La Mesa Village: Three Blocks of San Diego You Shouldn’t Miss

Travel a short distance east of downtown San Diego and you might happen upon La Mesa Village, the “Jewel of the Hills,” easily accessible by car or public trolley. Within the three quaint blocks of La Mesa Blvd, stretching from Spring to 4th Street, you can spend time antiquing, hanging at local pubs or exploring the railway museum. La Mesa has even caught the eye of trendsetting food master, Brian Malarkey, who recently opened Gingham in January 2012. So what are you waiting for?


The centrally located, bright-yellow Por Favor stands as a beacon of good times, grande margaritas and heaping plates of Mexican delicacies. Locals hang at Cosmo’s Coffee Café morning, noon and night enjoying the “buy local” ethos with Café Moto organic coffee and Bread & Cie baked goods. The not-to-be-missed newcomer, Gingham, of Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey fame, has anchored the east end of La Mesa Village with its ultra-hip interior and “urban cowboy diner” fare – all under $20.

Sports Bars

Grab mouth-watering burgers and enjoy the game in Johnny B’s Burgers & Brews laid-back atmosphere. I also recommend the hot wings – pure magic. Whether you want to chat with the patrons, watch the game with an instant group of friends or play pool, Pete’s Place is where everybody knows your name. Another fine example of East County hospitality,The Regal Bar, is replete with outdoor fire pit and boisterous Friday night karaoke.

Culture and Shopping

Kids love jumping around the period freight train with a steam locomotive at the La Mesa Depot Museum, open to the public on Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Densely packed Antique stores, such as the Park Estate Company, provide hours of shopping and entertainment for the vintage-inclined.

Do you love La Mesa Village as much as I do? What are your favorite spots?

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About Maren

San Diego raised and New York City educated, I trained as a classical singer before switching to tourism marketing. Now I love telling the world about San Diego's diverse offerings, from live music to live uni. As a friend recently told me, "tough job."

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

For me, a perfect day always involves something I haven't done before. And even though I grew up  in San Diego, there is SO much to do I can usually find a way to make any day ideal. Next on the list is paragliding at Torrey Pines. I also need to meet more people with boats. Anyone?

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

I am a sucker for street fairs, county fairs, music festivals and block parties. The weather is always nice, the food is always sinful and the people are always interesting. I've been to the San Diego County Fair 3 times already!!!

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Tacos. Why does this question not include tacos? Fish tacos, carne asada, carnitas, shrimp, lobster, chorizo, vegetarian- I don't care. Put it in a corn tortilla and give it to me. Or any creation by the fabulous Jason Knibb over at 9-10 Restaurant in La Jolla.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Confession: I don't buy! I Pandora. I love everything from Tuvan throat singing to Lady Gaga. But seriously, Mahler's 2nd Symphony. Listen to it. Then we can talk.

2 thoughts on “La Mesa Village: Three Blocks of San Diego You Shouldn’t Miss

    • Hi there! Kids are free to climb up, on and around the train at any time, even though the depot museum (which is the actual station building) is only open from 1-4 pm on Saturdays. It is a very small area( the train is only 2 cars long), but always a hit with parents and kids because it is free and available at any time. I walk by at all hours and see families enjoying the novelty of a freight train “jungle gym.”

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