A Mall for the Reluctant Shopper

Westfield Horton Plaza Interior Square

For all our travels there are still places I hesitate to go. Shopping malls, with their dreadful combination of crowds and consumerism, generally top that list. Westfield Horton Plaza in San Diego is an exception.

Covering six and one half blocks and seven stories of the city’s historic Gas Lamp District, Horton is remarkable for its complete lack of in-your face store fronts. We toured a large section of the complex and still can’t tell you what shops are there; our attention instead riveted to the twisting and elaborately colored architecture of the place.

Westfield Horton Plaza  Interior Stairs

Said to be influenced by southern Mediterranean market places, we found Horton to be more akin to an open air funhouse with its odd angles and 50-odd hues of paint. But the design is not all whimsy. Local elements are also incorporated into the Alice in Wonderland structure to help integrate it with its historic surroundings. And yet there is a playful aspect here too. Knowledgeable visitors can try to identify such “Easter Eggs” as replica ornate gas lamps patterned after those that give this section of San Diego its name or identify the city’s original Jessop’s Clock; a century old historic landmark that now ticks off time at the center of this remarkable shopping plaza.

Westfield Horton Plaza Interior

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10 Comments on “A Mall for the Reluctant Shopper”

  1. John February 15, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    A great place to shop, so unusual and the colors – wow!!!


  2. Pat February 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Definitely my kind of mall – no shops and interesting achitecture. I have found that when I walk into a mall I automatically forget what city I’m in. That could be good because I could step into a Michigan mall and pretend I am anywhere else in the US.


  3. NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) February 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    I love SHOPPING! I think i Was born to shop – and Yep I could easily spend a week just looking through each shop at that mall. It looks stunning 🙂


  4. amoralegria February 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    In these pictures it looks cool, but what about when the hordes of shoppers arrive?


  5. kathibook February 16, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Very cool!!


  6. Rachael February 18, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    I share your dislike of malls. But this one sounds like so much fun! We will be spending summer 2014 in Calufornia so maybe we will visit this mall.


  7. f-stop mama February 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    This brings back memories! I thought I recognized it from the first photo but it’s been over 12 years since I have been there I thought I was going crazy. I am far from a mall shopper but this one was so cool. (I lived in San Diego from 1995-2000)


  8. Arizona girl February 20, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Oooh! I love the Gaslamp Quarter!



  1. Traveling Old School | Everywhere Once - May 10, 2013

    […] Sure, he stumbled upon those canals by chance but he more easily could have found himself in a shopping plaza cul-de-sac – and probably did, more than once. We found those canals, too, only we found them on purpose – with our iPhone. We find shopping malls the same way, but only when it suits us. […]


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