A Guide to Poway, California

Everything to See and Do in Poway



Lake Poway

Nestled in the northeast of San Diego is the perfect place for a warm weekend getaway that’s not too far from home. If you’re a fan of the “stay-cation” or in the mood for a short trip out of the city, Poway is the place to go! Known as “The city in the country,” Poway is dedicated to natural areas, with more than half of its geographical area reserved for open space preserves. It’s a great location for hiking, camping and lakeside watersports, or spending casual time outdoors with family and friends at one of its many parks and recreational areas. Closer to the I-15 freeway lies the Carmel Mountain Ranch area, which is home to plenty of upscale shopping, dining, and fun. Ready to get away (but not too far away) yet? Here’s your guide to planning your perfect weekend in Poway!

Shop Poway!

Carmel Mountain Plaza

When the day calls for some retail therapy, Carmel Mountain Plaza is a perfect place to start. You’ll find national clothing brands like Banana Republic, Saks Off 5th, and Nordstrom Rack, or shop for the home at Pier 1, Ross and Michaels. The plaza also features plenty of other ways to spend the day. Relax and release the tension in your shopping shoulders with a massage at Elements, with experiences as short as one hour. Or, opt for a manicure instead at Prestige Nail Salon. There’s also a day spa, a tanning salon, and a ballet bar workout center at the mall, so you’re covered no matter how you’re feeling. The plaza is perfect place for a girl’s day out, too! We recommend dropping off the guys at the golf course for a few hours while you shop ‘til you drop.

Keely – A Unique Boutique

If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path in terms of shopping, there’s a unique boutique in the heart of Poway. Keely offers trending women’s fashion and accessories. You’ll find both style and comfort at this adorable and well decorated boutique. It’s only a brief walk from Old Poway Park, which makes it a perfect stop on the way.

See Poway!

Old Poway Park

Old Poway Park is a glimpse of the past––20th century California comes to life again at this scenic park that offers historic railroad rides and tours of a classic turn-of-the-century home. The heritage museum is a vision of life in Poway in the early 1900s and provides a brief history of the city’s development. The gem of the park is the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, where you can buy fresh food and flowers. Bring a blanket along and make yourself a picnic under the scenic trees or the beautiful gazebo.

Poway Center for Performing Arts

Poway sees some spectacular events, and there’s no reason to miss one when you’re in the area. Check out the Poway Center for Performing Arts, which is the city’s beautifully architected event space and theater. Coming this spring and summer is the Taj Express, a Bollywood themed music and dance show, The Doo Wop Project, featuring Broadway stars performing doo-wop hits, and the 6th annual Taste of Our Towne food and wine sampler event. Fans of classic rock should plan to visit when the band Kansas takes the stage this September!

Do Poway!

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Getting outdoors is easy in Poway, especially if you like to hike. The ecological reserve is 700 acres of natural wonder with hiking trails abound for any skill level. For a nice stroll, hike the creekside trail to see the oak grove, or up to a shaded picnic area. Try a longer distance at the Lake Poway Loop for a view of the water or for a moderate-level hike, you can trek up to Lake Ramona and back. Mount Woodson is the most difficult trail at the reserve, branching out from the Lake Pomona trail. While it offers gorgeous views of Poway and unique rock formations like Potato Chip Rock, the trail is recommended for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club

But not all outdoor activity has to be strenuous. If you’re not the hiking type, relax on the green at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club and Golf Course. Whether you’re perfecting your swing or just golfing a round or two, this is a great way to enjoy a weekend afternoon. The course is beautifully manicured and features exquisite views of the valley, as well as running streams and natural boulder formations for a challenge to seasoned golfers. Grab a bite to eat at the Ranch’s restaurant or sip on a drink at the bar to finish a par-for-the-course day.

Dine Poway!

Iron Pan Thai Kitchen

Delight your taste buds with a taste of Thai from Iron Pan. The flavorful, colorful cuisine is a fresh twist on old favorites, like crab fried rice and panang salmon. You’ll find something perfect for any palate here, so seafood fans, lovers of all things spicy, vegetarians and even picky eaters can all have a seat at the table. Top off your meal with something sweet––we recommend the fried banana and coconut ice cream.

Grub Burger Bar

For some simpler fare, Grub Burger Bar won’t disappoint. With a menu full of legendary burgers, shakes, and cocktails, we promise you won’t be leaving hungry. Start with some Luau Fries, which come topped with pulled pork and pineapple, then move on to the Lockhart Legend burger with bacon, barbeque sauce and two crispy onion rings. Finish up with a boozy shake––the Dirty Kitchen Sink fulfills every salty and sweet craving you’ve ever had.

Drink Poway!

Second Chance Brewery

One of the best things about living in San Diego is simply the beer. Check out Carmel Mountain’s Second Chance Brewery for a broad selection of craft brews on draft, and some flavorful combinations that are perfect for the warm spring weather. Try the Glorious Belgian Ale, which is fruity but strong at 8.8% ABV, or opt for the refreshing small-batch pink saison for a tart taste of citrus and the floral notes of hibiscus.

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