If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of community. As we enter the gift giving season, we encourage you to shop small when searching for the ideal gift for that special someone. Small businesses need our help to weather the storm and we are confident that the challenges that bind us all together now, will make us stronger together in the future.
So we’ve rounded up a bunch of our favorite local shops to make holiday shopping a rewarding experience for everyone. There are 12 different categories featured so you’re sure to find something for everyone. And the best part is that all of the small businesses are easily accessible from one or more BLOC locations. Did someone say lunch break shopping spree?!
Read on for our 2020 North County San Diego Holiday Gift Guide or if you already know who you need to buy for, skip directly to that section.
We’re lucky to have no shortage of amazing craft beer in San Diego, and North County is no exception. Culture Brewing has not one, but two North County locations — one in Solana Beach (a hop skip and a jump from BLOC Solana), and one in downtown Encinitas. Pick up a growler, a gift card, or even some of their brewery merch — all are sure to be a hit.
Bottlecraft Solana Beach, another local favorite, is a craft beer store, bottle shop, and bar with twenty awesome beers on draft. Their friendly staff are super passionate and knowledgable about craft beer and will help you put together the perfect variety pack of beer to go.
You like beer too? Then a dinner and beer date at Barrel Republic in Carlsbad Village is a good choice, as is Pizza Port, who believes that “good food and good beer bring good cheer!” If you’ve got a vegan beer lover in your life, then Modern Times in Encinitas is where you’ll find your gift.
If you have someone on your list who enjoys a nice glass of red at the end of the day (or white, or pink!), we have you covered. Like Culture Brewing, Carruth Cellars has a tasting room in Solana Beach and Carlsbad Village, both within walking distance from BLOC! Treat your recipient to more than just one bottle with the gift of membership to their wine club, which includes all sorts of fun perks!
If your recipient prefers bubbles, we suggest a Bubbles Club Subscription instead, which is the brainchild of an Encinitas local who sources rare and boutique sparkling wines and champagnes from around the world. They do custom gifts too, in case you really want to spoil someone.
If you also like wine, how about a gift for two with a date night at Solterra in Leucadia? Specializing in wines made from grapes grown in San Diego, Temecula, and Baja, Mexico, this is a true locals hot spot. Get a gift card for dinner, buy a bottle, or even a wine club membership!
Know someone with a green thumb? Give them something that encourages their love of gardening. We know first hand they’ll dig the gift of membership to Native Poppy’s Wildflower Club (we get biweekly deliveries at both BLOC Solana and Leucadia). Their flowers are anything but expected and are sure to brighten their day when delivered weekly, or monthly. Membership also includes discounts for a variety of other offerings, including their gift shop, which sells cards, apparel, candles, and more!
Landmark Plant Co. in Leucadia is featuring touchless shopping, so you can get your plant lover their gift from your very own home. They sell modern plants, ceramics, and other gifts, so you’ll have no shortage of green selection. The Braid & Wood Design Studio hangers is one of our favorites.
It goes without saying that we’ve spent enough time at home in 2020, so encourage your loved one to get out of the house with the gift of membership to the San Diego Botanic Garden. Located conveniently in Encinitas, they have 37 acres of an urban oasis with four miles of trails, as well as the West Coast’s largest children’s garden.
San Diego seems to have it all, including gifts for the coffee-obsessed people in your life. And with endless hours at home to drink it, now is the perfect time to give it.
Make your own little bean inspired home brew gift basket with equipment and coffee from our Carlsbad neighbor, Steady State Roasting. They offer both single origin and blended coffees for espresso drinks and pour overs.
We’re somewhat partial to Lofty Coffee at BLOC, and not just because we have their cold brew on tap at all our locations. They work with farms and importers from around the world that grow and transport in a sustainable manner to ensure the quality and consistency of their coffee. A subscription to their coffee club is the ideal gift for any coffee lover. And the best part is that it’s delivered right to your door!
If your recipient likes to get straight to business with their coffee, BUMP is where you’ll find your gift, conveniently located in Cardiff between our Solana Beach and Leucadia BLOC locations. With a simplistic approach, the crew at BUMP are committed to providing sustainably sourced coffee with a rich story and flavor profile. Swing by and pick up some beans and deliver them to your loved one with a fresh hot cup and a
couple few of their homemade empanadas to take your gift to the next level!
A wise woman once said, “people who love to eat are always the best people,” (thanks Julia Child), and we couldn’t agree more. Food brings people together and creates connection over a shared love. So give your favorite friend / food lover a local gift they are sure to savor.
Take the work out of their holiday preparation and gift them with some precooked local deliciousness from Cardiff’s Seaside Market. Locally known as “Cardiff Crack,” their Burgundy Pepper Tri-tip is literally to die for. It’s a must have for any local or out-of-towner alike!
At the true heart of the dining experience and damn good food is our Carlsbad neighbor (and member!) Jeune et Jolie and Campfire. Both equally special in their own right, a meal out at either establishment will be sure to please. Jeune et Jolie has created a magical outdoor experience with a 5-course tasting menu, while Campfire offers a more rustic, grass roots affair. Whichever you choose though, both are guaranteed to delight even the most refined palates.
Since we’re blessed with year-round sunshine, why not take your gift giving outdoors and enjoy a delectable charcuterie picnic in the park from Venissimo Cheese in Solana Beach. Or pick up some sammies from Board & Brew (with locations near both our Solana Beach and Carlsbad locations) and pop a squat at your favorite beach or park. The only thing you’d need to make your gift complete is a bottle of vino.
The perfect gifts for music lovers are ones that help them enjoy music even more, and these are designed to do just that. Whether they are into making music, or just listening to it, these local gifts are sure to be enjoyed.
For your loved one who is more musically inclined than simply carrying a tune in the car, why not gift them some music lessons to hone their craft even further. Moonlight Music is a family run business in Encinitas that offers lessons for beginners, experienced players, and everything in between. Or for those a little farther north, check out Carlsbad Village Music.
Lou’s Records, a local Encinitas fixture since 1980, is where you’ll find your gift if your recipient is into a more vintage style. Lou’s sells a unique mix of used and new vinyl, CD’s, and cassettes. Throwback holiday, anyone? Groovy, man.
If live music is what you’re looking to gift, Belly Up is where you need to go (virtually for now, of course). Another staple of the North County community, located in the Cedros Design District of Solana Beach, Belly Up has had many musical greats grace their stage, including BB King, Jimmy Buffet, and the Rolling Stones. Individual show tickets or season passes are now available!
Surfers can be a little picky when it comes to gear, which can make finding the perfect gift a little intimidating. We’re lucky to be blessed with not only good surf in San Diego, but a plethora of local surf shops to choose from including Mitch’s, Bing, Hansen’s, Concept, and Surf Ride. Pick up a gift card to any one of them so your surfer can choose their own gear.
If you prefer to select the gear yourself, why not put together a surf themed gift box yourself? You can fill it with necessities they’ll be sure to love, like Sticky Bumps surf wax, SunBum sunscreen, a Slowtide beach towel, an annual beach parking pass, and maybe even throw in a gift card for some Robertos. Every surfer loves a good burrito stop!
If your surfer is still a novice, why not treat them to some lessons so they can improve their skills. There are definitely some surfing etiquette basics they’ll need to know and there’s plenty of places up and down the coast to learn, including Concept Surf Shop, North County Surf Academy, and Encinitas Surf Lessons.
Creative people are usually easily inspired, and these gifts are sure to get their creative juices flowing. North County is lucky to be home to the Lux Art Institute, which is redefining the museum experience to make contemporary art more accessible. At Lux, you don’t just see finished works of art; you see the artistic process firsthand, observing internationally recognized artists in a working studio environment. Treat your special artist to some classes or a membership to Lux so they can be inspired all year long.
If your loved one doesn’t make art of their own and simply has an appreciation of others, give them something they can appreciate from home. Local artists, Traci Sally, and Danielle Manini are some of our favorites (both of whom have been featured in BLOC’s rotating artist program). Threadspun in Leucadia is an adorable little shop that has all kinds of eclectic finds, including unique, handmade wall hangings, art, and prints.
If your artist’s tastes are a little more eclectic, check out Solo on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, which is an upscale collective of eight different merchant boutiques, each with their own unique style. From books to furniture, to home decor, Solo never disappoints when you’re looking for something off the beaten path.
Most kids have more toys than they actually play with. And with our year-round sunshine, we’re a fan of gifts that get kids outdoors and moving their bodies. We’ve spent enough time at home in 2020, that’s for sure!
The Encinitas House of Art is a beach & dog friendly outdoor art studio permeating creativity, love, kindness, healing & smiles. Stoke your little one’s creative fire by letting them get their hands dirty with some art classes.
Kid’s gifts can sometimes mean fun for the whole family, which are some of our favorite kinds. Take an interactive farm tour at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas, which is a peaceful and unique outing that’s fun for all ages. You’ll have an opportunity to meet animals, gather eggs, and even sip fresh goat milk (seasonally, when available).
We all have different outlets for self-care, but everyone could use a little extra pampering this holiday season after a rather stressful and anxious year. These pampering gifts are all designed to encourage relaxation and get your loved one feeling refreshed for a new year ahead.
Encinitas is home to Four Moons Spa, whose mission is to curate a high-vibrational, nurturing environment that supports their guests on their self-care journeys. Give the gift of a spa treatment for the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation. A day at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is another good option for luxurious spa treaments.
If you want to go for more of a DIY spa day, Shop/Good at One Paseo in Del Mar should be your first stop. Wholesome, clean gifts for skincare, makeup, lifestyle, and overall wellness can all be found here and are sure to inspire your loved one to put a self-care day on the calendar. They even have their own Shop/Good 2020 Holiday Gift Guide!
To really spoil your recipient, give them a luxury staycation, where they can get away (sort of) and indulge in some wellness treatments while they’re there. The Inn at Moonlight Beach offers WELL Certified Platinum suites that guarantees you have a trusted, healthy, and safe environment for your stay. Enhance their stay with any one of their WELL offerings that can be added to any booking.
If you have a doer or maker on your gift list this year, we’ve gathered some fun ideas that will allow them to get inspired to create something amazing.
Clay & Craft in Encinitas is a fully equipped pottery studio for community enjoyment. Designed to meet all levels and interests, they offer wheel lessons, or private, uninstructed solo time – perfect to inspire creativity and celebrate handmade goods.
Also in Encinitas, and perfect to delight those olfactory senses during the holidays is Candles on Tap. San Diego’s first custom candle bar, they offer over 90 unique, premium fragrance oils that can be used to design your own custom scent, blended into soy wax candles, flameless options, reed diffusers, and fragrance sprays. Book a workshop for you and your DIYer at their scent bar and have fun creating together.
If their interests are a little more rustic, a workshop at Board & Brush in Oceanside might be more their speed, which focuses on helping participants create projects out of wood.
Whether they are Team Cat or Team Dog, animal lovers will usually love whatever you get them given it has to do with animals. So spoil them and their love of their furry friends with any one of these fun ideas.
Put together a fun little pet basket with any number of items from Solana Beach favorite, Muttropolis. From supplies for walking, eating, sleeping, grooming, and travel, Muttropolis has it all! Toss in a gift card to Dirty Dogs and Meow for some extra pet pampering. With locations in Solana Beach and Carlsbad, they’ll love it after a day at the beach with their furry friend.
Stoke their dog obsession with the Dog Obsessed book, from the creator of San Diego’s The Honest Kitchen, the first all-natural, human-grade pet food company. Packed with humorous, helpful advice including dos and don’ts in the dog park, how to ensure your pup’s holidays are safe, advice on how to manage your dog’s unique personality quirks, and a section on make-at-home dog games, Dog Obsessed is the only resource passionate dog owners will ever need and are sure to love.
Team Cat people fret not, we’ve got gift ideas for you too. A Cat Pass Membership at Cat & Craft offers anytime cuddles, lap time snuggles, and fun kitty time whenever they like. Membership includes discounts on food, drink, and merchandise as well. All the cats at Cat & Craft are fosters that can be adopted too, so maybe your critter loving friend will end up with a new friend of their own!
This last one is a bit of a combo gift that is for animal lovers, but pampers too. Treat your loved one to a uniquely joyful experience with an hour-long goat yoga session at Sugar Sweet Farm. Includes baby and mama goat kisses, climbs, and cuddles.
While not in North County, no animal lover should be without an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park! The Zoo and Safari Park are protected havens where breeding and caring for endangered species can help protect against extinction. Every visit helps them take another step in achieving their mission of saving species worldwide through animal care and conservation. So give the gift that not only is sure to be enjoyed, but does good too.
As an added bonus, and to make your shopping easier, we’ve made a Google map of all shop locations mentioned. Make sure to note the various BLOC locations too and stop in and say hello. We have a locals market at each location and fun new tie-dye sweatshirts to keep you cozy this winter. Come by and pick one up! Happy shopping.
If you’ve read this far, Hallellujah, you made it to the end! Who did we miss? What are your favorite local shops to support? Leave a comment and let us know! And if you’re out and about tackling your shopping list, book a tour and come say hello.