The downtown San Diego neighborhood of Little Italy is predominately an Italian community that has become gentrified. Today, Little Italy is a scenic neighborhood composed of mostly Italian restaurants, Italian retail shops and boutiques, home design stores, art galleries, and residential units. As one of the most active downtown neighborhoods, Little Italy is known to be one of the most vibrant parts of San Diego. The Little Italy Neighborhood Association makes sure that the streets are clean and that the common areas of town are well taken care of.
The neighborhood is situated in the northwest quadrant of downtown San Diego, north of Columbia, south of Middletown, southeast of Core, and east of Cortez Hill. It is ideally situated to a number of great landmarks and is only one trolley stop away from the Santa Fe Train Depot and two trolley stops from the American Plaza. Furthermore, the trip from Little Italy to San Diego International Airport takes at most fifteen minutes and will take residents of Little Italy from downtown San Diego to destinations around the world.
Little Italy was created as a home for Italian Fisherman who moved to San Diego from San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. The fishermen were primarily interested in tuna and other deep-sea sport and commercial fish. A number of annual events are held in order to keep the tight-knit community together and in good spirits. The majority of the events are related to the strong Italian heritage perpetuated throughout the area. In February, Little Italy Carnevale is held, headlined by a Venetian mask and costume competition alongside entertainment and retail shops. The April Art Walk is the largest such event in San Diego and is usually attended by at least 90,000 people. In May, Festivale Siciliano includes entertainment, retail stores, and especially cuisine related to Italy and especially the island of Sicily. October’s Precious Festa, the largest Italian festival outside of New York City, includes over 150 food participants, three stages of entertainment, a Corso degli Aristi Street Painting Festival, a stickball tournament, and wine gardens.