In San Diego, there are almost as many farmers markets as there are beaches. Each market has a distinct personality, specifically geared to the needs, aesthetics, and artisans of its neighborhood. Here's our breakdown of the city's freshest weekly gatherings.
Biggest Foodie Paradise: Hillcrest Farmers Market, Sundays
Of all the markets, the Hillcrest Farmers Market has the most vendors-per-square-feet, crowding an impressive amount of produce, artisanal goods, and vintage gifts in its two block radius through the hip and urbane Hillcrest enclave. But the best part about this market (besides plenty of parking, since its situated right next to the Hillcrest DMV) is the sheer volume and variety of its food. Half of its total vendors are food stands, offering everything from samosas to tamales to takoyaki. My two favorites? Fresh uni cracked right in front of you, and thai coconut pancakes by the tray.
Prettiest Location : Little Italy Mercato, Saturdays
The Little Italy Mercato runs straight through the picturesque Little Italy neighborhood, lending a sophisticated, leisurely, European bazaar feel. Rows and rows of fresh-cut flowers enhance the bright colors of Downtown's architecture, while multiple live music acts play at different corners. And the market stretches along four full blocks, giving pedestrians ample space and eliminating that mob-like mentality typical of overcrowded farmer's markets.
Most Eclectic: Ocean Beach Certified Farmers Market, Wednesdays
The funky free spirit that personifies Ocean Beach extends to its farmer's market, a colorful affair where troubadours serenade passersby and colorful school buses park along the palm-tree-lined streets. This market also has the most amount of offbeat activities-- llama rides, anyone? Art installations? Interested in incense or holistic medicine? All here. So if you like your farmers markets with chill vibes and a beach setting, Ocean Beach is the one to attend.
Most Small-Town Charm: La Jolla Open Aire Market, Sundays
The La Jolla Open Aire Market is different from other markets in that it is held in the La Jolla Elementary School Playground, so its quite popular with families and small children. The shared space and communal tables (there's lots of seating for you to eat or rest) gives this market a really quaint vibe, like everyone knows each other. There's also a lot of art, jewelry, candles, and even bohemian clothing from Indonesia and Brazil.
Local tip: It's walking distance from Lululemon (Girard Ave.), which offers free classes at 9am every Sunday too! Namaste.
Most Potential: San Diego Public Market (in Barrio Logan), Everyday
This warehouse is temporarily closed till May 2015, but watch out for its reopening! The renovated factory space is still getting its sea legs, but once its further established, we're sure it'll be the Pike's Place of San Diego.