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Little Italy is a neighborhood rich in character—where the past, present and future collide in exciting ways.

In the 1920s, the neighborhood’s promise of sun and a steady income beckoned thousands of Italian and Portuguese immigrants, whose hard work put San Diego on the map as the “tuna capital of the world.” Little Italy prospered for several decades, bolstered by a community with a strong cultural identity.

Unfortunately, several tuna canneries had to close up shop in the ‘60s and ‘70s due to rising foreign competition and the development of Interstate 5, which cut through the middle of the neighborhood. But, in the ‘90s, homeowners decided to take fate into their own hands, and established the Little Italy Association (LIA). The LIA set out to revitalize the neighborhood through a series of beautification projects, creating more open spaces, and managing the needs of businesses and residents equally.

The hard work paid off: San Diego has the largest Little Italy in the nation, covering over 40 city blocks. Despite its size, San Diego’s Little Italy retains its close-knit cultural roots, evident in the neighborhood’s boutiques, shops, and restaurants—all of which exude a stylish, mid-century European flair.

  • Piazzas & Little Italy Mercato

    On any given day, locals and visitors bustle through Little Italy, our city’s most walkable neighborhood. Strolling through the Piazza Della Famiglia—a pedestrian-only public market—feels like walking through Rome, and every Saturday and Wednesday.  Shoppers flock to Little Italy Mercato to buy fresh produce, flowers and other authentic treats.

  • Art Galleries

    Little Italy’s many galleries showcase the best of San Diego’s vibrant art scene—a stunning mix of classic and contemporary. 1805 Gallery, Meyer Fine Art, and JDC Fine are just a few destinations for the culture aficionado.

  • Restaurants & Bars

    Little Italy is renowned for its thriving food scene, where high-class cuisine and affordable comfort food coexist side-by-side. The diversity of Little Italy’s culinary scene is exemplified in its newest addition, Little Italy Food Hall, where diners can choose between six different food stations that serve global eats. Mangia!

What's Happening

Downtown San Diego is alive with festivals, marathons and art events all year long—a true adventure seeker’s dream! There’s never a lack of exciting things to do in our city, and we’re excited to be in the middle of the action. Check out some of the cool things going on when you’re in town.

Things To Do

  • Balboa Park
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Convention Center
  • Craft Beer Capital
  • Gas Lamp Quarter
  • LegoLand
  • Little Italy
  • Old Town San Diego
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Seaport Village
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Waterfront Park

Nearby Attractions

  • Balboa Park - (2.9mi)
  • Convention Center - (1.5mi)
  • Cruise Ship Terminal - (0.8mi)
  • Downtown - (0.6mi)
  • Embarcadero Waterfront - (0.4mi)
  • Gas Lamp Quarter - (1.3mi)
  • Hillcrest - (2.0mi)
  • Horton Plaza Mall - (1.0mi)
  • Marine Corp Recruit Depot - (2.5mi)
  • Old Town San Diego - (3.7mi)
  • Old Town Trolley Tours - (0.2mi)
  • Petco Park - (2.2mi)
  • San Diego Airport - (2.0mi)
  • San Diego Zoo - (3.1mi)
  • Seaport Village - (1.3mi)
  • SeaWorld San Diego - (6.5mi)
  • Star Of India Maritime Museum - (0.6mi)
  • USS Midway Museum - (1.1mi)