Yes, Ocean Beach is the authentic beach town. Palm trees line the streets of this historical Southern California community. It’s kissed by the sun, romanced by the Pacific Ocean and has a personality all its own.
A good reason for discovering Ocean Beach is its casual, small-town charm with its diagonally parked cars along the main street of Newport Avenue. This centrally located three-block-long shopping district has much to offer—and has no parking meters!
Ocean Beach has a lot to offer. If shopping is your way to relax, take a walk down Newport Avenue and browse through one unique shop after another offering jewelry, surfboards, shells, beads, boutiques, unusual resale treasures and one of the largest antique zones in Southern California. And the majority of merchants are residents, so expect to receive a friendly smile and good old-fashioned service.
Hungry for breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Ocean Beach delivers whether it’s a first-class meal with an ocean view or a simple bite to eat.
The streets of Ocean Beach are also dotted with friendly pubs. They are ideal for catching the sunset from a deck, watching your favorite sporting event or celebrating with a friend over a house specialty. You’ll definitely feel like a native at one of these relaxed, friendly establishments. Most of these places are in the third block of downtown Ocean Beach, which is nearest to the ocean.
Here too is Hodad’s (5) at 5010 Newport Ave. (619-224-4623). They claim to have the world’s best burgers. They’re also proud to announce that they have served under 99 gazillion. Yes, you’ll find plenty to do on Newport Avenue.
WHAT TO DO
If it’s action you want, swim or surf in Ocean Beach’s big blue backyard. Ocean Beach is proud of its beautiful main beach, which is patrolled year-round by San Diego City Lifeguards. Plus, there are designated areas along the beach specifically designated for swimmers, dogs and for surfing.
If you want to buy a surfboard, there are several shops near the beach including South Coast Surf Shop (6) at 5023 Newport Ave. (619-223-7017). You can also find a good selection of Hawaiian shirts and swimsuits here too.
You can also stroll the 1,971-foot landmark Ocean Beach Pier (4), which is the longest concrete fishing pier on the West Coast. There is a bait-and-tackle shop here where you can rent a pole, bait, tackle, net and expert advice. Then you can dangle a fishing line and catch some fish while enjoying the ocean air and great coastal views. While on the pier have a bite to eat at the Walking on Water Cafe (4).
Plus, at low tide you can spend literally hours just discovering the many tide pools south of the pier. For low and high tide information, call (619-221-8824). The tide pools are at the foot of the pier.
You can also rent a bike or a pair of rollerblades, jog or just enjoy walking on the miles of sandy beaches. End a perfect day by watching the sun melt into the horizon from beautiful Sunset Cliffs near Hill Street (see map).
Tennis, soccer and baseball enthusiasts will be happy to discover Robb Field (1) (619-531-1563), an expansive recreation center. It comes complete with a fee based weight room and fitness center. This all-purpose athletic park also boasts Robb Field Skate Park (1) with 40,000 square feet of curves, bowls, jumps and rails. Admission is free to the park. Robb Field is where I-8 ends and Ocean Beach meet.
Ocean Beach also has a quarter mile of beach dedicated to your furry four-legged friends. It’s the world famous Dog Beach (3), where you can bring your canine companion for a walk on the beach with or without a leash. It’s located next to the jetty at the foot of the San Diego river.
In addition to Dog Beach, Ocean Beach abounds with pet-friendly hotels, dog washes and a lot of businesses will leave water bowls out for your pooch.
This is the 24th year for O.B.’s Farmers Market (8) on the 4900 block of Newport Ave. Open every Wednesday from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. in Summer, and till 7 p.m. in the Winter. Pick up sunflowers and sample exotic fruit, vegetables, breads, pasta or wonderful desserts at this award-winning certified farmers market. Where else can you ride a llama, listen to live music, enjoy a fresh crêpe or have your child’s birthday party?
Newport Avenue is also home to more than 200 antique dealers (9), which comprise more than 35,000 square feet of space, making Ocean Beach the largest antique district in San Diego County. Simply park your car along Newport Avenue and start browsing. Most stores are open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily and all accept credit cards. For more information about the stores on the avenue, visit [antiquesinsandiego.com]. Also see the Ocean Beach Antique Association page.
Your first discovery should be a visit to The Corner Store at 4873 Newport Ave. (619-222-7911). Interestingly enough this store is in the middle of the block. In times past it was at the corner of the block but joined with another store but kept its original name. This darling store displays one of a kind antiques, gifts and home goods. But don’t expect to find the same goods that were popular in your grandmother’s era. Instead you’ll find an amazing collection of must have items. This store is everyone’s favorite antique store. Also see the Ocean Beach Antique Association page and video.
Your next discovery should be the grand daddy of antique stores in San Diego. It’s the Newport Avenue Antique Center and Coffee House at 4864 Newport Ave. (619-222-8686) and it encompasses 18,000 square feet with more than 100 dealers. Here you will find an amazing collection of well-organized mini stores comprised of individual dealers showcasing a mixture of antiques and collectibles. But it’s not your traditional antique store. It is best described as one of the ten wonders of the world.
Across the street is The Corner Store at 4873 Newport Ave. (619-222-1911). This antique store offers beach-style furniture, artwork, purses, and collectible gifts. This is a fun place to browse.
For starters it’s not your traditional stereotype grandmother’s antique store, yet you’ll find some classic antiques from that era. The selection is much greater and all encompassing with lots of classic trends such as mid century modern, shabby sheik, retro (which is very popular these days), industrial, primitive, Indian artifacts and the list goes on and on.
As for specific items expect to find the largest collection of paper products in California with literally thousands of old post cards to browse through. Countless customers have purchased wedding and engagements rings from their almost endless selection of jewelry. Also expect to find classics like vintage rocking chairs and home furnishings to beautify your home at the one and only Newport Avenue Antique Center and Coffee House Also see the Ocean Beach Antique Association page and video.
Farther down the street is the rather large Ocean Beach Antique Mall at 4926 Newport Ave. (619-223-6170). Here you’ll find and incredible array of beautiful clocks, sports memorabilia, pottery, vintage jewelry and more. Also see the Ocean Beach Antique Association page and video.
If you need a break from antiquing, stop in at Culture Brewing Co, at 4845 Newport Ave., a popular brewery that showcases local artists on their walls. If you prefer, sample some wines across the street at Gianni Buonomo Vintners Winery and Tasting Room (9) 4836 Newport Ave. (608-212-8551) [gbvintners.com]. The winery is open Wednesday through Sunday.
WHERE TO DINE
Ocean Beach is home to American, Chinese, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Japanese and Mexican restaurants. Many have ocean views with romantic sunsets.
A landmark restaurant celebrating over 55 years in business is Nati’s Mexican Restaurant (11) (619-224-3369). It was voted Best Overall Restaurant 2009-2014, for six years in a row. It’s located just off Newport Avenue at the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue. They have a huge parking lot with free parking for customers. They serve traditional Mexican meals in a friendly atmosphere inside or on their festive patio. See Restaurants.
Across the street is another restaurant of equal billing. It’s Poma’s Italian Deli (12) at 1846 Bacon St. (619-223-3027). For 51 years, Poma’s has been serving the best subs and homemade Italian specialties you’ve ever tasted.
Adding to the laid-back atmosphere of Ocean Beach is Pizza Port (14) at 1956 Bacon St. (619-224-4700). It’s a popular microbrewery and pizza joint. Try their “Swami’s” India Pale Ale with a pepperoni pizza pie.
San Diego’s best German-American restaurant is in Ocean Beach, too. Kaiserhof Restaurant (2) at 2253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. (619-224-0606) is famous for its authentic German cuisine and popular biergarten. It’s open for lunch Fri.–Sun. and dinner nightly except Monday. Also popular is their happy hour Tues.–Fri., 4 p.m.–7 p.m. See Restaurants.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
For more information on these events, call or visit the Ocean Beach Main Street Association at 1868 Bacon St. (619-224-4906) or [oceanbeachsandiego.com].
Every Wed.: O.B Farmers Market
2nd Sat each mo.: Dog beach clean-up (9 a.m.–11 a.m.)
July 4: O.B. Fireworks off the Pier
Sept. 24: Pancake Breakfast on the Pier
Oct. 2: Paddle for Clean Water
Oct. 6-7: O.B. Oktoberfest
Oct. 28: O.B. Halloween Carnival
Nov. 14: O.B. Restaurant Walk
Dec. 2: O.B. Christmas Parade
May 13: O.B. Kite Festival
June 24: Annual Street Fair Chili Cook-Off