Quirky Attraction: Horton Plaza Shopping Mall in San Diego

horton plaza san diego downtown shopping mall

Westfield Horton Plaza
Location: San Diego, California (address: 324 Horton Plaza)
When to visit: Open 10-8 on Mon-Sat, 11-6 on Sunday
Cost: Free
Time needed: 20 mins to 2 hrs, depending on whether you’re shopping or just checking out the sights
Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westfield_Horton_Plaza

I don’t go to shopping malls much anymore, since my taste has drifted from Abercrombie and Macy’s to Goodwills and indie stores. But there’s one mall that really catches my eye: Horton Plaza in San Diego.

The architecture here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen from a mall. It’s like a 10-year-old designed it – sharp angles, bright colors, weird stairways, unusual geometry.

horton plaza clock

There are even giant-sized chess and checker boards. Score!

horton plaza giant chess

Oh, they also have stores here, including Starbucks, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Coach, Express, and the Madhouse Comedy Club. Horton Plaza is located right in the heart of downtown and has an attached parking garage. Horton Plaza parking can be found in various places in the area, though it may be a bit expensive.

Is Horton Plaza Closing? The 2018 Sale Causes Uncertainty

Update: The mall has been steadily losing business and enduring closed storefronts in the years since this post was originally published, and it now appears that it won’t be around much longer. At least not in its current form.

Last year, the Westfield Horton Plaza complex was sold to Stockdale Capital Partners for a cool $175 million. They plan to turn it into “The Campus at Horton,” which will include office space, restaurants, retail, and entertainment options.

Sounds a lot like a mall, but perhaps one that is more modern and less reliant on large anchor retail stores like Nordstrom. That’s probably a smart idea given how retail stores and in decline. The target date for completion of this new version of Horton Plaza is fall 2020. So the Horton Plaza closing could end up being a good thing after a new and improved version emerges.

In other related news: In 2016, Horton Plaza Park opened. This park is located adjacent to Horton Plaza and aims to preserve the history of the plaza area. The Broadway Fountain was restored, and the 53,000-square foot park also has an amphitheater and lots of other outdoor spaces for families and adults.

The Seattle to San Diego Road Trip: A Detailed Drive Guide

Visiting the plaza may not be at the top of everyone’s list given how many other cool things there are to see in San Diego, such as the Maritime Museum, the San Diego Zoo, Cabrillo Monument, and the Kissing Sailor statue. But it’s worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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  1. Ray Bradbury designed Horton Plaza. So that may explain to some of you the youthfulness of the design.

  2. That place somehow reminds me of like a candy house or something….or Alice in Wonderland XD

    Btw, do you know any quirky place to go to at Long Beach? I am heading there on Monday-Wednesday (half work half fun).

    1. It does look like candy! I don’t think I ever made it to Long Beach so no suggestions there. Hopefully, enjoy the nice weather!

  3. Amazing! I’ve haven’t been there yet, but it could be experienced once at least! There is even a giant-sized chess and checker boards. I want to paly it, definitely!

  4. I was there! I think this might have been the only mall I visited in the States (for the sake of dinner with family). After experiencing gigantic stores like Walmart and Whole Foods Market, I thought it must a regular kind of an over-the-top American mall…. It was fun to walk through it!

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