San Diego is an ethereal sunset amidst cotton candy skies. It is the gentle yet powerful sound of waves crashing against a rocky coastline. From its perfectly temperate climate, its beach sunsets, and its laid-back vibe, it’s an idyllic place to come and decompress. San Diego belonged to Mexico between the years of 1821 and 1848, and the influence on its culture is evident to this day. This has made it a city unlike any other in the United States, California-Cool with a splash of spice. Starting in World War II it also became a prominent military base, which is still a significant driver of the local economy.
Preserving the natural beauty of the area is one of the main motivators for the City of San Diego. They are committed to continue implementing sustainable programs in an effort to pave the way to a cleaner, greener world. It is the #2 Solar City in the country, has worked towards becoming one of the top 10 most bike-friendly cities in America, and has a booming biotechnology industry that provides clean technology jobs to the local workforce.
With so much surrounding natural beauty and a climate that encourages year-round outdoor recreation, it makes sense that sustainability is a top priority.
Eat & Drink
Bootstrap is a small-batch kombucha maker that uses high-quality, organic ingredients. Their water is filtered to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and fluoride yet retain healthy trace minerals. In an effort to practice environmental sustainability, they use stainless steel kegs rather than single-use plastic ones. Visit their tasting room to sample their latest seasonal flavors, and take home a growler of your favorite kind.
The Los Angeles-born plant-based restaurant chain has made its way down to San Diego and has proven to be one of the best places in the city to go for delicious, healthy, vegan food.
Nestled in the heart of San Diego’s ‘Little Italy,’ Civico 1845 is a contemporary Italian restaurant offering a dedicated vegan menu as well as gluten-free options. Reclaimed wood adds a rustic flair to the restaurant’s interior, and the menu focuses on the use of local, seasonal ingredients. Hailing from Italy’s southern region of Calabria, brothers and co-owners of Civico 1845 Dario and Pietro are passionate about creating traditional dishes with a modern twist.
North Park, South Park
This beautiful coffee shop, which shares a space with florist and local gifts boutique Native Poppy, seeks to foster a sense of community. The atmosphere is clean, minimalistic, and green. ‘Cause what goes together better than plants and coffee?
Matcha tea, one of the hottest drink trends of today, has over 100 times the antioxidant power of traditional green tea, plus a rich, creamy texture. Holy Matcha’s flamboyant interior appeals to design lovers and makes for the perfect ‘gram. They also offer food items containing the famous Japanese ingredient, like donuts and ice cream. Bring your own cup and/or straw to save on plastic, because the shop only offers disposable take-out ware (which kind of sucks for the planet).
This open-aired bar and restaurant offers a selection of contemporary vegan dishes, like chargrilled seitan skewers and seared cauliflower steaks, as well as an extensive list of innovative cocktails. Its atmosphere is perfect for spending an evening out with friends, with an outdoor-indoor setup that allows you to enjoy San Diego’s perfect weather.
This North Park juice company uses 100% organic ingredients (not “organic when possible”) and uses glass jars instead of plastic. They are committed to delivering the healthiest, highest quality product while paying respect to environmental sustainability. Their extensive selection of products includes green juices, fruit and root-based juices, mylks, coffee, tea, and more. They also offer juice cleanses and juice subscriptions.
Located on the top floor of an aerial yoga studio, Trilogy is a mostly raw-vegan restaurant offering healthy plant-based dishes, fresh juices, and smoothies.
Little Italy, North Park
Japanese- inspired cuisine in a contemporary space with a focus on ramen. The vegetable ramen features a thick and creamy broth flavored with truffle oil, and can be made vegan and/or gluten free upon request.
Casa Artelexia owners brought Mexico to San Diego with this delightful and colorful shop, featuring Made-in-Mexico home goods like glassware, blankets, pillows, and other ecclectic gifts.
This non-toxic and cruelty-free beauty company sells a huge assortment of hand-crafted products from body oils to balms to perfumes and much, much more. Their mission is “to care for the world we live in by supporting local/organic farmers, by using natural, sustainable, biodegradable ingredients and recyclable materials” and by donating part of their profits to organizations that support education about environmental and animal welfare. You can visit their shop in Ocean Beach or at the Little Italy Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 AM to 2 PM.
Attached to Communal Coffee is Native Poppy, a florist and home goods shop with a selection of pots, stationary, coffee table books, and locally made goods.
This San Diego mainstay offers a variety of home good products, plants, and gift items. They carry vegan handbag brand Matt & Nat and many of their products have a sustainable focus.
This pint-sized floral shop is anything but small when it comes to creative artistry and heart. Unlike other florists, who typically throw away all their day-old flowers, Sage Sisters creates flower arrangements out of old flowers and delivers them to local non-profits. Stop by to pick up an artful fresh flower bouquet, a new pot for your plant-child, or sage sticks.
Shop Good is a natural beauty shop that is dedicated to bringing non-toxic makeup, hair, and beauty products to San Diego. They stock brands we (eco) beauty enthusiasts know and love, like RMS, Ilia, and W3ll People, plus some local San Diego-based beauty brands.
See & Do
If you’re looking to shake things up with your fitness routine, why not try aerial yoga? Attached to this rooftop yoga studio is a vegan cafe serving delicious raw and cooked dishes, smoothies, and juices.
You could easily spend an entire day exploring Balboa Park, San Diego’s famed 1,200-acre cultural park. Art enthusiasts, science nerds, and history buffs alike will all find something to suit their interests at one of their 17 museums, including the San Diego History Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. After getting your culture fix, take an hour to explore their walking trails or the Japanese gardens.
When you need a mind-body-soul reset, look no further than The Sanctuary Wellness Experience, the ultimate place to be pampered. The philosophy behind this organic spa and wellness center is rooted in beauty that starts from within. Their offerings go beyond the traditional spa’s menu of services. They also offer a range of nutrition-based programs to kick-start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
This sustainable spa’s mission is to “make every person feel special and to help them health and wellness journey by providing premier wellness treatments. Their 27,000 square foot building makes use of 272 solar panels, recycled and reclaimed building materials, and bamboo flooring, and everything is done with sustainability in mind. Visit them for a variety of treatments including colon hydrotherapy, an organic facial, a sauna session, or a full body massage.
Sundays 9 AM- 1 PM
The La Jolla Open Aire Market is a beautiful way to spend your Sunday morning, with over 150 vendors selling flowers, arts and crafts, local produce, and food items of all types. Afterwards, spend the afternoon walking around the beautiful little community of la Jolla and then visiting the sea lions at the La Jolla cove.
Sundays 9 AM- 2 PM
Many would argue the best farmers market in metro San Diego to be Hillcrest Farmers Market, which hosts over 175 vendors selling local products, prepared foods, arts and crafts, flowers, clothing, and more.