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Where to Shop in San Diego

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

As a destination, San Diego has taken off. Last year the city saw more visitors than ever before, and it's easy to see the appeal. Just a few hours by car or train from LA, the SoCal city a stone's throw from the Mexican border is a hotspot for gorgeous beaches and activities like surfing, hiking, and golfing. A brewery and coffee roaster boom have made San Diego a prime locale for beer and coffee lovers too, not to mention the dining scene, which offers gems like Addison and Jayne's Gastropub.

If you're in town to enjoy all of the above and then some, make sure you don't overlook the retail scene while you're at it. From vintage shops and new up-and-coming boutiques in the hip neighborhood North Park to cool concept shops in Little Italy and beyond, there's so much to fall in love with, and so much that is uniquely San Diego. While this map sticks (mostly) to the city proper, the wider metropolitan area is huge; the cute boutiques of the northern beach towns from La Jolla to Leucadia are absolutely worth exploring, too.

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Any fans of the boutique scenes in San Francisco, Brooklyn, or LA will feel right at home in Maven. Run by an SF transplant, this cute little men's, women's, and kid's lifestyle store carries labels like Lacausa and Osborn as well as more homegrown goods like Norden candles and incense, which are made in Encinitas.
Photo: Maven

Hunt & Gather

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Head to this North Park boutique for fun and flashy but very wearable vintage items, from funky printed dresses to leather jackets. It's the kind of place where you're sure to find a new favorite piece. Keep an eye out for pieces from local designers, art, and records while you're at it, too.
Photo: Hunt & Gather

La Loupe Vintage

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This small but charming vintage shop (with two locations, one in University and one in Normal Heights) is a great place to shop for boho dresses, cowboy boots, tooled leather bags, and printed men's shirts. There's a small selection of new clothes, including awesome Bandit Brand tees and great jewelry, too, along with gift-y items like essential oils, soaps, lotions, candles, patches, and records.

Gym Standard

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Undoubtedly one of San Diego's coolest men's shops, Gym Standard offers the unexpected but great mashup of everyday sneakers (think Converse and Vans), hard-to-find men's clothing labels (like Tuesday Girlfriend), artsy magazines and zines, plus plants and ceramics. The selection is small, so don't expect a huge range.

Aloha Beach Club

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Part surf shop, part home store, part men's and women's clothing label, Aloha Beach Club is another highlight in North Park. Expect stylish made-in-Hawaii apparel by the house label, selvedge denim, cool beach towels textiles by Shoots, handsome barware (including a gold pineapple cocktail shaker), and accessories from sunglasses to brass signet rings. (If you're ever in Oahu, check out the outpost there, too.)
Photo: Aloha Beach Club

Native Poppy

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If you haven't noticed yet, the combo shop is thriving in San Diego. Native Poppy and Communal Coffee are no different. Head to this combination flower shop and coffee shop for gorgeous bouquets (including a subscription service if you're a local) and top-notch beans.
Photo: Native Poppy

The Girl Can't Help It

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Rare men's and women's mid-century pieces from the '30s through the '60s fill this jewel box of a shop to the brim. Looking for something specific, or curious about the provenance of a specific dress, purses, shoe, or shirt? Just ask — proprietress Gail Higgens really knows her stuff.
Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha/Getty Images

Pigment

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Organized by color, Pigment is a huge home and gift shop stocked with all kinds of stuff, from kid's shoes to vintage-style barware. You'll definitely find something you want to take home, but at the very least, you'll have fun looking around.
Photo: Pigment

Casa Artelexia

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If you don't make it across the border, stop in Casa Artelexia for some very cool made-in-Mexico goods. The colorful items stocked here range from embroidered women's dresses and shirts to picture books for children, with a whole lot of art and homewares in between. When you're done, check out the mid-century modern furniture store connected through the back of the shop (Little Italy is a prime spot for antiquing). If you'd rather keep your shopping to North Park, head to Casa Artelexia's new outpost at 3803 Ray Street.
Photo: Casa Artelexia

Frock You!

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If you love vintage shopping, this University Heights shop filled with dresses, sweaters, jewelry, shoes, and purses is worth perusing — and there's even more outside. (If you're only meh about it, you might find this shop a little out of the way and overpriced for what it is.)

Sage Sisters

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This teeny tiny flower and gift shop, nestled between Seven Grand and Mister Brown's Barber Shop, is definitely worth a look when you're done at Aloha Beach Club across the street. In addition to pretty flowers, the shop sells cool gifts like patches, ceramic cactuses, chocolates, and more. (Want one more reason to love it? The shop donates all leftover bouquets to women's shelters.)
Photo: Sage Sisters

Geographie

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This cute little gift shop has all sorts of things you'll want to buy for others (or yourself), from Fog Linen aprons to handmade jewelry to gorgeous cutting boards. The theme of the shop is goods from artisans around the world, and the goods stocked here definitely give off a well-traveled vibe. But there's (relatively) local stuff here too, from La Jolla salts to Oakland-made beer soap.
Photo: Geographie

Moniker General

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Moniker General is another hyphenate concept shop; this time it's coffee, beer, and a lifestyle boutique. The retail selection spans a wide range of best-in-class goods from small things for the home to men's and women's apparel and accessories, bicycles, and even handmade furniture. When you're done shopping, pop across the street for beers and food at Stone Brewing, or check out the multivendor Liberty Public Market.
Photo: Moniker General

Brake & Rumble Vintage Shop

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While the peaceful, residential neighborhood of South Park has several gift shops worthy of a browse (Grafitti Beach Boutique and Make Good among them), Brake & Rumble is the only spot where you might actually find something you want to buy for yourself, for both men and women. Expect boots, jewelry, cool T-shirts, and more. Note: The shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Photo: Break & Rumble Vintage Shop

Ajax Shoppe

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Another interesting men's shop mashup, Ajax focuses on apparel, accessories, and high-end audio gear. While the wares here are cool, the best thing about it is the setting: nestled in James Coffee, where you'll also find a barber shop, bike shop, optical store, women's accessories shop, and event space.
Photo: James Coffee

5 & A Dime

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White downtown has plenty of chains you may want to shop (like Urban), 5&A Dime is one of the few indie brands worth checking out in the area. The streetwear label stocks cool tees, tanks, sweatshirts, hats, and — curveball — delicious cookies by The Good Stuff.
Photo: The Hundreds

Maven

Photo: Maven
Any fans of the boutique scenes in San Francisco, Brooklyn, or LA will feel right at home in Maven. Run by an SF transplant, this cute little men's, women's, and kid's lifestyle store carries labels like Lacausa and Osborn as well as more homegrown goods like Norden candles and incense, which are made in Encinitas.
Photo: Maven

Hunt & Gather

Photo: Hunt & Gather
Head to this North Park boutique for fun and flashy but very wearable vintage items, from funky printed dresses to leather jackets. It's the kind of place where you're sure to find a new favorite piece. Keep an eye out for pieces from local designers, art, and records while you're at it, too.
Photo: Hunt & Gather

La Loupe Vintage

This small but charming vintage shop (with two locations, one in University and one in Normal Heights) is a great place to shop for boho dresses, cowboy boots, tooled leather bags, and printed men's shirts. There's a small selection of new clothes, including awesome Bandit Brand tees and great jewelry, too, along with gift-y items like essential oils, soaps, lotions, candles, patches, and records.

Gym Standard

Undoubtedly one of San Diego's coolest men's shops, Gym Standard offers the unexpected but great mashup of everyday sneakers (think Converse and Vans), hard-to-find men's clothing labels (like Tuesday Girlfriend), artsy magazines and zines, plus plants and ceramics. The selection is small, so don't expect a huge range.

Aloha Beach Club

Photo: Aloha Beach Club
Part surf shop, part home store, part men's and women's clothing label, Aloha Beach Club is another highlight in North Park. Expect stylish made-in-Hawaii apparel by the house label, selvedge denim, cool beach towels textiles by Shoots, handsome barware (including a gold pineapple cocktail shaker), and accessories from sunglasses to brass signet rings. (If you're ever in Oahu, check out the outpost there, too.)
Photo: Aloha Beach Club

Native Poppy

Photo: Native Poppy
If you haven't noticed yet, the combo shop is thriving in San Diego. Native Poppy and Communal Coffee are no different. Head to this combination flower shop and coffee shop for gorgeous bouquets (including a subscription service if you're a local) and top-notch beans.
Photo: Native Poppy

The Girl Can't Help It

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha/Getty Images
Rare men's and women's mid-century pieces from the '30s through the '60s fill this jewel box of a shop to the brim. Looking for something specific, or curious about the provenance of a specific dress, purses, shoe, or shirt? Just ask — proprietress Gail Higgens really knows her stuff.
Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha/Getty Images

Pigment

Photo: Pigment
Organized by color, Pigment is a huge home and gift shop stocked with all kinds of stuff, from kid's shoes to vintage-style barware. You'll definitely find something you want to take home, but at the very least, you'll have fun looking around.
Photo: Pigment

Casa Artelexia

Photo: Casa Artelexia
If you don't make it across the border, stop in Casa Artelexia for some very cool made-in-Mexico goods. The colorful items stocked here range from embroidered women's dresses and shirts to picture books for children, with a whole lot of art and homewares in between. When you're done, check out the mid-century modern furniture store connected through the back of the shop (Little Italy is a prime spot for antiquing). If you'd rather keep your shopping to North Park, head to Casa Artelexia's new outpost at 3803 Ray Street.
Photo: Casa Artelexia

Frock You!

If you love vintage shopping, this University Heights shop filled with dresses, sweaters, jewelry, shoes, and purses is worth perusing — and there's even more outside. (If you're only meh about it, you might find this shop a little out of the way and overpriced for what it is.)

Sage Sisters

Photo: Sage Sisters
This teeny tiny flower and gift shop, nestled between Seven Grand and Mister Brown's Barber Shop, is definitely worth a look when you're done at Aloha Beach Club across the street. In addition to pretty flowers, the shop sells cool gifts like patches, ceramic cactuses, chocolates, and more. (Want one more reason to love it? The shop donates all leftover bouquets to women's shelters.)
Photo: Sage Sisters

Geographie

Photo: Geographie
This cute little gift shop has all sorts of things you'll want to buy for others (or yourself), from Fog Linen aprons to handmade jewelry to gorgeous cutting boards. The theme of the shop is goods from artisans around the world, and the goods stocked here definitely give off a well-traveled vibe. But there's (relatively) local stuff here too, from La Jolla salts to Oakland-made beer soap.
Photo: Geographie

Moniker General

Photo: Moniker General
Moniker General is another hyphenate concept shop; this time it's coffee, beer, and a lifestyle boutique. The retail selection spans a wide range of best-in-class goods from small things for the home to men's and women's apparel and accessories, bicycles, and even handmade furniture. When you're done shopping, pop across the street for beers and food at Stone Brewing, or check out the multivendor Liberty Public Market.
Photo: Moniker General

Brake & Rumble Vintage Shop

Photo: Break & Rumble Vintage Shop
While the peaceful, residential neighborhood of South Park has several gift shops worthy of a browse (Grafitti Beach Boutique and Make Good among them), Brake & Rumble is the only spot where you might actually find something you want to buy for yourself, for both men and women. Expect boots, jewelry, cool T-shirts, and more. Note: The shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Photo: Break & Rumble Vintage Shop

Ajax Shoppe

Photo: James Coffee
Another interesting men's shop mashup, Ajax focuses on apparel, accessories, and high-end audio gear. While the wares here are cool, the best thing about it is the setting: nestled in James Coffee, where you'll also find a barber shop, bike shop, optical store, women's accessories shop, and event space.