San Diego Shopping Scene: Browse Deals, Fashion and Souvenirs

Located in sunny California, San Diego features an artsy vibe paired with warm temperatures and coastal views. One way to enjoy it all is to spend the day, or weekend, shopping with loved ones. San Diego houses shopping districts, outlet malls and trendy spots, so guests can buy exactly what they want. Learn more about the San Diego shopping scene and get ready for retail therapy.

San Diego Shopping: Top 8 Places to Visit With Family and Friends

san diego shopping gaslamp downtown

Photo: Steve Lathrop

Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter is a neighborhood in downtown San Diego that measures nearly 17 blocks. This walkable shopping district features Victorian architecture and over 80 boutiques and outlets ideal for browsing. In addition, this popular spot celebrated its 150th birthday in 2017.

In Gaslamp Quarter, shoppers find apparel, jewelry, custom art, books, music and more. However, there’s more to do than shop. Gaslamp Quarter also hosts several events throughout the year, such as concerts, holiday festivities, food and wine festivals, and marathons.

Clairemont Town Square

Clairemont Town Square suits those looking for a smaller outdoor mall packed with things to do. Shoppers browse over 15 stores including big names and small boutiques. This option suits families on the go and features a Big Lots!, Petco, Ross Dress for Less and T.J. Maxx.

While shopping, guests also enjoy access to Ulta for beauty needs, a fitness center, Game Stop and on-site movie theater. When it’s time for a break or meal with the family, visit 20 restaurants in the shopping center. Whether guests need a sit-down meal or fast food, Clairemont Town Square has a restaurant nearby.

san diego shopping downtown

Seaport Village

Located adjacent to San Diego Bay, Seaport Village houses a waterfront district full of shops, restaurants and activities. Spend a full day at the village, browsing over 50 shops, enjoying meals with loved ones and attending events.

Retailers sell everything from accessories and apparel to souvenirs and toys. A few signature shops that sell local goodies include Best of San Diego, Crazy Shirts, Hot Licks, a hot sauce store, Mistletoe for Christmas decorations and San Diego Surf Shop.

In between visiting shops, don’t forget to ride the historic carousel at Seaport Village, meet local artists and let kids get their faces painted.

La Jolla Open Aire Market

For fresh flavors and locally made treats, drive 30 minutes to La Jolla, located north of San Diego. Here, shoppers enjoy browsing La Jolla Open Aire Market, a farmers market in the San Diego area that donates all proceeds to a local elementary school.

The market opens only on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and welcomes over 120 vendors and hundreds of shoppers. While shopping the farmers market in La Jolla, families buy local produce, baked goods, meet artisans, eat fresh-cooked meals and enjoy fun activities.

San Diego Shopping: Outlet Malls and Large Shopping Centers

san diego shopping outlet mall

Las Americas Premium Outlets

Enjoy premium shopping and big discounts at Las Americas Premium Outlets. Among the largest San Diego shopping outlets, Las Americas sits just 20 minutes from downtown San Diego and Tijuana.

Shoppers have over 150 retail options including both big-box anchors and small specialty boutiques. Top designers include Armani, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein, however several shops cater to families and individuals.

Kids enjoy Disney Outlet, The Children’s Place Outlet and Gymboree Outlet. Dads may want to visit the sports stores, such as Under Armor or Journeys. Meanwhile, mom may stop in Bath and Body Works or The Cosmetics Company.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Located in nearby Carlsbad, about 40 minutes from downtown San Diego, shoppers find big discounts at Carlsbad Premium Outlets. Visitors can browse over 90 designers that offer deals on fashion, accessories, jewelry and more.

Popular brands include Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap Outlet and Nike Factory Outlet. Other retailers range from Brooks Brothers and Joe’s Jeans to Puma and Vans Outlet. This open-air shopping district is also located a short drive from LegoLand California and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

shopping malls san diego fashion

Fashion Valley Shopping Center

Another top shopping mall in San Diego is Fashion Valley, a trendy destination that showcases upscale coastal life. Decorated with palm trees and fountains, the mall houses over 200 stores and dozens of restaurants.

Anchors include Bloomingdale’s, JCPenney and Nordstrom, to name a few. Other popular options include Build-A-Bear, Coach, Gucci, Lego and Urban Outfitters. In addition, guests have specialty stores, name brands, custom boutiques and plenty of place to relax. Simon operates both Fashion Valley and Las Americas.

Westfield Mission Valley

Westfield Mission Valley ranks as another top in San Diego’s shopping scene with over 100 stores. The shopping center has a Macy’s and Micheal’s with other shops such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Pink, Target, Things Remembered, and dozens more.

In addition to shopping, visitors watch the latest movie releases at AMC Theaters or enjoy a meal at restaurants located in the center. Guests who present their same-day movie ticket receive special discounts from restaurants including Fuddruckers and Panera Bread.

Westfield Shoppingtown UTC

Another Westfield shopping mall in San Diego is the popular Westfield Shoppingtown UTC, also home to over 100 retailers. This open-air shopping center features comfortable seating, valet parking, concierge services and hosts events.

Search anchor stores Macy’s and Nordstrom blended with specialty shops and other well known brands. The family can shop for apparel, gifts and toys, and find a mix of entertainment, including local San Diego musicians performing Wednesday through Sunday.

Stay close these shopping districts and relax in these San Diego vacation rentals.

Need other ideas after exploring the San Diego shopping scene? Check out San Diego’s nightlife scene.