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Adams Avenue Antique Row is, relatively speaking, a new term in San Diego, however, it is a fact that these shops have been joining forces on Adams Avenue for more than thirty years.
A special kind of person is drawn to used stores, always looking for something they collect or something that is priced far below it's potential value. It is no different with anitque shoppers.
Antique is a nicer way of saying Old & Used and hinting that it might someday be worth a great deal. So, the second-hand stores on Adams Avenue evolved and true antiques can be found in it's twenty or so shops.
During this evolution, other businesses that attract the bargain hunter joined it at Adams Avenue. There are at least seven book stores and most sell used, out-of-print or First Editions. Art galleries started popping up and now there are about six along this nostalgic pathway. Last but not least are the Cafes, coffeehouses and ethnic restaurants to feed and refresh the dogged shopper.
Updated Sep 22, 2011
Address: On Adams Avenue
See my "things to do" tip on Pacific Beach. There are so many cool shops to buy clothes. It is lots of fun to go in and out of them, people watching long the way. Saturdays are the best for that, of course.
Written Nov 29, 2006
If you like to wear tee-shirts but want one that has an awesome saying on it that has some San Diego local flair to it, Crazy Shirts in Seaport Village is the place for you. They had really cool shirts that would make great Christmas gifts. The staff was hip and friendly too.
Written Nov 15, 2005
Not as expansive as Wear It Again Sam, Frock You has a good selection of both men's and women's clothing back to the 1940s. The number of high quality pieces is less than what you'll find at Wear It Again Sam but it does have a lot of nice things and the prices are much more down to earth. I found a great 1960s short sleeve shirt with a great red diamond stripe pattern for just $20. The staff are very friendly and accomodating. Definitely worth a stop to see what's in stock.
They're closed on Mon and Tue but you can call to make an appointment any time.
What to buy: Vintage clothes for men and women
What to pay: Varies but bargains can be found here.
Written Jan 17, 2006
Address: 4121 Park Blvd
A model trains/Railroad enthusiast's dream. In 2001, we visited and I managed to get a Athern loco. The staff were friendly and helpful and if you are not that up to date on the rail scene in the USA these guys can help. It's on my list to visit again in 2006.
What to buy: Model railroad things. From Locos, coaches, wagons to mini people and buildings.
What to pay: from a small amount on one of the little people to a large amount on a loco or whole railroad set.
Updated Jul 23, 2005
Address: 3834 Fourth Avenue, San Diego Ca 92103-3157
Phone: (619) 295 7340
Wear It Again Sam is not a place where you can expect to find things at a great bargain just because it is used. What you will find are some great vintage pieces in nearly brand new condition from as far back as the 1940s. That's 60 years old! They pay attention to detail and condition and the clothes available here are on the high end of each. And you'll be expected to pay a decent price as well. But when you consider how hard it's getting to find original clothes from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s you'll understand why it's worth it to pay what they're asking. Thus far I've purchase a beautiful 1950s gabardine Ike jacket, a wonderful maroon 1940s sportcoat with raised lapels, and numerous gabardine shirts and pants. The staff are great to talk with about vintage clothing and are very friendly.
This is unarguably the best vintage clothing shop I have ever been to in terms of what they typically have and the quality of their merchandise. A must for any vintage clothing enthusiast!
What to buy: Vintage clothes for men and women.
What to pay: Varies but it won't be cheap
Written Jan 17, 2006
Address: 3823 Fifth Avenue
If you are planning to visit Disneyland, California Adventure and many other theme parks in southern california with your family and friends, but you dont want to spend so much $, here is an deal for you. Get a City Pass of Southern California from the site below, save up to $75 US for each adult and $57 for children. So you can use the $ to buy other stuff instead. You can have unlimited admission to Disneyland and California Adventure for 3 days. However, you can just pick one zoo between the San Diego Zoo OR San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
Local tips: Check out some pepsi soda can in local supermarket for stall for special coupon on the can at six flag magic mountain.
What to buy: City Pass Southern California
Written Sep 27, 2004
Hi! I grew up there! You want to go up Fifth Street to Hillcrest (not far). You will also be close to Balboa Park and the Zoo, which surprisingly has some good shopping in the museums and the House of Nations UNICEF store. Hillcrest has the urban, second-hand, chic, gay, Provencial, and well everything else kind of shopping. Lots of great rare/used bookstores too. It also has real coffee houses, not just Starbucks.
If you have a car, or take the train, up to North County, the string of old beach communities such as Del Mar, Cardiff, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and Oceanside, all have pockets of shopping. The old cool beach vibe is fading fast due to overpopulation, but it still has lots of stuff to offer. I don't think anyone should visit San Diego without experiencing North County, since it reflects the San Diego experience (well, not so much anymore; everything changes and fades....)
Ocean Beach (near Sea World) used to be THE musician hangout and many of the big stars lived/vacationed there. Like North County, it ain't what it used to be, but there is still residual hip shopping along Newport Avenue. If you go there, I suggest driving or walking along Sunset Cliffs.
What to buy: Handmade jewelry, glass, pottery. World artifacts - San Diego is filled with people from all over the world, so everyone there has love for international goods. Many San Diegans make a living by traveling and bringing home neat stuff for resale. New Age/Spiritual/Religious Stuff - again, lots of interest locally means lots of cool gear. Some really amazing (scary?) magic shops etc. and wonderful temples and churches of various faiths with cool shops. Plants - San Diego is known for some rare/unusual plant nurseries so if you have interest in that, you can score here. Music - instruments, old records, high end second-hand stereo gear - San Diego is a big-time musicians' town. Sporting goods - well of course, if you surf, get your custom board here. Motorcycles - yes; cars - best to go to L.A. if you are looking for killer classic/exotic cars. Rare books. Estate sales ROCK in San Diego; even garage sales often have stuff that isn't just junk. Some wonderful thrift stores - El Cajon, otherwise nondescript, for some reason has great thrift store shopping. Coronado Island used to as well but unsure if that's still the case.
What to pay: Compared to other places I've been, San Diego is THE best place to get stuff at a bargain price; and it's easier to find quality stuff too. Even food shopping is the best and reasonable - you have no problem whatever type of diet you follow. Restaurants are usually at least okay, many are great, and that includes the dirt-cheap ones. Roberto's drive-through Mexican stands are legendary among locals and you pay practically nothing for a lot of great, healthy food. There are many awesome Vietnamese restaurants too, again very cheap, very healthy, home-cooked style food. Seafood is cheap, plentiful and wonderful - Pt. Loma Seafoods is the place to go.
Written May 17, 2008
Kobys Swap Meet (flea market) is located in the San Diego Sports Arena parking lot.
It's held on Fri/Sat/Sun. The best days being Sat/Sun.
The prices here are cheaper on most things than in Tijuana, Mexico.
If you do shop in Tijuana, figure to pay half of the stated price that's first asked for.
Just a rule of thumb, as most things can be bought anywhere in TJ
And, buy things on the way out, so you don't have to carry it with you all day while having fun.
Written Apr 2, 2007
Address: Sports Areana Blvd.
Your typical outlet shopping shopping center. They say that they have 90 stores, but it didn't seem that big to me, meaning that it isn't overwhelmingly big. There are more high end stores than some of the other outlets around the San Diego area like Coach and Juicy Couture. If you happen to be in the area on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), they have really awesome sales if you get there early. Parking can be a bit difficult on days when they are busy. They have plenty of restaurants and places to eat if you want a break from shopping.
What to buy: They have a variety of shops.
What to pay: Less than what they sell retail, but it may not be the latest styles. Also, they may have special outlet only things.
Written Jun 30, 2007
Address: 5620 Paseo del Norte, Suite 100, Carlsbad, CA 9200
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