Spring Valley, CA

Overview

Spring Valley lies near Lemon Grove, La Mesa and Jamul, about 12 miles east of the city of San Diego. The neighborhood sprawls across more than 13 square miles and has a reputation for being affordable and family-friendly.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Spring Valley has a variety of options when it comes to dining and having nighttime fun, most of which can be found along the borders of the area's freeways. For a taste of down home-style barbecue, head out to Cali Comfort BBQ on Troy Street. Try the signature beef brisket, either in sandwich form or as a dinner plate. The sweet, smoky meat will fall apart in your mouth and leave you feeling satisfied. If you feel indecisive, try the Spring Valley sampler, featuring small portions of an assortment of appetizers. Chase it all back with a brew — Cali Comfort has more than a dozen to choose from. If you feel the need for Mexican food, come out to Ranas Mexico City Cuisine on Campo Road. Locals love Ranas for its authentic flavor and fast service. If you come for breakfast, try the chilaquiles, featuring crispy corn tortilla pieces cooked in salsa and topped with beans and cheese. You can add eggs or meat and turn breakfast into an early-day feast. If you want something you can eat with your hands, try a huarache. Made of corn meal flatbread and topped with your choice of vegetarian or omnivore ingredients, a huarache tastes like a torta with a twist; if you have never had one, you've been missing out. When you crave a taste of the Far East, you can sate your hunger over at Chef China on Campo Road. Lauded by locals as the best Chinese food in all of San Diego county, Chef China dishes up delightful entrées such as the shrimp lo mein, featuring pan-fried noodles tossed with grilled shrimp and veggies. The best-loved dish there has to be the salt-and-pepper chicken wings, which sound simplistic, but are anything but. What people love most about Chef China is the value: you can get huge portion sizes for rock-bottom prices. If the sun has set and you want a good time, head over to The Bancroft on Campo Road near Bancroft Drive. Featuring happy hour specials, karaoke nights and live music events, you can belly up to the bar for a beer and enjoy a night of playing pool or hanging out and listening to a band play. The Bancroft has a little something for everyone.

History & Culture

Spring Valley earned its name from a spring in the area that historically drew farmers and ranchers to homestead in the 19th century. Most of the farms and ranches have vanished, but the topography that originally drew the farmers to the area remains, making for some picturesque hilltop views in the region. The Bancroft Ranch House Museum on aptly-named Memory Lane provides a deeper look at the history of the area. Housed in an old adobe structure built at Spring Valley's founding, the museum hosts free tours of the grounds that give visitors a peek at what life was like in 19th-century Spring Valley. Each fall, Spring Valley holds a free fiesta featuring live music and dancing, food vendors, crafts and children's entertainment in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Bring a friend or bring the family for a day of fun at no cost to you.

Transportation

Several bus routes serve the Spring Valley area, making it an ideal place to live for public transit users. A day trip transit pass costs only $6. The main roads often have dedicated bicycle lanes, but some of the side streets have rough pavement, and sidewalks may or may not be available, making the area a mixed bag for pedestrians and cyclists. You may opt to call for an Uber car or a local taxi if you would rather not drive and the buses have stopped running for the day. Street parking tends to be both free and abundant, and several freeways leading out to other parts of the county are nearby, making Spring Valley a favorite among drivers.

Cost

The cost of living in Spring Valley is on the same level with the cost of living in the city of San Diego, with the average rental for a one-bedroom going for $ 1,516 per month in each. Gas prices are about even with San Diego, as well, sitting around 11 percent higher than the national average. Dining and entertainment prices tend to be quite low, however, making up for the overall higher cost of living in the area. For example, a pint of beer at a pub will cost you around $4, and many lower-cost family restaurants can be found in the neighborhood borders.

Shopping

Even if its offerings can't compare with those of Beverly Hills, shopping in Spring Valley can offer a wide selection. Most stores lie along the border of Highway 125, which cuts through the middle of town. You can't say "shopping in Spring Valley" without mentioning the famed Spring Valley Swap Meet. Held on Quarry Road just east of Highway 125, it opens each weekend to welcome bargain hunters in search of one-of-a-kind treasures and vintage items. Featuring a variety of vendors, you can find something new each week at the Spring Valley Swap Meet. Come on out and see why people flock from all over the county to shop at the Spring Valley Swap Meet. If you like thrift shopping, you'll love Converse Family Thrift Store on Elkelton Boulevard just west of Highway 125. They sell furniture, electronics, clothing, books, and a variety of unique collectibles at deeply discounted prices, and have frequent half-off specials to make the prices drop even lower. Locals who enjoy thrift shopping go to Converse. Located on Sweetwater Road, Xenia Collection has what style hunters want: an array of modern ladies' clothing and accessories in all sizes, including plus sizes. People who shop here love the elegance and style of the clothing they can get for moderate, fair prices. For a boutique shopping experience, head over to Xenia Collection for a day of shopping fun. Most people in the area shop at Grocery Outlet on Campo Road because the area does not have a certified farmer's market, and Grocer Outlet sells the same foods as the big chain grocery stores at greatly marked-down prices. You can even get organic produce at Grocery Outlet for a fraction of what it costs at nearby Vons or Albertsons.

Parks

Spring Valley County Park on Jamacha Boulevard has several amenities, making it a place that has something for everyone, all free of admission or parking costs. Open from dawn until dusk, it features an expansive grassy area and an exercise walkway for the fitness fans, two playgrounds for the little ones, a basketball court, restroom facilities and more than two dozen picnic tables, Spring Valley County Park holds much appeal as an expansive neighborhood park where you can kick back and relax. Although Spring Valley does not have any off-leash dog parks, you may bring a canine friend with you to enjoy a walk at Spring Valley County Park as long as your pooch stays on-leash.

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