I love AMC theaters, although I’ll grant you some are much better than others. I will go on a limb and say this: almost any AMC is a better movie experience than non-AMC blockbuster cinemas within their price bracket. In San Diego, the AMC Fashion Valley isn’t the best AMC in town (that award goes to the AMC in La Jolla, with the reclining lounge chair seats), but it’s my personal favorite, and my go-to theater when I’m in town. Many Thursdays at 7 pm you’ll see me waiting there, clipboard in hand, so I can bring Peetimes to life for the RunPee app.
First, tell me about the bathrooms!
Of course, we at RunPee know you’re concerned about restrooms. So we’ll start here with good news. The theater has large, clean, well-stocked, well-lit bathrooms, spaced at regular intervals, both up and downstairs. If you need to run for a Peetime, you don’t have to run far. I’ve never seen their toilet stalls in bad shape, or felt unsafe, even after a late film ends. Your bladder is in good hands! (So to speak.)
Whew! So, then, what’s great about this theater?
- Easy access, free parking, well-lit, patrolled by guards. Park anywhere around the mall, or in the adjacent garage structure.
- Attached to a classy mall for interesting strolling, with several decent restaurants, and a clean, decent food court by the theater entrance.
- Handicapped Accessible.
- Short line waits.
- Decent food selection, with two free food topping stations.
- Large self-serve soda machine.
- Clean setting altogether.
- Good stadium seating, comfy enough for all but the longest bladderbuster films.
- It has the sweet spot of movie selections: it offers all the wide releases, with a few limiteds here and there. It’s got more film choices than the AMC in La Jolla, but a lot less than the nearby mega-movie mill in Mission Valley.
- It has a bar! I love McGuffins. The prices are not overblown for this city (just a dollar or two more than outside the theater). The selection of draft beer, wine and cocktails is bigger than it looks from the small size of the stand, and they do generous pours. I do wish this location boasted a couple of bar chairs and a bistro table or two outside the bar zone, like most McGuffins do.
- The location between Mission Bay and Mission Valley in central San Diego is super easy to access, and you can avoid rush hour traffic enroute from several directions (locals tend to know this). It’s the easiest AMC for me to hit on movie nights for RunPee; I know exactly where to park, and I’m considered a sub-contracting regular. The easiest no-muss option for yours truly.
- UBER info: Even the “cheap” carpool walking option drops you off and picks you up right in front. It’s a well-lit location to wait at, with lots of people around, and common curb for cops to pull up by and keep watch on things. It feels very safe. The mall also has a lot of security guards. No problem getting cell phone reception.
Fine, fine. How could this theater improve?
- As I said above, the bar zone needs seating, even if it’s just two stools at the counter. They would make more money if people had a place to sit while waiting for their movie to start. And it would feel more inviting. The other AMCs in San Diego do this. When I’ve asked why not here, I get shrugs.
- There aren’t any specialty rooms. No Dolby, TRX, or 4D experiences. No lounge chair rooms. This is a basics-type theater.
- This also isn’t the AMC theater that runs the super fun Double Feature movie events. Those are at the Mission Valley location, a little further down the I-8 freeway.
- No reserved seats. (Is this considered a good thing or a bad thing? )
- I never know if my movie will be upstairs or downstairs. I don’t like negotiating the two sets of escalators to get down there when I’m running a little late. Also, there aren’t any concession services on the base floor. If I used a Peetime to get a drink refill, I have to go up and back down now, through four flights of those escalators.
- The attached mall is very upscale, which doesn’t lend itself to picking up the milk, or other simple errands, like some mall areas do.
- If you need to use the elevator, it’s not entirely clear where to get on from the ground floor (the ticket windows are on the top floor).
- Other nearby AMCs, like the one in Mission Valley, offers more movie choices.
- No in-seat service (this isn’t one of the luxury movie chains).
Overall, the AMC Fashion Valley is a top choice from among the most common mid-price US movie chains, has plenty of movies, and is centrally located within San Diego. Clean and safe. A simple, personal favorite.
Movie Theater Grade: A-
Located in: Fashion Valley
Address: 7037 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 296-0370
Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.