Unbeatable Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for San Diego Moms


Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th this year—it is time to celebrate the women in your life who work hard every day to keep up with family and a thousand other responsibilities! Here are some affordable ideas to show your love without busting your wallet.

A Gift That Gives Back

For the socially conscious, The Social Concept is a great place to shop. This La Jolla-based store sources its home goods, women’s apparel, and jewelry responsibly from artisans all over the world. Every sale includes a donation to a specific charity. Do good and give back while picking up something gorgeous!

A meal at Tacos Libertad in Hillcrest isn’t just a fun time. This restaurant from the Cohn Restaurant Group donates 100 percent of the profits to a rotating charity that changes every month.

If mom is looking for a new “furever” friend, it’s kitten season at the San Diego Humane Society. Thousands of kittens across the country are in need of adoption. If that’s too big of a commitment, consider fostering! Sign mom up for one of the seminars to become a foster parent and take home a litter of her own.

Spa Day, Spa Day, Spa Day

If mom is the type who would enjoy sleeping in, some breakfast in bed, and cucumber slices on her eyes before 10AM, a spa day is just the ticket. We recommend checking out Groupon and Living Social for deals across the county for massages, facials, and more.

Our favorite budget spa day is definitely Yu Spa, a Korean Day Spa on Convoy. General admission is only $30 for both the sauna and jjimjilbang, giving you access to the showers, hot and cold tubs, dry and steam saunas, red clay and Himalayan salt saunas, the ice room, and a uniform. *Full disclosure: as with most Korean spas, the women and men-only sections require visitors to be naked. 

If a day trip is in the cards, Glen Ivy is basically spa Disneyland. Choose basic admission, which gives you access to all of this, according to the website:

  • A full day to relax and unwind in our beautiful gardens and 19 different pools, including our mineral spring pools.
  • Plenty of loungers in sunny and shady areas throughout the resort. 
  • Use of our steam rooms and two outdoor saunas.
  • Club Mud, outdoor mud therapy.
  • Full changing, showering, locker room and vanity facilities in our Bath House.
  • Choice of four bar and restaurant areas.

You can also add on nail services, massages, facials, or the famous Grotto, where you are painted with “mud” made from moisturizing oils. Spend the day by the many pools, eating delicious healthy food and soaking in the sun.

There are so many amazing luxury spas in San Diego. Check the websites to see their special Mother’s Day promotions:

Good Eats

The Crown Room Brunch is arguably one of the most expensive meals in town, but it’s also highly memorable. Enjoy a champagne Mother’s Day brunch served in an ornate Victorian-style room inside the hotel, and then stroll the grounds or spend a couple of hours on beach to burn off those customized egg benedicts. Crown Room are $140/Adults; $65/Children (6-10); Children under 5 are complimentary. Be sure to make a reservation!

Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey set the beautiful, quirky The Farmer and the Seahorse in a hidden corner of corporate La Jolla. You’ll be charmed by the lawn games and artwork, and the kids will love all of the room to run. 

For a more casual meal, Waypoint Public is a family favorite. Excellent burger, great beer list, and nice meal options for the littles, if you can tear them away from the gated play area in the back.

Bo-Beau Kitchen and Bar is a killer spot with multiple locations in San Diego, but we like the downtown La Mesa corner restaurant the most because of the play yard outside (featuring half of a school bus.) They’re doing a special brunch menu for Mother’s Day!

If brunch is so 2018 for you and yours, head over to Cloak and Petal for an intimate dinner with your loved ones. This super-cool Little Italy spot features good steaks and sushi, with plenty of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian offerings.

Fun Family Outings

There is no place better than the beach! We love Mission Beach and Belmont Park, where you can enjoy some adult drinks, ride the old-school wooden rollercoaster, and check out the mini golf and arcade. Another great spot is Glorietta Bay Park, a park right up on the beach with a playground. It rarely gets crowded, even when the rest of the island is packed.

When in doubt, go with the classics: SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They will all be extremely busy on the holiday. Be like us and be there when the doors open, and leave by midday when the crowds and heat become overwhelming. 

Want to get started early, and have a sweet tooth? How about a Chocolate Fest? Enjoy culinary delights in a lovely garden setting on Saturday.

For an affordable and Instagram-worthy afternoon, check out the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. Stroll beautiful fields of flowers as far as the eye can see, and afterwards do some shopping at the nearby Carlsbad Outlets.

KPBS also has a huge listing of local Mother’s Day weekend events!

Retail Therapy

If you’ve been disappointed by your Mother’s Day gifts in the past, or you just need some time to yourself to shop in peace on Sunday, we’ve got some great ideas for you.

Not going to lie—I am addicted to Beaute Nouveau and the Lavender and Lemon Cleansing Milk. Lacey is a San Diego business owner, and runs the entire operation herself; including making all of her milks, oils, balms, and butters by hand from natural and organic plant-based ingredients. Use code “BIGLOVE” to get 20% off your order!

You may disagree, but I think Westfield UTC is the best San Diego shopping center, even after they started charging for parking. If you’ve got an hour, hit up Credo to see why they’ve earned a reputation for clean, ethical beauty products. They’ve got a gift set for Mom if you spend $125! Next, the folks at Gorjana can help you to find a way to say “I love you,” through delicate, engraved jewelry pieces. Finally, browse at Rituals to claim your own luxury home and body care items.
Does mom need a customized bottle or mug? How about a wine glass? Rachel at Teal Willow Designs makes the sweetest drinkware with tons of personality. Use code “mommybig10” for a nice little discount!
From my family to yours, happy Mother’s Day. And remember, you are special and deserve to be celebrated every day of the year!



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