Favorite Stores/Dining in San Diego

At the end of Spring Break, I was able to take a weekend (Friday – Monday) get away to San Diego. I used to live in San Diego and my mom still has our house there, so it’s an easy and inexpensive place to vacation. At the risk of sounding materialistic, I love the shopping there and it is always one of the reasons I look forward to getting back to San Diego. That being said, here are a few of my favorite stores if you happen to find yourself in San Diego.

Fashion Valley Mall – Mission Valley
Okay, so this one isn’t that unique. However, FashionValley Mall has a lot of stores that aren’t easily accessible here in Texas, and it’s a very pleasant outdoor atmosphere. A few stores I hit up there were Free People, J Crew (all of the J Crews around me in Texas are lacking for some reason), Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. I know that none of these stores are particularly unique to California, but Fashion Valley Mall really has a good selection and is referred to as an upper-scale mall.

Warwicks – La Jolla
This is probably my favorite bookstore in the world. I have been coming to Warwicks since I was little, and luckily it is one of the few independent bookstores that has survived in the age of new technology. It’s located right on Girard Ave where you can find a lot of other upscale shopping (not only apparel but jewelry stores and off-the-wall antique stores as well). Warwicks is a smaller bookstore, but I always find multiple books I want and the way in which the store is organized provides anyone help in choosing a book; many of the books have protruding tabs with suggestions such as “If you like The Glass Castle…” and “Bookseller’s favorite because…”This time I limited myself and only got two books which I immediately started reading (one of which I will do a book review on). The opposite side of their store features a lot of unique stationery, art supplies, pictures frames, etc.
Image credit to thedanielsgroup.com

Mary’s Tack & Feed – Del Mar
I couldn’t leave out my favorite tack store, could I? Seriously, this is my favorite tack store and trumps anything in Texas. It’s huge with two stories to cater to both English and western riders in addition to having a feed section. The selection is fantastic with brands available that are accessible to everyone, and I was able to grab a new Kastel shirt I had been wanting as well as two certain types of saddle pads I haven’t been able to find online anywhere. Mission accomplished.

Muttropolis – La Jolla
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go here while in San Diego over the weekend, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. Muttropolish is a very unique, independently owned pet store in La Jolla. My mom and I used to go here a lot for toys, collars, etc for our dogs when we lived in San Diego, but I didn’t think I had enough room in my small bag to bring anything back for my dogs. They also have a good selection of eco-friendly pet products.


Mr. Frostie – Pacific Beach
Sorry chain ice cream shops, but this is the best ice cream you will find anywhere, in my opinion. (I seriously crave it quite frequently when I’m in Texas along with Sweet Green in Washington DC, but that’s another story.) They usually only have three flavor combinations (chocolate, vanilla, and twist) but sometimes they add another for a brief time. In addition to just soft serve ice cream they have milkshakes, sundaes, etc as well as a good lunch selection. Not only is it delicious, but the ice cream is really cheap at $1.85 for a good sized chocolate medium in a cup with sprinkles, which is what I always get.
Image credit to myburningkitchen.com

Zen 5 – Pacific Beach
Another affordable dining option, this is a great Japanese restaurant located right on Garnet Ave. It can be hard to find parking, but definitely worth it. They have a convenient happy hour but even if you don’t go during happy hour, the prices are really good and the food is always extremely fresh and delicious.

Girard Gourmet – La Jolla
This is the perfect lunch spot while you are shopping in La Jolla, or just coming through. In addition to having a good lunch selection (I usually get the quiche with a fruit bowl) they have a bakery as well with delicious looking pies and cookies. They’re usually pretty fast, too, so you can take it to go.


Dining and shopping is plentiful in San Diego, and there are hundreds of more great options in addition to what I have included. There are also parts of San Diego I don’t frequent (University City, Solana Beach, etc) where there are some great options as well. No matter where you stay in San Diego or if you are just passing through, you are sure to enjoy the dining and shopping among many other attractions.


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