Little Italy is a lively community located at the heart of Downtown San Diego, California, resided by mostly affluent locals. It houses many Italian restaurants, shopping centers and art galleries. It is known for being a vibrant neighborhood where different kinds of events are being held regularly. People from other areas also flock here to get a taste of Italian luxuries and culture without having to leave the States.
Here are some of the most notable attractions in Little Italy:
1. First Class Restaurants
Little Italy is the center of culinary in all of San Diego. It houses many world-renowned chefs and fine dining restaurants that offer hundreds of different Italian delicacies. The food scene here is so dynamic that even the traditional eateries that serve the most authentic Italian dishes were preserved and are considered as treasured landmarks.
Kettner Boulevard is locally known as the “Top Chef Alley” while India Street boasts of cuisines from Southern and Northern Italy, complete with a delicatessen and market where you can buy a wide range of Italian foods from prosciutto to mascarpone.
2. Sophisticated Shops
Little Italy offers hundreds of shops and services including clothing, shoes, jewelry, art galleries, home furnishing and florists, salons, barberries and spas. It also has specialty retail stores for cigars, motorcycles, surfing gears, and many more.
3. Amici Park
This is a three-fold public space that also covers the Little Italy Dog Park, the Amici Park Amphitheater and the Bocce Ball Courts. It is located next to Washington Elementary School. The site is divided into two areas: Softscape which are the lush or green spaces for the park; and Hardscape for the portion that is mostly concrete or sidewalks for the court and amphitheater.
4. Piazza della Famiglia
No trip to Little Italy will be complete without visiting the central gathering point of the neighborhood. This piazza extends to both Columbia and India streets covering a space of more than 10,000-square-foot. It has a wide selection of restaurants and bars. Many people come here to experience the dramatic scene of the colorful California sunset with the beautiful tiled fountain and the cobblestone street while strolling or dining. The piazza serves as the common place that joins all the families that reside in this little vibrant community.
5. Annual Events
This neighborhood is so alive that it hosts exciting events that are participated by not only the locals but of people from across the globe. Little Italy turns into a Carnevale during every Saturday before Mardi Gras as they celebrate a mask event. It is also the home of West Coast’s largest event, ArtWalk, where more than 120,000 people come to buy various kinds of art such as paintings, furniture, photography, sculpture, and jewelry.
This neighborhood was previously dominated by Italian fishermen and was known for its thriving tuna industry. After its gentrification, it became a popular destination for high-class retails shops and cozy patio-cafes. Responsible for its transformation is its own Little Italy Association composed mostly of residents, business-owners and property-owners, who work together to preserve the beauty of Little Italy.
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