Thread Spun handmade gift shop and women's boutique in Encinitas sells a mix of sustainable apparel and unique home goods

Ethical San Diego Guide: See, Shop + Dine the Thread Spun Way!

San Diego coastline | San Diego Sunset | Thread Spun Blog
San Diego is best known for our beaches, temperate weather and tourist attractions, but as a group of sustainability-loving locals here at Thread Spun, we spend much of our free time seeking out other ethical, local businesses to support. We've rounded up the sustainable restaurants, bars, businesses and destinations that caught our eye and held our attention for their commitment to local sourcing, offering high-quality employment opportunities, BIPOC or womxn-owned and integrating sustainable environmental practices into their ethics. You’ll find some fierce fem entrepreneurs, zero waste leaders, and cultural guides in the mix below. 
San Diego is a huge and diverse county so this guide is by no means comprehensive of all the incredible dining, drinking and recreating options out there with a focus on ethical practices, but it’s only the first edition so stick with us.  Drop us a comment if there’s a spot we missed that you’d like to recommend, we're always looking for other ethical shops and sustainable stops to frequent here in San Diego. 

Where to Eat

The Plot Restaurant: Vegan and 100% zero waste, the Plot is north county’s most innovative restaurant (seriously, they produce NO TRASH!) Enjoy classic comfort food (a vegan take on Chicken and Waffles), mouthwatering sushi and a pretty badass brunch on weekends. They also have a hefty beer, wine and NA libations list. If you remain unconvinced that vegan cuisine is for you, visit their menu gallery here. 

The Plot Vegan Restaurant | San Diego | Thread Spun Blog

Tuna Dockside Market:  Buy fish from the fisherpeople themselves at Tuna Dockside Market and feel good about their sustainable fishing practices with a minimal carbon footprint. The market is open only on Saturdays from 8am to about 3pm but we recommend arriving on the early side because chefs and the public alike flock here to buy the freshest seafood around. 

Tuna Dockside Market | Fresh and Sustainable Fish | Thread Spun

The Rose Natural Wine Bar: A woman-owned masterpiece of a restaurant featuring a bottle shop of natural wines from small vineyards and the most scrumptious cocktails. Their cuisine is hearty yet elegant, all without a hint of pretentiousness. They’re known for their delectable empanadas but we also recommend the Rose Salad Pie (a pizza with a fresh salad atop), or the burger with chimichurri aioli, grilled onions and gruyere. The Rose currently offers a ‘High Road Menu’ on a pay-what-you can basis which makes us love them even more! It’s a neighborhood hangout yet a worthwhile drive, even from the farthest reaches of north county SD

The Rose Wine Bar & Bottle Shop | Thread Spun Blog


Where to Drink

The Bar Bank: Genius Mixologist with limitless creativity, Ka’nita Butler is one of San Diego’s most up-and-coming bartending entrepreneurs. The Bar Bank is a bar on-the-go so follow along on Instagram to catch them, and get ready to check out new parts of San Diego as you sip on unique libations. 

The Bar Bank

Varied options include: popping up for cocktail hour at some of San Diego’s most jaw-dropping vistas, custom bulk batch cocktails for pick-up and private al-fresco packages. Ka’nita’s creations delivered a healthy dose of happiness to weary San Diegans throughout the pandemic. She works with clients to utilize their home gardens and herbs for one-of-a-kind handcrafted cocktails that make you pause and appreciate the beauty of her work before gulping one down. 

The Bar Bank Cocktails

Pure Project Brewing: The secret to success of Pure Project’s beers is local, fresh agriculture. Featuring California-grown organic barley and wheat from sixth generation farmers, soil conservation is a sustainable method to guarantee high quality brews with rich flavor. Add Valencia oranges from Lodge Ranch Organics (a 102 year-old SD farm) and you’ve got yourself a delectable and refreshing Tropical Mist Citrus Blonde Ale that only Pure Brewing could make! 

Pure Brewing Brews | San Diego Craft Brewery | Thread Spun

It gets better- every pint produced will prevent two pounds of plastic from reaching the ocean due to their collaboration with Plastic Bank. Wait, there’s more! They’re also a 1% for the Planet business donating 1% of all sales to the environment, now that's our kind of craft brewery.  

Pure Project Brewing Vista | San Diego Craft Beer Scene | Thread Spun

Wayfarer Bread & Pastry: There is so much to adore about this woman-owned bakery in Bird Rock, La Jolla. Look for the generous passionfruit vine framing a low-slung roofline and an eye-catching mural of its flower by science illustrator, Yvonne Byers. Enjoy morning pastries, afternoon sandwiches, and on some nights- pizza! We love a day-to-night bakery with an espresso bar and a wine list! Wayfarer’s pizzas and pastries are adorned with delicious fruits and veggies sourced from nearby organic, family-owned farms. You can taste the integrity of the produce and hot, fresh naturally fermented bread. Order ahead to skip the line and guarantee your share of the small batches. 

Wayfarer Pastries | Ethical San Diego | Thread Spun Blog
Wayfarer Bakery | Sustainable San Diego | Thread Spun


What to Do:

The Hill Street Country Club: Pop over to Instagram and engage with this dynamic gallery space in Oceanside. Their current exhibit features pieces created with unaltered trash from our local shores. Catch a native plant printmaking workshop or ‘Baby Witch Hour’ to learn about non-western centric forms of spirituality and decolonizing Witch Craft. This is truly a unique San Diego experience.

The Hill Street Country Club | San Diego Artist Scene | Thread Spun

Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park: This vibrant hub of art, music, and celebration within Balboa Park promotes Indigenous, Latio and Chicano cultures. Catch a live show (with dancing of course) and stop by their fully stocked tiny shop to purchase essential ethical literature, gorgeous art and marigold bouquets.


Centro Cultural de la Raza | Balboa Park San Diego | Thread Spun

The Vista Conservancy Walking Trail: Before stopping at Pure Project Brewing, enjoy a beautiful trek along the Vista Conservancy Nature Trail. It’s well maintained and relatively flat so it is accessible to bikes and strollers. At the top you’ll find the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. Check out the newly dedicated indigenous grinding stones along the way and reflect on the first people of the land we inhabit. 

Alta Vista Botanic Garden

Where to Shop

Moniker General: Cocktails, coffee, shopping? Yes plz! Moniker General is a one-stop shop for gorgeous design and people-centered products. This means small batch clothing, handmade home goods, unique eyewear and locally-produced leather wares. Carve out an afternoon for your visit and wander the gorgeous historic surroundings and other unique shops of Liberty Station. 

Moniker General

Verbatim Books: San Diego's favorite small, independent book storeStep back in time to enjoy browsing shelves stocked full with a highly curated selection of both used and new books. We love Verbatim’s Local Author Program open to residents of San Diego and Tijuana that helps homegrown artists thrive. Browse local zines and take home limited edition classics at this North Park favorite. 

Verbatim Books | San Diego Independent Bookstore | Thread Spun Blog

Simón Limón: A delightful, whimsical shop that shines from the inside out featuring a bright and colorful mix of local, national and cross-border brands. Their inventory highlights womnxn and Latinx makers. We guarantee you’ll leave this gift shop with a new treasure to love and a smile on your face.  

Simón Limón | San Diego Gift Shops | Thread Spun Blog

Thread Spun: Oh hi, it’s us! Celebrating our third birthday this August was an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come. In 2019 we were named “Best of North County” by San Diego Magazine and since then, we’ve tripled the size of our shop and added a huge selection of sustainable apparel by small, independent designers. We hope you'll stop by to check out our clean beauty products as well as ethical jewelry and handmade home goods from around the world. We are constantly evolving and welcoming new handmade and fair trade gifts into our shop.

Thread Spun Interior

We proudly continue to re-invest 10% of all Thread Spun profits back into community-based charities and mutual aid funds both here in our region and globally. When you shop local with us, the effects of your dollars are far-reaching and truly transformative. 

Thread Spun Handmade and Fair Trade Gift Shop | San Diego

Thank you for reading! Remember to send us any other destination in San Diego county that we can include in our second edition guide to ethical businesses. If you’d like to learn more about our hometown, Encinitas, click here to read our local’s guide. We hope to see you soon, here at our little ethical shop by the sea. If you can't stop by in person, you can always shop online.

Shop Handmade Goods | Thread Spun Fair Trade | Shop Thread Spun Online Gifts
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