With just two weeks left in the quarter, summer is practically around the corner! If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t wait to have a little extra time to binge watch shows and movies, but — as people are always telling me — it’s also good to get out of the house. Whether you’re new to San Diego or lived here all your life, you’re probably wondering what there is to do besides go to the beach, but there’s actually quite a lot. From thrifting to museums to hiking, San Diego has a lot to offer, but one of my favorite things to do is to visit the farmers’ markets.
Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market
My top favorite farmers’ market, the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market, not only has rows and rows of tents lining the streets, but it’s also easily accessible when using the new blue line trolley. From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, this market is perfect for an early morning breakfast at one of the many cute restaurants located in the Little Italy area. You could even get lunch or just buy something from one of the many vendors in the market.f you decide to drive down there, I recommend going early because, like many of the other farmers markets, it gets busy fast.
As I already mentioned, this farmers market is packed with vendors, and there’s a wide variety of unique jewelry, freshly cut flowers, clothes, fresh produce, and other healthy snacks. So if you’re looking for some fresh fruits and vegetables or even some delicious baked goods, this is the perfect farmers market to visit. Even after visiting a few others, this one continues to be my favorite because it has just a little bit of everything, and it’s all so good. It’s also nice just to be able to walk down the street and see the sun sparkling against the ocean in the distance.
Hillcrest Farmers Market
For my second favorite farmers market, the Hillcrest Farmers Market is also pretty large and has a wide variety of vendors. Open only on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., this market was packed as soon as I arrived. My friends and I drove all around Hillcrest looking for parking. Once again, I would definitely recommend going early if you decide to drive to this one — and by early, I mean right when it opens because we got there only a little over an hour after opening and almost didn’t find parking. But, there was also a bus stop not too far from the farmers’ market.
This one is also perfect for fresh produce and other goodies. But, I would have to say it might have an even wider variety of flowers compared to the Little Italy farmers’ market, and it’s practically a must to buy a bouquet of flowers to walk around with. I also stumbled upon a little jewelry vendor that enticed me to buy one of their handmade beaded chokers. Similar to the Little Italy farmers’ market, this market has a lot to offer, but it just wasn’t quite as big. Still, the Hillcrest farmers’ market is nearly equal to the one in Little Italy, the biggest difference being the atmosphere. And while I’m sure there may also be cute restaurants nearby this market as well, the Little Italy market is just a bit more convenient with the cute cafes and restaurants surrounding it.
La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market
Even though I enjoyed the other markets a little bit more, the La Jolla Open Aire Market has a lot to offer, just not quite as much variety. Located just 10 minutes from UC San Diego at the La Jolla Elementary school, this market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. only on Sundays. I was able to get to this one an hour after it opened and even though we were able to find parking, it was already starting to get crowded. When it comes to farmers’ markets, you simply have to get up early if you plan to drive.
Most farmers markets tend to have produce vendors, baked goods, flowers, clothes, and jewelry, and even though this market had all of that, there just wasn’t quite as much to choose from compared to the other two. In fact, it seemed to be dominated more by baked goods and other food vendors. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by the smell of butter melting on the grill as they prepare it for the grilled cheese followed by a sign for breakfast burritos that’ll make your stomach grumble even though you already ate. So if you’re looking for a farmers’ market that has more food vendors than anything else, making it easy to grab a snack as you shop around, this is the perfect place. Even though this market is definitely smaller compared to the Little Italy one, it still has everything you could ask for and you don’t even have to walk that much.
Whichever farmers’ market you choose, you’ll definitely enjoy it. The people are always nice, and no matter how many different farmers’ markets I go to, there are always tons of dogs that distract me from actually shopping. So if you have some extra time on your hands this summer or just need a break in between studying for finals, I recommend checking out one of these farmers’ markets. Or maybe even all of them!