San Diego is one of the cities that is known for its vast offerings. It’s a great family attraction with a Zoo, Legoland, and much more. Another of its jewels is 70 miles long beach which is its key attraction in the summer. Whether you live in San Diego, or you plan to visit it, know that there are plenty of tattoo studios you may be interested in visiting.
In this article, we searched, reviewed, and compiled the most popular tattoo studios in San Diego. We focused both on studios that welcome walk-ins, but also those more popular spots that emphasize making appointments and preparing to get tatted by some of the best tattoo artists in the city.
With its amazing climate, pristine beaches, lovely weather, and relaxed ambient, it doesn’t surprise us that San Diego sparks so much creativity and inspiration. This city birthed some amazingly talented tattoo artists and studios. That said, without a further ado, let’s take a look at them and see what they stand out for.
How We Chose Tattoo Studios In San Diego?
When choosing the best tattoo studio in San Diego we had to focus on a lot of things to make up our judgment. San Diego is a large city with over a million citizens. With that in mind, there are many registered and unregistered tattoo artists and studios.
To evaluate which ones are the best, we considered the following criteria:
- Portfolio – Many tattoo artists leave the products of their works, either like an image or video on their Facebook, Instagram account, or their official website. Instagram is the best place to view those designs, especially if you’re looking for someone who promptly publishes the results of their work.
- Reviews – Sometimes you have to take a look at more than just portfolios, such as reviews. Everyone visiting a certain tattoo shop has a unique experience of it. If they update their reviews, you’ll see what that means for you and your future appointments.
- Hygiene – Tattoo studios need to be professional and clean places. Working with needles often poses risk to bacterial and other infections if the tattoo artist is not careful enough. Always check the hygiene standards.
- Flexibility – Some tattoo studios offer walk-in sessions, while others offer appointments only. This depends from studio to studio and didn’t affect our final decision. Still, we wanted to include studios that have flexible appointments for impatient tattoo enthusiasts.
10 Best Tattoo Studios in San Diego
Like we said before, we focused on both walk-ins and scheduled appointments. It’s worth noting that we also found some hidden talents with not as large a following and popularity. The good news is that you can rely on them in their entirety. Chances are, also, that they are available when other, larger tattoo studios aren’t.
- Website: https://www.propagandatattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/propagandatattoo/
- Location: 3704 Voltaire St, San Diego
Although Propaganda tattoo isn’t praised for tens of thousands, or even hundreds of followers, it didn’t stop it from being voted as one of the best tattoo shops in San Diego. We believe that the lack of popularity is caused by not frequently posting on their Instagram account.
Still, the posts we saw, as well as the gallery on the website, convinced us that this is one of the most golden places you can visit in San Diego, California. The shop is equipped with top-notch equipment and dedicated tattoo artists who always have a smile on their faces.
What we also like is the diversity of different tattoo designs. Although the place specializes in making smaller, minimalistic, and rather traditional tattoos, you can come with any ideas that you may have, and they’ll realize it as soon as possible, without compromising on quality. The spot also encourages walk-ins at all times, but you can also make an appointment if it’d make you feel more comfortable.
SD Tattoo (San Diego Tattoo)
- Website: https://www.sandiegotattooshop.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sdtattoo/
- Location: 3780 Hancock St E, San Diego
The talented tattoo artists play with different techniques and shapes to come up with creative and magical tattoos. If you stumble upon one of the most popular tattoo shops in San Diego, with a very creative name, bear in mind you can turn any idea, any design into reality.
The tattoo studio specializes in realistic and traditional tattoos. However, they play with other cartoonish and other concepts full of different shapes and patterns. The textures are straightforward, the ink looks clean and neat even after the tattoo has healed, with shades not fading easily over time.
Another thing that is so great about this tattoo studio is that they allow walk-ins, every day, during work time. They have tattoo artists that work only on walk-in customers and will offer a clean and relaxed ambient for both smaller and larger tattoos.
We truly like the concept behind the SD Tattoo, and we’re sure that so do over 50,000 followers on Instagram. If you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy tattoo shop, SD tattoo may be well worth it.
Bearcat Tattoo Gallery
- Website: https://bearcattattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bearcattattoogallery/
- Location: 2419 Kettner Blvd, San Diego
We can call Bearcat tattoo a medium-sized tattoo gallery given its following and the reviews they have all around. They have a lot of talented tattoo artists. What’s interesting is that all of them boast their own tattoo style and will come forward and help customers with different interests and desires from their tattoos.
Their website is quite well-detailed, so you can easily schedule an appointment with one of the tattoo artists, that are also featured on both website and Instagram page. While they’re an all-around studio, we can’t help but notice the prominence of pop-art tattoo designs, as well as colorful sleeves of popular video games, TV shows, and cartoon characters.
The ink looks like it was injected with unprecedented quality, with wounds healing neatly, without compromising the quality of the tattoo. The shades are well-blended, and you can’t see a poor mixture of colors due to bad quality or not enough skill.
They’re prompt, precise, dedicated, and approachable. The ambient is well-designed to make you feel at home. Although walk-ins are not allowed, as far as we saw, the booking process goes smooth and swift so you’ll be with your tattoo in no time.
Chris Cockrill Tattoo
- Website: http://tattoo-maker.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chriscockadoodledo/
- Location: 3009 Myrtle Ave, San Diego
Independent artists that hold studios also catch a lot of our attention, especially if they are inspired by details and can come up with great tattoo designs. What we like about this particular studio is that the artist focuses on both traditional and unconventional tattoos that not everyone could come up with.
There is nothing about walk-ins. However, there are multiple ways for you to book like phone calls, Instagram, the Book page on the website, which is the most reliable option too. This place is well-maintained and everyone who visits always gets a positive impression from the nice ambient and positive energy.
This is an ideal place for everyone preferring both smaller and bigger tattoos. Also, those who prefer coloring and other types of shading over minimalistic tattoos will find what they’re looking for at this studio.
- Website: https://www.gurutattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gurutattoo/
- Location: 2504 State St, San Diego
Guru Tattoo is one of the largest and most popular tattoo studios in San Diego. Its creative tattoo artists, idea, branding, ambient, all of that contributed to the customer satisfaction and such a high level of popularity. It’s ideal for people who want tattoos that stand out and catch all the breaths around.
We must admit that this tattoo studio mostly focuses on tattoos that are larger, vivid, and colorful. The detailed ink, precise hand, and a myriad of inspiration is what makes these tattoo artists stand out from the competition and attract a great number of customers.
Walk-ins are not welcome and given such a high follow base on Instagram, it’d be the best to head over to the website and make an appointment. Both Instagram and the official website have a lot of designs to look like. Always make sure to send the design you want to the artists first.
Chapter One Tattoo
- Website: https://chapteronetattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chapteronetattoo/
- Location: 4857 Newport Ave, San Diego
If you’re an early birdie who wants to get inked first thing in the morning, know that Chapter one Tattoo opens after 12 pm. Nevertheless, everything else about this tattoo studio is just amazing. Great environment and ambient, dynamic, yet relaxing music and super-talented staff that will make every minute of your stay feel comfortable.
The appointment process has a quite straightforward method. You visit the website, fill out a form where you get a quote and give the design you want to be tatted in for an evaluated price. The Instagram account is pretty large, so it’s understandable to want straightforward forms for a better price evaluation.
This tattoo studio’s talented artists offer a plethora of styles that you can focus on when choosing the right tattoo design for you. There’s everything, from traditional and minimalistic tattoos to realistic and detailed abstract symbols and stories inked on your sleeve or back.
They’re great at making abstract pop-up symbols, but they also perform great at animal and human portraits.
- Website: https://www.bujutattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buju_tattoo/
- Location: 914 W Washington St, San Diego
Buju tattoo focuses more on minimalistic and classic black and white ink, without too much shading if desired. They actively work and successfully built a large Instagram community with over 26k followers. On their Instagram page, you can find anything from adorable pet tattoos to amazing floral and natural body art.
Although they specialize in minimalistic designs, anything that you want to be made and turned into your body art can be made. The staff is quite careful and will ensure that everything is clean and ready for you to get tattooed. As far as we understood, walk-ins are not encouraged, but you can make an appointment with ease.
Full Circle Tattoo
- Website: https://fullcircletattoos.com/?v=6cc98ba2045f
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buju_tattoo/
- Location: 2312 30th St, San Diego
Full Circle tattoo hosts 10 super-talented artists who will always welcome you to this cozy ambient where great ideas become reality. It’s super comfortable, with staff ensuring you feel like at home. More importantly, they will advise you on what steps to take when treating and caring for your tattoo if you’re a first-timer.
Full Circle tattoo usually welcomes a number of guest artists who work as nomads and move their skills around for more exposure, while also getting to work with different people. What’s also amazing is that you can easily propose your design and choose an appointment that will be most comfortable with you. If you want to catch a certain traveling artist, make sure to contact the studio.
Given its vast popularity, Full Circle Tattoo also allows people who live abroad to make an appointment and come to get their tattoo done. Check the images below to see how crisp and detailed all the designs are.
- Website: https://www.garnettattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garnettattoo/
- Location: 1968 Garnet Ave, San Diego
Finding a tattoo artist who will ink absolutely everything you want is difficult. However, at Garnet Tattoo, you can turn any design into reality, no matter where you want it. Garnet Tattoo may make the tattooing experience for people who want to cover up their scars with ink more comfortable.
Not just that, this tattoo studio excels at coming up with creative animal prints, backgrounds, as well as traditional and tribal tattoos featuring animals like wild cats, birds, wolves, and others. Making appointments is easy, as long as you make them over the official website’s contact information.
Seven Seas Tattoo
- Website: http://www.7seastattoo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sevenseastattoosd/
- Location: 900 F St #129, San Diego
With its intuitive and creative name, this tattoo studio attracts the best sailors and pirates of San Diego, and even further since 2003. While they may not post to Instagram frequently, you can take a look at both smaller and larger designs that will take your breath away.
What’s also interesting, the studio that functions more like a shop, encourages its customers to visit them and pick among hundreds of different designs that are then inked by the most professional and dedicated tattoo artists. The pictures below will help you learn more about their style.