Life in San Diego: Clairemont Mesa

Feb 18, 2020 - Heather Dewis

Like other suburban neighborhoods in San Diego, convenience is key—and Clairemont Mesa is no different. This neighborhood falls right in the middle of San Diego County—30 minutes to either Oceanside or the border without traffic, and 15 minutes to the beach. Living here, you’ll never have to drive too far to get groceries…or have the best day out. Here’s why Clairemont Mesa holds a special place in our hearts:


You can eat your way around the world.

Ask any San Diegan for the best food in the region, and Convoy (or Kearny Mesa) will probably be one of their answers. A small triangular district centered around Convoy Street, the area hosts numerous Asian and Asian-American-owned businesses and restaurants. Park on a side street and walk to a slew of Korean BBQ joints and well-loved ramen spots, like Kogi BBQ or Karami Ramen. Parking might be significantly harder on Friday and Saturday nights, but the great food and lively atmosphere is well worth it.

While distinctly different from the crowded blocks of Convoy, the west side of Clairemont Mesa has just as many diverse options, often underrated. Here, Balboa International Market cooks up fresh gyros, falafel, and baklava. And while San Diego is the place to go for carne asada fries, Vallarta Express Mexican Eatery is the place to go in San Diego. A favorite among college students, the eatery is open 24 hours and serves, among typical burrito and taco fare, carne asada fries loaded with cheese, guacamole, and a fried egg.

In nearly all parts of the neighborhood, you’ll find comfortable places to sit and work. Small cafes like The Forum and boba shops like Korean Rose and Camellia Rd. Tea Bar offer great drinks with plenty of space to relax or plug away at your laptop.


Commute quickly, live easily.

While Clairemont Mesa is a great choice for anyone, its single-family homes with front lawns and backyards mean it’s popular with growing families. Like other family-friendly neighborhoods in the county, it’s home to numerous centrally-located shopping centers with a variety of suburban essentials. You can spend a Saturday morning shopping at Target, Home Depot, and big chain grocery stores. Then, stop for lunch at a family-friendly chain restaurant like Panera Bread or The Habit Burger Grill.

For your kids, schools and community parks are plentiful, with a community recreation center and your choice of youth sports programs to round it out. And you’ll be able to make the most of family time, since you’ll be a 20-minute commute to growing tech companies in UTC, Sorrento Valley, and Downtown.


Small & diverse businesses thrive here.

Despite the large presence of big chain stores, small and diverse businesses thrive here. If Target or Vons doesn’t quite cut it for grocery shopping, you can find banchan (pickled and prepared side dishes) at Korean grocery Zion Market, or bulk spices and Basmati rice at Balboa International Market.

Whether you’d like to be your own boss or just shop small, independently-owned accounting, marketing, printing, and design services abound. Plus, in true San Diego fashion, no neighborhood would be complete without a local surf shop. Open since 1976, family-owned Clairemont Surf Shop offers skateboarding and surfing essentials, with friendly service.


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