5 Things (Old and New) To Love About La Mesa


I’ve lived in this city for a LONG time – I’ve come and gone for short periods of time, but I have always been ecstatic to come back and have always called La Mesa home. To me, La Mesa provides the best of both worlds. It’s the merging of San Diego’s beach bums and its farmers, and really has become a burgeoning community where more and more people have chosen to settle down and raise their families. La Mesa, like any growing community, has continued to evolve. And although we don’t always accept it, change is good! It’s important for the long time residents of La Mesa to embrace and welcome the changes that bring new interest in our community as well as our economy. So what values does La Mesa have that are resonant of its past, and what changes have emerged that has made La Mesa so appealing to its long term residents as well as attracting a new wave of people wanting to settle her and start their families?

5 Things (Old and New) To Love About La Mesa

1) La Mesa has “Small Town Charm” Whether you’re exploring Mount Helix Park, taking in the views at Lake Murray, or just strolling through quaint antique shops and sidewalk cafes of downtown, La Mesa provides all the feelings and charm of a small town, even with a population pushing 57,000. The “charm” factor is really evident during its annual La Mesa Flag Day Parade where the pride and sense of community is truly felt as though one might find in any small mid-west town USA. This in part is why La Mesa has attracts many looking to start families in a tight knit community that embraces its members and a neighborhood that feels safe.

2) Agricultural History and Location La Mesa has a rich agricultural history having been founded as an agricultural area back in 1912, but people today appreciate the beauty of its rolling hills, the comfortable climate, and the plethora of trees. It is no surprise that  for the 34th year in a row, La Mesa has been named “Tree City, USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Additionally, La Mesa sits just inland of the popular San Diego beach cities. We skip out on the traffic, but still enjoy ocean views from many of the homes in our city.


3) Great Schools La Mesa boasts a number of great schools in our district. Starting with Murray Manor Elementary School and Murdock Elementary school (both public schools) for K-8 to Parkway Middle School, College Preparatory Middle School, and Helix Charter High School which is home to the new La Mesa Arts Academy for middle and high school aged children. Families moving to La Mesa have experienced surprise in the quality and care the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District provides to their children.

4) Influx of new dining and shops La Mesa’s older businesses add more charm to our small town – just check out La Mesa Antique Mall, Act II, or The Country Loft! One of my favorite places to go to relax and stroll is Grossmont Center. It is beautiful and one of the areas last open-air malls. Go and marvel at the beautifully planted beds (artfully changed to fit the seasons) and playful statues and fountains that line its center. It’s enough for me to renew myself during a break from the daily grind.   More recently, however, a number of notable businesses have been adding a bit of new-age edge as well. The Hills Local Pub which opened its doors just a year ago brings an awesome twist to some of the more traditional restaurants we’re used to seeing in La Mesa. And BoBeau which opened 2 years ago quickly became and remains a popular spot. The older “industrial center” of town is undergoing a renaissance of sorts with the Bolt Brewery newly opened after San Pasqual opened its winery there nearly two years ago. For highlights on both new and old businesses around La Mesa, browse the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce website!

5) A diversified housing market La Mesa is rich with history which means many architectural styles of homes. With turn of the century Victorian, homes dotting the hills near the “village” area along with the 1920’s and 30’s and 40’s Spanish Style, Craftsman and Bungalow homes in many neighborhoods, La Mesa is rich with stories. La Mesa has thus far designated over 30 homes as Historic Landmarks, and from one who has walked and driven around La Mesa many years, there are many more that are not. It makes me proud that La Mesa treasures its rich history and character where at almost every turn there is a sight to delight the eyes.



2 thoughts on “5 Things (Old and New) To Love About La Mesa

  1. Shhh. La Mesa is one of San Diego county’s best kept secrets! It is a little slice of Mayberry where people converse with you at the store or wave with smile and a “no you go first” at the 4-way stop. Many homes in this “Jewel of the Hills” community are on hilltop lots with some breathing room between the neighbors and views to the San Diego skyline, Point Loma, Coronado Bridge and the ribbon of blue Pacific beyond. The picturesque downtown, complete with a corner drug store, has been used as the backdrop for both silent and modern films. Situated just enough inland for the sun to break through the coastal clouds early in the day without getting too hot in the summer, La Mesans enjoy nearly perfect weather for flower and vegetable gardening and outdoor entertaining. With several outstanding private schools and solid charter schools, a thriving children’s theater, well-supported Little League, USTA tennis program, newer Public Library, after school art academy, several music lesson locations, and awards for being the region’s most walkable city, La Mesa is also a good place to raise a family. Long-standing traditions like Oktoberfest, the Flag Day Parade where the whole town turns out in patriotic attire, Easter sunrise services in the amphitheater atop Mount Helix, Christmas in the Village, the Summer 50’s Car Show, cross-town high school football rivalry “big game”, and Firehouse Pancake Breakfast are well attended events that are part of the small-town USA dynamic. Community service and a philanthropic spirit are La Mesa hallmarks and can be seen in the annual VFW Post sale of poppy lapel pins, strong support of the interfaith shelter network, mentoring/tutoring programs for new citizens, fundraising for a new Boys and Girls Club, and the many many good works and programs of local service organizations. I love our town!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the input, Stephanie! So many great aspects of La Mesa!


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