gaslamp Quarter home. If you’re into Bohemian fashion, then you’ll love the quirky indie retailers and boutiques here. You’ll also find a bunch of rather unusual shopping opportunities comprising fashion for your pets, hand-rolled cigars, and even skateboarding gear.

Gaslamp Quarter

Address: Bounded by RR tracks, Broadway, 4th, and 6th Avenues, San Diego, CA

Website: Gaslamp Quarter

Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)

4. Ocean Beach Antique District

Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
Source: Photo by Flickr user James Gubera used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Believe it or not, Ocean Beach Antique District is the largest antique shopping district in the entire county! Located in the eclectic coastal community of Ocean Beach, the shopping district features more than 200 antique dealers and shops. So you can literally spend an entire day here, browsing through and even finding rare and vintage trinkets and home decor. Top it off with a visit to one of the cutesy microbreweries or eateries, or head to an authentic winery smack dab in the heart of the neighbourhood.

Ocean Beach Antique Disctrict

Address: 4926 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA

Website: Ocean Beach Antique District

Opening hours: Mon - Tue, Thu - Sat: 11am - 6pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (closed on Wed)

5. Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Flower fields in Carlsbad, CA
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Just north of San Diego lies Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which features more than 90 restaurants and stores that offer discounts averaging between 25-65 per cent. Some of the most popular stores here include Skechers, Coach, Theory, GAP, Banana Republic, and the likes. In fact, you might even find new merchandise available for a discount! What makes shopping here great is the presence of many fast casual as well as fine dining restaurants, where you can revive your flagging energy reserves.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Address: 5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA

Website: Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 7pm

6. Cedros Avenue Design District

Solana Beach California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rosalynn carmen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re looking for souvenirs to remind you of your trip to San Diego, then the quaint beachside Cedros Avenue Design District is where you should be. Tucked in the coastal community of Solana Beach, the neighbourhood boasts close to 85 unique shops that sell items like jewellery, art, antiques, furnishings, and home decor. You’ll also find boutiques, spas, restaurants, and even a farmers’ market on the southern end on Sunday afternoons. You can head to pancake-central, Claire’s, to load up on calories for shopping.

Cedros Avenue Design District

Address: 410 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA

Website: Cedros Avenue Design District

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

7. Westfield UTC

Westfield UTC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The open-air shopping mall of Westfield UTC, formerly simply UTC (University Towne Centre), is where you can go if you’re looking for brick-and-mortar stores of your favourite internet retailers. You can also find a bunch of high-end boutiques if you’re looking for something exclusive. Lying just east of La Jolla, Westfield UTC also boasts a gamut of unique experiences. For instance, you can bring your furry friend along and let them gambol around in the dog park that sits inside. You can even relax with your children in the family lounge that’s filled with videos and books or catch a movie at the iconic ArcLight Cinemas. You can even sit inside one of Tesla’s electric cars if you wish.

Westfield UTC

Address: 4545 La Jolla Village Dr Ste E-25, San Diego, CA

Website: Westfield UTC

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 7pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 8pm

8. Las Americas Premium Outlets

Premium Outlets
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Miosotis jade used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

San Diego’s largest outlet mall, Las Americas Premium Outlets, is a favourite among out-of-towners. The shopping centre is rather unique as it lies 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego and just 20 minutes north of Tijuana, Mexico. The cool and touristy Las Americas is home to around 125 stores, including the likes of Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Banana Republic. Moreover, you’ll find a great choice of eateries, which include a bunch of delicious Mexican food eateries.

Las Americas Premium Outlets

Address: 4211 Camino De La Plaza, San Diego, CA

Website: Las Americas Premium Outlets

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 7pm

9. Seaport Village

Seaport Village
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 3.0

How would you like to shop in a sprawling seaside village in San Diego? That is exactly what Seaport Village is all about. It features over 50 speciality galleries and shops. You will find things like hammocks, coffee beans, decorative tiles to books, jewellery, and nautical collectables, to name a few. If all that shopping leaves you hungry, you can simply head to one of the many ice cream shops, cookie stores, pizza and burger joints, or gourmet restaurants that lie here. If you plan to drop by on a Sunday afternoon, there is free entertainment at the gazebo.

Seaport Village

Address: 849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA

Website: Seaport Village

Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (daily)

10. Little Italy

Little Italy, San Diego
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Early 20th-century tradition and history and delightful urban chic blend beautifully in San Diego’s Little Italy, which is home to many antique shops, boutiques, home decor, and even art galleries. In fact, the neighbourhood is most famous for vintage items and home decor, so make sure you pick up something unique for your house here. If you’re in the mood for pampering, there are also a bunch of salons. And of course, who can resist digging into delectable Italian food at one of the many quaint eateries? Planning to visit on a Saturday? Don’t miss the farmers’ market here, which is one of the most popular in San Diego.

Little Italy

Address: San Diego, CA

Website: Little Italy

Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (daily)

Have a memorable shopping experience in San Diego

In addition to the city’s numerous things to do and places to eat, San Diego’s shopping experiences are also a must-try. They run the gamut from unique fashion jaunts in the Gaslamp Quarter to upscale sprees in La Jolla. The shopping experiences are scenic too, with many of its haunts located right by the seaside. The best part? You don’t have to pick and choose from these best shopping spots in San Diego as you can visit them all and be sure that you’ll find something unique in each place.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Freelance writer. Coffee-lover. An expert at Kopfkino. Loves discussing New Zealand, domino theory, dystopian fiction, & Harry Potter.

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