Poway, dubbed as "The City in the Country," sits 25 miles to the northeast of downtown San Diego, making it just close enough to enjoy the amenities of living in a large metropolitan area, while being far enough away for residents to keep their distance when they want to. Featuring nearly 40 square miles of preserved open space, the town enjoys highly rated schools, low housing costs compared to the rest of the metropolitan area and one of the lowest crime rates in the San Diego area, and all of California, since 1981.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Poway offers a variety of local eateries, from homemade Italian to family-run sushi establishments. Poway does not have any dance clubs, but there are plenty of bars along Poway Road to fill the night with fun. Most restaurants in the neighborhood also sit along this main drag.
Mamma Teresa, located on Poway Road, serves up authentic homemade Italian cuisine. The chef, also the owner, stands in the kitchen cooking up her homemade delights, such as fusilli gustosi and linguine carbonara, which she learned to make while working as a chef in Italy for 15 years. The menu is a mixture of Chef Teresa’s creations and family recipes handed down from her grandmother, which can’t be found anywhere else.
At Don Pollo, also on Poway Road, you can try the popular chicken soup garnished with a generous amount of veggies or have your next event catered by the owner himself. On weekdays, go during late morning or early evening to avoid the lunch rush, which can make parking and seating hard to come by.
Indulge in your love of raw seafood at Ichizen Sushi & Japanese Cuisine, a real family establishment. At this mom-and-pop restaurant, dad and son prepare your meal in the kitchen, while mom greets you and takes your order. Frequent guests can save a little money by getting a stamp on a card during each visit, redeemable for a discount.
At Poway’s Irish Pub you can get a drink, have a bite to eat and listen to live music with no cover charge. Try the Irish nachos, and come by during the daily happy hour for $4 you-call-its and cheap appetizers. You can catch a game on one of the many TVs, play a game of pool or hang outside on the patio. If you want to feel like you are at Qualcomm Stadium watching the Chargers play, stop by Kaminski’s BBQ, which features two 150-inch TVs and 20 smaller high-definition screens, all split between three viewing rooms, so you will never have to miss a touchdown or interception. Weekday afternoons promise $5 specialty drinks and $1 off wells, bottles and wine during happy hour.
History & Culture
With Hispanic settlement beginning in the late 18th century and American settlement throughout the 19th century, Poway gained a population of over 800 people by 1887. However, true development stalled in the early 20th century due to the lack of available water, until the Poway Municipal Water District was established in 1954. Finally, the town was incorporated as the City of Poway in 1980.
The Heritage Museum sits in Old Poway Park, displaying exhibits featuring the history and relics of Poway’s past. The Poway Center for the Performing Arts lies on the west side of the town, by Rancho Bernardo. The Center hosts professional ballets, plays and music concerts, both from national acts of various genres to symphonies and choirs. It also provides a stage for Poway USD students and community performers. The town also hosts the Spring Family Festival, a large street fair that attracts over 10,000 people each year.
Poway is a car-dependent area that lacks biking infrastructure. This makes walking and bike riding less attractive options than driving or taking public transportation. The Metropolitan Transit System’s route 945A loops around the community, while route 944 takes you west to Sabre Springs and 945 takes you north to Rancho Bernardo. Residents also have the quicker option of calling a cab or booking a ride through Uber. I-5 runs along the west side of the town, making it easily accessible to residents. Poway offers little to no public parking options, with most parking lots and garages reserved for the private use of businesses and their customers.
The cost of living in Poway soars over 20 percent higher than the San Diego average. A bus ride from Poway to downtown San Diego takes at least two bus transfers and nearly two hours, costing around $5. If you go during happy hour, you can snag a pint of beer for as little as $2 at Poway Irish Pub, while gas prices soar 11 percent above the national average. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment goes for about $1,350 a month, lower than the San Diego average.
The center of commerce in Poway lies on Poway Road, including a few local high-end and high-value specialty shops and boutiques amid the chains like Walmart, Stein Mart and Home Goods. Saddle Up Tack specializes in new and used horse riding clothing and accessories, including saddles, boots and tacks. St Bartholomew’s Thrift Shop, run by the church of the same name, sells used goods to help support their work within the community. The Triathlete Store, located on Midland Road, specializes in quality swimming, biking and running gear that holds up to the rigorous training of serious athletes. The Irie Coast Smoke Shop is the place to go for tobacco and smoking related accessories, include e-cigarettes.
For quick and specialty grocery shopping, Poway has a few options. Bisher’s Quality Meats, a local specialty butcher shop that also serves fresh gourmet deli sandwiches, carries San Diego’s finest selection of meats, including exotic meats, hormone-free chicken and free-range turkeys. Poway International Market is your stop for ethnic groceries, including Chaldean, Persian and Russian foods. For your everyday grocery needs, there are several options such as Vons and Stater Bros.
Poway Farmers' Market runs on Saturdays from early morning to early afternoon, and also features a train for kids to ride and specialty foods like New Zealand-style meat pies.
Poway features three main parks, including Community Park, Old Poway Park and Veterans Park. Community Park offers something for everyone, such as a skate park for teens, ball fields for groups, an adventure playground for kids, bingo at the rec center for seniors and a dog park for your furry friend.
Old Poway Park is dedicated to the community of yesterday, with a vintage 1907 Baldwin No. 3 steam locomotive and historic buildings, while Veterans Park salutes those who have served the country in the past, present and future.