Little Italy is one of San Diego's oldest neighborhoods. In the 1920's, Little Italy flourished as Italian families worked hard to make San Diego into a tuna fishing mecca, however with the decline of the tuna industry and destruction of part of the area due to the construction of nearby Interstate 5, the once proud neighborhood fell into decline.
Today, with new vitality and a fresh attitude, Little Italy has risen to become one of San Diego's most celebrated neighborhoods. Because of its proximity to the Embarcadero and the prominent Gaslamp Quarter in downtown, Little Italy has become a very popular tour destination for food and shopping. Some of San Diego's best restaurants and shops are located in the Little Italy neighborhood.
To celebrate Mardi Gras, Little Italy celebrates with the Carnevale. This event pays homage to the Carnevale in Venice with venetian masks, costumes, and lively entertainment.
In April, the Mission Federal ArtWalk takes place showcasing various forms of art, such as photography, painting, and jewelry. The Gran Fondo is also in April and thousands of bicyclists line up at the starting line under the historic Little Italy sign before racing through the streets of San Diego.
The very first Italian festival ever held in Little Italy is the Sicilian Festival, which takes place every May with music, dance, culture, and delicious cuisine. It is one of San Diego's largest festivals and attracts thousands of visitors to the Little Italy neighborhood. Food is what defines Little Italy and every May (and again in November) is the Taste of Little Italy, where participants pay to sample food from many local restaurants.
In September, the time honored East Coast game of stickball comes to the streets of Little Italy for the Labor Day Stickball Tournament. Cheer on teams as they battle it out to find out who is king of the block!
With over 150 food and arts & crafts booths, three stages of entertainment, street painting, a stickball exhibition, bocce ball tournaments, and of course beer and wine gardens, the Little Italy Festa is the largest Italian festival outside of New York City. The Festa takes place every October, as well as the Bulls of St. Agata Charge Little Italy. This event showcases over 50 Lamborghinis from all over the United States.
The year ends with the annual Little Italy Tree lighting and Christmas Village event. Santa Claus kicks off the festivities by riding through the streets on a fire engine. It's a very family-friendly event and everyone is welcome!
These are just some of the many events that take place in Little Italy, but aside from festivals, there is always something to do in Little Italy. Whether it's for food, shopping, or entertainment, any time of the year is a good time to visit Little Italy in San Diego.