Mira Mesa is a suburb of San Diego in San Diego County with a population of about 72,000 people. Although it’s very close to the city centre, the area has a suburban feel, with many parks, green spaces, and quaint cafes.
There are also plenty of shopping areas in Mira Mesa, such as Mira Mesa Mall, Plaza Sorrento Shopping Center, and Mira Mesa Market Center.
While there are some attractions there, Mira Mesa’s central location means visitors can access the major attractions of the area within minutes.
Many festivals and events take place in Mira Mesa throughout the year, including the Mira Mesa Street Fair, the San Diego Tet Festival, the Mira Mesa Festival of Beers, the Asian Culture Festival, and the Filipino Sun Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Mira Mesa, California.
1. Visit the Leatherneck Aviation Museum
Mira Mesa has an intriguing aviation and military history, and you can learn all about it at the Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the military, were in the military, or simply have an interest in military and aviation, visitors of all ages and backgrounds enjoy the exhibits and displays.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll see 48 U. S. Marine aircraft, including a Sikorsky HRS-3 Chickasaw, Boeing Vertol Sea Knight CH-46, and a Douglas Skyhawk A-4F. All these aircraft are restored to their original state.
There are also a number of rotating exhibits; some of the recent ones have included Aviation Art and NASA Logos and Military Working Dogs of USMC.
Various events occur throughout the year, including open cockpit events where you can enter some of the aircraft.
2. Go on a Hiking Adventure in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve is a beautiful nature preserve featuring a seven-mile canyon and spectacular natural features.
As you hike along the trails, you’ll see a stunning waterfall, forest areas, many species of birds, and unique rock structures.
As you make your way along, make sure to look out for 7000-year-old Native American art on the sides of the canyons and rocks.
3. Feast on Seafood and More at the Crab Hut
At the Crab Hut in Mira Mesa, the goal is to provide guests with quality, delicious, and sustainable food made with fresh, locally-produced products. This family-owned eatery has been serving Southern favourites since 2017, and patrons of all ages are invited to join the friendly staff at this laid-back establishment.
On the menu, you’ll find a variety of appetizers, soups and main courses, such as seafood Creole, blackened salmon, shrimp scampi, spicy Cajun chicken pasta, and blackened prawn skewers.
The beverage menu features beer from some of the more popular breweries in the area, such as Karl Strauss, Green Flash, and Lost Abbey. Cocktails are also available.
4. Take a Ride on the Poway-Midland Railroad
Whether you’re a railroad aficionado or not, a ride on an antique railroad car is an enjoyable experience and something unique to do during your stay in the Mira Mesa area.
The steam locomotive that you’ll take a ride on dates back to 1907 and travels along a full-size narrow-gauge railway.
During your trip, you’ll travel through Old Poway Park in Poway on a loop that takes about five minutes. Interpreters are onboard to provide passengers with information about this historic railroad.
The trains operate on weekends, and tickets and train-related toys are available for children at the main depot.
5. MCAS Miramar Memorial Golf Course
The MCAS Miramar Memorial Golf Course is an 18-hole course with some of the best greens in the region. Besides a beautiful, well-maintained course, the property is home to a driving range, putting green, and chipping green. Lessons are available, and a clubhouse is on site.
6. Find Everything You Need at the Seaport Village
Visitors to San Diego looking for a place where they can do it all – including shopping, eating and being entertained – can head to the historic Seaport Village.
This 100-year-old building features 14 acres of businesses and entertainment options. Many boutique shops, 13 pubs and cafes, four fine dining restaurants, and several upscale hotels are just some of the attractions you’ll find here.
In between shopping and browsing, you can relax with a cup of coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes, enjoy views of the harbour, and listen to street performers.
7. Take in a Show at the PowPAC Community Theater
Since 1981, the PowPAC Community Theater in nearby Poway has been showcasing various live shows each season. This prize-winning establishment has an intimate atmosphere with only 71 seats, and you can enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, including dramas, musicals and comedies. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Charlie Brown are just a couple of the shows they’ve hosted over the years.
8. Sample Local Craft Beer at the Lightning Brewery
As Poway’s first craft brewery, Lightning Brewery has amassed an impressive record of producing a wide range of prize-winning brews.
While a wide variety of beers are produced on-site, including British and American options, the German-style lagers and ales are among the most popular.
Whether you’re looking to try legacy beers, limited selections, or one of the brewery’s signature, experimental projects, you’re sure to find a new favourite beverage among the wide range of choices.
Elemental Pilsner, Black Lightning Porter, and Electrostatic Ale are among the beers you can sample at the tasting room adjacent to the production area.
9. Hike to the Famous Potato Chip Rock
Due to the fairly recent popularity of selfies and the ease of sharing photos online, Potato Chip Rock has earned its place as one of the more popular natural attractions around the San Diego area.
Situated in nearby Poway, this interesting rock is a simple sliver of stone extending out over a cliff.
To get there, you have to hike along a difficult but well-maintained eight-mile trail to the top of Mount Woodson. Once you arrive, you’ll see that not only is it a great place to get selfies, but also an excellent opportunity to capture some stunning views.
10. Explore the Beautiful Gardens at The Botanical Building
The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a one-of-kind conservatory home to a variety of gardens. There are over 2,100 plants, including ferns, orchids, palms, cycads, and seasonal flowers.
There’s a children’s garden, several touch and smell gardens, a lily pond, and a lagoon. Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and lemon mint plants are just a few of the fascinating plants you’ll see as you make your way through the property.
The greenhouse that houses these gardens is also quite fascinating. It’s the world’s only greenhouse that has no glass and is the largest of its kind in the world.
11. Explore the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
The original goal of the San Diego State Historic Park was to collect and preserve the history of San Diego.
Today, it’s an extensive area open to tourists who wish to learn about this history while enjoying a wide range of historical and cultural attractions.
As you stroll through the park, you’ll find a central plaza and several shops, galleries, museums, and historical buildings such as Mason Street School and Whaley House.
You’ll also see live demonstrations, theatre performances, and live music. The on-site guides are dressed in period attire to make the experience more authentic.
12. Spend a Day Exploring the Cabrillo National Monument
While the main purpose of the Cabrillo National Monument is to honour the landing of the first European at San Diego Bay in 1542, today, this historical landmark is a popular destination for outdoor adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs.
This beautiful park area is situated at one end of the Point Loma Peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are many attractions on-site, including stunning beaches, historic lighthouses, and tidal pools.
A museum is located in one of the old lighthouses and details the history of the area. You can also visit a unique ocean ecosystem home to a wide variety of sea life.
13. Visit the San Diego Zoo
As one of the first zoos to implement the concept of open-air exhibits free of cages, the San Diego Zoo allows visitors to observe the animals in environments that are re-created to be just like their natural habitats.
During a tour of the zoo, you’ll see more than 3,700 animals across 650 different species and a variety of exhibits, including Koalafornia Adventure. You’ll also see a wide variety of plants and birds.
There are several ways to explore the zoo, including a self-guided walk-through, a guided bus tour, or an exciting trip on the overhead Skyfari gondola.
14. Satisfy Hunger with a Tasty, Healthy Meal from The Kebab Shop
At the Kebab Shop, you get fast service and delicious food that includes a wide variety of Mediterranean options. Many of the ingredients will be familiar to you, but the results are anything but ordinary.
On the menu, you’ll find doner kebabs, shawarma, wraps and salads. Vegetarian options are available.
15. Learn about Local Maritime History at The Maritime Museum of San Diego
Known around the world for its excellence in restoring and maintaining old ships, the Maritime Museum of San Diego features a variety of historic vessels that are part of one of the world’s greatest collections.
One of the top attractions at the museum is the Star of India, the oldest functioning ship in the world.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll see many exhibits highlighting the history of sailing, sea mapping, ocean harvesting, and the United States Navy in San Diego.
You can also book a one-of-kind ocean journey such as a bay cruise, swift boat tour, or tall ship excursion.
Throughout the year, a variety of events are held at the museum, including educational programs, multi-day excursions, and guided tours.