San Diego Gift-Giving Guide
The holidays are upon us. For many, that means it’s the season of giving. And while it may be a reflex to head to a big-box retailer or massive online superstore in order to cross names off of your shopping list, we’d like to propose an alternative. San Diego is home to countless independent retailers that have amazing, unique items you can’t find anywhere else. So if you’re looking for some unique gifts inspired by our special brand of SoCal magic, take a look at our San Diego gift-giving guide.
San Diego has earned the title “The Craft Beer Capital of America,” and for good reason. More than 150 craft breweries have made their homes in the area, and each produces a dizzying array of delicious drafts — including stouts, lagers, sours, and porters. Of course, San Diego also loves our signature IPAs. So why not pick up a mix-n’-match six pack or a growler or two for your favorite beer buff? North Park’s Bottlecraft is one such spot to find great gifts for craft brew lovers. Of course, thanks to our mild Mediterranean climate, San Diego is also home to many amazing vineyards and wineries that produce delicious vintages from the bounty of their fields. If you’re in the market for a buzzy beverage that trends toward the eclectic, don’t miss checking out the hard kombucha selection from JuneShine.
Eclectic Clothing, Art and Jewelry
Thanks to a robust community of artists and makers, finding one-of-a-kind handmade items in San Diego is never a challenge. Want to treat the dapper gentleman in your life to a custom shirt, suit or tie? Drop by Art Lewin Bespoke Suits and prepare to be impressed. Thread + Seed features exclusive ladies’ couture from selective global brands renowned for superior style. Little Italy’s Adelman Fine Art Boutique is your one-stop shop for objets d’art from local craftspeople and creators. LeahJessica Jewelry is the local must-stop for custom and handmade accessories for that special someone. And if you’re looking for that perfectly-preserved retro piece, Death Trip Vintage offers carefully curated resale of one-of-a-kind items.
San Diego Experiences
Everyone enjoys unwrapping a nice box during the holidays. But if your recipient is the sort that values experiences over items, San Diego has you covered there, too. Candles on Tap is San Diego’s first candle bar, where guests can create their own custom candle from an array of scents, colors, and other options. Is your giftee the adventurous sort? San Diego Surf School offers wave-riding lessons, surf camps, and equipment rentals. Trapeze High will have your recipient flying high circus-style in Escondido. Or gift them the journey of seeing San Diego from the water with a Coronado Kayak Trek. Foodies will appreciate a Gaslamp Quarter Food Tour, and nature-lovers will treasure a whale-watching cruise. No matter what your recipient enjoys, San Diego has a happening.
There’s always something to be said for delving into a great work of literature. If you’ve got a favorite Constant Reader on your list, San Diego has you covered with a spectacular selection of bookstores sure to brighten your favorite bibliophile’s day. With a focus on sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, horror, and young-adult titles, the deep and wide-ranging selection at Mysterious Galaxy offers an infinity of escape within its countless covers. Verbatim Books features a curated selection of volumes ranging from “antiquarian” to contemporary and everything in between. Warwick’s is the country’s oldest family-owned bookstore, delighting San Diego’s literature lovers since 1896. And Footnote Books is a true lit lovers’ paradise, with row after row of niche, one-of-a-kind, and “I’ve been looking for this one for forever” titles you’d be hard-pressed to locate elsewhere.
San Diego is home to many shopping centers where gift-givers can find unique stores offering tough-to-find items with a distinct local flavor. Nearby Liberty Station is one of the most popular — a public market-style space built on the site of a former Naval training facility — that includes many shops you’ll only discover there. Pangea Outpost is a groovy marketplace that showcases more than 70 local merchants and artists. You’ll find plenty of clothing, jewelry, home decor, art, and much more there. Savvy local shoppers also know to head to the can’t-miss shops of Ocean Beach, with its concentrated thoroughfares of interesting boutiques. Of course, shoppers will always find lots to love at Seaport Village, San Diego’s favorite beachfront shopping center.
Sometimes, the perfect gift doesn’t simply doesn’t present itself unless you really dig for it. Thankfully San Diego is loaded with must-stop stores where you’re bound to stumble across something you didn’t even know you needed. Some of our favorites include:
- Pigment — A locals’ favorite, Pigment features plants, home décor, handmade items, kids’ gifts, ornaments, and more.
- Magical Child — This children’s emporium carries everything kids love. Art supplies, mind-building books, clothing, handmade toys, and even décor.
- Record City — The neighborhood record store is far from extinct. Stop into this music emporium for t-shirts, vintage vinyl, and all the new releases.
- The Faded Awning — This beautiful boutique offers a wide range of ocean-inspired decor, clothing, jewelry, accessories.
- Shop Good — San Diego’s favorite source for clean, green and ethically sustainable beauty products.
- Bazaar del Mundo — A jewel of Old Town encompassing all the charm, art, crafts, cuisine, and culture of Mexico.
- The Cave Store — Popular La Jolla gift and souvenir shop that features unique items you’ll certainly want to bring home as conversation-starters.
- Gold Leaf — If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind shop absolutely packed with treasures, visit Gold Leaf in South Park.
No matter what you choose to give your family, friends, and loved ones this holiday, San Diego has something special for everyone on your list. If you’re still not sure what to wrap up, why not give the gift of a vacation to remember with one of our special offers? Our Buy Now, Visit Later Humphreys Gift Card features a $25 bonus for you when you purchase a gift for $100! View our special offers page here for more information.