An August 2004 trip
to San Diego by VickiFunes
Quote: One reason I like to travel alone at times is so that I can browse and shop without other people nagging at me to, "Come on. Let's go!" Here are some places in San Diego where I've enjoyed shopping. Maybe you'd find them interesting, too.
The Motel 6 in San Ysidro is dependably clean. It's also conveniently located, just a 2-block stroll to the outlet mall, The Shops at Las Americas. I've even walked into Tijuana from this motel. (I'm not sure just how far from the border crossing it is, but I'm certain that it's no more than a mile.) There's a Denny's 24 hour restaurant directly next door. A swimming pool and snack machines are available at the motel. Both the interior and exterior of the motel look identical to any other Motel 6, but that's OK with me. The price fluctuates depending on the day of the week--weekends are higher than weekdays by a few dollars.
I think I've paid anywhere from $32-$45 at this location, depending on the day of the week and season of the year. But whenever the price goes up at this motel, you can be sure that prices have raised in every other motel in the area, as well.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 4, 2005
Motel 6, San Ysidro
160 E. Calle Primera
San Diego, California
Never fear, though! Bazaar del Mundo has found an even BETTER location, next to Seaport Village on the Embarcadero. The old San Diego police headquarters has been chosen as the new site, and it's a good fit. This site already features classic Spanish architecture, a large courtyard, and a beautiful bell tower. Now, it just needs to be readied for the stores and restaurants that will be coming! The new Bazaar del Mundo will open at the end of 2006.
The exact roster of stores is still unknown, but it's for sure that two popular restaurants from the old bazaar (Casa de Bandini and Casa de Pico) will be reopening in the new center. Until late 2006, Bazaar del Mundo will occupy a temporary home (just a block away from its old home) at Juan and Taylor Streets.
Since it's unsure exactly what stores will be opening at the new location, I'll describe some stores that were at the old bazaar. In addition to the restaurants, there were snack vendors. One was the Panaderia (pahn-ah-dare-EE-ya), which, translated, means a store that sells bread. In actuality, the term generally means SWEET breads, and this store sold a variety of Mexican-styled pastry treats. (There are actually dozens of panaderias all over San Diego and Los Angeles. Most Gringos just aren't aware of that fact, because they're always located in small shopping centers catering to a Hispanic clientele.) There was also a cute candy shop featuring Mexican and American sweets. There were clothing boutiques and shops selling imported Mexican arts, crafts, and jewelry. A toy store sold darling, unusual playthings. Cute vendor carts sold boldly colored paper flowers. A bandstand in the grassy central plaza featured (free!) Mexican singers and musicians. It was a lovely and vibrant atmosphere.
I WOULD say, "I'll miss it," but there's no need to say goodbye. The Bazaar del Mundo will be every bit as exciting in its new Embarcadero location!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 3, 2005
Bazaar del Mundo
4133 Taylor Street
San Diego, California 92103
The stores fall mainly into two categoties--clothing and collectibles. In the collectibles/knickknacks category, you can find shops for soaps, windchimes, nostalgia, magic, toys, San Diego-themed merchandise, Christmas decor--you get the picture. Almost ANYTHING can be here, and most of it's highly unique merchandise. In the category of "clothing," the main emphasis of the shops here is "resort wear," for the whole family. You can find the hard-to-find: unusual clothing labels, unique prints, offbeat designs. One store even specializes in clothing that changes color when it gets into the sunlight! Still another category of visitors who'll enjoy Seaport Village is "seafood-lovers."
There are four restaurants here that cater just to seafood! One of them that you REALLY need to know about the San Diego Pier Cafe. This is the type of restaurant that can make a tightwad like me part with a dollar! This restaurant has views unlike any other because it actually sits on stilts out OVER the bay! Yet, it's prices aren't any higher than the other restaurants, with dinner entrees in the $12--$30 range, and lunch sandwiches/entrees ranging from $8-$17. Try to sit in the "back deck" area--its floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that you WILL get a bay view no matter where you sit. The Harbor House is an award-winning seafood restaurant with lunches ranging from $9-$25 and dinners from $18-30. Although not over the water, it, too has bay views. So does the Edgewater Grill, a seafood restaurant with entrees in the $11-$28 range--although their best views are from an outdoor patio. Not only the fine-dining restaurants have great views. Marion's Fish Market is a casual-dining seafood restaurant that has patio dining along the waterfront. There are other casual-dining opportunities to fit every taste--Italian, Greek, Mexican, and American--burgers, sandwiches, and even hot dogs.
In addition to shopping and dining, you can hear live musical entertainment at the gazebo on weekend afternoons. A beautiful 1895 hand-carved carousel will delight the children in your group.
849 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, California 92101
Attraction | "The Shops at Las Americas"
Camino de la Plaza, the street on which The Shops are located, is the very LAST exit-street from the freeway before coming to the Mexican port of entry. As you exit I-5 and head west towards the mall, you'll pass several large parking lots hawking "24 hour parking" for people crossing into Mexico on foot and places selling "Mexican auto insurance" for those who want to brave the traffic in TJ. Empty-handed gringos are rushing towards the border so they can do some souvenir shopping in Mexico, and package-laden Mexicans are plodding back home, pleased with their purchases on OUR side! If you're not planning on taking a side trip into Tijuana, I'd recommend visiting the outlet mall just to feel a little of the "international flavor" that permeates this area.
As for the mall itself, it's recently undergone an expansion. Now there are over 100 stores to serve you, including many "big names." In the "clothing" category, you'll find (among others) Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Geoffrey Bean, and Neiman Marcus Last Call. My stepdaughter's favorites are the youthful, trend-oriented stores Papaya and Charlotte Russe. For footwear, shops include Nine West, Adidas, Nike, Puma, Skechers and Vans. For kids, there's KB Toys, the Toy Train, Sanrio, The Children's Place, Old Navy and The Gap. The mall's a bit short on dining opportunities, with only 3 fast food outlets in the food court and McDonald's and IHOP out in the parking lot. An older strip-mall, the San Diego Outlet Center, is right across the street. It has a Ross, Marshall's, Carter's, OshKosh, Nine West, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and several others, plus a Taco Bell and Chinese fast food.
Together, these two outlets provide a complete shopping experience. After spending time at them, you just might lose your desire to cross into Tijuana to shop! You'll find everything you wanted right here on the U.S. side of the border!
Las Americas Premium Outlets
4211 Camino de La Plaza, Suite 176
San Diego, California 92173
Once you hear the jail-cell clang of metal revolving doors closing behind you as you enter Mexico, the first thing you'll see is a pharmacy. Pharmacies are also the second, third and fourth stores you'll see! My experiences with the stores are very positive. In the years I've taken Mexican medicine, I've never had a batch that didn't work, despite the many warnings I've seen to the contrary. Now, I'm not on any medications that I'd DIE without--if you are, you might want to think twice. But their asthma meds heal my asthma, their antibiotics cure my infections, and their rash creams heal my rashes. Plus, the meds work at an affordable price! No matter what you may read about not needing a prescription, you DO. Not to BUY the meds, but to bring them back across the border into the U.S. Don't open your meds and take a dose before you return--you just might get "grilled" about the opened package by the border agents. You can use a U.S. prescription or Mexican Rx--either one. I chose to get my prescriptions from a Mexican doctor, because the charge was only $20 per office visit.
After getting my prescriptions, I would then do a little bit of browsing in the immediate area. The merchandise is a sampling of the same stuff you'll see on Ave. Revolucion--mostly trinkets but also some good-quality blankets, beautiful chess sets, and some nice leather purses, wallets, and belts. Things are sold anywhere and everywhere--from stores to card tables to vendors hand-carrying items right up to your face. Oh, and I always take a bag of cookies when I'm going on weekends or school holidays. That's because when children are around, they'll be trying to sell you something too. I just pass out cookies instead. I'd go broke buying something from each one, and this way they all can have something.
San Diego, California