Market Day in Oceanside

Contributing Writer & Photographer: Jordan Younis

Market Day in Oceanside is just as diverse and lively as the city itself. Every Thursday, countless San Diegans and visitors flock to a few signature blocks of downtown to stroll through a myriad of local produce vendors and artisans by day and exotic food trucks by night. While each half of the day hosts a markedly different vibe with different offerings, both the Farmers and Sunset Markets have much to offer visitors of all ages and interests.

Market Day kicks off on Thursdays at 9 AM through 1 PM all year round. Spanning several blocks of Pier View Way, this morning-to-afternoon event draws a leisurely crowd of shoppers and is a classic yet unique farmer’s market, ripe with fresh local produce, flowers and plants, handcrafted jewelry and clothing and gourmet goodies. 

 Starting at Tremont Street, you can explore stalls of clothing, photography and art pieces from local artists before moving up the road to the food stalls. Here you’ll find tasty local treasures, including artisan baked goods, organic honey varieties, salsas, dips and sauces, olive oils, and fresh squeezed juices. Sample your way through and be ready to make plenty of purchases. Many vendors take cards, but some only accept or prefer cash, so be sure to visit an ATM beforehand.

When evening rolls around, Pier View Way transforms into a festival of flavors, sounds and sights. Starting at 5 PM until 9 PM, nearly 200 merchants and thousands of residents and visitors pack four city blocks to enjoy food from around the world, as well as delicious desserts, eclectic shopping and live entertainment.

“Come hungry” sounds like an old cliche, but with such an expansive international food court, it’s more like essential sage advice. The Sunset Market boasts a little bit of everything. American classics like fried chicken, roasted corn, sliders, barbeque, cheesesteaks and hot dogs are peppered amongst their more exotic counterparts. Asian Pacific cuisines from Thai, to Filipino, to Vietnamese, to Hawaiian mingle with Jamaican, Italian, Indian and African vendors. Staples like tacos and tamales along with Salvadoran pupusas and sweet and savory empanadas offer a taste of Latin America. The scent of roasting Greek gyros and kebobs and sugary traces or European waffles and crepes lace the air. With so many tempting options, you’ll undoubtedly need quite a few visits to the international food court to get a taste of everything it has to offer.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also find more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Pick up fair favorites like popcorn, funnel cakes and churros, or stroll with handhelds like ice creams, popsicles and hand-dipped strawberries. And if you find yourself too stuffed from dinner, not to worry. Booths offering donuts, cookies, cakes, cannolis, caramels and fudge will sell you something to take home and enjoy long after the evening fun ends.

Obviously, food is the focus, but you won’t lack for entertainment here either. Once you get some dinner and dessert, head over to the corner of Pier View Way and Tremont to see live music. Adjacent to the stage, kids can play in Dorothy’s KidZone, which is complete with a bounce house and children’s activities.

Across the street in Dorothy’s Lot, stop by for a souvenir caricature drawing, face painting and henna, or if you fancy something more mystical, sit down for a tarot card reading.

When planning your visit to the Farmers or Sunset Markets, you can opt for convenient parking in nearby public lots or even park for free at City Hall. This parking map has an extensive list of lots across the city to help make your trip as smooth as possible. 

Market Day is special not only for its magnitude and variety, but for the way it reflects Oceanside’s diverse, robust and welcoming spirit. Make every Thursday a weekly ritual in exploring the city’s culinary and creative gems and experiencing that spirit.

Published: June 5, 2023

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