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The Perfect Gift Guide for Shopping Small in San Diego, CA

If you're looking to shop small in San Diego this holiday season, go no further! We've hand picked our top 10 small businesses in SD that have been uploaded to Pao and created a gift guide just for you! Scroll down to get some gift ideas for your loved ones this year at these amazing local shops!

Plants and small gifts!



This is an adorable little store in North Park! Plants are dispersed throughout the whole store, making it super fun to wander around in. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, you’ll find little gifts here ranging from ceramics to lotions, bags and sunglasses! It’s hard to leave this shop without buying something!

Matcha packs!

Holy Matcha


One of the most aesthetically pleasing spots in SD! You can grab yourself a tasty and trendy matcha latte while shopping for an assortment of matcha packs! They also sell merch and other healthy living items! A great gift for a friend who loves cuteness and antioxidants!

Balloon tour!

Compass Balloons


Give someone the flight of a lifetime! Compass balloon tours is based in Encinitas and is run by a group of energetic and adventurous people! On the tours you get to watch the balloons fill up and then get to step on board to see amazing views of San Diego from 3000ft above!

A trendy mask!



This boho clothing store has such trendy outfits and accessories! You can splurge and buy your loved one a full on hipster outfit or if you’re on a budget, check out their smaller items like a cute mask or hoop earrings!

Barware and unique spirits!

Raised by Wolves


A very sophisticated shop that is the perfect place to find a special spirit for your cocktail loving friend! They have a huge selection of bottles to explore and various barware trinkets to buy as well! You can even treat yourself to a little drink while you’re shopping!

Surfboards and accessories!

Bird Rock Surf


This local surf shop has it all when it comes to a surfer’s needs! Wether your looking to make a bigger surfboard-like purchase or a smaller bikini-like purchase, you’re guaranteed a gnarly find here! It’s the perfect shop for getting stocking stuffers like wax, skin care and fins too!

Holiday coffee blends and bouquets!

Communal Coffee


This local coffee/flower shop is always brewing up something fantastic! Aside from having phenomenal coffee and beautiful floral decor, they host multiple different vendors that sell things ranging from jewelry to house goods, beauty products and clothing!


Lou’s Records


At Lou’s you’ll find a mix of unique used records and new vinyl along with turntables, merch, accessories, cassettes and more! They keep things simple and the staff has great taste so make sure to ask for their help if you’re looking for something specific!

Custom plantings!

Green Fresh Florals + Plants


This nursery offers custom arrangements and planting services! If you know someone who’s looking to add some life into their home, this is the perfect place to find accent plants and pieces! The whole store is also filled with little items like water bottles, cute soap dispensers and other home goods!

PJs and matching sets!

Clothe + Arrow


This pop-up clothing boutique in Del Mar has a wide array of exclusive bohemian, western and beach ware! They have super cute Pajamas and matching holiday sets right now. You can always count on finding something comfy and cute here.

Those were just 10 out of the hundreds of small businesses that you can buy from in San Diego this year! Click the button below to see all the #paoworthy places in San Diego that have been uploaded to Pao!

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Anna Zervos


Anna graduated from UCLA in 2017 where she studied psychology and cognitive science. Her passion for travel, design, and psychology fuel her passion for Pao. On the Pao team she is in charge of feature development, business strategy, UI/UX, and big picture marketing strategies. Anna has been to over 40 countries and plans to keep that number growing. She hopes to inspire people to get outside their comfort zones and eventually give back to people who aren’t able to.

Favorite food

Tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas

Favorite band

The 1975

Favorite movie genre

Psychological horror/thriller

Favorite hobby

Singing and playing guitar

Favorite place in the world

Antipaxos, Greece

Sara Zervos


Sara is has a PhD in Economics and spent 22 years in the finance industry managing teams and over $20bn in assets. She is Pao’s CFO and CTO, and also spearheads business development and AI initiatives. She has traveled to over 57 countries, adores animals and the outdoors. Sara loves to connect with people and help them learn and strive to be their best selves.

Favorite food

Peanut Butter

Favorite band


Favorite movie genre

Sci Fi

Favorite hobby

Salsa Dancing

Favorite place in the world

Kauai & New Zealand are tied