Photo by Ryan Bradford
MISSION VALLEY MALL
It's the bottom level on the Titanic—not pretty, not comfortable, but it's got spirit. It's got heart. If you're a degenerate teenager, or nostalgic for the days when you were a degenerate teen, this is the place to hang out. There's very little pretension here—could pretension even exist in a square-mile radius of Tilted Kilt?—but that's not necessarily a knock at Mission Valley, because some of us prefer our shopping experience a little less hoity-toity and more like a carnival.
Mission Valley Mall also boasts a post office, which is actually one of the most pleasant post offices in San Diego due to the abundance of parking and relatively short lines. Plus, given its relative inconspicuousness, finding it is akin to unlocking a secret level in a video game. Exciting!
Plus, there's Target. And although it seems absurd to praise that giant corporate chain in the Best of San Diego issue...c'mon guys, it's Target. You go there. I go there. We all go there.
Photo by Ryan Bradford
FASHION VALLEY MALL
This mall is a quintessentially Southern Californian experience, i.e. quintessentially mediocre, innocuous and comfortable. Every Fashion Valley trip is basically a beige-colored excursion into commercial purgatory, where shoppers roam aimless as ghosts. There's nothing particularly bad about this mall experience, it's just sort of... there. Sure, the stores are a little more fancy, and shoppers should expect to pay a little more here than Mission Valley, but playing the role of the anti-capitalist martyr gets tiring, and paying too much for items that you don't need is an American tradition.
Fashion Valley Mall has all the best stores and it's not all hoity toity—hell, the basic tees at H&M are cheaper and better quality than what you'll find at Target. For better or worse, the Apple Store is there, which is— ugh —a necessary evil sometimes.
The food selection at Fashion Valley is, overall, better. Places such as True Food and the restaurant in Nordstrom at least have the pretense of being healthy and worthwhile. Just because you're racking up credit card debt, it doesn't mean you have to feel like shit doing it.
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