48 Hour Guide to Oceanside

Originally posted on SDFoodies.com. Written by Ashley Dunn, Photos by Chris Stone of @SDFoodies

Oceanside is one of our favorite places to explore in San Diego! If you happen to be a San Diego local, it’s a perfect staycation spot for any occasion. And if you happen to be coming from out of town, Oceanside offers everything San Diego is known for: ocean views, chill vibes, good eats, and even better sips!

A Little Bit About O’side

Oceanside, or sometimes referred to as O’side, is located in the most Northern part of San Diego county’s coastline. If you happen to be flying in, it’s about an hour away from downtown San Diego (the location of the San Diego International Airport). While if you choose to drive in, it’s about an hour and twenty from the center of Los Angeles. Given its rather central location to Southern California’s biggest cities, it’s truly the perfect spot to spend a weekend getaway!

A little Oceanside history lesson — the city was incorporated on July 3rd 1888, with only 1,000 residents at the time. It’s also home to the “King of the Missions,” Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the largest California Mission, which was founded in 1798 by Father La Suén. So it’s easy to see that there’s a lot of history flowing through the city of Oceanside, and with over 170,000 residents now, it has grown significantly over the years!

We had the chance to spend a few days up there recently and only scratched off a few activities from the list — but we can’t wait to go back and continue exploring! For now, here’s what we did for 48 hours in Oceanside!

Day One Activities

Lunch And Shop!

To start your day off in Oceanside, we recommend checking out Tremont Collective. They’re essentially a one stop shop for shopping, fitness, and delicious sips and bites. We stopped in to check out Bottlecraft, which also happens to be home to Shoots, where we chowed down on some awesome seafood tacos, poke, and specialty rolls. What can I say, we were hungry! We also grabbed two beers at Bottlecraft and sat outside, basking in the good weather and sunshine!

After a bite to eat we walked around a bit — Chris grabbed a coffee from Communal, while I went and tried on some cute hats at Brixton. They also have a rad surf shop called Atacama, who specialize in beautifully made surfboards in collaboration with local San Diego artists. Whether you’re looking for a surfboard or not, definitely pop you’re head in and check it out!

Check into Luxury at The Seabird

After exploring Tremont Collective, it was time to check into our hotel. We had the pleasure of staying at The Seabird Resort, which is a beautiful luxury resort right on the coastline of Oceanside! The hotel itself is so cute and modern, with lots of cute décor all throughout. Our favorite part of The Seabird Resort is probably the view though. No matter where you are on property, you are less than 30 seconds from a beautiful oceanfront view!

The rooms themselves are super cute. Our room had a huge bathroom and a very comfy king bed. We definitely recommend getting one of the oceanfront balconies if you can! We loved waking up to the sound of waves crashing and also ending our day by watching the sunset over the ocean.

Stroll and Shop

After checking in and watching the sun set from our balcony, we were lucky enough to be in Oceanside on a Thursday — which happens to be the only night for the Sunset Market, an international food court and shopping experience. Every Thursday from 5-9 PM, all the local vendors from all parts of San Diego come together on Main Street to showcase their small businesses. The Sunset Market has over 200 vendors and the market itself spans across several blocks, it’s like walking around the world sampling food and cultures along the way! They also have live music throughout the night, as well as special theme nights, so be sure to checkout their website for more information!

A few fun recommendations are:

Dinner at Blade 1936

After we made our way through the market, we walked down to a spot a few locals recommended for some good Italian food! Led by a Sicilian chef, Blade 1936 is located in the historic “Blade Tribune” building, dating all the way back to 1936. Thus the name, Blade 1936! The owners did a great job restoring the building back to its original architecture — giving it a rather rustic feel, almost similar to a small restaurant in the heart of Italy.

The menu focuses on classic Italian cuisine with modern twists including Neapolitan styled wood fire pizza and fresh pasta. They are even certified by the AVPN a organization based out of Naples Italy focused on awarding and preserving the traditional style of Neapolitan pizza. We loved being able to watch our Pizza being made, as their restaurant had a very open concept and placed the wood fire oven right in the center of the restaurant.

Along with two glasses of their house cabernet, we ordered the Bruschetta Classica, Pappardelle Alla Bolognese, and the Ortolana Pizza. The Bruschetta was a great start to our meal, a very classic dish. The bread must have been toasted in their wood fired oven, as it was perfectly crispy and tasted so good! The Pappardelle noodles were definitely made fresh, as they were so delicious and paired perfectly with the giant meatballs (which our waiter recommended to add!). The Ortolana Pizza was a veggie forward pizza — complete with seasonal veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, and arugula. We loved the crust so much — you could definitely taste the smokiness of the Wood-fired oven! Even if you happen to be in town for a short time, definitely check out Blade 1936 for a good local Italian meal!

Must Try Ice Cream!

If anyone knows Ashley, she has a huge sweet tooth. So we had to hit up Handel’s on the way back to our hotel. Handel’s is one of our favorite Ice Cream spots in all of San Diego. Definitely recommend getting a chocolate dipped cone with any of their SEVERAL flavors. Just be aware, they stack the ice cream like no tomorrow!

Day Two Activities

Walk to Brunch!

Good Morning! The Seabird Resort happens to be rather central to a lot of good restaurants. So after grabbing a quick cup of coffee, we headed over to Toasted for brunch. Toasted is one of few restaurants that serves brunch every day (not just the weekends), from 8 AM to 3 PM. Their menu is known for some pretty over the top bites. Whether you’re into sweet or savory, there is definitely something for everyone!

We ordered the Eggs in Purgatory, the Veggie hash, and the Choco Chocolate Chip Pancakes. And every bite we had was delicious! The Egg’s in Purgatory was a play on shakshuka, served in a warm bread bowl. It had a bit of spice to it, but was rather perfect. The Veggie hash is a classic, but the seasoned potatoes took the show on this one. So good! They also add brussel sprouts, which happens to be one of our favorite veggies! Finally the pancakes were that little sweet treat we needed to start our day — they were so fluffy and chocolatey, definitely a perfect choice for anyone in your life with a sweet tooth (like Ashley)!

Whale Watching at Oceanside Harbor!

Now that were filled with some good eats, we started to head over to the Harbor for one of the top activities in Oceanside — Whale Watching ! We hopped on board a beautiful catamaran, equipped to hold up to 49 passengers (and even serves alcohol, if you’re looking for a cold one). The tours are about 2 hours long and take you far enough into the ocean where the coastline becomes a blur.

They have had some amazing sightings over the years — truly an awe inspiring experience no matter what the day. We were lucky enough to see herds of Dolphins, probably in the hundreds, swimming and leaping into the air! It was a once in a life time view to watch the dolphins race the boat and catch the current below us. Our crew was also super cool — very knowledgable and kind, they’ve definitely been doing this for a while!

Seafood Lunch at Lighthouse Bar

After a few hours of whale watching, we decided it was time for a bite to eat. So we docked, said adios to the Oceanside Adventures crew, and walked over to The Light House Bar & Grill (which happens to be only a few steps away from where we docked!). We walked up to their upstairs patio overlooking the harbor and enjoyed some fish tacos and clam chowder. Both were absolutely delicious and paired perfectly with a cold beer, after a few hours in the sun. Even if you haven’t worked up an appetite, definitely stop by for some drinks and a view!

Where to Watch the Sunset

After our ocean adventure, we headed back to The Seabird Resort to rest up and change before the sun started to set. If you have some spare time, definitely walk over to the Top Gun House, Home of the famous HIGH-Pie , which is right next door to the hotel. It’s home to Maverick’s famous motorcycle and is serving up some warm mini pies! Although not in the original location as Charlie’s house in the movie Top Gun (it’s been moved down a block), it’s been beautifully restored and is filled with some really cool memorabilia from the movie!

Keep walking a little bit past the Top Gun House, Home of the famous HIGH-Pie and you’ll reach The Seabird Resort’s sister property, the Mission Pacific Hotel. We recommend checking out The Rooftop Bar, for some amazing cocktails and their stellar view. Their menu is also super cool, a lot of their cocktails are named after local beaches throughout San Diego. It really is the perfect spot to watch the sunset and take in all that Oceanside has to offer!

Dinner at Piper

Last, but not least, we finished out our Oceanside getaway at The Seabird Resort’s signature restaurant Piper. We had a great experience at Piper — one of the best, actually! Their menu is super diverse, with a lot of interesting flavors and ingredients hidden in each dish.

We started off with a few cocktails — I had the Thyme Change, which was made with a Gin, Thyme, Cranberry, and Grapefruit and Fever-Tree Soda. I loved the sweetness of the cranberry & grapefruit, mixed with the earthiness of the thyme.

For appetizers we ordered the Seabass Crudo and the Roasted Eggplant. I loved how fresh the crudo was, which our waiter let us know was locally caught just that week. Chris was obsessed with the roasted eggplant, which was paired with perfectly toasted ciabatta bread. YUM.

Their menu has a lot of seafood options, so we decided to both go in that direction. Chris ordered the Catch of the Day, which varies on what was brought in locally that week, while I ordered the Bigoli and Claims. Both dishes were phenomenal, and the true hero happened to be the White Asparagus! The hollandaise was perfectly made, while the white asparagus (a rare item to see on menus these days) tasted fresh from the garden.

At that point we were pretty full, but we couldn’t miss out on their Chocolate PB Cake. Although it sounds like a pretty basic dessert, they added both honey brittle and a banana crème anglaise — the PERFECT touches, to what was already a delicious dessert item! I devoured it (don’t worry, I let Chris have a bite)…

Whether you are staying at the The Seabird Resort or not, we definitely recommend checking out Piper for Brunch, Lunch, or a Night out!

Published: January 18, 2023
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