assorted balloons on white concrete building during daytime
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What to Buy in San Diego: 21 Best Souvenirs in San Diego


You’re in luck, I have done extensive research about San Diego, and I’m going to highlight the best souvenirs from the Birthplace of California!

If you’re wondering what to buy in San Diego — stick around; I’m going to show you the 21 most unique San Diego souvenirs to buy on your trip.

San Diego is located in Southern California, right on the border with Mexico. As the second largest city in California and one with Mexican heritage, San Diego boasts a range of unique souvenirs, gifts, and keepsakes you’ll want to bring home!

There are several iconic places in San Diego for exploring and souvenir shopping, including the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, and the Gaslamp Quarter. As a popular destination, San Diego makes finding authentic souvenirs easy.

Ready to discover what to buy in San Diego? Let’s get to this list with the top 21 souvenirs to buy in San Diego, California.

What to Buy in San Diego: Food & Drink

Temecula Olive Oil

clear glass cruet bottle
Temecula Olive Oil is a practical gift from San Diego.

Located just a short drive from San Diego, Temecula is renowned for its golden elixir – olive oil. This region, blessed with a Mediterranean climate, produces some of the finest olive oils in the country.

Warm days and cool nights create the perfect environment for olive trees to flourish, resulting in an oil that’s rich, aromatic, and bursting with flavor.

What makes Temecula Olive Oil stand out is its dedication to quality. From hand-picking the olives to employing a meticulous cold-pressing process, every step ensures that you’re getting a premium product.

Where to buy Temecula Olive Oil in San Diego: Bazaar Del Mundo (Map) where the Temecula Olive Oil Company store is located. You should visit it when you are in the Old Town San Diego State Park, which is one of the must-see places in San Diego.

San Diego Micro-Brewed Beers

black glass bottles on table top
Beer lovers at home will appreciate locally brewed beer.

San Diego is often hailed as the craft beer capital of America. With its myriad of microbreweries dotting the cityscape, it’s a haven for beer enthusiasts.

The city takes pride in producing high-quality, artisanal brews. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, there’s a flavor profile for every palate.

For those keen on diving deep, brewery tours offer a behind-the-scenes look. Here, you can witness the brewing process, meet the brewers, and of course, sample some exceptional beers.

More than just a drink, micro-brewed beers have become a cultural staple in San Diego. They represent the city’s innovative spirit and its commitment to excellence in every pour.

Where to buy craft beer in San Diego: Gaslamp Quarter (Map) and its surrounding streets have uncountable great breweries. You can taste the beer beforehand and then pick up some bottles to take home with you.

Locally Roasted Coffee

coffee bean lot
You can find numerous specialty coffee roasters in San Diego.

Locally roasted coffee offers a freshness that’s hard to match. Beans are often roasted in small batches, ensuring that each sip is as flavorful as possible. This attention to detail brings out the unique characteristics of each bean variety.

For coffee enthusiasts, visiting local roasteries can be an enlightening experience. It’s a chance to learn about the roasting process, the origin of the beans, and the passion behind every roast.

Supporting local roasters also means supporting local businesses and communities. It’s a sustainable choice that benefits both the environment and the economy.

Where to buy locally roasted coffee in San Diego: Cafe Moto (Map) – you can try house-roasted coffee right there and if you like it, buy some to take home from your trip.

Wine from Temecula Valley

people tossing their clear wine glasses
There are 47 wineries in the Temecula wine country and each has its unique flavor.

Nestled in Southern California, Temecula Valley is a wine lover’s paradise. Its rolling hills and sun-kissed terrains create the perfect backdrop for vineyards to flourish.

The region’s unique microclimate, characterized by warm days and cool nights, allows grapes to ripen to perfection. This results in wines with rich flavors, balanced acidity, and a distinct character.

Visitors to Temecula Valley are often enchanted by its boutique wineries. Each offers a unique experience, from intimate tastings to tours that delve into the art of winemaking.

Reds, whites, and rosés – the variety is vast. But what truly sets Temecula wines apart is the passion behind every bottle. Local winemakers are dedicated to their craft, ensuring that each vintage tells a story.

Gourmet Chocolates and Sweets

opened box of chocolate
Gourmet chocolate shops offer handcrafted confections for anyone with a sweet tooth.

The world of gourmet chocolates and sweets is a delightful journey for the senses. Each bite promises a burst of flavors, textures, and memories that linger.

Crafted with precision and artistry, gourmet chocolates stand out for their depth of flavor. From dark, intense cocoa notes to creamy, melt-in-your-mouth textures, they are a testament to the chocolatier’s skill and passion.

Whether gifted or savored personally, gourmet chocolates and sweets elevate everyday moments into special occasions.

Where to buy chocolate in San Diego: Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop (Map) has a great selection of chocolate squares, bars & baskets. You can find also smaller and local chocolatiers if you wish for something more unique.

Baja Fish Tacos Seasoning

taco pizza
Make your own Baja Fish Tacos when you get home with these authentic spices.

Baja Fish Tacos are a culinary icon, and their magic lies in the seasoning. This blend of spices captures the essence of Baja California’s vibrant coastal cuisine.

At the heart of the seasoning is a mix of earthy spices, zesty citrus notes, and a hint of heat. It’s designed to complement the delicate flavors of fish, enhancing without overpowering.

When sprinkled on fresh fish and grilled to perfection, the seasoning transforms a simple dish into a flavor-packed delight. The result? Crispy, succulent fish with a burst of Baja in every bite.

Beyond tacos, this versatile seasoning can be a game-changer. It’s equally delicious on shrimp, chicken, or even vegetables. It’s not just a spice mix; it’s an invitation to explore the rich culinary traditions of Baja California.

What to Buy in San Diego: Art & Handicrafts

Beach-Inspired Jewelry

person wearing blue and white beaded bracelets
You can find simple or exquisite jewelry made of sea shells, silver, gold, and precious stones in San Diego.

San Diego, with its pristine beaches and oceanic charm, has inspired a unique genre of souvenirs: beach-inspired jewelry. These pieces capture the essence of the city’s coastal beauty, making them a perfect memento for visitors.

Crafted with elements like seashells, beach glass, and sand, each piece tells a story of sun-soaked days and balmy nights by the Pacific. Whether it’s a delicate seashell necklace, a wave-shaped ring, or a bracelet adorned with ocean hues, the craftsmanship reflects San Diego’s laid-back beach vibe.

Wearing this jewelry is like carrying a piece of San Diego with you. It serves as a beautiful reminder of the city’s azure waters, golden sands, and the rhythmic sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Where to buy beach-inspired jewelry in San Diego: in Gaslamp Artisan Market (Map) you’ll find all kinds of artsy handmade souvenirs, including jewelry. Or you can try specialty shops if you are searching for something more precious.

Beach Towel

person sitting on seashore
You can buy a new beach towel when you arrive in San Diego and then keep it as a souvenir.

San Diego’s pristine beaches are a major draw, and what better way to remember those sun-soaked days than with a quintessential beach towel?

It’s not just a functional item; in San Diego, it’s a canvas of coastal memories.

Local stores offer a range of towels adorned with vibrant designs, from iconic San Diego landmarks to playful marine life motifs.

Each towel captures the essence of the city’s beach culture, making it a perfect keepsake.

Where to buy a beach towel in San Diego: while you can buy beach towels in local markets or small shops near all of the major beaches, I recommend checking out the unique designs in Sand Cloud Towels (Map) near the Pacific beach.

Handmade Beer Glasses

two glasses of beer on a table
Bring home beer glasses that are made in San Diego to remember your trip each time you serve a drink.

San Diego’s craft beer scene is nothing short of legendary, and to truly savor those brews, you need the perfect vessel. Enter the city’s collection of handmade beer glasses, a testament to its rich brewing heritage.

Local artisans craft these glasses with precision and passion. Each piece, with its unique design and finish, tells a story of San Diego’s love for beer.

From intricate etchings of the city’s skyline to playful motifs inspired by the Pacific, these glasses are a blend of art and functionality.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these handmade glasses are designed to enhance the beer-drinking experience. Their shape and contour are tailored to accentuate the flavors and aromas of the brew.

Where to buy a handmade beer glass in San Diego: Liberty Public Market (Map) is a public market with lots of eateries, craft beer places, and handicraft sellers. Try finding your perfect beer glass here!

Baja Blankets

man laying on seashore
Mexican textiles are fun and versatile. You can use the blanket on the beach and then bring it home as a keepsake.

San Diego’s connection to Baja California is undeniable, and one of the most cherished tokens of this bond is the Baja blanket. Woven with vibrant hues and traditional patterns, these blankets encapsulate the warmth and spirit of the region.

Often crafted from a blend of soft cotton and acrylic, Baja blankets are both cozy and durable. Their designs, rooted in indigenous artistry, showcase geometric patterns and vivid color palettes, making each blanket a standout piece.

Perfect for beach picnics, chilly nights, or even as a home decor accent, these blankets are as versatile as they are beautiful. Their timeless appeal ensures they fit seamlessly into various settings, from modern homes to rustic cabins.

Where to buy Baja blankets in San Diego: Bazaar Del Mundo (Map) is a colorful outdoor shopping mall featuring stores selling Mexican decor, clothing, and housewares, as well as eateries.

Soaps and Candles

assorted bar soaps
Beach-inspired soap design will remind you of your trip to San Diego.

San Diego’s coastal ambiance and natural beauty inspire a myriad of artisanal creations, and among the most practical are handcrafted soaps and candles. These products, often infused with local ingredients, encapsulate the essence of the city.

Artisans in the area harness the scents of the Pacific, blending them with fragrances like eucalyptus, citrus, and lavender. The result? Soaps that not only cleanse but also transport you to San Diego’s serene beaches with every lather.

Complementing these are candles, hand-poured and set to perfection. They illuminate spaces with a gentle glow, releasing fragrances reminiscent of San Diego’s landscapes. From sunsets over the ocean to the bloom of desert flowers, each candle tells a sensory story.

Where to buy soaps and candles in San Diego: While you can find soaps and candles in any craft market, I recommend checking out Ye Olde Soap Shoppe (Map). There is a large selection of creative handmade soaps, hand cremes, and lotions.

What to Buy in San Diego: Clothing


women's four sun hats on table
You can find original hats with San Diego motives in craft markets and boutique shops.

San Diego, with its sun-kissed beaches and outdoor adventures, makes the hat more than just an accessory; it’s an essential.

As you stroll through the city’s bustling markets and boutique stores, you’ll discover a diverse array of hats that capture San Diego’s vibrant spirit.

From wide-brimmed sun hats, perfect for a day at the beach, to stylish caps adorned with San Diego’s iconic landmarks, there’s a hat for every traveler and occasion.

Local artisans often incorporate sustainable materials, ensuring that each piece is both fashionable and eco-friendly.

Where to buy hats in San Diego: For a fun experience you can go to Village Hat Shop (Map) which sells specifically hats.

Day of the Dead Apron

Day of the Dead apron in a souvenir shop
You can use the colorful Day of the Dead apron as a nice accessory in your kitchen at home.

San Diego’s cultural tapestry is richly woven with influences from its Mexican neighbors, and one standout representation is the Day of the Dead Apron. This vibrant kitchen accessory is more than just functional; it’s a celebration of life and tradition.

Featuring colorful designs inspired by the Dia de los Muertos festivities, these aprons often showcase intricate patterns of skulls, marigolds, and other symbolic elements. Each detail pays homage to the age-old tradition of honoring departed loved ones.

Crafted with care, the aprons are not only visually striking but also durable, making them perfect for both cooking enthusiasts and those who appreciate cultural artistry.


woman standing near seashore
A T-shirt is a classic souvenir. What makes it special is the design that you choose.

San Diego’s vibrant scenes and iconic landmarks find their way onto T-shirt designs, making them a favorite memento for visitors.

San Diego’s T-shirts range from showcasing its stunning coastline and surf culture to highlighting its historic sites and local events. The designs often carry a touch of local humor, wit, or artistic flair, ensuring that each piece stands out.

Made with comfort in mind, these shirts are not only stylish but also soft to the touch, perfect for reliving San Diego memories on a casual day out.

What to Buy in San Diego: Other

Military Memorabilia

US flag on top of gray building
USS Midway is a must-see museum in San Diego. Don’t forget to visit its gift shop!

San Diego’s deep-rooted military history, especially its ties to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, has given rise to a unique collection of military memorabilia. For history enthusiasts and patriots alike, these items connect to the city’s proud defense legacy.

Visitors can find a range of collectibles, from replica ship models and vintage naval patches to challenge coins and commemorative pins. Here you can find things you can only buy in San Diego.

The USS Midway Museum store, for instance, offers an array of artifacts and souvenirs that honor naval aviation history.

For Marine Corps mementos, the MCRD Museum has a selection that celebrates the rich traditions of the Marines.

Each piece of memorabilia serves as a tribute to the brave men and women who’ve served, reflecting San Diego’s enduring respect and gratitude for its military community.

Where to buy military memorabilia in San Diego: Military-related museums usually have gift shops where you can find military memorabilia. Check out the USS Midway Museum gift shop (Map) and the MCRD Museum store (Map).

San Diego Padres Gear

person holding black and yellow glass ball
The San Diego Padres baseball team has plenty of merchandise to choose from.

For sports enthusiasts, San Diego Padres gear is a must-have when visiting this vibrant city.

The Padres, San Diego’s beloved Major League Baseball team, have a range of merchandise that captures the spirit of the city and the passion of its baseball fans.

From classic baseball caps featuring the iconic Padres logo to jerseys, T-shirts, and hoodies, there’s something for every fan.

These items not only showcase team pride but also serve as a stylish reminder of your time in San Diego.

Where to buy San Diego Padres gear in San Diego: The team store at Petco Park (Map), the home of the Padres, is an ideal spot to find an extensive selection of gear.

Pet Clothes

adult brown Golden retriever with Star & Stripes scarf lying on green grass
Pet clothes and accessories are popular souvenirs from San Diego.

In San Diego, the love for pets is as big as the city itself, and this affection is beautifully showcased in the variety of pet clothes available. These adorable garments are not just fashion statements; they reflect the city’s fun and playful spirit.

From beach-themed dog shirts to cozy sweaters with San Diego’s iconic landmarks, there’s an outfit for every furry friend.

These pet clothes are more than just garments; they’re a way for pet owners to share their San Diego experiences with their four-legged companions.

Where to buy pet clothes in San Diego: Local pet boutiques, like EarthWise Pet Supply (Map) offer a range of stylish and comfortable options that cater to pets of all sizes. You should also check out Paw Pleasers Dog Bakery (Map) if you wish to bring back home some dog treats.

Surf Wax

a person holding a map
If you are a surfer, you can renew your surf wax collection in San Diego.

San Diego’s reputation as a surfing mecca is well-deserved, and no surfer’s kit is complete without a trusty bar of surf wax. This essential accessory, while seemingly simple, plays a crucial role in enhancing grip on the surfboard, making those waves a bit more manageable.

Local surf shops in San Diego offer a variety of surf waxes, each formulated for the region’s specific water temperatures. From cool to tropical blends, there’s a wax for every season and surf condition.

Picking up a bar or two of San Diego’s finest surf wax is not just practical for surfers; it’s also a nod to the city’s rich surf culture. Compact and easy to carry, it’s the perfect memento for both seasoned wave riders and those looking to start their surfing journey.

Where to buy surf wax in San Diego: There are uncountable surf shops in the city and near the beaches. Check out Bird Rock Surf Shop (Map) in La Jolla for a relaxed environment, great surfing tips, and a wide selection of surfboards and accessories.

Postcards, Key Chains, and Magnets

a hallway with many games on the shelves
Postcards, keychains, and magnets are classic souvenirs that you can easily find in must-see places in San Diego.

Among the most popular and pocket-friendly keepsakes are postcards, key chains, and magnets.

Postcards often feature stunning shots of San Diego’s iconic landmarks, from the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the serene La Jolla Cove. They’re perfect for sharing your adventures with loved ones or for framing as a mini artwork.

Key chains, on the other hand, come in a variety of designs, from surfboards and palm trees to intricate representations of the city’s skyline. They’re functional, stylish, and a daily reminder of your time in the city.

Magnets are a favorite for many travelers. Adorned with vibrant graphics or 3D designs, they’re a delightful addition to any fridge or magnetic board, keeping the spirit of San Diego alive in your home.

Best Shopping in San Diego

San Diego, often referred to as “America’s Finest City,” offers a shopping experience as diverse and vibrant as its culture. From world-famous attractions to quaint neighborhoods, there’s a treasure trove of souvenirs waiting to be discovered.

Here’s a guide to some of the best places to shop for souvenirs in San Diego:

Gaslamp Quarter

This historic neighborhood, with its Victorian-era buildings and lively atmosphere, is a shopper’s paradise.

Boutiques here offer a mix of contemporary fashion, artisanal crafts, and San Diego-themed souvenirs.

Don’t forget to pick up some locally-made art or jewelry as a chic reminder of your visit.

Gaslamp Quarter (Map) is located in downtown San Diego.

Old Town San Diego

Step into California’s history in Old Town, where Mexican heritage meets the Wild West. This is a must-see place for couples and families.

The vibrant marketplaces here are filled with handcrafted pottery, traditional Mexican attire, and spicy salsas.

Baja blankets and Day of the Dead-themed items are among the top picks for visitors. You can find some of the best San Diego souvenirs in the Old Town market.

Old Town San Diego (Map) is located near downtown San Diego.

Spanish Village Art Center

Spanish Village Art Center
Visit the Spanish Village Art Center midweek to avoid crowds and see artists at work. It’s a perfect spot to find unique, handcrafted souvenirs and engage with San Diego’s creative community.

Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park is a hidden gem for souvenir shopping in San Diego. This colorful and vibrant spot, designed to mimic a traditional Spanish village, is a haven for art enthusiasts and souvenir hunters alike. It’s also a fun place in Balboa Park that you can visit for free.

Established in 1935, the village hosts over 200 local artisans. Each studio offers unique, handcrafted items, making it the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. From intricate ceramics and glasswork to stunning jewelry and fine art, the diversity of crafts available is astounding.

What sets the Spanish Village apart is the opportunity to meet the artists. Visitors can watch them at work, offering a personal connection to the souvenirs they take home.

Spanish Village Art Center (Map) is located in Balboa Park.

San Diego Zoo

Nestled in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is not just a haven for wildlife enthusiasts but also for shoppers.

The zoo’s gift shops are filled with unique items, from plush animal toys and eco-friendly apparel to intricate wildlife-themed jewelry.

These souvenirs serve as a reminder of the conservation efforts and the incredible biodiversity the zoo champions.

San Diego Zoo (Map) is located in the Balboa park.

USS Midway Museum

A visit to this historic aircraft carrier is like stepping back in time. The museum’s store offers a range of military memorabilia, including model ships, challenge coins, and apparel adorned with the USS Midway insignia.

For history buffs, books and documentaries detailing naval warfare and aviation are a must-have.

USS Midway Museum (Map) is located in downtown San Diego at Navy Pier.

SeaWorld San Diego

This marine theme park combines entertainment with education. The gift shops here reflect the park’s marine conservation ethos.

Popular souvenirs include ocean-inspired jewelry, eco-friendly tote bags, and toys modeled after the park’s star attractions.

SeaWorld San Diego (Map) is located in Mission Bay Park.

La Jolla

This upscale seaside neighborhood is known for its luxury boutiques and art galleries.

While here, shoppers often gravitate towards beach-inspired decor, handcrafted jewelry, and designer apparel.

La Jolla’s picturesque views also make it a popular spot for postcards and prints.

To get to La Jolla you can use public transportation or your own car. If you arrive in San Diego by plane, it’s easy to rent a car at San Diego Airport.

La Jolla (Map) is located within the north county of San Diego.

Final Thoughts: What to Buy in San Diego California

assorted balloons on white concrete building during daytime
Old Town San Diego is a great place where to buy souvenirs from San Diego.

While this is a big list, there are many other great souvenirs from San Diego you’ll love.

Though a souvenir can be anything that reminds you of your trip, this list contains the most popular items that you can bring home from San Diego.