UTC Shopping Center
University Town Center

UTC mall

University Town Center shopping center, or simply UTC, is located in the "Golden Triangle" (a piece of land bordered by highway 5, highway 52, and highway 8). This means the mall is easily accessible by car and by public transit.

UTC shopping
UTC mall
Some shopping centers cater to tourists, while others cater to the rich. UTC shopping mall welcomes all ages and social-economical groups. This mall has something for business executives, young professionals, teenagers, children, parents, and pregnant moms. It is a place where regular, everyday people go to shop and unwind. In June 2013, the Westfield Group invested one billion dollars to give the shopping mall a new look.

UTC mall

UTC is organized with a central water fountain and 3 walkways radiating away from the water fountain. One walkway leads you to Macy's, the other to Nordstrom, and the third to Sears. (see layout here. In between the 3 anchors are 150+ more stores. Many of these can also be found in Horton Plaza and Fashion Valley:

Department stores: Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears
Men's Fashion: Men's Wearhouse & Tux, Eddie Bauer
Women's Fashion: Charlotte Russe, bebe
Kid's Fashion: The Children's Place, Gymboree
Healthy and Beauty: Sephora, The Body Shop
Home Decor: Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn
Stationary: Hallmark, Papyrus
Specialty: Apple Computer, The Office Games

See entire list here

UTC mall In addition, there are little kiosks that sell specialized items. These vendors come & go as the seasons go by. So, it is impossible to tell in advance who's there. One year, a kiosk sold hermit crabs. Another time, a kiosk sold belly dancing paraphernalia (and if you like that, note that UTC also has a Victoria's Secret). In December, calendars and/or toys may be sold in these stands.
One thing that differentiate UTC from the other shopping centers in San Diego is that it is very kid-friendly. Whoever designed this mall probably had kids and know how hard it is to shop with kids in tow. Kid-friendly elements include:

Central Water Fountain: A great spot to meet up with friends. Plenty of tables and chairs around. Kids enjoy running around the fountain and watching the birds frolicking in the water.

Dolphins and Seals: On the South end of UTC, you will see large basins of water with dolphin sculptures. These look pretty but are not climb-on-me structures. Kids can stick their hands in the water and do low-key splashing, but don't let them climb into the basins for a swim. The ends of the basin are made of see-through plastic, so kids can look through and see the dolphins under the water. The dolphin sculptures are visually stimulating and quite refreshing.

Chairs and Lounges: Since its renovation, UTC mall is peppered with cute chairs and semi-enclosed lounges. These are great to play around and gives you and your family a place to rest and re-set.

Playground: Also at the south end of the shopping center, in front of Macy's, is a small playground. It is a haven for tired parents and bored kids. It includes a spider web for climbing, a platform for sliding, and a spiral play structure for twirling.

There's more: at the north end of the mall, near Sears, there is a mini choo-choo train, and an inflatable jumpie. The play structures near Macy's are free, but the train and inflatable near Sears cost about $5.

Indoor Ice Rink: Figure skaters in-training do swirls & jumps. Hockey players show speed & skill. And everybody else - well, it's fun to see them scramble & fall. Sit rink-side and watch or be part of the fun: rent a pair of skates and give it a try. Read more...

Movie Theatre: Don't forget, UTC mall has the Arclight Cineam featuring the latest Hollywood hits. In additon to your classic popcorn and drinks, Archlight also has a cafe where you can enjoy light snacks, desserts, and alcoholic drinks (!). A another new feature is that you can reserve your seat before you enter the theatre. See here for showtimes.

UTC shopping
UTC shopping
UTC shopping
UTC shopping

UTC shopping

Food and Bathrooms

UTC mall There is a food court offering Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian, Indian, Thai, and faux Mongolian food. Included are common brand names (Starbucks, Panda Express, Rubio's) and some unique eateries such as Tender Greens. See entire list here.

Indoor seating is beside the ice skating rink. Outdoor seating is beside the central water fountain. In the summer, musicians may set up shop by the water fountain and you can eat while listening to a live band.

Full-service restaurants include Eureka, Red Robin, Bluefin Fusion Japanese Restaurant, and Cozymels Mexican Grill. Cozymels is very nice, see restaurant review here.

Bathrooms: The main is located within the food court. It is clean and spacious. There is another smaller and older bathroom downstairs near the entrace to the ice rink. There are bathrooms in Macy and Nordstrom if you don't mind trekking through the store to use their bathrooms.

Location, Hours of Operation, Parking

UTC Shopping Center
4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite E-25
San Diego CA 92122-1212

Open:    Mon - Fri    
10:30am - 8:30pm
10:00am - 8:00pm
11:00am - 6:00pm

Parking is free in parking lots around the mall. See parking and layout of the mall here.