Before you can shop ‘til you drop on Black Friday, you have to find a parking spot.
In San Diego, that’s no small task, so it helps to have a strategy.
Chris Lane, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Fashion Valley, says the best times to find parking are from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Lane recommends using mall entrances other than the main entrance. For Fashion Valley, that includes the JCPenney entrance off Fashion Valley Road and the back entrance from Camino de la Reina. Both avoid traffic backup on Friars Road.
After entering the mall, Lane suggests starting with the A, B, and C parking garages behind Macy’s.
“Check the lower levels of the parking structures, as they may have more spots available and have easier in and out access,” he said, adding that valet parking is also available.
Another way to avoid the hassle is to use public transit. All MTS buses and trolleys will run on their normal schedules Friday, with the exception of the Rapid bus. Some malls have their own designated trolley stops, but all are accessible by public transit. (Click here for a complete list of bus and trolley service to San Diego shopping centers.)
If you do venture out by car, the International Parking Institute offers the following parking lot tips:
1. Exercise caution when backing out. Twenty-five percent of parking lot accidents are caused by backing moves.
2. Obey the law.
3. Keep your headlights on (even in the daytime.)
4. Park further away from the building for less hassle.
5. Follow etiquette basics. When waiting for a spot, do not block other parking space seekers. Also, remember to return shopping carts to designated cart corral areas.
6. Be a mindful pedestrian. Don’t text while walking or jaywalk.
7. Watch for small children.
8. Buckle up and be patient. Even low speed collisions can result in injuries. Resist the temptation to honk the horn
9. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Park in well-lit areas and always make sure you've rolled up your car windows and locked your doors. Have your keys out and ready when returning to your car.
10. Set an alarm if you’re parked in a metered spot.
Friday Mall Hours (Department stores may operate on different hours.)
Westfield Camino Real (Carlsbad): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets: 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Westfield North County (Escondido): 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Westfield UTC (La Jolla): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fashion Valley (Mission Valley) : 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Westfield Mission Valley: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Parkway Plaza (El Cajon): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Grossmont Center (La Mesa): 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Westfield Horton Plaza (downtown): 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Westfield Plaza Bonita (National City): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Chula Vista Center: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Otay Ranch Town Center (Chula Vista): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Las Americas Premium Outlets (San Ysidro): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.