The best thing I can say about Best Buy is that it really does have some goo sales and special promotions. It's also convenient if you want a variety of electronics products and are short on time. Best Buy is one of my favorite places to do Christmas shopping. Even though the lines are ridiculous, it's still only ONE long line I have to stand in rather than a long line at a bunch of different stores. This particular location has lots of stuff, friendly staff, is nice and clean, and has adecent amount of parking by SoCal standards.
Ulta has row after row of shiny, new, interesting bath and beauty products, as wel as all the classic favorites. Keep your eyes on the prices, as they run the gamut from really cheap to "you've GOT to be kidding," it just depends on the product. My only complaint is that as far as I can tell, this is the only Ulta in the entire San Diego area, so it is not terribly convenient for a lot of people.
I've been renting from North Park Properties for over a year now. The company owns alot of buildings in the same general area, and their units are priced below average for the city (especially if you factor in signing specials). HOWEVER, their maintenance staff is very slow at getting things fixed (or even showing up). Have had them come by several times for general issues (leaky ceiling, stopped up drain) and it took them a couple days and a couple of phone calls to get anywhere. My neighbors in the same complex have had similar complaints.
This particular Carquest had a pretty good selection, but the thing that most impressed me was the staff. They were quick, friendly, and quite knowledgable Pricing seemed about average (bought a headlight bulb for $5). Also, one of the few places in North Park with its own parking lot, which is a definite plus.
While the market has recently moved locations to Granada and University Avenue, I think the current location is better than where it used to be. Every Thursday evening until 7 PM, the market has tons of fresh produce, flowers, and food. I particularly love the humous and pita stand. Beyond food, there are clothing vendors, people selling incense and perfumes, and lots of families out having a good time. Everything is quite resonably priced, though it depends on the vendor.
PROS: New location has great parking behind North Park Theater
CONS: Only once a week.
If you have any interest in hobbies or crafts, you can find something cool here. Prices are very reasonable and they have a large selection, particularly of scrapbooking and knitting paraphenalia. They offer classes and demonstrations periodically as well.
Burn is, as you may have guessed, mostly a candle store. However, they also have other funky things and the store as a whole has kind of a diverse, mystical feel. The scented candles are not overpowering like you find at some stores. In terms of price, Burn is middle of the road. You can certainly buy cheper candles elsewhere, but the prices at Burn are by no means exorbitant. You can also buy incense here.
IKEA has lots of cool things, and it does have lots of inexpensive furniture--so it's good for furnishing dorm rooms and apartments. However, some of the items are not very durable (I have had both a coffee table and a couch break rather inexplicably), so be careful what you buy.
This particular IKEA is insanely crowded on the weekends, so if that will bother you (think LOTS of screaming children), then try and go during the week. Don't look to most of the staff to be terribly helpful--this is definitely a self-serve operation.
I LOVE funky furniture, but the things in this store are just plain wierd, not to mention expensive. I found the wares and the staff to be totally pretentious. Try IKEA, Pier 1, or West Elm instead.
This particular Barnes & Noble location is very small, has zero atmosphere, and an unusually sparse inventiry. If you are a hardcore Barnes & Noble person, I'd recommend the Miramar location. Otherwise, opt for the Mission Valley Border's, which has plenty of atmosphere and tons of books, CDs, videos, etc.