Believe it or not, San Diego, California is not just a super fun surf town filled with everyone living their best lives partying it up — it’s actually a great place to raise a family. The weather is basically perfect all year round; every neighborhood has its own unique vibe; and you are within miles from the beach, the mountains, the desert and lakes. And when it comes to baby and kid stores, San Diego is just filled with hidden gems. So whether you want the designer duds for a bargain price or you want your kids to show they support all lifestyles, you can pick up something as unique for your little ones as the neighborhoods themselves.
1. Wonderful & Wild: 1007 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Located in the heart of Hillcrest, this cute little shop carries mostly smaller, local and all natural and organic brands. The owner, Brianna, a mother of 5 herself, is certified in baby safety education and teaches workshops on babywearing, car seat installation safety and cloth diapers, as well as an array of other classes offered at the store. This store also offers a cloth diaper service for families not wanting to use conventional diapers. What I really loved the most was the nod to the Hillcrest culture; the store offers a bunch of gay pride flair as well as an outstanding children’s book collection focusing on feminism, equal rights and homeopathic remedies.
2. Replay Toys: 2920 North Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104
This resale toy shop is a child’s dream. There is so much to see and tinker with! They have a large selection of popular favorites, like Star Wars, Pokemon and My Little Pony, as well as classic finds such as vintage trains, Pez dispensers and those color blast books that color in every color with one clear marker! (I used to love those!!!!) The shop also keeps a lot of Melissa and Doug toys in stock, learning toys and tools and funky costumes. They take trades daily and after you shop 5 times, you receive a $10 off coupon. Another cool aspect: they give free books for every purchase! Great way to get the littles interested in reading!
3. The Baby Exchange: 721 Arnele Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020 & 6130 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942
This baby consignment and resale shop has two locations in San Diego; La Mesa and El Cajon. They not only consign baby clothes, but baby gear, toys, unopened feeding equipment, furniture and strollers. You have to call the store in advance as both stores will only take back certain items on certain days and times and are strict on their cash/credit policies. They do have a small section of new clothing and accessories as well. They are totally worth taking a peek if you are on a budget for a new baby, especially if you need something like a car seat and stroller because they will only accept these items if they are in excellent condition, and they will resale them for much less.
4. Little Love: 1110 Torrey Pines Road , San Diego, CA 92037
This darling little store is located in the center of the La Jolla shopping district. The store gives off quaint little country vibes, which is a cozy feel for that area. This shop specializes in designer consignment, and I felt like I was on a treasure hunt. They carry clothes from newborn to kids size and even offer a small maternity section. There was loads of snazzy designers, some even unopened (score!), like Burberry, Stuart Weitzman, Janie and Jack and Juicy Couture. The owner’s mother was manning the shop the day I visited and offered me 40% off any one item. She was extremely sweet, an ex-teacher, who totally understood when my toddler had a meltdown because mommy was delaying nap time to cruise the racks. (I’m sorry!)
5. Baby Go Round Resale (BGR Resale): 6360 Riverdale Street , San Diego, CA 92120
This baby resale store is the largest one I’ve seen thus far! And for as large as it is, it is extremely well kept — clean and orderly. There is a small section of local handmade items, cloth diapers and a seasonal section. A huge perk for mama’s shopping is the children’s play/lounge area! It’s fully equipped with a comfy couch, large TV, toys and play space! They have a separate area for those selling back and actual dressing rooms, which I haven’t seen in any other store yet. This store takes pride in that it is a family owned business and has been for years. Fun fact: my mother-in-law ran this store about 25 years ago!
6. Geppetto’s: Multiple locations throughout the San Diego area
This fun toy store has been family owned in San Diego for 40 years and has expanded from a small store in Old Town to 10 locations throughout the county! All the toys here are brand new. They have toys for newborns up to the teenage years. Lots of the toys are geared toward sensory learning; lots of fun kinetic sand and squishy goo type things – you know, the kind of stuff your kid loves and makes you squeamish! And although the price point may seem slightly higher, many of the toys here you wouldn’t find at a big chain like WalMart or Toys-R-Us (RIP).
Erin McInerney is a native Brooklynite living in San Diego, CA for the past 8 years. She and her boyfriend Ryan have two sons, Bryson and Christian. She spends her time modern mommying and practicing and preaching wellness.