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Fodor's Southern California 2014
Westfield Horton Plaza
Westfield Horton Plaza Review
This downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment mecca fronts Broadway and G Street from 1st to 4th avenues and covers more than six city blocks. Designed by Jon Jerde and completed in 1985, Westfield Horton Plaza is a collage of colorful tile work, banners waving in the air, and modern sculptures. The complex rises in uneven, staggered levels to five floors; great views of downtown from the harbor to Balboa Park and beyond can be had here.
Macy's and Nordstrom department stores anchor the plaza housing more than 100 clothing, sporting-goods, jewelry, book, and gift shops in all. Other attractions include the country's largest Sam Goody music store, a movie complex, restaurants, and the respected San Diego Repertory Theatre below ground level. In 2008 the Balboa Theater, contiguous with the shopping center, reopened its doors after a $26.5 million renovation. The historic 1920s theater seats 1,400 and offers live arts and cultural performances throughout the week.
The mall has a multilevel parking garage; even so, lines to find a space can be long. Entering the parking structure on G Street rather than 4th Avenue generally means less traffic and more parking space. Parking validation is complimentary whether you spend a bundle or just window-shop. Validation machines throughout the center allow for three hours' free parking; after that it's $8 per hour (or $2 per 15-minute increment). If you use this notoriously confusing fruit-and-vegetable–themed garage, be sure to remember at which produce level you've left your car. If you're staying downtown, the Old Town Trolley Tour will drop you directly in front of Westfield Horton Plaza.
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