Little Italy San Diego is a vibrant and thriving community like the many similar neighborhoods to be found in cities throughout the United States. It has been a stable residential and business community since the 1920s, when Italians and Italian-Americans moved here and helped to make the tuna fishing industry of San Diego one of the most prosperous in the world. Italian fisherman from northern California moved to Little Italy San Diego after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Their development of tuna, deep sea, and sport fishing contributed to the development of the area for the next 70 years. This part of the city's history still lives in the American Tunaboat Association and at the Marine Maritime Museum, both located in the district. Little Italy was devastated after the major Interstate 5 was built right through it in the 1970s, but dedicated residents banded together in the late 1990s to build what is today one of the most vital and prosperous districts in the city.
Shopping is one of the most popular things to do in Little Italy that take full advantage of this prosperity. There are numerous shops, boutiques, and galleries, especially along India Street where there are many restaurants and with the most interesting architecture in the district. Other things to do in Little Italy include a number of special events and festivals, which are also concentrated around India Street. The April Art Walk is the largest event of its kind in southern California. February sees a costume and mask competition called Carnevale, after its namesake event in Venice Italy. May is the Festivale Siciliano celebrating the culture of Sicily, ancestral home of many of the residents. On any Friday, you can browse through the Farmers Market, also known as the Mercato, The Little Italy Festa (held in October) is surpassed in scope and size only by the similar event in New York City. Little Italy San Diego comes alive during this festive time.
Little Italy Restaurants
The numerous and varied restaurants in Little Italy reflect the vibrant character of the neighborhood. Many refer to it as San Diego's epicenter of epicure, and one of the most important stops (County Center) for the city's historic trolleys is located here. Not all restaurants in Little Italy are Italian, although you will find this kind of dining spot to be in the majority. This is also a center for the Portuguese community, and there are some nice tapas bars in the area. And, you will also find Chinese restaurants, sushi places, and fine gourmet cuisine. Look also for some excellent seafood places. Some of these restaurants in Little Italy also have good nightlife, which is often compared to the Gaslamp Quarter located only a few blocks to the south.
Little Italy San Diego
Many of the things to do in Little Italy include some of the most popular attractions in all of San Diego, because the neighborhood is so centrally located. Its eastern border is only six blocks from Balboa Park, which is home to the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Art, and the internationally respected San Diego Zoo. Its northern border leads directly to the airport, which is less than a mile away. Within its boundaries is the Maritime Museum, and picturesque San Diego Bay is on its west. A few blocks to the south is the pier for ferries to Coronado Island.