On of several jewelery shops in Sea Port Village, Silver Crossing specializes in silver pieces of all types, especially unique or unusual items. The artistry is superb and the prices are reasonable. My biggest complaint is that some of the staff can be a bit rude and abrupt. Others are a a little pushy on the sale. Maybe they spend too much time around tourists, but this aspect makes the shopping experience, for me at least, less than ideal.
My only experience with this company was last Halloween when I went on the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour. It was awesome. The tour went inside three separate buildings, including the Whaley House in Old Town, as well as the Old Town Cemetary. Definitely shoot for a late night tour if possible. I've done a couple of other ghost tours in other cities, and this was one of the best.
They also offer other historic tours, and shuttle service to several hotels.
I know there are people who complain that this place has raised its gas prices recently, but compared with the rest of SD, it still has the cheapest gas in town (even cheaper than the Valero in North Park). The actual market seems relatively well stocked, and not any more expensive than your average gas station ($1 for a bag of ice, the same for a candy bar). My only complaint is that they only have 2 pumps, and if one of them is broken, it can make things a little difficult.
PROS: cheap gas
This theater is a bit of a drive for me, but it is well worth it. The theaters are clean, the prices are more reasonable than the local AMC theaters, and while it is crowded, this location is well designed to deal with large groups of people. The only downside is that concessions can cost more than the tickets. I also have to admit that the stadium seating is really nice.
PROS: Clean and comfortable
CONS: High concessions prices
I've been to this theater a couple of times, and have not been impressed. Apart from the ridiculously high ticket prices and the general nastiness of having to go to the mall to go to the movies, the lines are always way too long and there are never enough people selling tickets. If you are going to go to this theater, go an hour early, and don't plan on being comfortable when you get inside. I would rather drive up North to Mira Mesa anyday.
CONS: High prices, long lines
From the outside, it looks like a large over-turned wicker basket in the middle of Balboa Park. Inside it is full of some of the most beautiful, elegant plants and trees (yes, indoor trees) I have ever seen. My favorites were the ferns, while my guests loved the orchids (LOTS of different types). The garden is broken off into sections highlighting different types of plants, including ferns, edible plants and even carniverous ones. All in all, a wonderful and completely free place to stroll and get out of the blazing Southern California sun.
PROS: Did I mention that it was free?
CONS: Only open from 10 AM to 4 PM, and closed on holidays.
Upstart Crow is great. Apart from a quirky selection and quirkier non-book items (check out the pins and buttons near the back check-out counter, they are hilarious), the store has great atmosphere. The coffee is pretty good, and the tables are usually full, especially on weekends. A great alternative to some of the more tourist-oriented offerings of Seaport Village.
PROS: Fun environment, good coffee, free parking if you buy something
CONS: You have to dodge tourists to get there...
The Timken is located right next to the SD Museum of Art, but it is a vastly different experience. The entire museum consists of four galleries and a hall full of American and European art on one side, and religeous icons on the other. Of particular interest to art students are the Russian icons (which are, I am told, hard to find in the United States). Most important, though, is that it is free. Definitely fun for an afternoon in Balboa Park.
PROS: Great art, free entry
CONS: Small exhibition space
This Firestone location does great tire patches. I've taken 2 cars there, and both of the patches were really inexpensive, but have lasted. Replacement tires were a bit expensive, but unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of choice.
The biggest problem here is that this location is ALWAYS busy, often having over a five hour wait on the weekends. Appointments definitely recommended.
CONS: Walk-ins almost impossible
The SDAI and attached Museum of the Living Artist give local artists the chance to exhibit their pieces in a museum environment, while still offering the sales potential of a gallary. Located in the center of Balboa park, the museum is much smaller than its neighbors, but offers an eclectic array of photos, sculptures and paintings. My personal favorite was the "1 Foot Gallery," where 20 or so artists were each offered one foot of wall space to exhibit their work. Definitely worth the $3 ticket charge.
PROS: Great location, cool pieces, frequently changes exhibitions