Where to shop for Small Business Saturday in San Diego


According to American Express, the creator of Small Business Saturday, the number of Californians who plan to shop small during the annual holiday event is on the rise. The survey showed that of the 61% of Americans who are aware of the event, 82% of them plan to shop at small, independently-owned retailers during the eighth annual event.

Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday.

(Charlie Neuman / U-T San Diego)

“Beyond visiting their favorite go-to spots, shoppers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to visit places they have not been to before and would not have otherwise tried,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, executive vice president, Global Advertising & Brand Management at American Express.

Around San Diego, businesses and shoppers are taking note of Small Business Saturday’s popularity with fun, new ways to support local communities. The following is a list of places and events around San Diego to shop small this year.

Adams Avenue Spirits Stroll

Sip your way through a day of shopping during the third annual Adams Avenue Spirit Stroll. For $19, sample holiday themed cocktails curated by area bars/restaurants and served at a dozen Adams Avenue retail locations. Some of the participating locations include Cal Coast Bicycles, La Loupe Vintage, Zac’s Attic, Kiko and Sven, and drinks will be served by Air Conditioned Lounge, Beerfish, Kensington Club, Polite Provisions and Sycamore Den, among others.

Various locations along Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, North Park and Kensington,


With a unifying message of “Be a neighborhood champion”, this North County event will feature a basket draw (tickets awarded for purchases made at participating businesses), discounts, shop specials and other surprise giveaways. The Cardiff 101 booth will be located outside of Seaside Market and Steve Burrows of Burrito Art will be painting a VW Bus Utility Box behind Seaside Market on the corner of Newcastle and Liverpool.

North Courtyard of Cardiff Town Center, 2033 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea,


The Hillcrest Business Association will be hosting a #ShopSmall #WelcomeStation located at the corner of Fifth and University avenues. Complete with treats and entertianment, there will be a gift wrapping station (for small donation) and if you show your receipt from any purchase between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from any participating business, get a free goodie bag (limited to first 200 people).

Various locations around Hillcrest,

Liberty Station

Find a little bit of everything for everyone on your shopping list at Liberty Station. From handmade jewelry to comic books, unique artwork and artisan foods the day will be filled with special deals from participating businesses, including Moniker General, Moment Bicycles, 7Stitches Ethnic Jewelry and Point Loma Tea, among others.

Liberty Station, Point Loma,

Little Italy

Snag a “Shop Small, Shop Little Italy Passport,” and let it be a guide to participating Little Italy businesses offering great deals. As a tip of the iceberg, some businesses to watch out for include Vocabulary (which will donate 30% of net proceeds to the American Red Cross), Simply Luminous, Love & Aesthetics, Cafe Italia and ApotheBeauty.

Various locations around Little Italy,

Small Business Saturday in Little Italy.

Small Business Saturday in Little Italy.

(K.C. Alfred / U-T San Diego)

Merry Makers Fair

Can’t get enough of Small Business Saturday? Then this is your place. The two-day Merry Makers Fair, held inside Artist Alley in downtown Oceanside brings together 24 area makers for a pop-up event. Find jewelry, adult and children’s clothing, candles, art from the likes of Bottles by the Beach, La Flaca Designs, Find The Happy, Glam by Glad, Oceanside Candle Company and many more.

Artist Alley, downtown Oceanside,

North Park

The hunt is on. Roam around the hip shopping district of North Park and participate in the annual Small Business Scavenger Hunt, where contestants have the chance to win $300. Free clue cards describe 12 local North Park shops and attractions that became available on Nov. 18 and wraps up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 25 with the final clue reveal on social media (Facebook, Instragram and Twitter) that day.

It’s anybody’s game until all 12 spots are identified and visited and clue cards turned in at the North Park Main Street booth at Ray Street and University Avenue. Clue cards can be picked up at North Park Thursday Market, Tostadas, City Tacos, Verbatim Books, Stubborn Goat Bike Shop and Simply Local.

Various locations around North Park,

Spilling out onto the sidewalk, will also be the annual Holiday Art Market, which puts local artists on display while offering affordable, small works of art. Read more about the event here.

The Studio Door, 3750 30th St., North Park,

Ocean Beach

Before you shop, get your free bag and other goodies from the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association at the grassy area near Abbott Street and Newport Avenue. The neighborhood’s month-long Passport to OB contest launches on Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 20. For a list of participating business, which all have free passports to hand out, go to

4800-5000 blocks of Newport Avenue along the waterfront, Ocean Beach,

Pacific Beach

Fill your bags with local goods, then relax on the beach (after all, it’s supposed to be in the 80s for Thanksgiving weekend). Some of the retailers participating in the Pacific Beach Small Business Saturday include Petite Street Children’s Boutique, Randall’s Sandals, South Coast Surf Shops, California Sock Company and Pangaea Outpost.

Around Pacific Beach,

Seaport Village

This Small Business Saturday event is totally tubular. The surf’s up when Santa catches a wave in his beach-casual boardshorts as he rides into Seaport Village for this 12th annual event. Photo ops run from 1-5 p.m., plus kids crafts, live street performances, opportunities to support more than 50 small shops and restaurants, including Pasqual Winery & Tasting Room, Tervis, Wyland Galleries and Urban Girl.

Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Dr., downtown,

Catch Surfin' Santa on Nov. 25 at Seaport Village.

Catch Surfin’ Santa on Nov. 25 at Seaport Village.

(Misael Virgen / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Taste of the Season

Sip, listen and shop. From noon to 3 p.m. Bernardo Winery will have live music from Whitney Shay, plus complimentary holiday appetizers and drink samples at the Village Shops.

Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte, Rancho Bernardo,


Mission Brewery

One of San Diego’s oldest breweries will offer a Small Business Saturday Happy Hour that includes half-off beers from 5-7 p.m. as a thank you to shoppers for supporting local businesses.

1441 L St., East Village,

Benchmark Brewing Company

Grab a pint, a bite and a gift during #shopsmall at Benchmark Brewing Company just east of SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley. Several local artisans will have unique gifts for sale, including MetalChik, RUST, Sugar Mama and Proper Apothecary. And there will be some new and discounted Benchmark merchandise for the beer lover on your shopping list.

6190 Fairmont Ave., Mission Valley,


Shopping experiences in San Diego’s stylish neighborhoods

Holiday Art Market brings affordable, unique gifts to North Park