There are three large outlet malls in San Diego and several traditional outdoor shopping malls. One of the more popular
outlet centers include Viejas Outlet Center and Casino which is on the Viejas Native reserve in east county San Diego. They
have a decent buffet, about 57 outlet stores or shops, a stage that features many big name attractions and of course a large
casino. The second largest outlet center is called the Carlsbad Premium Outlets found in the north county community of
Carlsbad (home to the flower fields). This is the largest of the San Diego's outlet malls with 90 stores and businesses. The
largest outlet center with about 125 outlet stores or businesses is the Las Americas Mall which is situated between downtown
San Diego and the Mexican border.
Two of the most popular malls in San Diego is the Fashion Valley mall, located in Mission Valley, and Horton Plaza, which is
located downtown. Fashion Valley is the largest collection of fashion stores in San Diego with a Macey's, Sacks Fifth
Avenue, Nieman Marcus, Gucci's and soon there will be a Bloombingdale's (due in the summer of 2007).
Shopping in San Diego can be further experienced by going to the Seaport Village and the Old Town where there are a
variety of crafts, collectibles and unique gifts that can only be found in San Diego. Another favorite destination for shoppers
is Tijuana, Mexico - especially for authentic Mexican food, crafts and jewelry (mostly silver) at usually half the cost as found in
San Diego. Also, when shopping, keep in mind that California's state sales tax is 8.25% (and you don't get a refund for this).
Visiting Tijuana, Mexico can be a risky affair if you do not stay in the developed or tourist areas. There have been the
occasional stories of police extorting money from drivers from time to time, but I have yet to encounter that. You should note
that most car rental companies will not allow you to drive into Tijuana, even with additional insurance. If you were to drive your
own or someone else's vehicle in Tijuana you are advised to buy insurance since break-in's can occur or vehicles stolen and
your insurance company will definately not cover your entrance into Tijuana. You have the option of taking a bus or parking
your vehicle and crossing the Tijuana border on foot. Those who do drive to Tijuana can expect long delays early in the
morning or late in the afternoon when crossing back into the USA. You will need a passport to cross back into the USA from
Tijuana starting in January 2007.
For information on the traditional malls I recommend checking out this weblink:
and for outlet centers try:
Californians love their cars, in fact it is very difficult to get around without a vehicle unless you are staying Downtown or along
the Mission valley location (along the I-8 freeway). Gasoline prices are currently in the $2.50/gallon range at the moment
though it did reach of high of $3.60/gallon earlier in 2006. Vehicle rentals range from $20/day at Rent-A-Wreck to $24-75/day
for vehicles at most name brand outlets. You can even rent Jaguars, BMW's, HumVee's and high end sport cars for the range
of $120-200/day. I have noticed in the past five years a surge in high speed driving on freeways in San Diego (and other
California cities). Don't be surprised to see people driving at 85-95 mph (over 140+ km/hr) in the left fast lanes and only
following the speed limit of 65 mph in the right slow lanes. Also an increase in cutting people off is occuring
so if you are not an aggressive driver then you may want to stay in the right hand lane and give yourself a couple of car lengths
room in front of you. Highway patrols increase in the summer months but there are not enough police to properly monitor the
freeways here. I don't recommend much driving during rush hour in the middle of the week. From 7am to 9:15am and also
from 4pm to 6:15pm you can expect long lines of cars on the freeways as the average speed will range from 2mph to 20mph
depending on accidents and traffic density. This is nothing compared with Los Angeles and San Jose where 0-5mph is a
maximum during rush hour no matter if accidents occur or not, and with a population of over 6 million you can expect three
times the wait in traffic jams in those two cities. Even outside of rush hour when commuting from San Diego to Los Angeles in
the middle of the day you will find yourself slowing down when entering Orange County and coming to a near crawl once you
reach the Los Angeles county border. So if you plan to visit L.A. then give yourself lots of time to get there and don't plan to
come back until later in the evening.
The legal drinking age in San Diego is 21 (though many a teenager goes to Tijuana, Mexico where they can get cheap liquor
and are legal at age 18). Alcohol is not allowed on the beaches after dusk, and in some beaches they is talk about banning it
all together. Mission beach and Imperial Beach have been known to have the occasional gang related problems after dusk,
but are not as frequent in the summer months when police activity increases at that time.
San Diego's administrative building
(the former city hall) across from the
Maritime Museum in downtown San
San Diego as seen by driving on the
northbound I-5 freeway into downtown.
This is a view from the south end of the
Exterior and Interior
views of the Santa Fe
train station that services
all coastal cities in
California. You can travel
by train to all major cities
and communities along
Downtown restaurants and pubs in
the Gaslamp district. Good luck
finding decent parking!
Heavy traffic near the city of
Ontario (not the province) in
Orange County, California. Notice
the smog layer below the mountain
outline. Multi-lane freeways and
still as slow as a snail.
A Mormon temple in La Jolla, California
One of the top shopping malls in San Diego is
Horton Plaza with it's snuggly fit multi-level
design (about 5 levels) filled with major chain
stores, restaurants and smaller shops. Thank
goodness for escalators.
San Diego has two major sports teams; the San
Diego Chargers football club (currently number 1 in
the NFL) and San Diego Padres baseball team.
The Chargers currently play in Qualcomm stadium,
though they are threatening to move the football team
to another city if San Diego doesn't pay for a new
stadium (go figure!). Tickets to these games range in
the $65-$105 a ticket - and yes people are shelling
out that kind of cash for a ticket to fill those stadium
The San Diego Padres play in the brand new Petco
Park stadium in the downtown area near the Gaslamp
district (much to the annoyance of the people who live
downtown). Parking is now even more scarce thanks
to this stadium and fans attending the game usually
park at a mall and take the commuter train to the
stadium. Costs for the baseball games range from $9
to $80 a ticket... not bad for a pro sports league.
San Diego used to have the San Diego Seagulls IHL
hockey team, but they have since folded after last
year. Also the Los Angeles Clippers used to be a
San Diego basketball team until they moved to
greener pastures in L.A. (and due to the fact that the
San Diego Sports Arena can only seat 9,000 people
and is over 40 years old).
DRIVING IN SAN DIEGO
The weather in San Diego during the month of May is
usually fairly mild and sunny! Temperatures range from
60 F (12 Celcius) to 78 F (24 Celcius) at the end of
You may find that in the month of May there occasionally
are showers as well. April Rain and June Gloom are
the standard that San Diegans live by each year. Both
of those months are notorious for becoming cool, cloudy
and occasionally rainy (drizzling in Canadian terms).
Bring sun tan lotion and also a jacket, just in case!
SAN DIEGO WEATHER
San Diego's Commuter Train (at
the Mission Valley Trolley station).
Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego
Chargers NFL football club (located in Mission
Valley, near the Mission San Diego church).
PETCO Park sandwiched between the downtown gaslamp
district and the San Diego Convention Center (grey
structure on left side of the screen). Home of the San
Diego Padres MLB baseball team.
Fashion Valley Mall
in Mission Valley
Major Freeways of
San Diego. Get to
know these well in
order to get around!