San Diego

How to Support San Diego's Latino-Owned Businesses Right Now

It's easy to do in San Diego.

Accion Serving Southern California
Accion Serving Southern California
Accion Serving Southern California

It’s impossible to think about the city of San Diego without recognizing the contributions of its Latino-owned businesses. In fact, San Diego — as well as the rest of California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming — were Mexico less than 175 years ago, so we recognize the vast economic, cultural, and historical impact that the Latino community has had on our city. In their honor, we have gathered just a few of the many, many Latino-owned businesses and services that are the heart and soul of America’s Finest City.

Nonprofits

Accion Serving Southern California
Accion Serving Southern California
Accion Serving Southern California

Accion Serving Southern California
Encanto
Accion Serving Southern California is a microlender supporting entrepreneurs with accessible financing and resources to create and develop healthy, prosperous businesses. Because it specializes in smaller loan sizes, they are often able to lend to business owners who may have trouble finding loans from conventional lending institutions.
How to support: Apply for a loan online or donate to ASSC here.

National Latina Business Women Association
Chula Vista
Established in 2004, the National Latin Business Women Association helps to meet the needs of Latina entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals through business networking, membership programs & benefits for its members. Memberships are available for Students/Veteran, Professionals and Small Businesses from $47-150/year.
How to support: Join online.

Chicano Federation of San Diego County
Chicano Federation of San Diego County
Chicano Federation of San Diego County

The Chicano Federation
North Park
The Chicano Federation provides aid to families across socioeconomic, geographic, and ethnic lines, including refugees who are seeking a safe and stable environment for their children. Child development programs include home-based support for parents of children 0-5, infant and toddler child care services, a child development center in Barrio Logan, and a child nutrition program. Other services include a housing program with below market rentals and a workforce and business development program. 
How to support: Investigate employment opportunities, become a child care partner, buy some swag or donate.North County Immigration and Citizenship Center
Solana Beach
Formed in 2013 by members of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, North County Immigration and Citizenship Center provides assistance to immigrants who need support with the network of legal processes and cultural pathways to becoming US citizens. As Department of Justice Accredited Representatives authorized to practice immigration law, the organization aids in filling out and processing legal documents and applications, provides tutoring in citizenship and helps candidates prepare for US history and civics tests and naturalization interviews, as well as ESL tutoring. 
How to support: Become a volunteer and/or donate.

Restaurants and bars

Tuetano Taqueria
Tuetano Taqueria
Tuetano Taqueria

Tuétano Taqueria
San Ysidro
Owner/chef Priscilla Curiel’s tiny yellow taco shop just this side of the border in San Ysidro had barely opened its doors when she started getting rave reviews both locally and nationally, including a glowing article in Food & Wine. One bite of her slow-braised, succulent birria with tuétano (a thick hunk of roasted marrow bone) and you’ll know why. Besides tacos, tortas and quesadillas, the shop offers frequent specialty items like flautas or chile en nogada, as well as collaborations and pop up events with other local restaurants. And yes, you’ll want to pick up a jar or two of that addictive salsa macha to take home and put on everything you eat.  
How to support: Order by texting 619-856-7030 with your name and payment via Cash App or Venmo.

Cuscatlan Salvadorian Cuisine
Escondido
Ismael Alvarenga, owner of Cuscatlan Comida Salvadoreña, fled the civil war in his native El Salvador in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that he was able to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant. Appetizers like tamalitos de elote con crema (corn tamales) and pasteles de pollo (fried pies stuffed with chicken) shine — and more than a dozen varieties of pupusas are a must-try, as are the guisados, mojarra frita (whole fried fish), and camarones picoso (shrimp in spicy sauce). 
How to support: Call 760-291-1225 for in-house dining, takeout, or delivery. 
 
Las Cuatro Milpas
Barrio Logan
Las Cuatro Milpas may be most famous for the long line that stretches out the door every day, and it’s been that way ever since Petra and Nati Estudillo opened in 1933. The menu is short and you’ll want one of everything, but definitely get tacos — they come in chicken or pork on freshly made tortillas, regular style, and rolled — along with sides of rice and beans. Other standouts are tamales, burritos, chorizo con huevo and menudo, which is served on Saturdays only. This is Mexican comfort food at its finest, simple, savory and satisfying. The spot is cash only, and don’t wait too long for the line to die down — it closes at 3pm.
How to support: Get in line.

Border X Brewing
Border X Brewing
Border X Brewing

Border X Brewing
Barrio Logan
San Diego’s first Latino-owned and operated brewery, Border X, is truly a family endeavor, founded by brothers David and Marcelino Favela and Marcelino’s two sons, Marcel and Martin. Rather than trying to duplicate the flavor profiles of European beers, they instead drew inspiration from traditional Latin flavors, first coming up with the flagship Blood Saison, a ruby red beauty rich with tart hibiscus flowers. The brewery soon expanded to Horchata Golden Stout, Abuelita’s Chocolate Stout, and a half -dozen others, earning it a 2020 James Beard Semifinalist nomination along the way. Their newest project is a partnership with Mujeres Brew Club to open Mujeres Brew House, a taproom in the former Alta Brewing space on Julian Avenue on October 1.
How to support: Stop by for a beer and some tacos.

Fernandez Restaurant
Fernandez Restaurant
Fernandez Restaurant

Fernandez Restaurant
Nestor
Brothers Miguel Angel and Jorge Fernandez serve some of the most delicious Tijuana-style birria on either side of the border, slowly stewing it overnight into a soul-satisfying mélange of beef, chiles, and spices. Order it by the bowl for self-assembly with the accompanying fresh corn tortillas, radishes, cilantro, onions, and chile de árbol salsa — or get it already tacoized in a birria oil-fried tortilla, and do give it a dunk a cup of their heavenly consomme. Top it with succulent nervio (tendon) or choose chupacabra, gently fried tortillas, onions, serrano chiles, and melted queso under a bed of birria. And if tres leches cake is on the menu, you want that too. Plan to go early — the spot is only open 7am-2pm Wednesday through Sunday.
How to support: Walk up or call 619-628-8235 for takeout.

Retail and other businesses 

Artelexia
Artelexia
Artelexia

Artelexia
North Park
Founder and owner Elexia de la Parra started her vibrant company as a stall at the La Jolla farmers’ market before moving into a brick and mortar shop in Little Italy, finally settling in the artsy community of North Park. Specializing in unique, hand-crafted Mexican gifts, art, gourmet foods, and home decor, she also hosts cultural workshops and community events, including the first-ever Day of the Dead Festival in North Park. For every purchase made, Artelexia donates a portion to Fundación En Via, a nonprofit that provides no-interest loans and education to female entrepreneurs of the Oaxaca Valley region of Mexico. 
How to support: Visit the North Park store, or shop online (shipping is a flat $5).

Hola Swim
Barrio Logan
Lifelong friends Aida Soria and Syncletica Maestas started their swimsuit shop, Hola Swim, on a dare from Soria to Maestas because they could not find suits that they actually loved and enjoyed wearing. Their designs are made to be multifunctional, moving seamlessly from day to night or beach to brunch. Hola Swim signature swimsuits are designed and produced entirely in San Diego and have been featured in Vogue Paris and Cosmo Latina.
How to support: Shop online.

Combine & Create
Barrio Logan
Vanessa Alcaraz is a multimedia artist who creates hand-forged, metal-smithed jewelry in sterling silver and pure brass, combined with ethically mined gemstones, antique coins. and beads. She is also a commercial art direction photographer and has worked with area restaurants, retail stores and landscaping companies, social media platforms, and online shops. 
How to support: Visit the website for art direction and Etsy shop for jewelry.

Entertainment and recreation

San Diego Latino Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival

San Diego Latino Film Festival
Online
The San Diego Latino Film Festival has gone virtual with an 11-day festival of Latino cinema, arts and culture from September 17-September 27. More than 100 films from Latin America, the United States, and Spain — as well as live virtual Q&A sessions with filmmakers — are included. 
How to Support: Purchase individual tickets or festival passes online for the festival, or donate anytime.

Comedy Heights
Chula Vista (temporarily)
Al Gavi, founder of Comedy Heights, along with co-producer Maria Herman, host San Diego’s premiere free comedy showcase every Friday evening at Bay Bridge Brewing in Chula Vista. The show features a diverse mix of headliners and new talent in a clean show that’s always standing room only. Their usual venue is Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse in University Heights, but they’ve moved temporarily to Bay Bridge Brewing for safe, socially distant fun. The show is free with no minimum, but a donation hat gets passed at the end of the show. 
How to support: Catch a show and tip generously.
 
B-Side Players
Online
Local favorites B-Side Players fuse rock, jazz, funk, and hip-hop rhythms, adding in a splash of street samba, cumbia, jarocho and son montuna, and layering in the sounds of Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba, and Mexico. The band’s lyrics address social issues like racism, political corruption, and the hardships of undocumented workers. Founded by frontman Karlos Paez in 1994, the band has garnered 10 San Diego Music Awards, including Best World Album in 2009 and Best World Music in 2010 and 2011. 
How to support: Follow them on streaming services, visit their website, and buy some swag.Sign up here for our daily San Diego email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks, and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.

San Diego

How to Celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego

Check out female-led dance programs, pop up markets, beer dinners, and more events this March.

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Women have played a huge part shaping San Diego into the city it is today. In celebration of Women’s History Month, there are a variety of events across the city that commemorate women’s contributions to our community and culture. Home to the Women’s Museum of California, which hosts events throughout the year, be sure to check out all the ways to support and honor women this month. From art exhibits to dance performances, pop-up markets and yoga, check out the best events to celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego:

Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art

Discover works from overlooked women artists

Ongoing through November 7, 2023
Balboa Park
The San Diego Museum of Art currently has 20 modern and contemporary works of art on display from women who unjustly didn’t receive the same amount of fame as their male contemporaries. The museum’s Modern Women exhibit is your chance to see work from artists like Elaine de Kooning and Lee Krasner, who were overshadowed by artist husbands Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock but whose work has long deserved its own moment in the spotlight. The collection showcases pieces that range from acrylic paintings to photography, inviting us into an untapped artistic sphere.
Cost: $20

Practice Sun Salutations while supporting a good cause

Saturday, March 4, 10 am to 11 am
Pacific Beach
Make a difference in the lives of teen girls of colour while taking a yoga class at Kate Sessions Park. Organized by local nonprofit One Love Movement, all donations for the event go towards college scholarships for girls of the DETOUR F.A.N.C.Y. Expo & Leadership Academy, a mentorship program that promotes equity and inclusion in higher education for girls of colour. All while enjoying stunning views of Mission Bay.
Cost: Donation-based

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Shop local women-owned businesses

Sunday, March 5, 1 pm to 5 pm
Middletown
What better way to celebrate the women in your community than by supporting their local businesses? The Women’s History Month Market, located in the FEMX Quarters venue, is a pop up market you don’t want to miss. The market will feature over 35 vendors from women artisans and you’ll find uniquely crafted sunglasses, jewellery, clothing, and more. The family-friendly (and pet-friendly) event will also include food and music.
Cost: Free

Drink beer crafted by female brewers on International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 8, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Escondido
Women were the original brewers of ale, after all, so it only makes sense to honour our past and present beer connoisseurs with dinner and brews. Located at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Stone International Women’s Day Beer Dinner features three courses, each paired with a tasty beer specially brewed by a team of women at Stone Brewery. The event is part of a larger global celebration for International Women’s Day, where brewers all over the world brew a speciality beer that supports The Pink Boots Society, a non profit that empowers women and non-binary people in the beer industry through scholarships and education. Grab your tickets while you can! 21+
Cost: $50-$70

Attend an exhibition celebrating female and non-binary artists

Saturday, March 11, 5:00 pm
Barrio Logan
Head over to the entertainment and community venue Corazon del Barrio and show your support to female and non-binary artists, whose art and music will be featured in the Diosa Art Show. Around 40 artists are on the bill at this all-ages event.
Cost: Free

Drink some pints for the pups

Saturday, March 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Carmel Mountain
If you need another excuse to down some brews, Second Chance Beer Company is hosting its first ever Ladies & Pups Market for Women’s History Month. The brewery, which holds various events throughout the year, donates a percentage of its sales to animal rescue organizations in California and Arizona. The dog-friendly market will include pop ups from women-owned businesses such as Bold Bouquet, Wet Nose Pottery, and No, You Sit! Treats. For the occasion, Second Chance will serve Fistful of Gummies – Berry Edition, a rendition of their fruited sour beer created in collaboration with Pink Boots Society, an organization that supports women and non-binary individuals in the beer industry.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Women's Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California

Attend a ceremony at the Women’s Museum of California

Saturday, March 18, 11 am to 1 pm
Rolando
Perhaps San Diego’s largest Women’s History Month event, the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes local women for their achievements in the community. The annual event, which takes place at Joan B. Kroc Theatre, is a project of the Women’s Museum of California, a museum dedicated to educating the public about women’s contributions through history with exhibits, programs, and events. Over 100 women have been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame since the program was founded in 2001, and this year’s class includes notable women like activist Norma Chávez-Peterson and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. The event includes a VIP brunch followed by the Induction Ceremony. Be sure to purchase tickets early to secure your spot.
Cost: $20-$150

Join a community of local women and get inspired

Monday, March 20, 5 pm to 7:30 pm
Miramar
The Women’s Speaker Series at Alesmith Brewing Company is a monthly community gathering where local women come together to support one another in achieving professional and personal goals. The event includes a social hour followed by a selected speaker. For this month, the Women’s Speaker Series features career coach and small business owner Laura Bashore, who will share her insight on how you can advance your career or business. Make sure to reserve your spot before attending!
Cost: Free

Come hear about the roles San Diego women played during World War II

Tuesday, March 21, 1 pm to 3 pm
Mission Valley
In the early 20th century, many women were not allowed or expected to be the breadwinners for their households, but things suddenly changed with the United States’ entry into World War II. Here’s your chance to learn about the real experiences of women who lived through WWll and how they navigated through it all. Presented by Oasis San Diego, head over to Mission Valley Library to attend this in-person event.
Cost: Free

Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project

Attend a ballet program choreographed entirely by women

Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, March 25 & Monday, March 27, 7:30 pm
Liberty Station
Experience not one but three world premiere ballet performances at The Rosin Box Project, a contemporary ballet company that works to redefine the concept of dance and how it’s experienced for both artists and audiences. To coincide with Women’s History Month, TRBP is kicking off its 2023 season with Empower, a female-led ballet program choreographed by TRBO Residents Lauren Flower, Bethany Green, and Carly Topazio. The program, which takes place at Light Box Theater, offers a fresh take on dance by pushing the boundaries of traditional ballet. Your ticket includes a post-show reception.
Cost: $45

Hear music by a little-known female early 20th-century composer

Friday, March 24, 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Balboa Park
While you may not be familiar with composer Alice Barnett Stevenson, she played an integral part in San Diego’s music scene during the early 1900s. Stevenson was an active member of various music organizations at the time, and she composed art songs for voice and piano and performed at schools all over the country. Her home became a hub for local recitals from visiting musicians, and was also where the San Diego Symphony was founded. This month, you can hear her compositions performed live for the first time in nearly 100 years at the San Diego History Center. Selected works by Stevenson will be performed by musical scholar Katina Mitchell and pianist Yewon Lee. Be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Cost: $25-$40

Listen to Black San Diego women discuss important community issues

Saturday, March 25, 12 pm to 4 pm
Valencia Park
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Friends of Malcolm X Library are hosting Ain’t I a Woman, an event featuring Black women who will be speaking about their professions and discussing the challenges faced within the workplace and the community while offering suggestions on how to further enhance and embrace equality. The event includes a Q&A panel discussion, door prizes, free raffles, as well as music, poetry, and dance. Seating is limited so be sure to reserve your spot early.
Cost: Free event. Lunch purchase is $15.

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Michelle Harris is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Over the years her writing has also appeared in Atlas Obscura, Mental Floss, and Audubon Magazine. When she’s not busy typing, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and cooking vegan food.

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