2019 Holiday Gift Guide

illage Hat Shop

Combating big crowds, being subjected to mall madness, trapped in parking lot chaos, and trying to find the extraordinary versus the ordinary.

Yes, holiday shopping can truly be a nightmare, but why make it any more difficult than it needs to be? We say, skip all the above and make it simple this year by staying local.

From the streets of historic downtown San Diego to the winding avenues of La Jolla, you can happen on everything you need, from fun to fabulous, for those on your holiday shopping list.

For instance, don’t buy another boring necktie for your dad or the same ugly slippers for mom. Instead of a standard box of earrings from the department store for your sister or gifting your brother-in-law more cologne he hates, go big, go bold, be different.

Take yourself out of your element and explore all the wonderful places in San Diego County for some of the best, the most unique and most unforgettable holiday gift options around.

Peruse the quaint shops and art galleries of Del Mar, stroll the antique stores in Leucadia and Encinitas for finds from yesteryear for those you love. You’ll be amazed by what you can find in places such as Hillcrest and in North Park. Maybe get your Italian on in Little Italy or spend time in Solana Beach and Coronado Island for the ultimate gifts. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t sacrifice when searching for the most remarkable holiday presents for your loved ones, family, friends and others this year. They’re worth it right? If you agree, we say run, don’t walk.

Slip on your most comfortable walking shoes grab your canvas shopping bags and fill your wallet to partake in some of the grandest holiday shopping in San Diego County—ever.

Where to shop

If you want to avoid the indoor malls, head to lovely outside shopping centers in San Diego for gifts while taking in the seasonal weather.

For example, Fashion Valley Mall offers shops such as Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus. Westfield UTC shopping center has a Bloomingdale’s outlet store and various dining choices that you can hit up in between shopping. There are also anchor stores such as Macy’s, where you can pick out a fluffy down comforter for Mom to snuggle or the latest in Cuisinart kitchen appliances. Do stop by Nordstrom for the latest in designer jeans for your sister-in-law or scoop up hip clothing for your niece. And don’t forget specialty stores like Anthropologie for unique sweaters you won’t see at regular big-box stores, Apple for the latest smartphones and Tiffany & Co. where you can buy your beloved a fab piece of jewelry that comes in its own blue box that will surely make them smile.

There’s also Westfield Horton Plaza located in the heart of Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter for the Art of Shaving and the Perfume Master. Go to Del Mar Highlands Town Center for trendy clothing and resort wear at Daisy Blue. Then in Carmel Valley, there’s Hazard Center with Barnes & Noble, to buy someone a real book they can flip through like a top New York Times bestseller or Lakeshore Learning Store for quality educational games and toys. How about a gift certificate for Ameri Nails for your best friend located at the Mission Valley Mall or something sexy from Victoria’s Secret for your wife or girlfriend?

Outlet shopping

Outlet shops almost always have great finds at good prices and San Diego is in no short supply for bargain hunters.

Visit Carlsbad Premium Outlets and step into Coach for a purse, bag or wallet or for the latest in jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters from Banana Republic all available at the popular North County Coastal area location. The Las Americas Premium Outlets has popular brands like Michael Kors, J. Crew, and Adidas all under one roof in South Bay.

Don’t forget San Diego Outlets at the Border, next to Las Americas, and search for unique items at great prices like at Armani Exchange, Express Factory Outlet, and H&M for the latest in hair accessories. In East County, Viejas Outlet Center offers high-end brands too that won’t hurt your wallet too much.

Specialty shops

Of course, specialty shopping for unique San Diego items can be unearthed at Seaport Village for fun reproduction nostalgia items, like “I Love Lucy” memorabilia at American Nostalgia and The Headquarters at Seaport on the Big Bay Embarcadero for great casual wear at Cali Strong or Coco Rose. Visit the Coronado Ferry Landing for first-class shopping, from sunglasses to sportswear, and take a trip to the Shops at the Del Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado, where time stands still.

Over at Liberty Station in Point Loma, you’ll find 7Stitches Jewelry; Apricot Yarn & Supply, and at Bazaar del Mundo and Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town, you can find out-of-the-ordinary items you won’t find anywhere else.

For the beach lover on your gift list, visit these local boutique stores that scream San Diego style: Everyday California and Surf Diva Surf School & Surf Diva Boutique.

And for off-the-beaten-path items, don’t miss the always off-the-charts boutique shops on Prospect and Girard in the beautiful seaside town of La Jolla for LF Store and Pink Lagoon.

The hip, urban boutiques in the Gaslamp Quarter or the authentic Italian groceries in Little Italy make perfect gifts. Purchase surf items from Atacama and albums of yesteryear or funky hats in Hillcrest. North Park has unique Mexican crafts and decor at Artelexia, and don’t miss South Park’s Bad Madge & Co. for vintage furnishings art, fashion, accessories, collectibles, shoes, hats, home goods and more.

Encinitas and Carlsbad have a few antique stores still standing for those rare items of yesteryear, like a set of dishes from another time period at Olde Ivy Antiques or a for a cornucopia of unusual and great finds try Caldwell’s Antique in Leucadia for those on your list who have everything.

If all else fails and you don’t have the time, stamina or wherewithal to get yourself up from the sofa and watching all those holiday movies on Hallmark, there’s always online shopping at any of the above or, of course, Amazon.

Be safe, be responsible and enjoy the holiday season and all that comes with it from the gift-giving and holiday sweets to what’s most important when all is said and done—spending time with those you care and love.