San Diego International Airport (SAN) is one of the busiest single-runway airports in the world and serves the Greater San Diego metropolitan area in California, United States. Formerly known as San Diego Municipal Airport – Lindbergh Field, it is situated 3 miles northwest of downtown San Diego, and connects ‘America’s Finest City’ to over 75 destinations across North America, Europe, and Asia. There’s plenty of choice for food and shopping at San Diego airport!
At present, the airport has 3 terminals and 51 gates. However, it is currently working on a redevelopment plan which is expected to be completed around 2035.
If you’re passing through San Diego International Airport on a business trip or a vacation, and you have some time to kill while waiting for your flight, you’d be happy to know that the airport offers multiple dining and shopping experiences for you to indulge in. Let’s have a look at these…
Best Places for Food & Shopping at San Diego Airport
Einstein Bros. Bagels
For an early morning breakfast before your flight, swing by Einstein Bros for a piping hot cup of artisan roasted coffee and some freshly-baked bagels. They also have a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, and hot paninis on the menu. Their signature Chipotle Turkey Wrap is a fan favourite.
Locations – Terminal 1, Gate 3 | Terminal 2, Pre-Security
If you swear by the quintessential American burger, then The Counter has got you covered. They serve customisable gourmet burgers including vegan and gluten-free offerings. Their menu also has tempting starters, creamy milkshakes, beer, and wine.
Location – Terminal 1, Gate 4
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
This Berkeley-born premium tea and coffee company offers the best coffee inside the airport premises. Roastmasters personally select each batch of coffee beans before they are roasted by hand. Here, you can also try premium quality organic and herbal teas, sandwiches, salads, and pastries.
Locations – Terminal 1, Gate 11 | Terminal 2, Gate 26 | Terminal 2, Security Corridor
Qdoba Mexican Grill
One of the country’s leading Mexican food joints, Qdoba offers passengers handcrafted meals prepared with the freshest ingredients. Innovative flavours and fast service are their hallmarks. We recommend their signature 3 Cheese Queso and Slow Roasted Pulled Pork.
Locations – Terminal 2, Gate Sunset Cove
For a delicious sugar rush, grab a sweet treat from this favourite local donut bar. They also offer a nice selection of cookies pastries and ice creams to send you off on your journey with a smile on your face.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 38
Sit Down Dining
California Pizza Kitchen
If you are someone who believes pizza and pasta can make any day better, look no further than California Pizza Kitchen. For a slice of heaven, try their popular fusion bakes like The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza or Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage Pizza. Their Chicken Tequila Fettuccine might also try to steal a pizz-a your heart.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 26
Prado at the Airport
Prado at the Airport draws inspiration from The Balboa Park original restaurant. Start with a delicious appetizer like Spicy Calamari Fries with Korean chili sauce, or Crab dip with mascarpone, spinach, roasted poblano, and garlic rostini. For something lighter – and vegetarian – go for a freshly assembled Prado Caesar salad featuring cotija cheese and poblano chile Caesar dressing, or a comforting bowl of spice-filled black bean soup. For the main course, the impressive 8oz Kobe Cheeseburger is a crowd-pleaser.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 26
PGA Tour Grill
This golf-centric eatery and sports bar has a grill menu that features healthy and fresh ingredients that suit every palate. Almonds, quinoa, anti-oxidant rich honey, trout, baby arugula, and hormone and antibiotic-free beef are just some of the ingredients on the menu. We can’t get enough of their Power Salad, Grilled Citrus Salmon, and Smothered Flatiron Steak. They also have a fine selection of beers, wine, and specialty cocktails.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 36
To satisfy your craving for some Southern-style barbecue, confidently head to this outlet of a popular local chain. Their award-winning recipes like Baby Back Rib Dinners, Mesquite Grilled Chicken, and homemade Onion rings will tantalise your taste buds. They also serve sandwiches, salads, craft beer, wine, and other beverages.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 46
Shopping at San Diego Airport
The Beach House
Beach House is the one-stop shop for tourists going on a beach holiday. Beach towels, sunscreens, hats, sunglasses…you name it and they have it! They also promote the Brazilian footwear brand Havaianas, which makes ultra-comfortable flip flops that are perfect for the beach.
Location – Terminal 1, Pre Security
For the latest news, venture into either of the two Hudson News outlets at San Diego Airport. They have well-lit sections like media, marketplace, and destinations, as well as travel essentials to make your trip more comfortable. They also stock snacks and beverages, beauty aids, electronics, and souvenirs.
Locations – Terminal 1, Gate 10 | Terminal 2, Gate 37
Sky Free Shop
For the best duty-free shopping experience at San Diego Airport, visit the Sky Free Shop. Their selection of curated fragrances, cosmetics, handbags, and liquor are top-notch. They are also the authorised retailer of luxury brands like Mont Blanc, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Hermes, and Jack Daniels, among others.
Location – Terminal 2, Security Corridor
Tech on the Go
For the modern gadget-loving traveler, Tech on the Go is the perfect place to pick up electronic essentials like mobile chargers, cameras, headphones, computer accessories, and the like. They sell products from trusted brands like Belkin, Mophie, Skullcandy, Sony, and Wicked, just to name just a few.
Location – Terminal 2, Gate 37