Life in San Diego: Ocean Beach

Sep 06, 2019 - Sarah Lubeck

If you want to ‘blame’ a neighborhood for giving San Diego a reputation as a laid-back beach community, you can point the finger at Ocean Beach – or OB as the locals call it. A stone’s throw away from downtown, Ocean Beach offers an eclectic blend of bohemian beach living. Surfers, bikers, college students, young professionals, and families all call this place home.

Here are some of our top picks for things to do around the town.

Where sunsets & surf steal the show.
Credit: Neil Soni Photography via unsplasha

While OB may get its reputation from the funky scene on Newport, it’s the sunsets and outdoor options that are the real attraction. At Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, explore coastal bluffs, arches, and sea caves while enjoying some of the most epic views in all of San Diego (or the West Coast for that matter.) Wax up your board, and take the stairs near Ladera down to the water or venture down a nearby path to access some local surf gems. After a short-ish paddle, you’ll find some of San Diego’s best central surf breaks. For the novice surfer, check out some of the breaks at Dog Beach.

OB is also home to the longest concrete pier on the West Coast and one of the few remaining places in San Diego where you don’t need a fishing license to cast your line.

Cheers to beach living.

San Diego’s beer favorites including Mike Hess, Culture Brewing, Belching Beaver, and more have all opened OB outposts. Climb to the third floor of OB Brewery to enjoy some brewed-on-site favorites, and catch those killer sunset views. But don’t forget to check out the view from the other side of the street, where OB’s newest venue – The Holding Company – boasts a modern, hip interior, stellar live music, and some epic coastal views.

Fido’s day out.

There’s a reason OB gets a rep as a dog haven. At the North Side of OB, you’ll find Dog Beach, one of the first official leash-free beaches in the country. Here, Fido can run, swim, and even surf with you at all hours of the day. After the beach, check out one of OB’s many dog-friendly establishments (see beer section above) or head to Voltaire Beach House, where you’ll find hooks for your dog’s leash so you can eat and imbibe while your dog chills on the cool, shaded pavement.

Stellar beach eats.

From Indian to Vietnamese to Tapas and Sushi, Ocean Beach has options to please any palette. Skip the line at Hodads and head to Raglan for one of San Diego’s best burgers (and kid-friendly options). If you’re up for a walk, head south on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to the Little Lion Cafe & Bar. This restaurant might be small, but the flavor-packed options will surely “wow” you.

Shop like a local.

“Shop local” is more than a sentiment in OB – it’s a way of life. If you miss Wednesday’s epic farmer’s market, there are some other standing options to explore.

For all your cooking needs, head to the Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market, a co-op where anyone can become an owner. Just up the street, you’ll find a plethora of local options from Run for Cover – a charming bookstore that effortlessly blends selections from the New York Times’ best-sellers list to local authors – to Willow, a locally-owned, maker-based space that specializes in organic small-batch skincare, gifts, art and more. Lastly, you cannot leave OB without hitting up Botanica, a home and garden store that will help you turn your apartment or home into a true urban jungle.


Make sure to check out the neighborhood profiles to learn more about what OB – and its surrounding neighborhoods – have to offer.

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