When winter brings chilly temps to San Diego, we’re all too excited to wrap up in sweaters, keep tootsies toasty in boots and especially to warm up with a delicious cup of cocoa. We’ve sipped our way through cafes citywide to find the ten best mugfuls of decadent, freshly made hot chocolate. Read on to see where to take your sweeties to toast the season.

Snooze Eatery

Expect this hot chocolate wonder to go fast at this local breakfast joint. After all, who can resist the whipped cream tower topped with chocolate drizzle? Besides winter drinks little foodies can down a half-order of fluffy pancakes while you gobble up the strawberry-topped OMG French toast. Perfect pairings indeed.

Sweet note: It's busy, so download the No Wait app and join the wait list via smartphone.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $4.25
Hours: Daily, 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


Del Mar Highlands Town Center
3435 Del Mar Heights Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Online: snoozedelmar.com

The Shops at La Jolla Village
8861 Villa La Jolla Dr., #506
La Jolla, Ca

Hillcrest Neighborhood
3940 5th Ave.
San Diego, Ca


photo: Brew Coffee Facebook Page

Brew Coffee Spot

Your crew can order up their chocolate drink hot, cold or blended at this rustic La Mesa cafe. Not to mention, grown-ups rave about the lavender hot chocolate that's decadent but not too sweet. If undecided, a plethora of coffee drinks with a drink diagram helps you choose. Make it a meal and stay to eat at this cool cafe.

Sweet note: Friday night is game night and a whole lot of fun.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $2.95 to $3.50
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

La Mesa Neighborhood
6101 Lake Murray Blvd.
La Mesa, Ca
Online: brewcoffeespot.com

Chi Chocolate

Cozy up to this dark chocolate cafe for a cup of cocoa. Crafted from freshly made chocolate ladled into a cup, add-in steamed milk and top it with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Also, adventurous drinkers can spice it up with cinnamon, cardamom or vanilla. Psst: we recommend the hazelnut mocha for the grown-ups.

Sweet note: Schedule a chocolate tasting by a chocolatier. A fun party idea.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $3.50 to $4.50
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.


Liberty Station
2690 Historic Decatur Rd.
Point Loma, Ca
Online: chichocolat.net

Baba Coffee

Stir up your morning routine and head to the newish Baba Coffee in Carlsbad Village. Indeed, they whip up a good hot chocolate (plus lattes, espressos and mochas). With an open-air feel and pastries from The Pannikin and VG donuts, this outing will delight your whole crew. Good to know: we've heard their avocado toast is fresh and yummy.

Sweet note: They even have a little dog treat jar for your furry best friend.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $3.25
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.


Carlsbad Village
2727 State St.
Carlsbad, Ca
Online: babacoffee.com

Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop

Here you'll find melt in your mouth hot chocolate for the littles. It's topped with luscious whipped cream and a Ghiradelli chocolate square on top. Or try the sea salt caramel hot cocoa with caramel drizzle, a local favorite. Add in a warmed chocolate brownie and your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied.

Sweet note: Savor free pieces of decadent Ghiradelli chocolate while you wait in line.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $3.50 to $5
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-Midnight

Downtown, Gaslamp District
643 5th Ave.
San Diego, Ca
Online: ghirardelli.com

Nibble Chocolate

Nibble is an organic vegan chocolate shop that fits perfectly into walkable Old Town. After that savory chicken enchilada with margs, mosey the fam over for a hot chocolate dessert. Their cocoa, which is sourced from Peru or Brazil, satisfies when served with almond, coconut or soy milk. Drink up and feel good.

Sweet note: You'll find a chocolate tasting area to try it out. Yummy!

Cost: Hot chocolate, $3.95
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Old Town Neighborhood
2754 Calhoun St.
San Diego, Ca
Online: nibblechocolate.com

Breakfast Republic

If you like your hot chocolate with a large dollop of whip cream, then head to one of the many Breakfast Republics in San Diego to fill up. The Oreo cookie hot chocolate, bacon hash browns or pancake flight will seal the decadent deal. Talk about a sweet way to start the day.

Sweet note: The s'mores french toast is a local favorite.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $4.75
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Online: breakfastrepublic.com

Carlsbad Chocolate Bar

This is a sweet spot to stop when cruisin' Carlsbad Village with the fam. Kiddos can chomp down pizza (and salad) at the Pizza Port, then head for a delicious hot chocolate and other handmade treats at this open door cafe. In fact, many families walk the adorable State street and beyond.

Sweet note: The full coffee bar and layers of old-fashioned candy trays (behind glass) make this a super fun chocolate stop.

Cost: Hot chocolate, $3.50 to $4
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.;  Sun., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Carlsbad Village
2998 State St.
Carlsbad, Ca
Online: carlsbadchocolatebar.com

Eclipse Chocolate

Touted by Travel and Leisure 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 toast the drinking chocolate that comes with two large square marshmallows. They’re known for infusing chocolate with herbs and spices, so don’t be afraid to get daring.

Sweet note: If the kids are hungry they also have a full brunch and dinner menu. Eclipse Chocolate is a place you may never want to leave.

Cost: Drinking chocolate, $5
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

South Park Neighborhood
2145 Fern St.
San Diego, Ca
Online: eclipsechocolat.com

Chocolat Cremerie

If you're in the downtown area, Chocolat Cremerie should be on your list of places to grab a cup of hot chocolate. This little shop was voted one of the best bistros in San Diego!

Sweet note: You'll want to save room for more than hot cocoa since the cafe is also famous for their gelato selection.

509 5th Ave.
San Diego, Ca
Online: chocolatsandiego.com

Featured photo: Jennifer Pallian via Unsplash

Do you know where to sip on a delicious mug of hot chocolate? Tell us below.

––Nikki Walsh