10 reasons to visit Oceanside

10 Reasons to Visit Oceanside

With beautiful year-round weather, a stunning coastline, the largest wooden pier on the west coast, a quaint New England-style harbor and world-class surf, Oceanside certainly has a lot to offer. In addition to the city’s vibrant history and iconic landmarks, O’side continues to innovate and welcome new and exciting businesses and experiences throughout its diverse neighborhoods. With the addition of new dining options, lodging accommodations and family-friendly activities, you’re not going to want to miss out on all that Oceanside has to offer!

Check out these 10 reasons why you’ll want to make our beach city your next bucket list destination.

New Culinary Experiences

The word is out, Oceanside’s culinary revolution is drawing foodies from all over! As our talented restauranteurs gain accolades, several new establishments are gearing up to make a splash. Celebrated restaurant duo and Oceanside locals Davin and Jessica Waite (Wrench & Rodent, The Plot, Shoots Fish & Beer) are bringing their award-winning sustainability-minded ethos to the pier starting with plans for the 109-square-foot kiosk that sits adjacent to the larger restaurant space set to open spring 2023. Eater San Diego shares that chef Davin’s menu will be partly modeled after the classic seaside shacks he used to visit with his family in England but given a modern, SoCal spin. Expect fish and chips and other easily-portable seafood plates featuring seasonal local catch as well as some raw fish dishes and vegan options.
Transforming older buildings into new, innovative and revitalized dining concepts is kinda Oceanside’s thing. Coming Spring 2023, Freeman Collective is a social destination comprised of some of the finest and most unique food and beverage options in town. Straddling Freeman Street, the “Collective” includes two iconic buildings that house seven incredible brands a mere 483 steps from the Pacific Ocean. All 7 businesses have been announced: HomeStateBlackmarket BakeryCorner PizzaNorthside ShackArtifexSwagyu Chop Shop and Little Fox are on their way to South O!
Oceanside’s dining scene has been mapped recently by San Diego Magazine as emerging as a somewhat surprising source of elevated Asian fusion food. Mak Mak Organic will add to the growing list of “high-end, tasteful, cultural, and gastronomic openings” with their healthy South East Asian-inspired street fare. This from-scratch kitchen will feature recipes from Chef’s world travels, homespun, quick-serve, daily eats. In Thai, mak mak means very very, and that sentiment of caring about their diners ‘very very much’ is translated through their model of organic with transparent storytelling behind the farms, ranches and purveyors they support.
Michelin restaurant count climbs to three. The most recent edition of California’s Michelin Guide included the addition of Valle Oceanside, celebrated Baja Chef Roberto Alcocer’s first stateside restaurant inspired by the cuisine of Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley wine country. Valle joins the Balinese-inspired Oceanside restaurant Dija Mara, which has been highlighted on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list since 2021. Newly opened in January is another Bib Gourmand-honored restaurant, Heritage Barbecue and Beer. Oceanside will be the second location for Heritage and the first to feature house-brewed craft beer.

Recent openings include Ryes and Grind, a breakfast and lunch establishment from chef Daniel Pundik (Local Tap House) rooted in East Coast Jewish deli traditions; Toasted Gastrobrunch, a brunch-to-dinner restaurant with Mediterranean-inspired menu in a whimsical indoor-outdoor space; and Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar, a New Orleans inspired cozy venue occupying the first floor of the new historic Brick Hotel. If you want a unique culinary experience, Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours gives diners a small taste of a few local hits all in one curated session.

Boutique Stays

Explore a boutique retreat in Oceanside! Located in downtown just two blocks from the Oceanside Transportation Center, The Fin Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton has a rich vibrant history going back to the 1920’s and is surrounded by places to shop, surf and dine. Built-in 1888, the Schuyler Building has been transformed into a new Downtown getaway, named The Brick Hotel. Experience the venue’s dining and sips selections: Frankie’s Cocktail BarQ&A RestaurantCococabana Rooftop Bar and a direct pathway to Stone Brewing Tap Room. Make your way to South Oceanside to experience the California-cool The Green Room Hotel. Their individually curated rooms are a nod to the surf and sound subcultures of Southern California from generations past and present.

Shop Local

Oceanside prides itself in its shops, favoring local artisans, unique goods and vintage finds over common chains.

Do you have an eye for vintage vibes, MCM charm, tangible jams and an endless supply of unique? You’ll be sure to find the treasures you’re looking for at the vast 13,000 sq ft Seahive Marketplace or one of South O’s vintage spots. If alternative medicine and holistic healing is your vibe, Moonlight and SageOceanside Alternative Medicine and Flourish and Live Well are your spots, or head to Artist Alley for a trip into the unexpected! The Ozone is a carefully curated destination for sought-after labels, lifestyle must-haves and vintage collectibles that make the perfect gift. TheTremont Collective houses a number of noteable stops including Oceanside-born BrixtonThe Annex , Atacama.

Wellness Experiences

To vacation in Oceanside is to truly live like a local during your stay. Spend just a few hours in our iconic coastal oasis and you’ll immediately pick up on the laid back vibe and calming atmosphere the serene, coastal landscape provides. Although there is fun to be had for any imploring thrill seeker, there are a range of experiences and escapes available for those who are looking for a customized wellness itinerary during their vacation.

If you’re looking for a place where relaxation is an art form, then look no further than Sunny’s Spa & Beauty Lounge. Located inside The Seabird Resort, this full-service spa offers everything you could dream of! Deep-tissue massages, Reiki treatments, gorgeous sauna facilities and a luxurious full-service beauty lounge… the list goes on! Get to the top of The Brick Hotel for Delve Together‘s weekly rooftop yoga sessions. Watch as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean with their “slow flow” class featuring sun salutations, soothing breathwork, and a cozy AF* Savasana (*as flannel). If you’re seeking a source of inspiration and artistry, look no further than a visit to the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA). With rotating exhibitions from a variety of cutting-edge artists, OMA offers day passes available for any art lover – may they be new to the visual arts medium, a longtime museum-goer, an artist themself, student or intrigued visitor.

The Craft Beverage Scene

From breweries to wine-tasting rooms, coffee stops to tea shops and everything in between, Oceanside is the place for craft beverages. To help you taste your way through the city without missing a stop, sign up for the free O’side Sips passport program! Complete with sip locations, exclusive coupons and tiered rewards, simply select your preferred drink category, check in at your destination and enjoy! Check out some of the newest sips spots like The Space Pad, a 1950s Atomic Era Intergalactic Spaceport Speakeasy. Carruth Cellars an urban winery set inside of Hangar 76’s 14,500-square feet operation, and KNVS, a first-of-its-kind immersive art gallery and cocktail hub., where guests nosh and sip on a themed menu. Every drop is full of spirit and ingenuity!

Home to 15 breweries and tasting rooms including award-winning breweries like Belching Beaver, local OG Bagby, and skater’s paradise Black Plague, Oceanside has a brew for you. If varietals are more your vintage, Oceanside wine experience vary from urban winery tasting rooms alive with live music like Coomber Craft Wines or a classic wine-tasting experience like that at Beach House Winery. A locally roasted cup of coffee is just around the corner with your pick of local coffee shops like Ignite and Vigilante roasting beans on site!

Agricultural Hotspots

Experience Oceanside’s cornucopia of agricultural experiences! Weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market on Thursday from 9am to 1pm lead you to ocean views as you browse the selection of gourmet baked goods, fresh seafood, and arts and crafts. Stop by the Mellano Farm Stand if you’re looking for a family-friendly day spent out in the sun. Enjoy their robust calendar of events and plan a day full of tractor rides, arts & crafts, U-Pick strawberries, and much more! Be sure to add the inland oasis Guajome Regional Park to your outdoor adventure list. Explore 4.5 miles of park trails to meander through, surrounded by chaparral, woodlands, wetlands, and mixed grasslands! If you’re feeling thirsty, Beach House Winery is growing wine off the vine for you to enjoy as you overlook our coastline. 

Historical Landmarks

Our beach city has a rich and fascinating history. Downtown Oceanside Historical Landmarks such as the Pier and the Mission San Luis Rey still stand, telling stories that the Oceanside Historical Society works hard to preserve. A notable landmark is the Top Gun house (Graves House) which is a cinematic jewel that has been newly restored and is open to the public as a nostalgic American-inspired pie shop. The Bunker House, which opened in 1886 a few years before the city of Oceanside was established, had many lives as a town meeting hall, dance room and music store and is now a gathering spot to eat, drink, socialize and enjoy live music. The Fin Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, opened in 1927 and was a popular hotel for celebrities during the 1930s and 1940s. The most common historical question, what’s up with those iconic pink houses along The Strand? Roberts Cottages have welcomed vacationers since the 1920s!

Fun for the Whole Family

When it’s time for the family to unplug and reconnect there is no better place than Oceanside for your next Southern California vacation. Pack up your loved ones and take the scenic route! Our family-friendly community boasts miles of sandy beach, a wide variety of outdoor activities, and stimulating cultural attractions to keep every member of the family smiling.

Plan a trip around casting a line off the 1,954-foot-long pier with some expert fishing tips, soak up the beautiful weather and fresh air on the hiking trails or bike trail, experience our world-class museums and say “Hello” to our sealife friends on a whale watching tour! Check out our full list of Family-Friendly Activities

This is also the ideal destination for families looking to explore Southern California thanks to its central location between Los Angeles, Orange Country, and San Diego. Famous attractions such as LEGOLAND California Resort, San Diego Zoo, and Disneyland California Resort are all just a short drive or train ride away. Our California Welcome Center offers Discount Attraction Tickets to make amusement travel a breeze! Many even take the opportunity for educational travel experiences while in town! Whether you’re schooling with a designated pod, roadschooling, worldschooling, unschooling, or classic homeschooling, our city has activities that will enrich your program and be the perfect supplement to your curriculum. 

Unexpected Things to Do

Time will fly and so can you in Oceanside! Consider booking the ‘Ultimate Selfie Package’ with Waverider Helicopter Tours for pictures that will blow your friends away. Prefer sticking closer to the ground but still want the rush of wind and the feeling of weightlessness? Look no further than indoor skydiving at iFLY Oceanside. For an unmatched view of the coast, the adventurous types can partake in a truly unique skydiving experience at GoJump Oceanside!

Cruise the beach in style with fun rental options in Oceanside like electric bikes from Mostly E-bikes or Ride O’side’s fat tire electric scooters. For groups that like to take things at a slower pace, look no further than Wheel Fun Rentals and their fun two or four person surreys which can be rented right on The Strand, a “must-do” with kids!

The Main Event

With an average daily temperature of 72 degrees it’s easy to see why Oceanside is home to so many world-class events! Whether you want to watch professional athletes in their element at Ironman Oceanside 70.3 or Super Girl Surf Pro or be part of the action yourself at O’side Turkey Trot or Bike the Coast, Oceanside’s got you covered.

Beyond athletics, Oceanside is home to many cultural events and art festivals including the Oceanside International Film FestivalPlein Air Art Festival, and the forthcoming SoCal Asian Pacific Islander Festival. If food and libations are your preference, Taste of Oceanside and O’side Flavor might be more your taste. Enjoy our coastal destination to the fullest by checking out our Oceanside Event Calendar!

Published: February 10, 2023

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