There are many things that those who live in Little Italy love about this neighborhood. From its gelato to watching fireworks at sea every night in the summer, those who made this neighborhood their home say it is filled with food, fun and culture.
Little Italy is true to its name, historically. It was first settled by mostly Italian and Portuguese fishermen and their families. Now, it has expanded on that culture to fill the neighborhood with Italian restaurants, grocery stores and a ton of boutique shops. It also has residential units mixed in with the commerce.
This is one of the most active San Diego neighborhoods with a lot of festivals and a weekly farmer's market called the Mercato.
Geographically, Little Italy is at the northwest part of downtown San Diego. It is north of Columbia and south of Middletown. Core borders it on the southeast and Bankers Hill/Park West flank the area's southwest. Cortez Hill is to its west. Specifically, it is bordered by West Laurel Street, West ash street, Interstate 5, Front Street and the San Diego Bay.
This area has a drastic rise in elevation from Interstate 5 because it is built into the side of a hill.
Area residents, who came from mostly the Italian Riviera and Sicily, make their living primarily from boat building that started the American tuna fishing industry. This made the area the "tuna capital" of the West Coast. Pacific Tuna Canning Company, the nation's first large scale canning company, opened there in 1911. Canneries employed more than 1,000 local residents by the 1930s.
Many came to the area to start over after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
There area has seen many improvements and that includes construction of both high-rise and mid-rise buildings. There are more scheduled for construction. The southern section of Little Italy is more populated than the area's northern section. '
Those managing the area are trying to renovated old buildings for modern uses and require that new buildings keep to the look and feel of their historical counterparts. The area is managed by the Little Italy Association, who maintains trash collection, sidewalk and street cleanliness and reviews building designs.
For those who are interested in this area, here are five solid reasons why Little Italy is a great place to live.
Here's a quick rundown of our list:
- Reason 1 - It's Great For Walking.
- Reason 2 - Little Italy Has Lots Of Music And Art.
- Reason 3 - The Area Has Great Food.
- Reason 4 - Excellent Entertainment.
- Reason 5 - It Has Its Own Charm.
Reason 1 - It's Great For Walking.
The area has great piazzas that open up to water fountains and lots of open seating, making it a great way to spend a lunch break. Every corner has flower pots that bring color and charm to the area and provide for lots of scenery while you walk.
You can walk anywhere you need to go to the grocery store, the bank and work as well as restaurants, cafes and to hear music.
The area also has an excellent mix of architecture that includes both classic and contemporary designs. Some of those architects include Jonathan Segal and Sebastian Mariscal.
Little Italy has also worked in a low-key atmosphere into its daily business. It is created a San Diego Quiet Zone for those seeking relief from city sounds.
The views from area condos are also lovely, with some able to see the Star of India monument from their windows.
All of this is backed up by the fact that San Diego weather is typically mild and nice. It stays moderate most of the year and has constant breezes from the bay, making it the perfect place for those who love to stay outside.
Reason 2 - Little Italy Has Lots Of Music And Art.
This is one of the best things about the area. There are statues and art scattered throughout the district with most a reflection of Little Italy's culture and community. The area also plays host to one of San Diego's best known art celebrations, Artwalk.
There is always live music and dancing on Friday nights at the Piazza Basilone in the summer, making for a fun time to join in.
The area is also home to the Convivio Center & Little Italy Heritage Museum, which is a new destination center for the arts and Italian culture. The center also acts and a community resource for education, providing programs and events for both young and old.
Reason 3 - The Area Has Great Food.
The name of the neighborhood makes this a no brainer. Some local favorites are Po Pazzo, Bencotto, Mona Lisa and Felipes, but there are many more to choose from. In fact, there are more than 90 restaurants in Little Italy to venture into, so foodies will be busy for a while testing out all the cuisines.
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Reason 4 - Excellent Entertainment.
There are at least two planned community events every month and many of those involve area hotels and businesses. Events include things like Salsa Under the Stars and various art exhibitions.
While the theme of the area is Italian, there is a heavy mix of Spanish and Brazillian influence in the events, so Little Italy has a wealth of cultural opportunities for everyone.
One of the best venues, according to locals, in Anthology, which has a lot of world music and other types of entertainment. There are also regular rock concerts at the House of Blues and the Casbah.
Those who love festivals would enjoy Little Italy. Some of the area festivals include the Sicilian Festival, Festa, Carnevale and the Tree Lighting Festival at Christmas.
Reason 5 - It Has Its Own Charm.
Locals say the area is kept immaculate thanks to the Little Italy Association. It is highly dog-friendly, but owners are mandated to pick up after their pet. There are also many dog parks and places where your furry friend can walk with you, including outdoor cafes and park greens.
This is a multicultural area where you can hear a variety of languages every day while walking along the sidewalk. Most say they can hear Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Swedish, French, Portuguese and English during a short walk.
There are plenty of wine bars to have a quiet moment and the area, although it has a lot of entertainment, isn't a partying area. It goes quiet around 11 p.m. Another strong feature of the area is there is lots of parking for those who do need to drive.
If living in Little Italy sounds like a dream for you, you should visit to see for yourself. I am happy to answer any questions you have about the area.
Feel free to text/call me at (760) 297-4539
Your Little Italy Insider,
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