Ocean Beach, San Diego, California Visitor’s Guide

Ocean Beach San Diego sunset

This guide provides information on everything about Ocean Beach, California a beach town in San Diego. Find nformation on events, history, art, music, culture, local businesses, restaurants and the best beach spots for your preferences. There is plenty to do in our neighborhood with styles, ideas, and tastes from a diverse range of sources.

The Ocean Beach community is well known for their support of family-run businesses, having an open-minded attitude towards others, encouraging the arts, a noticeable love for the environment, eating organic produce from local farmers and residents living a healthy, active lifestyle. Ocean Beach, San Diego is southern California’s home for surfing, sunbathing, swimming, fishing, shopping, biking, hanging out, walking on the pier, talking to the locals and enjoying the eclectic vibe which is present in nearly everything in this neighborhood. This seaside-village, which is known locally as “OB”, allows visitors and locals to share in some of the best fun that the city of San Diego has to offer. The landmark Ocean Beach Municipal Fishing Pier, the leash-free OB Dog Beach, unique OB walking cliffs, OB beach bars, groovy restaurants and the locally owned and operated stores that include tattoos, antiques, records, salons and several places to get all the gear and professional instruction if you want surf lessons. On Newport Avenue the coolness never ends as it represents the throwback feel of the 1960’s which creates a quasi nostalgic vibe throughout the Ocean Beach community.

ocean beach images

Nearby destinations of Sea World, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Old Town and Downtown San Diego receive more attention than Ocean Beach making it sort of like San Diego’s hidden gem. Because of this, many visitors to southern California miss the opportunity to visit this friendly neighborhood, which has made OB a favorite for locals who want to get away from the crowds to shop, surf, eat and hang-out by the beach. The locals in turn have turned Ocean Beach into the most dog-friendly neighborhood in San Diego, which recently was voted America’s most dog-friendly city. With a feel that is authentic, OB seems to be content the way it is. And why not, OB has the popular People’s organic food co-op and many residents choose the beach cruiser bicycle as their primary transportation. The large parks in OB and beautiful OB beaches  create a very eco-friendly but funky Ocean Beach lifestyle that revolves around leisurely outdoor activities. Add to that the mix of vibrant locals, experienced surfers, variety of dogs and visitors from all over the world and you get the sense of what makes all of OB so special. 

A few miles northwest from San Diego’s Downtown and only a mile from Sea World, Ocean Beach is home to the southernmost public beach on the Point Loma peninsula. It could be described as a place where everything seems to be a bit funky, but in fact its this funkiness that makes the sounds of the waves eternal, the beach art creatively diverse, and dogs wag their tails in delight.

The Ocean Beach News photo blog aims to capture some of this magic and mystique that makes Ocean Beach, San Diego one of the true treasures of southern California.

Ocean Beach Map

The name Ocean Beach was created by developers Billy Carlson and Frank Higgins in 1887. The two spurred interest in the area helping to develop the neighborhood which eventually became part of the second largest city in California, San Diego.

view-of-ocean
ocean-beach-hotel
ocean-beach-international-hostel

The nickname of Ocean Beach is OB and some residents refer to themselves as OBceans.

Ocean Beach Community

The neighborhood of Ocean Beach is focused around its main street called Newport Avenue. The eclectic Newport Avenue sets the laid-back tone you will find in OB. Newport Avenue is known for its antique shops, head shops, tattoo and piercing places, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, surfing stores, bike shops, clothing stores and the OB International Youth Hostel.

As a community, OB has a several churches, a US Post Office, a fresh produce co-op, a supermarket, a public library and a recreation center. In Ocean Beach there are a few schools that include Ocean Beach Elementary, Sacred Heart Academy and Warren-Walker private school. Ocean Beach parks and recreation away from the beach include the Robb Field athletic fields, Dusty Rhodes Park and for the youth a rather nice skate park.

ocean-beach-cooperative

One of the most recognizable aspects of OB is the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier that was built in 1966 and remains the longest pier on the West Coast. Officially called the San Diego Fishing Pier, the OB Pier stretches 1,971 feet into the Pacific Ocean. The Ocean Beach San Diego landmark OB Pier is open 24 hours a day for walking, fishing and incredible site-seeing. One of the most spectacular things to see from the Ocean Beach Pier is when a surfer shoots the pier by riding a wave underneath from one side to the other while maneuvering around the concrete legs of the pier. A rare opportunity also exists for spectators because the pier juts out into the ocean, you can watch Ocean Beach surfers ride the waves from up-close with a unique viewing angle that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. You are literally able to watch from about twenty feet above them and from a perpendicular angle. This proximity and view lets you appreciate the surfers movements, skill and best of all, the sweet wipe-outs like you have never seen before. 

The Ocean Beach Dog Beach is the first leash-free beach in the United States.  Open 24 hours a day, the OB Dog Beach attracts tens of thousands of dogs each year who enjoy a large area of sand and surf. Frisbee, fetch, swimming and socializing are just some of the many off-leash activities that are available to our fine four-legged friends at the OB Dog Beach.

Notable local organizations:

  • Ocean Beach Town Council
  • Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation
  • Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association
  • Kiwanis Club of Ocean Beach
  • Ocean Beach Historical Society
  • Ocean Beach Antique District

Local Events

Many of these Ocean Beach San Diego organizations help promote many of the local events in Ocean Beach that occur regularly in OB. The major events include the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade in December, the Ocean Beach Kite Festival on the first Saturday in March, OB Jazz festival in September and the OB Street Fair and Chili Cookoff. The Ocean Beach Farmers Market which is one of the top farmers markets in San Diego happens every Wednesday on Newport Avenue from 4pm til 8pm.

A fascinating fact about Ocean Beach is that this neighborhood in San Diego is surprisingly home to several species of parrots which have created a feral population, meaning they have escaped from domestication and returned to living in the wild. The common species you will see and hear in this part of the city include the Red-masked Parakeet and Red-crowned Amazon. The parrots are often noticed by residents in the trees around their homes, and with their distinctive sounds and color they are easy to spot when they are around.

Ocean Beach parrot

Business information

Many people associate OB with Hodads, the name of the burger place. It has a tremendous atmosphere with surfboards everywhere and fun to look at license plates on the walls. Ranked as one of the best burger places in the United States, there is always a line of people waiting to get in and taste the awesome burgers and milkshakes. Popular here in Ocean Beach is keeping chain stores and restaurants out of Ocean Beach. Evidenced by the uproar and fight to keep Starbuck’s from opening one of their coffee shops on Newport Avenue.

For most of the locals, the idea of the unique mom and pop stores such as Paper Rock Scissors going out of business and being replaced by the same businesses you see all over the place is not something they take lightly. The unique stores like Paper Rock Scissors store was a unique store that sold items from all around the world. The store was actually a collection of many small businesses that displayed their clothing, crafts, accessories and other items in little areas with the Paper Rock Scissors staff handling the sales of their merchandise. The large building on Newport Avenue was replaced by a surfboard and skateboard shop which for locals was much better than a fast food chain or convenience store. The landmark Ocean Beach Pier is actually called the San Diego Fishing Pier and it was built in 1966.

The Ocean Beach parks provide a surprisingly large amount of green space to residents and visitors. Robb Field is a huge open space of baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts and open areas.

Ocean Beach Parks

Newport Avenue Farmers Market attracts thousands of visitors every Wednesday from 4 pm till 8 pm.

Ocean Beach Farmers Market

The top destination for all of our four-legged tail-wagging man’s best friend is certainly the Ocean Beach Dog Beach.

Dog Beach Information

Newport Avenue the business center of Ocean Beach. A laid back vibe on one of San Diego’s most famous streets.

Newport Avenue Information

The OB Pier is the longest pier on the west coast. A blend of those looking for a long romantic daytime stroll and laid-back fishermen, no fishing license required, make the OB pier a popular year-round destination in Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach Pier

Only a few miles from downtown, Ocean Beach is well situated within the expansive city of San Diego. Nearby in San Diego are world-class attractions, outdoor activities, beaches, shopping, dining and entertainment for Ocean Beach residents and visitor to enjoy.

Map of Ocean Beach

Surfing Competitions happen a few times per year and are located at the beach at the end of Newport Avenue.

Ocean Beach Surfing