San Diego’s Most Unique Shopping Experiences

There’s little that compares to the thrill of finding a funky little hole-in-the-wall boutique — one that seems to have items you’ve just never seen anywhere else. Combing through racks and shelves in search of unique treasures can really give any day a special boost. If you’re looking to experience that special joy of discovery, then the San Diego shopping scene has something for you. Read on for some of our favorites.

Liberty Station (2.2 miles from the hotel)

Located on the site of the former Naval Training Station, Liberty Station is a must-see when visiting “America’s Finest City.” This public-market-style shopping center is where locals and visitors alike convene to meet, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment. It’s a “town square” of sorts for the city, drawing millions of visitors every year. Drop in to discover dining, produce, fresh fish, meats, desserts, baked goods, wine, beer, liquor, art, and much more.

(Photo: @libertystation, @imperfects_)

2640 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore (3.5 miles away)

Independent bookstores are always welcoming dens of magic and discovery. Mysterious Galaxy is even more so than most. With a focus on sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, horror, and young-adult titles, the deep and wide-ranging selection offers an infinity of escape within its countless covers. Mysterious Galaxy also hosts regular author events where Constant Readers can meet and greet the scribes that give wings to their flights of literary fancy. 

(Photo: @mystgalaxybooks)

3555 Rosecrans St #107 San Diego, CA 92110

Seaport Village (5.7 miles away)

As one of the most beloved oceanfront treasures in the city, Seaport Village is a quintessentially San Diego shopping hub. Stroll along the winding cobblestone pathways, take in panoramic views of Coronado Bridge, and check out more than 50 one-of-a-kind storefronts, a dozen-plus restaurants, and endless photo opportunities. There’s simply no end to the gifts, souvenirs, and specialty items you’ll find at this charming seaside spot. 

(Photo: @seaport_village)

849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101    

Record City (6.4 miles away)

Despite what you may have heard, the reports of the demise of the record store have been greatly exaggerated. The days of flipping through racks of discs, discovering new music, and hunting down that “holy grail” album live on at this nostalgia nook. No matter what your preferred medium — vinyl, CDs, cassettes, or video — Record City has it all. Don’t forget to pick up your favorite band’s T-shirt, poster, or other collectibles before you head out.


3757 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103  

The Cave of Wonders (9.5 miles away)

Simply put, this place rocks. Began as a labor of love by “Dave the Gem Guy” in 2014, The Cave of Wonders offers curious visitors a dizzying selection of gems, jewels, semi-precious stones, minerals, and more. Looking for a glittering geode? You’ll find it here. How about raw pearls? This is the place. Coral earrings, jade, or healing crystals? Right this way. Dave operates The Cave under one maxim: “Make it awesome.” And it always is exactly that.

(Photo: @thecaveofwonders

2232 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

The Cave Store (12.8 miles)

As long as we’re on the subject of caves, The Cave Store is a popular La Jolla gift and souvenir shop that features unique items you’ll certainly want to bring home as conversation-starters. It’s situated in La Jolla Cove, directly above a cave unlike any other you’ll ever explore. Originally hand-dug beneath the home of miner Gustav Schultz in turn-of-the-century 1902, the cave was first plumbed for minerals before being turned into a bootleggers’ smuggling passage during the prohibition.   

(Photo: @thecavestore)

1325 Coast Blvd. La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

San Diego’s Farmers Markets

Maybe it’s the perfect weather. It could be our close proximity to fantastic farms and the Pacific. It might also be that classically Californian approach to healthy eating. Whatever the reason, San Diego has some of the best farmers markets in the country. No matter what you’re looking for — produce, fresh meats and seafood, flowers, locally-produced honey, or even arts and crafts — you’ll find the best of it at the city’s collection of open-air bazaars. And the prices? You’ll definitely notice the absence of the middleman. Take a look at this great guide to local farmers markets, from our sister property Holiday Inn Bayside, for some great spots to get started. 

(Photo: @sandiegomarkets)