Discovering Little ItalyAround the City, This Week Monday, December 12th, 2011
Little Italy is a neighborhood in downtown San Diego. Originally, it was a predominately Italian fishing neighborhood. It has gone through major change over the years and now Little Italy is a hip urban neighborhood composed mostly of restaurants, retail shops, home design stores, art galleries and residential condos.
Little Italy has been a stable business and residential community since the 1920s, and today it represents downtown San Diego’s oldest continuous neighborhood and business district. At one time, more than 6,000 Italian families lived in Little Italy and helped to build San Diego into the center of the world tuna industry. With the decline of the tuna industry on the West Coast and the destruction of 35 percent of Little Italy due to the construction of Interstate 5 in the 1960s, Little Italy suffered nearly thirty years of decline.
San Diego has a few longtime ethnic neighborhoods, but Little Italy has always had a proud tradition. Even during its years as an afterthought as a downtown interest, the neighborhood was always made up of mom and pop businesses. Now, thanks to all the redevelopment over the last 15 years, the neighborhood has a very charming new gleam to it, with new eateries, shops and nightspots.
Food has always been the main attraction in Little Italy. For years there were many well known establishments you could go to in the neighborhood like Filippi’s for pizza or Solunto Bakery for baked goods and sandwiches. However, now there are dozens of great cafes, coffee shops, specialty stores and restaurants you can go to and enjoy the quaint village experience that Little Italy has to offer. One of my favorite restaurants in Little Italy is Indigo Grill, which is located on India Street at the corner of Beech. It has a unique menu that will always make your tummy happy and an atmosphere that will fill your senses with joy. It is a great spot for special events and for treating yourself to a great dining experience. Little Italy is away from the bustle of the Gaslamp District and the rest of downtown so you can just spend the day strolling and chilling. It is also walking distance to San Diego Bay, which is always a treat to spend time in.
Little Italy is a great place to live, with all of the new condos that have been built in the last fifteen years. It is designed like a typical European Village where you can walk to all the eateries and shops, which are all within blocks of each other. It also is the home to fun annual events like Art Walk, Festa, stickball championships, carnival and others that make Little Italy a festive place to live and visit.
Little Italy is a place of specialty shops, boutiques and services. So in addition to offering wonderful places to eat, it also offers unique retail experiences, especially home decor and antique stores. Mix that in with longtime neighborhood businesses and Little Italy becomes a pleasant excursion for San Diego shoppers.
If you like the sleek lines of mid-century modern furniture and decor, then Boomerang for Modern is a must for you. Since 1985, it has represented the best in well-designed furnishings from the mid 20th century, featuring an ever-changing selection of quality vintage pieces from America, Scandinavia and Europe.
Architectural Salvage is a very fun and unique store, especially if you have an older home and you are looking for stuff to replace original items, and Home Depot just won’t do. You’ll find everything from doors to door knobs, windows, lighting and just interesting pieces salvaged from junk yards. Everything is cleaned up and ready for re-use. It’s what you call making your house green.
Artistically inclined Little Italy even has a very good art supply store, which is Blick Art Materials. Forget your local Michael’s or Aaron Brothers; Blick is where you want to go for real art supplies.
There is much that Little Italy has to offer and it is more than just a laid back village. You can easily find places to drink and be entertained. Anthology is a classy nightclub and restaurant that hosts national musical acts. At the other end of the spectrum is the Casbah, featuring indie and alternative live music. The Waterfront is your classic dive bar that serves great burgers. And the nearby W Hotel has hip bars.
Whether you are familiar with Little Italy or not, you owe it to yourself to go and enjoy this very charming and special village that is part of our wonderful San Diego community.
Trent St. Louis is a licensed Real Estate Agent
and a member of the National, California and
San Diego Association of Realtors. You can reach Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his office in Hillcrest, The Metropolitan Group. DRE#01273643.
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