Spending a morning at the shopping mall with kids can evoke feelings of both excitement and trepidation. Will the kids behave?  How many shops will they last? Should I bring snacks to get them through the day? Does this sound familiar? Lucky for you, San Diego’s Westfield UTC is the perfect destination for the whole family to enjoy a day shopping. Here are ten reasons why this mall may be the most kid friendly in all of San Diego.

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Photo Credit: Beau via Yelp

1. Shops Just For Kiddos
Westfield UTC boasts plenty of stores catered towards mini shopper. You can pick up some new threads at fashion retailers like Gap Kids, Gymboree or Janie and Jack. If you’re after toys, drop by Geppetto’s to see what’s new. If home decor is what you need, stop into Pottery Barn Kids (drop by Tuesdays at 11 a.m. for PB Kids story time).

2. Family-Friendly Dining
With more than 35 restaurants and eateries, you’ll be guaranteed to find something when hunger strikes. Visit the food court where you can pick up anything from sandwiches, salads to stir fry. Then pull up a pew at the seats overlooking the ice skating rink or to head to the outdoor courtyard for some alfresco eating.

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Photo Credit: Lenya McGrath

3. Cool Lounge Areas
If all that walking is tiring out the little ones take a load off at one of the many lounge areas. The kids will love the pod seats where you can nestle up mini iglo style in small, medium (and for extra fun) extra large sizes! Or if night is falling, search out one of the lounge areas with fire pits close to the fountain.

4. Family Lounges
If you need to stop for a diaper change, potty break or even a nursing trip then check out the two family lounges located in the food court and playground next to Macy’s. Here you’ll find adult and kiddo-sized toilets, a diaper change station, a microwave and even private booths with comfy chairs to nurse. Better yet while you tend to feeding, the kids can play in the adjacent toddler area.  They have kids shows on a big sceen, books and games set up, pint-sized seating and even a glowing color table for the kiddos to check out.

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Photo Credit: Design:Retail via Sloan’s Ice Cream

5. Plenty of Special Treat Options
If something sweet is calling to reward all that good behavior while shopping, check out one of the many kiosks dotted around the centre for treats like frozen yogurt, cupcakes and macaroons. Or visit the sweet treat mother-load at Sloan’s Luxury Ice Cream Parlor for ice cream, fudges, cookies, candy and more.

6. Easy Family Parking
Juggling the kids and all your purchases is a tricky task when the car is parked far away. Take advantage of Westfield’s family preferred up-front parking spots. They are close to the entrances and make it easier for families with small kids or expectant mothers to spend more time shopping and less time parking.

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Photo Credit: Westfield UTC

7. Super Fun Playground
If you’re ready for the kiddos to burn off a little energy, take them to the playground located next to Macy’s. You’ll be guaranteed your mini shoppers will have a great time with plenty of play equipment like a jungle gym, slides, tunnels, dangling ropes and climbing spirals. There’s even a shaded toddler area. Plus, there is plenty of seating on the perimeter for parents to watch the kids play.

8. Water Features to Ooh and Ahh Over
Little kids especially will go wowsers over the Westfield water features. The large fountain in the centre courtyard is a magnet for toddlers and their parents while older kids will love the dolphin pools on the east side of the mall. For extra fun, safely hold their hand as they walk around the perimeter of the shallow pools.

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Photo Credit: Lenya McGrath

9. The Cutest Little Library
Send the kids to check out Westfield’s own little library, a pint-sized box where you can share favorite stories and books.  At last viewing there are a selection of kid and adult-friendly books ready for you to check out. Feel free to take a book with you just be sure to bring back another book to share.

10. Free Wi-Fi
In this day and age and depending on your views of screen time, wi-fi can be a godsend to keep bored kids occupied.  Westfield UTC offers free wi-fi within the shopping center so if it all becomes to much, the kids can log on for some game time or tv show viewing while you get the last of the shopping done. And you can always check Facebook while the kids play on the jungle gym.

4485 La Jolla Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92122
858-546-8858
Online: westfield.com/utc/

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What’s your favourite family friendly shopping center?  Let us know in the comments below!

— Lenya McGrath