As you walk through Downtown San Diego, you may find your interest straying from the main city scene. Let your focus go, though, because you may find yourself on India Street. If you walk along this road, you’ll see restaurants, delis, bars, and so much more. Welcome to Little Italy San Diego!
Perhaps the biggest thing you’ll see is the Little Italy Landmark sign. Don’t turn back! I promise this is a great place to visit and I will show you all of the neat things you can do in Little Italy, San Diego!
Things To Do in Little Italy
Little Italy Mercato/ Little Italy Farmers Market
Hours: Saturdays – 8am to 2pm & Wednesdays 10am to 2pm
Location: W. Date Street from Kettner Blvd to Union Street
This is probably one of my very favorite farmer’s markets in the Downtown San Diego area. The wide variety of items from art, to food, to flowers, to artisan kitchen pieces in utterly mind blowing into. Every time I visit the Mercato, I find new things and I leave paying way less for groceries than I would at the store.
These vendors also welcome product questions that you may have, they’re proud of their profession after all. If you happen to have a certain diet, you can find some really delicious food. There are countless stands that sell vegan products both food and household items.
This farmers market is an artery in the community, feeding families and businesses. You can bring your family,your spouse, or your furry friend with you. More often than not, I make a day out of a trip to the market. I take the trolley out and grab a coffee from a neighborhood shop and breakfast from a deli then start browsing the market with my reusable bags at the ready.
If I ever need recommendations, the vendors happily give me some great suggestions. The experience is wonderful and definitely worth getting up a little early on Saturday.
Little Italy Food Market/ Piazza Della Famiglia
Hours: 6am to 10pm
Location: 523 W Date Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone Number: (619) 269 7187
In the popular area that is Little Italy, you may find it a little hard to find a place to eat or you may have a family of people with different tastes in food. Well, have no fear the Little Italy Food Market is here to provide! Tucked just out of sight of the Main Street, where the fountain flows the food hall waits for visitors.
From lobster rolls to ramen, tacos and gelato, this food hall is perfect if you are with a group of people with some picky eaters.
In the one-story food court like room, there are 6 different restaurants of different cuisines and a full bar. The atmosphere takes me back to middle school when my friends and I would hang out at the mall food court. We’d all get different things and share. The same can be done here.
You can also meet new people if that suits your fancy or have a nice quiet meal by the fountain and enjoy the day. However, you choose to do it, at least you’ll have some delicious food to join you.
Lady of the Rosary Church
Hours: 7am to 8am; 11:30am to 12:30pm; Sunday 7am to 1pm
Location: 1668 State St, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 234 4820
This gorgeous church serves the Catholic community as a safe haven and place of worship. It is known as the Jewel of Little Italy because of its fabulous architecture. The church strives to bring the joy of the gospel while imitating Jesus via mercy, compassion, and love. They give back to the poor and help the marginalized.
Built by Italian immigrants in the 1920s, this church resembles the dream to build an Italian parish in San Diego that came true under the leadership of Father Rabagliati and his faithful followers.
Visitors commend it for its beauty and claimed generosity towards those in need. It is indeed admirable of them to go on this journey. They hold masses every day as well as an extra-long service on Sundays.
Mona Lisa Little Italy
Hours: 9am to 9pm
Location: 2061 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 234 4893
If you’d like a taste of old-world Italy, then I suggest you come on down to Mona Lisa Little Italy. Not only is it a really amazing restaurant with stellar pizza and lasagna, it is also a deli & market. You can get some really lovely Italian ingredients.
This spot is great for grabbing a classic deli sandwich or shop for your dinner that night. Either way, the atmosphere is amazing with the seasonal gourmet ingredients and friendly faces.
Art Galleries in Little Italy
There are a little over a dozen art galleries in Little Italy, all covering different types of art. The Mee Shim Fine Art Gallery, in particular, has been praised for their brilliant mixture of real and surreal art styles. The exploration of expressions and poses is simply fascination. Mee Shim is not the only artist on the block, however.
Walking down the many streets that make up Little Italy, you will find at least one gallery if not more. Each one has a style of their own and some, you can even purchase some pieces to support the local artists.
Hours: 6am to 6pm
Location: 1660 Union Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 525 8213
This is a lovely little park that encompasses the dog park, Bocce Ball courts, and the amphithéâter making it Little Italy’s triple threat. It is a great place to take a walk while eating ice cream or sit to read a book, play a game of bocce, and have your dog socialize.
During the farmers market, you’ll be able to listen to some live music in the park and settle down for a break. If you’re bringing your partner, it’s a great spot for a romantic moonlight walk.
Little Italy Dog Park
Hours: 6am to 7pm
Location: 254 W Date Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 233 3898
A super neat fenced-in dog park is tucked right in the heart of Little Italy San Diego. Dozens of furry friends find canine companions in this park. It is safe, well-maintained, and friendly! It also provides an area for smaller dogs if you’re worried about that.
This is an off-leash area for your dogs to run around in. If you choose, you can sit in the shade and relax rather than play around too. They think of everything here which is likely why this is a community favorite.
Little Italy San Diego Tours
Little Italy Walking Tour with Wine Tasting
I recommend this walking tour if you are one that doesn’t really fancy crowds and just wants to enjoy their time in Little Italy while sipping on some wine. On this Little Italy walking tour, you will visit 3 of the best wine bars in the area.
During your walking and sipping, you will travel back in time as you listen to your guide passionately explain the history of the area. It is lovely and relaxing and, I mean, wine is fantastic. Book your Little Italy Walking Tour here>>
Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tours
One of the best ways to check out the sites of San Diego and specifically Little Italy is taking a trolley tour. These are hop-on-hop-off tours you can take for around $42/person. What this entails is basically the ability to take an all-day tour of the area where you can get off in spots that you find interesting then get picked back up at a certain time once you’re done exploring.
It’s a great way to get information while also having the ability to really explore areas of interest. I suggest taking a peek. This tour explores both Old Town and Little Italy, to really immerse you in the town’s rich history. Book your San Diego Trolley Tour here>>
San Diego Scenic Tours
If you’re the type to enjoy the beauty of your vacation then this San Diego Scenic Tour is the tour for you. In four hours, your guide takes you around to the most stunning spots in San Diego while educating you on the history of each of the landmarks you visit.
This is a great tour to avoid crowds as the limit of people per tour is 14 and it is personalized to each and every group. On top of that, snacks are included so you don’t have to worry about getting munch! Book your Scenic tour tickets here>>
San Diego Scavenger Hunt
I absolutely adore these types of tours because they are great for visiting and learning about the city’s highlights. Scavenger hunts are a really fun way to see the city because it gives you goals and challenges that can be easy but also fun. You can do it with friends, family, or a spouse.
It is a really smart way to find places that interest you to visit later in the day or later in your stay. I recommend doing this first thing when you’re ready to explore. Book your San Diego Scavenger Hunt here>>
Little Italy Restaurants
Best Pizza Places in Little Italy
Sorrento Little Italy
Hours: (Wed-Fri) 11:30am to 2:30pm; 4pm to 11pm (Sat) 11:30am to 11pm (Sun) 11:30am to 10pm (Mon-Tues) 4pm to 10pm
Location: 1646 India Street. San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 546 0365
If you’re looking for a modern cozy take on classic Italian pizza, then look no further than Sorrento. They serve wonder thin-crust pizza along with fantastic southern Italian dishes.
Guests have raved about the lovely atmosphere and deliciously fresh tasting food. Every single one has said that the wait is definitely worth it. However, if you aren’t a fan of waiting, I suggest calling to reserve a table to save yourself the long line.
Enoteca Little Italy
Hours: 4pm to 8pm
Location: 1655 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 237 9606
This restaurant takes rustic Italian food and makes it chic and modern. If you’re the type interested in a diverse and refined menu, then you should make a reservation! Patrons excitedly praise Enoteca for their inventive fresh foods and friendly spot.
Anytime I ate there it was delightful and the food always comes out hot. I recommend reserving a spot near about an hour and a half before close and walking about Little Italy beforehand.
Isola Pizza Bar
Hours: (Mon-Tues) Closed (Wed-Thu and Sun) 2:30pm to 9pm (Fri-Sat) 2:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: 1526 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 255 4230
If you just want a casual slice of pizza in a lively environment, I suggest stopping by Isola. The contemporary space provides a bright feel as you eat their Neapolitan-inspired pizzas and sip on some fantastic wine. The owners are incredibly responsive if you leave a review and are proud of their convenient delicious food. It is a favorite for many locals. Definitely stop by!
Best Restaurants in Little Italy
Personally, I have been to this restaurant a couple of times. I love it based on the fact that they use authentic techniques and fresh ingredients to bring the palate to Italy. It’s owned by two brothers who were born and raised in Italy and they want to bring their home to the states.
When I ate there, the food spoke to me and told me about their gorgeous country. The interior was comfortable and humble as to not draw away from the food. On top of all that, they even have a vegan menu so everyone can be happy.
Ballast Point Brewery
Hours: (Sun-Thu) 11am to 10pm (Fri-Sat) 11am-11pm
Location: 2215 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 255 7213
You wouldn’t think that a brewery in Little Italy would be popular but people rave about their food and selection of wine and beer. Not to mention their friendly atmosphere. People hang out inside and outside all day long. After work it is a perfect spot to blow off some steam or if you’re a visitor, it’s a great restaurant to stop by after a day of sightseeing.
Overlook the city as you munch on some breakfast classics at Morning Glory. Fair warning, there will most likely be a wait but it is worth it. Their menu consists of some classic breakfast items from around the world that are done in a really innovative way. It’s very lively so don’t go if you want a silent breakfast.
It’s friendly, innovative, and refreshing, I am looking forward to going. Because there’s a wait, I recommend putting your name down and exploring a few shops along India Street while you wait. There are some neat markets in the area.
IRONSIDE FISH & OYSTER
Brought to you by the owners of Born & Raised, Ironside is its opposite. Serving some of the finest seafood around for a fair price, this Little Italy spot is sure to make the seafood lovers swoon.
Much like its sister restaurant, the menu changes daily to keep things fresh. I’ve dubbed it one of the best restaurants in San Diego because of the endless praise it receives for its service, food, and venue. Be sure to make a reservation stat.
Cloak and Petal
Hours: (Mon-Fri) 4pm to 9pm (Sat-Sun) 1pm to 10pm
Location: 1953 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 501 5505
This is a neat little restaurant that serves Japanese tapas with craft cocktail pairings. Cloak and Petal is known for their immense attention to detail as well as the lovely cherry blossom tree that really sets the tone of the atmosphere.
The experience doesn’t just end at the food either, they have incredible service. Overall, this is a fantastic restaurant but I do recommend reserving a table so you are guaranteed a spot.
Watch out everyone because the Crack Shack is in town and it doesn’t play around. With the famous chef, Richard Blais at the head of the culinary team each plate is treated with the utmost care and consideration. These aren’t your average fried chicken dishes.
Their philosophy is to treat every piece as if it were a $90 plate of food. The great thing is that none of their dishes will break the $30 mark and it’s only $30 dollars because it’s a big family meal.
The atmosphere is so friendly and welcoming while the food is just straight-up mouthwatering. And if you like your chicken with a little booze then drop by for happy hour Monday-Friday from 3 to 6. Beware though, expect lines. Food this good is in high demand.
Hours: 11:30am to 10pm
Location: Corner of Kettner & Fir, 750 W Fir Street #101, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 269 4626
A small ramen shop on the corner of a street with a quaint atmosphere. This is a place where you can sit next to a total stranger and have a full on conversation, great right? Their take on the classic Japanese ramen, a comforting staple of the country, is interesting to say the least.
If you’re just getting introduced to ramen and want to explore the cuisine, I would start here. I recommend going in the afternoon when the shop isn’t as busy if you want a quiet meal, otherwise, definitely reserve a spot before going as it can get busy in the evening.
BORN & RAISED
This is the absolute place to be if you’re looking to satisfy a luxurious palate with steak. Their humanely treated meats are sure to melt in your mouth then set your palate ablaze when paired with an expertly crafted cocktail.
The price is most definitely worth the quality of food and service according to the past guests. I highly recommend setting up a reservation, especially if you’re bringing a date. Waiting for a table on a date is no bueno.
Little Italy San Diego Hotels
Hotel Republic San Diego Autograph Collection
Location: 421 W B Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 398 3100
This stylish hotel offers lovely accommodations for families and couples including an on-site restaurant, bar, indoor pool, and even a spa & wellness center. The advanced accessibility shows how incredibly considerate they are toward their guests. They are also just a 5-minute walk from the nearest trolley station, giving you the opportunity to explore the city of your own accord. Compare prices here>>
Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown
Location: 2137 Pacific Highway Suite A, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 696. 6300
With this convenient location and stellar amenities, it’s hard to not stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. The brand is consistent and reliable with quality and the fact that it’s located extremely close to the trolley station makes this hotel just that much better. I recommend this brand for families, business travelers, and couples. Make sure to make a reservation before your travel date. Compare prices here>>
Hampton Inn San Diego Downtown
Location: 1531 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 233. 8408
This hotel is lucky enough to be in the very heart of the city, putting it in the epicenter of activity. It’s close to the trolley stations, most of the downtown activity but still manages to provide guests with a nice relaxing luxurious place to stay for their trips. Hampton Inn is a wonderful place for couples, families, and business people of all kinds. Compare prices here>>
Best Western Plus Inn Bayside
Location: 555 W Ash Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 233. 7500
This casual hotel offers guests lovely comforting amenities that just top of any kind of stay. Because of its convenient location, you can explore the deepest depths of San Diego and save on inner-city travel. It is also in close proximity to popular tourist spots, making it extra convenient. They are also extremely considerate in making their amenities accessible to people of all kinds. Compare prices here>>
La Pensione Hotel
Location: 606 W Date Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (800) 232. 4683
A modern hotel in the middle of the area with a spa, a restaurant, and a cafe, sounds wonderful right? Well you can get all of that plus a free breakfast at La Pensione Hotel. This hotel is most popular with couples, the romantic atmosphere makes special occasions even more special. But it also suits families and solo travelers as well. With everything so close, you’re compelled to explore the area. Compare prices here>>
Urban Boutique Hotel San Diego
Location: 1654 Columbia Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 232. 3400
This is a cute little hotel right in the heart of Little Italy that it accomplishes a cozy yet luxurious feel while being convenient and reliable for guests. People happily keep going back for the service alone! It’s close to tourist spots and general places of interest. The comfortable amenities and close entertainment makes Urban Boutique to die for. Compare prices here>>
Events in Little Italy San Diego
San Diego Art Walk
This is one of the many ways that San Diego celebrates the rich art culture that it has. Every year, there’s a full weekend dedicated to art and culture. Over 300 artist display their gorgeous pieces and allow themselves to humbly brag about their hard work. This is where you can discover new artists, learn things about different cultures, and buy from local artists. It is an all around good time.
Taste of Little Italy
Yearly, Little Italy features their great Italian restaurants, urging them to rub shoulders with new and old people. This is an opportunity to broaden your palette by trying new things from new restaurants including desserts, dinner, appetizers, and cocktails. There are two routes to choose from 5pm to 9pm. I usually try to go to both routes and really nibble on everything that I can. It’s a lot of fun!
Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting
During the Christmas season, the Little Italy community goes all out for decoration. Walking down the streets at night is lovely, a cold chill tickles your nose, the gentle chatter from establishments sing in your ears, and the delicious mingling of scents from the restaurants entice your taste buds.
However, the highlight of the season is the Christmas Tree lighting that occurs in early December. This is the kick-off of Christmas and boy does it put you in the mood.
Little Italy San Diego is a neighborhood that has a lot of fun, low key stuff to do. You’ll find charming restaurants, cute shops and boutiques, and a nice atmosphere that tourists and locals enjoy. Definitely add this cute neighborhood to your list of things to do in San Diego.
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Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by sandiegoexplorer