If you are looking to base your vacation in a walkable area with fantastic restaurants, a rich history, and a location near the airport, you may want to check into one of our best hotels in Little Italy, San Diego.
Little Italy is the oldest and most notorious historical neighborhood in downtown San Diego. Originally, it was a humble Italian fishing community, but over recent years it has transformed into one of our hippest urban neighborhoods while retaining its original charm. I’ll share what I think are the top hotels in Little Italy and why this part of town is a popular place to stay in.
Note from Katie: I mention hotel booking resources I know offer the best prices via membership programs or ones that are popular with readers. Check with the hotel for updated safety measures, travel restrictions, and a list of any modified amenities. If you book through links on this page, I may earn a small commission.
Why Stay in Little Italy, San Diego?
Thanks to the leadership of the nonprofit Little Italy Association, the area is ranked among the top Little Italy neighborhoods in the nation. (It is also the only district management of its kind in any cultural neighborhood throughout the nation.)
It’s the biggest Little Italy in the United States, covering 48 square blocks, and one of the most popular San Diego tourist attractions. The community has always had a proud tradition, made up of many mom-and-pop businesses centered around sharing food, joy, and love with anyone that enters the store. Foodies come in particular to dine at the fantastic Little Italy San, Diego restaurants and bring home gourmet delights from the markets. Mixed in are also the trendiest restaurants in the city and boutiques of all sorts.
You are also within walking distance of the Embarcadero where the USS Midway Museum, Maritime Museum of San Diego, and Waterfront Park are located and onward to Seaport Village or even the Gaslamp Quarter. You can easily drive or take an Uber to La Jolla, Old Town San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and places further afield (be mindful of weekday rush hour traffic).
Best Hotels in Little Italy, San Diego CA
Below I’ve listed the best nine places to stay at for your trip so that you can enjoy a good night’s rest after being on your feet all day exploring Little Italy. You’ll see that these hotels run on the smaller, boutique side or lean toward comfortable extended stay options. I specialize in helping people choose San Diego hotels so may be compensated should you book using links in this article.
1. Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton
Address: 401 West Ash Street San Diego, CA 92101
As part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, Carte Hotel San Diego is one of the newest Little Italy San Diego hotels. Its integration with the 28,000-square-foot Fit Athletic Club and outdoor swimming pool make it a great option for wellness enthusiasts. I can also tell you from personal experience that the sea-to-table is outstanding though you have the heart of Little Italy restaurants and shops a few blocks away.
The hotel offers 246 luxurious guest rooms, each boasting smartphone streaming capabilities, and there are water bottle refill stations on every floor.
For those wanting to relax after a day in the city, I would recommend a trip to Above Ash Social. This rooftop bar and lounge offers curated cocktails to go along with the stunning views of the city and the San Diego Bay.
2. Porto Vista Hotel
Address: 1835 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101
Porto Vista Hotel prides itself on being a fun yet stylish hotel. Check-into one of 190 mid-century-style rooms (including five suites) that have recently been refreshed. Discover contemporary local and international artists throughout the hotel, even in unexpected spaces, through Porto Vista Hotel’s collaboration with 1805 Gallery Director Lauren Siry.
Another fun highlight is the rooftop “spool” (heated mini-pool with spa jets) and on-site Glassdoor restaurant for local fare and cocktails with panoramic views of the Bay and Little Italy neighborhood.
They offer a shuttle to San Diego International Airport, Santa Fe Train Station and the Broadway Pier Cruise Ship Terminal from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. And, up to two dogs (up to 40 lbs.) are welcome in your room. The Amici dog park is across the street.
3. La Pensione Hotel
Address: 606 West Date Street San Diego, CA 92101
This 67-room boutique-style hotel is situated in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. Their casual Queen and Queen Queen rooms blend comfortable European design features with vintage photography of the city’s most celebrated landmarks.
Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, a free first ride with Uber, and a free coffee and pastry in the morning at Caffe Italia, the espresso bar and cafe located on the ground floor of this San Diego Little Italy hotel. Also located on the ground floor is the outstanding Napizza restaurant specializing in Roman-style pizza and other Italian favorites.
You an also book a spa treatment and use the small fitness room during your stay at La Pensione Hotel.
4. Found Hotel
Address: 505 West Grape Street San Diego, CA 92101
Located in the heart of Little Italy, this budget option awaits in a superbly restored 1910 historic building with 22 private rooms and 2 shared bunk rooms.
The well designed private rooms are great for those wanting a good mixture of privacy and luxury. Each room has a private bathroom, flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi.
For those traveling with friends or looking for a communal experience, their bunk rooms are perfect. It allows you to meet like-minded guests and explore the beautiful city of San Diego.
If you were wondering what the best feature of the Found Hotel is, one would have to say it’s the location. Piazza della Famiglia, a 10,000 square foot European-style piazza, is located just around the corner from the property.
5. Best Western Plus/Bayside Inn
Address: 555 West Ash Street San Diego, CA 92101
This urban-inspired refuge is situated in the heart of downtown San Diego. Recharge in their contemporary rooms with pillow-top beds, refrigerators, and free Wi-Fi.
Forget to pack an essential item for your trip? No stress, make use of their “forget something” amenity program which covers all your necessities. The Best Western Plus Bayside Inn also offers free breakfast to start your day.
Next, step out of the hotel and explore the Little Italy neighborhood. Finish your day by unwinding with a quick workout in their modern exercise facility or taking a dip in their heated pool, which also offers poolside food and beverage service. An airport courtesy shuttle is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Let the refreshing bay breeze do its magic, while you’re enjoying a nightcap on your private balcony and admiring the striking bay or city views.
6. Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside Hotel
Address: 2137 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101
The Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside Hotel rooms are modern and spacious and come with complimentary Wi-Fi, 42-inch HDTVs, a microwave, and mini-refrigerator.
If you are looking to take a dip and refresh yourself, you might want to consider taking a swim in their heated rooftop pool, which also offers magnificent views of the city. Do you want to get a quick workout in before your busy day of exploring? Then you can make use of their 24-hour fitness center.
This hotel is paired with Homewood Suites by Hilton/San Diego to create the Hilton Bayside campus.
7. Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside
Address: 2137 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101
Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside has 160 large suites on offer. Each suite provides a fully equipped kitchen, which is perfect if you are looking to have a nice quiet meal after a long day of exploring or are in town for a longer stay. The kitchens are the benefit of staying on this side of the Hilton Bayside campus. Suites also come with a work desk and a separate living area.
The accommodation offers plenty of great amenities as well. Indulge in their hot full breakfast each morning, or head to their fitness center and get your workout going.
For those on a relaxing vacation, head up to their rooftop heated outdoor pool, and take in the breathtaking views of the city and harbor.
Finish your day in their on-site restaurant, Bayside Kitchen + Bar. Enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a craft cocktail.
8. Residence Inn San Diego Downtown
Address: 1747 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101
Residence Inn San Diego Downtown is an extended stay Little Italy San Diego hotel by Marriott with spacious studios and suites fitted with living areas, fully equipped kitchens, and HDTVs.
Take a swim in their heated outdoor pool or work up a sweat in their fitness center. No need to overpack as you can wash clothes in the coin laundry machines on site. Pets 40 lbs. or less are also welcome (additional fee applies). You can make a reservation also for their complimentary San Diego airport shuttle.
Don’t forget to grab your complimentary breakfast before heading out for the day. Guests are welcome to attend their Residence Inn Mix, which happens Mondays through Wednesdays, and mingle with other guests while enjoying complimentary drinks and light fare.
9. Urban Boutique Hotel
Address: 1654 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101
Overlooking the San Diego Bay, this European-inspired, no-frills boutique hotel is a great choice for your next San Diego getaway.
Urban Boutique Hotel offers just the right mixture of old-world charm and modern amenities. Rooms include coffee/tea making facilities, deluxe bedding, flat-screen TVs, wireless internet, and an in-room safe. It also offers spa amenities and you can park in one of the nearby parking lots.
You cannot forget to mention its great location. It is located within minutes of various things to do in San Diego, and it is a short cab ride away to the historic Gaslamp District, Petco Park, and the San Diego Convention Center.
Staying at Hotels in San Diego’s Little Italy: The Bottom Line
Little Italy has something for everyone, from swanky bars to family-owned bistros. Plan a romantic trip with that special someone or invite your friends for a weekend getaway. San Diego’s Little Italy hotels and an energetic social scene make it the perfect getaway destination. Have kids? They’ll love it, too. You can also check my lists of downtown San Diego hotels and Gaslamp San Diego hotels.