The Pier Life: Ocean Beach

Municipal Pier at Ocean Beach, San Diego; the longest peer on the west coat.

We decided to hang out in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego this afternoon. It has a decidedly different vibe than La Jolla, where the (white) beautiful people are. Ocean Beach has beautiful people, too, just more of a mix of sizes, colors, religions and incomes of people who live here. People watching is more fun here.

On the beach there was a homeless man, a guy blowing huge bubbles, a woman in a hijab and her family, musicians and people of all backgrounds enjoying themselves.

Ocean Beach has a reputation of being a laid-back, hippy beach town. The architecture and some of the people seem to be throw backs to the 60’s and 70’s. There also seemed to be less gentrification and fewer hip chain restaurants, which we liked.

Fun fact: the original name for Ocean Beach was Mussel Beach for the mussels found there.
Surfing is big at Ocean Beach. In fact, it was the first place in San Diego that surfing was introduced in 1916 by a local lifeguard. One of our favorite So Cal pastimes is watching surfers, imagining our younger selves out there.

There are lot of homeless and transient folks in Ocean Beach. It makes for an active street life on Newport and Bacon streets, the main business streets. There are many open air bars, coffee shops, tattoo parlors, restaurants and head shops that add to the rowdy street life. Parking lots along the beach had vans and cars that appeared to be lived in, which is again legal.

The city stopped enforcing the ban three months later when a Federal judge ruled the law was too vague.

The crime rate (mostly property crime and rowdy bar arrests) is higher in Ocean Beach, but we never felt unsafe.

Ocean Beach has many bungalows built from 1887- 1931 that are part of the Ocean Beach Cottage Emerging Historic District. It can save you tax dollars to buy one of them.

One downside of Ocean Beach is that it is in the flight path of the airport, but the noise did not really bother us. We may have to consider staying in Ocean Beach in the future.

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