Anyone seeking some of San Diego’s best noodles has likely wandered to Convoy, our city’s official Pan-Asian Cultural District. We won’t pretend that beloved cluster of restaurants laying down hot pot, ramen, and bibimbap isn’t a major part of Kearny Mesa’s appeal, but there’s much to do in the neighborhood besides chowing down. You’ll find shops slinging imported goods and adventure-ready active gear here, as well as performance venues, unique date spots, and opportunities to take to the sky or sea.
Here’s our guide to the top places to explore next time you’re in Kearny Mesa.
Kearny Mesa Food & Drink
This Korean supermarket is a one-stop shop for grocery items like marinated meats, kimchi, and banchan (side dishes), plus imported housewares and beauty products. There’s also a food hall onsite with five vendors offering quick-service bites like Korean corn dogs and fried chicken.
7725 Balboa Avenue
Shancheng Lameizi Hot Pot
Hot pot restaurant chain Shancheng Lameizi has 20-plus locations in Beijing, but the eatery is harder to find stateside—Convoy’s is one of only three in the US. Here, you’ll cook meats and veggies at your table in two bubbling broths: one spiced with Guizhou peppers, the other more mild.
4225 Convoy Street
Surrounded by Asian eateries, this American pub with an Irish name stands out on Convoy Street. O’Brien’s was one of the first craft breweries in San Diego. Emphasizing hoppy beers on tap and Belgian ales in bottles, they also have great pub food, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and housemade soups.
4646 Convoy Street
Realm of the 52 Remedies
This cozy hidden speakeasy in Convoy Street’s Common Theory serves creative, seasonal cocktails and small plates. Guests pass through a stark-white apothecary before emerging into a sexy, dimly lit drinking den slinging mixes inspired by everything from manga and anime to classic Japanese treats.
4805 Convoy Street
Two Hands Corn Dogs
A popular street food in Seoul, Korean corn dogs are fried in a rice flour batter for a crispy exterior with chewiness beneath. Two Hands offers a broad range of batters, seasonings, and fillings, including cheese sticks and plant-based franks for vegetarian diners.
3860 Convoy Street, Suite 100
RakiRaki is best known for its ramen (get the spicy miso tonkotsu with mochi noodles), but chef Junya Watanabe’s popular local restaurant chain also serves other staples from Japanese cuisine, such as gyoza, curry, sushi, and crispy chicken karaage.
4646 Convoy Street, Suite 102-A
The Butcher Shop
This retro, Chicago-style steakhouse serves all the standards: prime rib, lobster bisque, salt-covered baked potatoes. The Butcher Shop grills all its beef—from dainty steak medallions to a formidable 48-ounce tomahawk—over mesquite wood.
5255 Kearny Villa Road
The moniker says it all. This little sweet shop transforms its namesake fruit into all sorts of desserts, from cakes, ice cream, and kakigori (Japanese shaved ice) to milk teas and lemonades. But you’ll find other flavors here, too, including strawberry-, lychee-, and taro-based treats.
4176 Convoy Street
Seeking pre-made Korean foods or sushi-grade fish to make rolls at home? Stop by this sprawling grocery store. Zion Market also houses counter-serve eateries, a location of the delicious Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette, clothing shops, a travel agency, and more.
7655 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
Crepes are king at Cafe Hue, which serves sweet and savory versions of the paper-thin pancakes (the nutella-stuffed is most popular, but don’t sleep on the cookie butter). Guests can also get Belgian waffles, coffee, and rotating flavors of gelato.
3860 Convoy Street
Kearny Mesa Shops & Boutiques
Bibliophiles should set aside at least an hour to browse through the shelves at this packed-to-the-gills used bookstore. Those searching for hard-to-find manga and older DVDs and TV shows may have particular luck here. BOOKOFF also vends figurines and collectibles and purchases used items to resell.
4240 Kearny Mesa Road, Suite 128
This vibrant, mega outpost for Japanese goods sprawls across three buildings, vending groceries, grab-and-go bites, toys, electronics, porcelain dishware, and even furniture. Signs throughout the shelves stocked with food offer suggestions and instructions for popular Japanese dishes.
8151 Balboa Avenue
Kearny Mesa is home to one of San Diego’s two REI locations, a campers’ wonderland slinging activewear and must-haves for backpacking, rock climbing, and other outdoor adventures. REI also offers a bike shop, a ski shop, and used and rental gear.
5556 Copley Drive
Road Runner Sports
Overwhelmed by the deluge of running shoes on the market? Leave it up to science. The staff at Road Runner Sports will create a 3D scan of your feet to determine the best-fitting shoes (and even socks!) and create custom insoles for your trotters. You can also check out their activewear, fitness gear, and nutrition products.
5553 Copley Drive
Sin City Skates
Owned and operated by experienced skaters, Sin City Skates is a great spot for beginners just foraying into roller skating to gear up and get some expert tips. The shop also offers lessons and transforms ordinary shoes—including sneakers and Doc Martens—into tricked-out skates.
8280 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 126
Explore Kearny Mesa
Axe Thro Co
Before indulging on Convoy Street, stop by the family-owned Axe Thro Co for a fun workout and personalized instructions for improving your aim. Groups can also pass time at onsite pool tables while waiting for their turn to toss.
4428 Convoy Street, Suite 310
The Golf Bar
Practice your swing at The Golf Bar, where simulation technology allows you to play 18 holes in the great indoors. You can also order beer and bites, catch a game on TV, and try your hand at other simulated sports like baseball and soccer.
5583 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
Mic Drop Comedy
This spacious stand-up venue has welcomed major names like Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, and Emma Willmann. Mic Drop hosts shows nearly every night and occasionally offers classes for aspiring comics.
8878 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
The Unlockables Escape Room
Grab your besties and test your mettle against a series of puzzles. Games at The Unlockables’ Kearny Mesa location ask you to create an antidote to end a zombie apocalypse, pull off a pawn shop heist, and figure out whether the high school principal is an extraterrestrial.
7380 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 205
San Diego Sky Tours
Get a birds-eye view of the San Diego skyline with this veteran-owned business’s aerial tours and biplane flights. Former military pilots from San Diego Sky Tours can take you on a thrilling ride full of loops and rolls or offer a more relaxing jaunt over the ocean to catch sight of whales and dolphins.
Executive Airpark, 3717 John J Montgomery Drive
Your band’s music video shoot just got an upgrade. Hendo Studios offers 2,000 square feet of studio space complete with makeup stations and an audio recording area for capturing photos, films, commercials, podcasts, and more.
4898 Ronson Court, Suite E
Take advantage of San Diego’s seaside locale by getting up close and personal with some aquatic critters. Ocean Enterprises offers scuba diving lessons, special courses in subjects like underwater photography, and scuba gear rentals and repairs.
7710 Balboa Avenue, Suite 101
San Diego Musical Theatre
Can’t make it to the Big Apple this year? Catch a Broadway show closer to home at San Diego Musical Theatre, which has staged productions of major musicals like Little Shop of Horrors, In the Heights, and Rent.
7710 Balboa Avenue, Suite 101