Food & Drink

A Guide to Eating at SDSU

It seems that one of every prospective student’s worries about college is…food choices. I mean, you can’t move and go to a college that has terrible food right?! Well, luckily, at San Diego State the food is incredible and the options are plentiful. Let’s talk about what SDSU has to offer its hungry students.

SDSU Meal Plans

Alright, first let’s talk about another one of every college student’s concerns: meal plans. San Diego State offers four meal plans, which are shown here, but let me break them down for you from a student’s point of view.

10 Meal Plan – Weekday Plan

Only a few of my friends had this meal plan, but it seemed to be a little bit of a harder plan to follow. Although this is the cheapest of the meal plans, you are only given $8.90 to spend from 6:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and then $11.90 to spend from 4:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. If you are a light eater and only want 2 meals per day, or plan on also buying groceries from a store, then this meal plan would work for you. If you enjoy food, like I do, there are some other good choices for you. Also keep in mind, with this meal plan, if you do not use all of your available balance, it does NOT carry over and you will lose that money.

Flex 5 – Weekday Plan

With this plan, you are given $22.60 for each weekday, in which you can spend at any SDSU restaurant or market that takes meal plan. The only downside to this meal plan is that you don’t have money to spend on the weekends, so you will need to either stock up at the grocery store or go out and spend money. Like the 10 Meal Plan, the flex 5 and the flex 7, that I will talk about next, you lose your balance if you do not spend it all that day! SDSU makes it easy though and allows you to track your spending with this website.

Flex 7 – Weekday and Weekend Plan

The Flex 7 allows $20.80 per weekday and $14.00 per day on the weekends. This is the meal plan my roommate and I had, and we both enjoyed it, but it honestly depends on you! Perks of this meal plan is that you don’t have to worry about getting money to spend for food on the weekends, but keep in mind that if you plan to leave campus on weekends often, you will lose that $14.00 per weekend day if you do not spend it.

Meals Plus Plan

Alright, so this plan is significantly different from the rest of the plans. Meals Plus includes 80 swipes to the buffet-style Garden Room at Cuicacalli Suites and a $1,360 declining balance per semester. This is the only meal plan that carries over to only the spring semester if you do not spend it all, and if you keep the Meals Plus plan. I know quite a few people that had this plan, and they struggled to spend all of their money, and even swiped in half of a frat to get rid of their swipes at the end of spring semester. TIP: you can use your swipes at University Towers Kitchen, which I will further explain later!

Still not sure which meal plan to choose? Try this meal plan quiz here.

Where to Eat on Campus

So now that we know what meal plan options we have, and maybe now you know which one would work best for you, where is there to eat? Let’s find out.

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

Located right after you cross the footbridge over College Ave.


Aztec Market
Oggi’s Pizza
Chipotle (not on meal plan…devastating, I know)
The Habit
Shake Smart

Oggi’s is definitely a great place for a build-your-own style pizza and they even have pretty good wings. Shake Smart makes amazing protein shakes and acai bowls, which are perfect for after your workout! And for your convenience, there is another Shake Smart placed right outside of the Aztec Recreation Center.

Cuicacalli Suites – Near Zura, Maya, and Olmeca

The Garden
Aztec Market

The Garden, a buffet-styled dining option, is the only dining hall on the SDSU campus. The cost is either one swipe, or around $8.00 for breakfast and lunch, $11.60 for dinner if you are using your meal plan or money. They always have a salad bar, pizza, dessert, a healthy vegetarian option, and a “bar” of some sorts, including an omelet bar, nacho bar, or even a macaroni bar. This option is very close to multiple dorms and is great to go with a group of friends because there are so many options, everyone is bound to like something.

East Commons – Near the bookstore near the center of campus


Aztec Market
Vinnie’s (pasta and pizza)
Juice it Up
Panda Express
Salad Bistro
So-Cal Chicken
Culinary Theater

This is basically the main area of food on campus, so you’ll probably spend a lot of time here. There are a LOT of great options, and don’t be afraid to try something new! Also, during the week, chefs at the Culinary Theatre come in and prepare incredible, fresh meals that remind me of a home cooked meal…trust me, you’ll miss it! Meals I got from there included truffle macaroni and cheese, an amazing cheeseburger, and even orange marmalade crusted salmon with rice and vegetables. I definitely recommend checking that out!

West-End Plaza

Located near the Turtle Pond and the Storm Hall buildings.

Aztec Market
Olive Oil

See Also

Olive Oil has AMAZING sandwiches and gluten-free sweet treats! Very underrated and extremely tasty.

University Towers Kitchen – At University Towers, which is near the Tony Gwynn baseball stadium


Aztec Market

They also have their own grill here where they make amazing meals such as sushi, macaroni and cheese, pizza and they often have “special” nights such as a BBQ night. Highly recommend, especially if you have Garden Room swipes that you need to use.

There are also a few BCBs around campus, which is a great little coffee and bagel shop. Also, The Den, which is a smaller version of Denny’s, is right across the footbridge across from the Adams Humanities building. There is also a Starbucks and Bruxie right by the bridge, on the side of all the dorms, by the CREAM and Domino’s (which are both not on meal plan, I know, how sad again).

And yet we have another Starbucks and Aztec Market near the Storm Hall and Arts and Letters building. Who said you can ever have enough Starbucks on your campus? Also, in this Aztec Market, there is a grill where they make amazing sandwiches, Mongolian BBQ, and other tasty entrees.

A few words of advice

Be careful of that infamous “freshman 15”…it really can happen! There are many ways to eat healthily and stay active on campus. A few tricks my roommate and I discovered was that The Habit sold grilled chicken breast, which we would pair with broccoli or other greens that we got from the Aztec Market or even the Salad Bistro. Also, there are some days where you will not come close to finishing your meal plan (I know, it sounds crazy. But trust me, sometimes $20 a day is just too much), and if you have the meals plans where the balance does not roll over, SPEND YOUR MONEY!

Even if you have 20 packs of gum laying around, you’re paying for it, might as well use it up. Lastly, I definitely recommend trying as many places as you can, to avoid getting bored with eating the same things over and over. SDSU has better food options than other campuses, so consider yourself lucky! Live it up your first year, when you don’t have to worry about money and groceries and dinner can be bought with just a swipe of your Red ID.

Have an amazing first year incoming Aztecs, and enjoy the incredible food options this campus has to offer!

Where are you favorite places to eat on and around campus? Comment below and share the article!
Featured photo source:
Aubrie Jones

Recent Posts

6 Restaurants To Visit During Family Weekend At Georgia State

Family weekend at Georgia State is coming up quickly. Are you stuck wondering where to take them for dinner? Don't worry!…

2 hours ago

10 Haunted Places In Utah You Need To Visit

With Halloween right around the corner, what better way to celebrate than taking a look at some of the most…

7 hours ago

5 Haunted Places In Mississippi You Need To Visit

Halloween is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to visit some super creepy haunted places! Some of…

10 hours ago

10 Items You Can Transition From Summer To Fall Fashion

We have officially entered the season in which it gets cold in the morning, you're dying from a heatstroke in…

18 hours ago

50 Most Classic And Sexy Halloween Costumes of All Time

Halloween time is all about the costumes. Everyone knows that. But when it comes down to choosing your Halloween costume,…

22 hours ago

A Day In The Life Of A UofT Student

Every university experience is different, and comes with its own routine. From rushing to class on a freezing day, to spending…

1 day ago