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Shop 'Til You Drop in San Diego
  San Diego Travel News ( Press Release )

Shopping enthusiasts can find major league "shop-portunities" at San Diego's various shopping districts, major malls, museum gift shops and antique stores. Unrivaled bargain shopping also abounds in neighboring Mexico.
Following are some of San Diego's popular shopping opportunities by region, where colorful and multi-cultural shopping experiences tempt savvy consumers.
* In the heart of downtown, throughout the 161/2-block historic Gaslamp Quarter, quirky boutiques offering ethnic, cutting-edge and vintage fashions rub elbows with established retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Lucky Brand Dungarees. Shops serve up unusual trinkets for house and home - from San Diego Hardware's huge selection of antique drawer knobs to Z Gallerie's gallery of modern furnishings. Unusual shopping opportunities abound, from fun and funky hair at San Diego Wigs to cigars hand-rolled on site at Cuban Cigar Factory. www.gaslamp.org
* Westfield Shoppingtown Horton Plaza offers 61/2 city blocks of open-air shopping in a dramatic architectural setting that calls to mind a Technicolor M.C. Escher drawing. With its five staggered levels, Horton Plaza offers 140 specialty shops, restaurants and attractions, including a 14-screen movie theater, live theater performances at the Lyceum Theater, three major department stores and a multi-layered food court. www.westfield.com
* Seaport Village, a 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex along San Diego Bay, recreates a California harbor setting of a century ago. With four miles of meandering cobblestone pathways, ponds, fountains and lush landscaping, Seaport Village offers more than 55 theme shops, four award-winning restaurants and 13 sidewalk cafes. www.spvillage.com
* Across San Diego Bay on Coronado peninsula, the San Diego-Coronado Ferry docks at the Ferry Landing Marketplace. The original ferryboat-landing site has been redeveloped as a $6.5 million retail and specialty/entertainment complex, featuring waterfront dining and one-of-a-kind shops. www.sdhe.com
* Coronado's historically preserved downtown offers one-of-a-kind specialty shops, bookstores, antique shops, home and garden stores and gourmet food shops. www.coronadohistory.org
* Coronado's destination hotels round out the island's shopping options. At the historic Hotel del Coronado, 30 stores make up the Galleria Shops, offering men's, women's and children's clothing, as well as collectibles, antiques, souvenirs and toys. The Del recently launched a new online shopping venue at www.delshop.com, where shoppers can purchase Del merchandise with the click of a mouse. www.hoteldelcoronado.com
* Loews Coronado Bay Resort also features a line of specialty shops offering toys, gourmet food, regional art, spa amenities and gifts. www.loewshotels.com
* Nestled in Old Town State Historic Park, Bazaar del Mundo, a 30-year-old shopping and dining institution, is a popular destination for food, folklore and fun. Translated as "marketplace of the world," Bazaar del Mundo is known for its celebration of San Diego's rich Hispanic heritage and features 16 international shops and five award-winning restaurants. Here, shoppers can find Mexican gifts without ever crossing the border, as well as a dazzling array of ethnic clothing, jewelry, pottery, furnishings and many other international treasures. www.bazaardelmundo.com
* Also in the heart of Old Town is the Old Town Esplanade, offering specialty shops, restaurants, galleries and a southwestern marketplace. www.oldtownsandiego.org
Once home to San Diego's flourishing tuna fishing industry and generations of Italian families who made their living on the sea, Little Italy is a quaint and lively neighborhood in downtown San Diego.
* Located along India Street, the main thoroughfare, are patio cafes, restaurants, pubs, art galleries and shops sure to please people watchers as well as serious "shopaholics." Niche Boutique and Sorella Boutique offer stylish options in women's clothing, accessories and shoes. Both Cathedral Home and Boomerang for Modern have unique furnishings and accents for the home. www.littleitalysd.com
Mission Valley is the site of San Diego's major malls, which complement the region's specialty shopping districts, and offer items suited for everyone's gift list and budget. * Hazard Center is a specialty center with Barnes & Noble, independent movies at Madstone Theaters and fine dining in a variety of restaurants.
* Fashion Valley Shopping Center, a two-level, open-air complex, showcases major department stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, while featuring nearly 200 specialty and retail shops, such as Tiffany & Co. and MAC Cosmetics. Fashion Valley also offers eight restaurants, 13 bistro cafés and an 18-screen theater. www.shopfashionvalleymall.com
* Westfield Shoppingtown Mission Valley features more than 100 specialty stores, three major department stores, several restaurants and a 20-screen theatre complex in an open-air setting. www.westfield.com
Hillcrest, home to San Diego's gay and lesbian community, offers an exciting uptown district.
* Strolling along its main thoroughfares, University Avenue and the tree-lined Fifth Avenue, shoppers can soak up quaint neighborhood charm while browsing through urban-style boutiques and vintage shops stocked with books, clothes and records. Highlights include Mint for the fashion forward footwear and Buffalo Exchange for the hippest in retro clothes.
* Sometimes called the "Rodeo Drive" of San Diego, La Jolla's Prospect Street overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is lined with small specialty shops, boutiques, antique emporiums and art galleries. Offering elegant, designer fashions in sophisticated apparel shops, La Jolla is also known for its exquisite and original fine jewelry of magnificent and brilliant gems. www.lajollabythesea.com
* In La Jolla's Golden Triangle, between Interstates 5 and 805, Westfield Shoppingtown UTC offers visitors a unique mix of 155 specialty stores, services and award-winning restaurants in an open-air setting. www.westfield.com
* Farther north in Del Mar, the European-style retail village Del Mar Plaza is nestled gently into a hillside along the coast with walkways of Old World stone winding amid boutiques, galleries and restaurants with ocean view piazzas. www.delmarplaza.com
* Nestled beside the picturesque Flower Fields of Carlsbad California, Carlsbad Company Stores is home to more than 95 name-brand discount outlets, making it the largest, most diverse outlet center in San Diego County. With name brands such as Barney's of New York, Donna Karen, Banana Republic, OshKosh B'Gosh and Crate and Barrel shoppers can find quality merchandise while saving up to 70 percent of department store prices. www.carlsbadcompanystores.com
* Located on the Viejas Indian Reservation, Viejas Outlet Center features 57 outlet stores, including big names like Nike, Samsonite, The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Black & Decker. Bargains aside, the Center's striking Southwestern architecture, splashing waterfalls and intricate tilework create a relaxed shopping atmosphere. In the evenings, guests can enjoy laser-light and music shows before wrapping up their day in the Center's outdoor amphitheater. www.viejas.com
* Strategically located on the world's busiest border crossing-San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico-with more than 86 million crossings per year, Las Americas includes a 625-square-foot open-air retail outlet mall, featuring decorative esplanades, inviting courtyards and festive public plazas. Retail outlet stores include Tommy Hilfiger, The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Polo Jeans, Liz Claiborne, Nike and more.
* Slated for completion in 2004, Phase Two of Las Americas will include the building of the Bridge of the Americas, a landmark suspension bridge utilizing the latest in technology and design that will link the U.S. and Mexico. www.lasamericas.com
TIJUANA, MEXICO Some of the region's best bargains can be found south of the border in Tijuana, Mexico. For visitors who choose to drive into Tijuana, car insurance is easily available and recommended.
* Mexican clothing, jewelry, leather, pottery and tequila are just a sampling of bargain gift items available in this festive, international city. Tijuana is a duty-free zone. You can pay with U.S. currency, pesos, traveler's checks or major credit cards. U.S. residents may return home with up to $400 worth of merchandise, including one liter of alcoholic beverages (if over 21), 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes. Some merchandise, such as certain fruits, vegetables, and products from endangered species, is not permitted. www.tijuanaonline.org
* With hundreds of antique dealers in six malls, the Ocean Beach Antique District, located along the 4800 block of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, offers the largest concentration of antique and collectable dealers in San Diego County. The district offers shoppers an array of unique, eclectic retail settings and features one-of-a-kind antiques, mid-century modern furniture, fine estate, vintage jewelry and specialty memorabilia. www.oceanbeachsandiego.org
* San Diego's thriving agricultural industry produces more than 200 edible crops that are on display and for sale at farmer's markets located throughout the region. Originating from regional farms, the markets offer the freshest fruits and vegetables, colorful flowers, herbs from organic gardens and more, while providing shoppers an opportunity to discuss the produce one-on-one with the merchants. The County's farmer's markets are certified by the State Department of Agriculture, ensuring that all produce is grown in California and meets all the State's quality standards. www.sdfarmbureau.org
San Diego County boasts approximately 90 museums, historic sites and monuments, with Balboa Park featuring 15 world-class institutions.
* San Diego's multitude of museums stock innovative and unique gifts for shoppers who love arts and culture. Museum books, posters, calendars, jewelry and artistic reproductions present creative gift selections. www.balboapark.org
* All types of merchandise bargains are found at Kobey's Swap Meet, San Diego's largest open-air market and the third largest of it's kind on the West Coast. Kobey's Swap Meet draws more than 1,000 merchants and 30,000 shoppers to the San Diego Sports Arena each week from Thursdays through Sundays. www.kobeyswap.com
* Outlet centers are located throughout San Diego County and beyond, offering name-brand clothing, home furnishings, appliances and more at low factory outlet prices. San Diego Factory Outlet Center is located at the International Border in San Ysidro, and Lake Elsinore Outlet Center is located to the north in Riverside County. www.lakeelsinoreoutlet.com
For more information on San Diego, contact the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, 401 B Street, Ste. 1400, Dept. 700, San Diego, CA 92101-4237, or call (619) 236-1212. In San Diego, visit the International Visitor Information Center, on the corner of W. Broadway and Harbor Drive, and the La Jolla Visitor Center, located at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Prospect Street in La Jolla. Internet users can visit www.sandiego.org.

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