When your family is looking for some indoor fun that doesn’t involve an iPad or computer, skip the home entertainment and check out these action-packed arcades. Your little gamers will be on Cloud 9 as they explore all there is to do at these mind-stimulating gaming centers. So get out the quarters (or nickels in some cases), and let the games begin at these awesome arcades.
Photo credit: Nickel City via Yelp
Nickel City’s new and improved Miramar location is almost three times the size of its old location, which means a lot more fun at the same low price. Admission is $2.25 per person and a bag of nickels can be purchased for $5, $7, or $10. Better yet, have the kiddos start saving their allowance and bring in their own nickels from home. Most games cost between four and six nickels each, but some classics like Pac-Man and Street Fighter can be played for free. Your gamers can gather up as many tickets as they can, feed them into the ticket eater machine, and redeem the receipt for prizes. Parents can relax in the lounge area with a full view of the gaming floor, or even get some work done using the free Wi-Fi. If all the gaming has left your family feeling hungry, grab a slice of tasty pizza, a soft pretzel, or a refreshing shaved ice “Snow Ball” from the City Café.
Insider’s Tip: For an extra $5 a game, check out the mini-bowling lanes. With automatic scoring and built-in bumpers, kiddos can step on up, and bowl- no special shoes required.
8990 Miramar Rd. Ste. 180
San Diego, CA 92126
Photo credit: Kelly Powell
Dave & Buster’s
Located in Mission Valley with plenty of parking, Dave & Buster’s is a gamer’s paradise. Purchase a power card at the front desk, add credits, and you’re ready to go. Eat, drink, play, and watch the game — this place is huge and has something for everyone. From classics like skee ball and Pac-Man, to carnival-style games like horseracing, to the latest and greatest games like Fruit Ninja and Mario Kart Grand Prix. Get the competitive juices flowing as your family plays four-person air hockey or a game of head-to-head basketball. If you’ve come hungry, they offer an Eat & Play Combo where you’ll choose one of eight entrees and get a $10 Game Card for only $16.99. Instead of a prize counter, it’s an entire store of prizes! The kiddos can walk through and pick out the perfect item just for them, whether it’s a cool toy or a high-tech gadget like an iPad. If your family has worked up an appetite after all that playing, you can also redeem your tickets for appetizers or desserts in the dining area.
Insider’s Tip: Check out their twice a day Happy Hour for half price cocktails and appetizers, or go on Wednesdays when all games are half price from open to close.
2931 Camino Del Rio N.
San Diego, CA 92108
Photo credit: Kelly Powell
Gamer’s Garage at Corvette Diner
This super cool 1950’s themed diner in Liberty Station has it going on. Whether you’re waiting for a table or after your family has chowed down on juicy burgers and milkshakes, head into Gamer’s Garage for some super groovy fun. Check out the newest and coolest games as well as all the classics in this ultra high-tech game room. Gamer’s Garage is San Diego’s first “green e-arcade,” which means no carrying around tokens or tickets here. Simply purchase a reloadable Gamers Card for credits and swipe away to play. Tickets are automatically added to your card and can be cashed in for awesome prizes at the Redemption Center. The whole family will also have a blast eating at Corvette Diner. The kids will love the dancing waitresses, free balloon animals, and getting their hair done up in red plastic straws.
Insider’s Tip: If you’re planning a party, check out Corvette Diner’s awesome party packages for kids, teens, and adults.
2965 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106
Photo credit: Belmont Park Facebook Page
Belmont Park Arcade
After having fun in the sun at Mission Beach, pop into Belmont Park Arcade to get your game on. Free parking and free admission, plus you’ll be right in the middle of all the action and attractions. Games range from $.25 to $3 per game. Score a PowerCard to give you the maximum value for your gaming dollar, for example $20 will get you $25 value, and $50 will get you a $65 value. Save your card and bring it back with you each time you visit! Kids and grownups can play classics like Donkey Kong and Frogger or test your skills on modern hits like Transformers. After you’ve got your game on, check out one of the other many attractions like laser tag, rock climbing, zip lining, mini golf, and of course, the rides.
Insider’s Tip: Sign up online to receive coupons for discounts on rides, attractions, food, and more.
3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
Photo credit: Kelly Powell
Boomers! Game Room
The whole family will have a blast at one of Boomers two San Diego County locations, Clairemont and El Cajon. The game room is just one of the attractions, but offers tons of fun games to choose from like skee ball, horseracing, air hockey, and Dance Dance Revolution. When the tokens run out, trade in your tickets for a cool prize at the prize counter. Here’s another reason to study hard: good grades pay off big at Boomers! Have your kiddo bring in their most recent report card within six weeks of the issue date and they’ll get free tokens for every “A” and “B” that they earned. Also, if your kid’s school is looking for a super FUNdraising opportunity, check out Boomers online fundraising program and your school will receive 15% of all online sales for the date of the event.
Insider’s Tip: Make a day out of it and check out the other attractions available like go karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, and batting cages.
6999 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
1155 Graves Ave.
El Cajon, CA 92121
Do you know of any more awesome arcades to add to our list? Tell us in the comments below!
— Kelly Powell