Little Italy represents Downtown San Diego’s oldest continuous neighborhood business district. First settled in the earlier part of the 20th century by Italian and Portuguese fishermen, the district prospered until the decline of the tuna industry and the intrusion of Interstate 5, which took 35% of the land.
The Little Italy economy suffered for nearly three decades until the early 1990’s, when local residents and business owners teamed up to begin gentrification. Now this 48 square-block neighborhood is not only a thriving business district, but a center for arts and culture.
A model urban neighborhood for the City of San Diego, Little Italy hosts popular annual events such as The Little Italy Carnevale, Art Walk, Festivale Siciliano, Italian Motorsport Show, and Precious Festa. Precious Festa is the largest Italian Festival outside of NYC.
But no wonder: Residents and business people work tirelessly to maintain the Little Italy flavor while promoting economic development. As a result, San Diego’s Little Italy is larger than those of San Francisco, St. Louis, and New York combined.
One event takes place each Saturday morning, rain or shine. That’s when the Mercato Farmer’s Market, also known as the Little Italy Farmers Market, opens with offerings of fresh produce, meats, flowers, home accessories, gifts, and more. Shoppers browse among more than 200 tents set up on the five blocks of W. Cedar Street from Kettner Boulevard to Front Street.
Recently Little Italy has become a mecca for foodies, wine lovers, and craft beer connoisseurs alike. The walkable neighborhood is home to some of the top restaurants in San Diego such as: Bencatto, Ironside, Juniper & Ivy, and Kettner Exchange. These establishments offer a variety of fine dining options, including extraordinary desserts. Locals love doing beer tastings at Bottlecratft, a hip tasting room where patrons can not only sip, but purchase their favorites to take home.
Little Italy is a good choice for the real estate buyer who wants to live an urban lifestyle, but still retain that small “local” neighborhood feel.
In addition to single family homes, real estate offerings include lofts, studios, and 1 and 2 bedroom units in mid-rise and high rise condominium complexes and apartment buildings. Thanks to the sloping landscape, many of these choices offer striking views of the bay, city lights, Coronado, and La Jolla cliffs.
Home prices in San Diego’s Little Italy district range from the mid 300’s to just over a million for luxury living with panoramic views.
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