How To Spend 48 Hours In Black-Owned San Diego
Photo Credit: Photo by Yulia M

Photo Credit: Photo by Yulia M

How To Spend 48 Hours In Black-Owned San Diego

black owned business , san diego
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Jul 18, 2022

You may not know this, but Black people helped shape California’s “Beach City” of San Diego. Official records list Nathaniel Harrison as the first Black resident, who lived there in 1848. But the city’s Black origins predate him by many years. According to Visit San Diego, “the Black community has roots in the city’s early Spanish and Mexican periods.” Today, Black people own restaurants, cultural centers, and other businesses in the city, and now is as good a time as any to support them.

In the pandemic’s first year, businesses across California were in trouble. In August 2020, the Times reported that the city’s Black Chamber of Commerce offered assistance to Black businesses. Thanks to generous corporate and individual donors, Black business owners (with exceptions) were able to weather the storm of COVID-19.

The city is synonymous with surfing, attractions for the whole family, and pleasant weather all year round. Visit San Diego notes the “diverse coastal, urban and inland neighborhoods, each with its own flavor.” Let’s not forget the nightlife, electric cuisine, craft beers, and wines. There’s never a dull moment.

Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Black-owned San Diego.

1. Day 1 - Morning

Just a few blocks from Pacific Beach, you’ll find Rhythm’s Chicken and Waffles on Garnet Avenue. It was founded in 2018.

According to the website, “San Diego’s first chicken and waffle restaurant is here!” Treat yourself to the Belgian waffle with cheese and bacon or the Chicken and Waffle sandwich (the big draw).

The spot opens at 11 AM, so it’s perfect for brunch.

2. Day 1 - Afternoon


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Pull up at Nomad Donuts- focused on combining a love of carbs with community.

The founder is Brad Keiller, who shared his experience as a Black business owner with San Diego Magazine in 2020.

Choose from an array of tasty donuts and bagels, along with scrambles and beers.

Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream was one of 200 San Diego-based businesses that got aid from the Black Business Relief Grant Fund. There are locations in North Park and Point Loma.

Try Jamocha Almond Fudge and Pineapple Coconut Cream, among many other flavors.

3. Day 1 - Evening

Get a haircut at Freshly Faded in the North Park area, which is proudly Black-owned. Here, barbering is treated as the art it is. The shop specializes in mohawks, tapers, fades, and more.

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro is a great spot to enjoy Ethiopian and Eritrean delicacies. Try the sambusas or pan-roasted mushrooms for an appetizer.

Vegetarian? You can’t go wrong with dishes like Mama’s Fool and Kantisha Tsebhi. Meat-lover? Beggie Kilwa (sautéed lamb), Dorho Alitcha Kilwa (chicken), or Zigini Siga (beef) are all delicious.

4. Day 2 - Morning


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Get your day started at Breakfast Bitch where “the party is at breakfast.”

There are locations in San Diego and Phoenix, Arizona.

The menu is divided into sections with some memorable names. Main Bitch, Basic Bitch, Skinny Bitch, Side Bitch, and Exxxtra Bitch. Yes, they certainly know how to get patrons talking.

Pair these with coffee or hand-crafted teas. Working My Nerves tea blends chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger root, and lemon peel.

5. Day 2 - Afternoon

Maya’s Cookies was founded by Maya Madsen in 2015. According to the website, it’s “America’s #1 Black-Owned Gourmet Vegan Cookie Company.”

The bright pink storefront is on Mission Gorge Place. Vegan desserts can be just as tasty as those which incorporate milk and eggs. You can’t even taste the difference.

San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA) aims to “present and preserve the art of African Americans globally.”

Past exhibitions include the Black Life photography show and Keepers of The Culture.

6. Day 2 - Evening

Get a taste of Jamaica at Rock Steady restaurant on Market Street. Oxtail, jerk chicken, rice and peas–it’s all there.

For more Jamaican fare, there’s also Laylah’s Patties and Jerk, founded in 2008.

In Escondido (30 miles from downtown San Diego) grab a drink at SIP Wine and Beer, “a staple in San Diego County.”

It elevates wines, spirits, and beers owned by communities of color and women.

Related: How To Spend 48 Hours In Napa Valley, California

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