Luxury Hotel near San Diego’s Little Italy

Hotel Republic guests have easy access to the different neighborhoods composing downtown San Diego, and among the most distinctive is Little Italy just a couple of blocks north of our Autograph Collection home base. Whether delving into history, digging into cuisine (Italian and otherwise), indulging in a bit of shopping, or attending one of many annual events, there’s a whole lot to explore in this largest Little Italy in the United States!

Little Italy: An Overview

Stretching between West Laurel Street in the north and West Ash in the south, and between Pacific Highway in the west and Front Street and I-5 in the east, Little Italy encompasses some 48 square blocks of history, culture, and entertainment.

It emerged in the 1920s as part of the center of San Diego’s tuna-fishing industry, which made the city “The Tuna Capital of the World” for decades. Italian immigrants settled in the neighborhood to work in the canneries (which also staffed many Portuguese, Japanese, and Hispanic workers), which thrived into the 1970s. (You can read more about the rise and fall of San Diego’s tuna industry in this great San Diego Union Tribune article by local historian Richard Crawford.)

The drying-up of the canneries and the construction of I-5 ushered Little Italy into a period of decline, but in the 1990s the neighborhood began an impressive rebirth thanks to the efforts of the business community, the Little Italy Association of San Diego, and others. Today it’s one of the hotspots of the city, a thriving hub of dining, shopping, and entertainment—and still infused with plenty of pride about its Italian-American heritage.

Exploring Little Italy

Here at Hotel Republic, you’ve got some great on-site restaurants to satisfy your appetite: Topside Terrace Kitchen & Bar up on the rooftop, Trade and Patio Marketplace for quick fuel-ups, Veranda for VIP breakfasts and happy hours. But we also certainly urge you to explore the downtown culinary landscape surrounding our Autograph Collection hotel, and perhaps the foremost place to do it is foodie-focused Little Italy.

The neighborhood is naturally a great spot for traditional Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Kettner Boulevard, meanwhile, has been nicknamed “Top Chef Alley” for its abundance of celebrity chef-established eateries, including Herb & Wood, Juniper & Ivy, and Indigo Grill. Craft-beer aficionados, meanwhile, have the esteemed Ballast Point Brewing and Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room to beeline for.

From clothing boutiques and art galleries to antique stores and salons, there’s a vibrant Little Italy shopping scene to say the least.

Throw in a whole heapful of regular events—the year-round Saturday-morning farmers market of the Little Italy Mercado, Taste of Little Italy, the Little Italy Summer Film Festival, the Mission Federal ArtWalk, and more—and you’ve got a lot one of San Diego’s most happening districts. And it’s at your fingertips as a Hotel Republic guest!

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