Looking for the best hot chocolate in San Diego? Look no further than these editor (and kid!) approved spots that offer everything from classic cocoa to out of this world concoctions
While San Diego might not get freezing temperatures, any time the temperatures dip below 65 degrees call for hot chocolate. We’ve sipped our way through town to round up the sweet deets on where to get the best hot chocolate nearby. So bundle up your littles (even if it’s for a photo-op) and grab one of these must-have hot chocolates on your way to get a picture with Santa, on the way to see a beautiful holiday lights display, or even for the car ride when you’re looking for ways to play in the snow near San Diego.
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1. Sugar & Scribe
Come for the hot chocolate with a housemade marshmallow, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, and stay for the Nutella-Nuts French toast. The casual ambiance and excellent breakfast items make this local La Jolla spot a win.
Insider Tip: Check out their seasonal Peppermint Fudge-a-licious upgrade to their S&S hot chocolate.
7660 Fay Ave.
2. Morning Glory
If your group can't decide on just one decadent cup of cocoa, then try several at Morning Glory—the cute Little Italy bistro with a funky flair. There are five flavors to choose that will tantalize your taste buds: classic cocoa, caramel, strawberries and cream, orange and vanilla, or maple cinnamon.
550 W Date St.
3. Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop
With the Ghirardelli name on this cafe, you know you are walking into a chocolate paradise. Try the Decadent Drinking Chocolate for a chocolate lover's dream or, for an unseasonably warm winter's day, give the frozen hot chocolate a spin. Add a warm, decadent brownie and your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied.
Insider Tip: In addition to the Classic Hot Cocoa and Sea Salt Caramel Hot Cocoa, check out Ghirardelli's seasonal holiday flavor Peppermint Hot Cocoa.
643 5th Ave.
4. Por Vida
Stop by this cute, casual spot and warm up your insides with their signature Mexican hot chocolate. Along with fresh Mexican pastries, they also sell local and Mexican art.
2146 Logan Ave.
5. Brew Coffee Spot
Order up a chocolate drink here (either hot, cold, or blended with dark, white, or Mexican chocolate) at this rustic La Mesa cafe. Located in a strip mall with plenty of parking, is a great place to grab a croissant. PS: Gluten-free pastries are also available here.
6101 Lake Murray Blvd.
6. The Forum Coffee House
With a hip and friendly vibe, this is a sweet hot chocolate pit stop for the kiddos that adults will adore as well. They call their hot chocolate "PG-13" and, good to know, serve a peppermint version for the holidays. Additionally, you'll find house-baked croissants, scones, and buns. It gets crowded on weekends, so be prepared for a wait if you don't get here early.
4340 Genesee Ave. Ste. 110
7. Baba Coffee
Baba Coffee, in Carlsbad Village whips up a great hot chocolate (plus lattes, espressos, and mochas). And with live music on the weekends, this spot is a no-brainer for your Sat. or Sun. morning destination.
Good to Know: Rumor has it their avocado toast is delish.
2727 State St.
8. Chi Chocolat
This cozy chocolate shop, connected to Banyan Kitchen, will surely satisfy your hot chocolate cravings—whether you are in the mood for a quick cup of Chai chocolate or something more adventurous. Here, the hot chocolate is crafted from freshly made chocolate, spooned into a cup with steamed milk, and topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Want to make your experience even more unique? Spice it up with cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg. PS: We recommend the caramel mocha for the grown-ups.
2690 Historic Decatur Rd.
Related: The Best Nighttime Activities to Do with Kids in San Diego
This cafe offers an authentic experience with Italian hot chocolate as well as the grown-up fave, affogato (espresso with gelato). Make it even sweeter by bringing home dessert with a nice selection of fresh pastries to share (or not).
1602 State St.
10. Nibble Chocolate
Nibble is an organic vegan chocolate shop located in Old Town. After dinner, mosey the fam over for a hot chocolate dessert. Their cocoa, sourced from Peru and Brazil, is extra when combined with almond, coconut, or soy milk.
2754 Calhoun St.
11. Eclipse Chocolate
Touted as one of America’s best hot chocolates, Eclipse Chocolate Bar and Bistro knows a thing or two about satisfying a sweet tooth. Above all, little sippers will love the drinking chocolate that comes with two large square marshmallows.
Good to Know: They’re known for infusing chocolate with herbs and spices, so don’t be afraid to be a little daring.
2145 Fern St.