San Diego Shopping Guide by Neighborhood

Although San Diego’s shopping scene is often overshadowed by Los Angeles, this city has a wealth of destination-worthy boutiques, department stores, and shopping centers. In fact, six of the city’s neighborhoods or arts districts are known for excellent shopping: Hillcrest, Old Town, Balboa Park, Ocean Beach, Liberty Station, and University City. Below, we round up our favorite shopping hub, or hubs, in each.

Hillcrest Shops (1.3 Miles from Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Hillcrest is known for its LGBT community and international cuisine, and its shopping scene reflects its creative, eclectic vibe. You can choose from venues such as consignment store Buffalo Exchange, a florist, a farmers market, the flagship of America’s biggest hat store, a boutique that doubles as a gallery selling local art, and more.

Old Town (2.1 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

As Old Town is one of San Diego’s historic districts, it features interesting and unexpected nods to the past and to the city’s arts and antiques scene. Its shops are interspersed with colonial architecture and historic landmarks, including a reconstructed 1824 house, a heritage Victorian village, and the Cygnet Theatre (where you can catch some lovely holiday shows). Come shop for wares such as Native American jewelry, CBD products, mermaid-inspired décor, and custom glassware.

Balboa Park shops (2.2 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Balboa Park’s shops specialize in items that reference its museums and gardens. You can browse a selection of train-themed toys and posters at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum Gift Shop; peruse Japanese crafts at the Japanese Friendship Garden gift shop, including chopsticks and fans; and discover locally produced arts, design, and cuisine-inspired merchandise at the San Diego Museum of Art’s cleverly named “Bibliotique.”

Liberty Station (4.4 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Along with hosting events such as writing workshops and First Friday art walks, Liberty Station offers health-food markets, galleries, jewelry boutiques, a pottery and candle-making studio, and even a yarn-supply store. Several of its boutiques, including gift shop Pigment, showcase colorful, innovative design that has attracted a loyal following on Instagram.

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Ocean Beach Shops (5.2 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

As San Diego’s premier surfing destination, Ocean Beach holds numerous shops that reference surfing culture and the ocean itself. Start at The Black, a historic and eclectic Ocean Beach staple that’s been around for 40 years and gives a unique perspective into this “hippie” community. Then visit Ocean Gifts and Shells, featuring items such as shell jewelry and beach toys. There’s also Noon Design Shop, known for handmade jewelry, journals, and cookware, as well as Current Collective, stocking unique and directional artworks and vintage clothing. Don’t miss Dreamgirls, either, with stylish and affordable dresses, rompers, and shoes.

Fashion Valley Mall (.7 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Fashion Valley Mall is an upscale, outdoor shopping center that’s actually the largest mall in San Diego and one of the largest in California. That means you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re looking for here, especially if you’re looking for high-end clothing and accessories. Don’t miss our Mall Madness package, which includes a gift card with your stay — perfect for treating yourself to a San Diego shopping spree.

Westfield Mission Valley (6 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Another popular shopping center, Westfield Mission Valley boasts a spectacular range of shops and restaurants, as well as a movie theater, a gym, and convenient facilities. We recommend a flame-grilled dinner at 365 Korean BBQ before choosing a flick at the AMC movie theater.