Oceanside Hidden Gems
Oceanside is a treasure trove of hidden gems! With so much to enjoy during your stay, it’s easy to overlook some of the most interesting locations, historical landmarks and local hotspots. To help you get to know O’side as if you were a local, we’ve gathered some of the most fascinating and lesser known tidbits for your convenience. Become an Oceanside expert to impress your family, friends and travel buddies with your insightful knowledge about our destination after checking out these hidden gems. With so much to share and capture, we’ll be sure to keep the Hidden Gem’s list running, because trust us when we say Oceanside is built on decades and decades of unique people, stories, businesses and landmarks making the city the beloved and eclectic beach town it is today!
Our biggest Hidden Gem is hidden in plain sight! “Welcome to Oceanside!” is what you will hear as you enter the California Welcome Center. Our visitor center receives more than 60,000 visitors each year and has a fantastic group of volunteers that are friendly and eager to provide helpful information and tips to you and your group when exploring Oceanside and the greater San Diego County. Additionally, the visitor center sells discount attraction tickets, local gifts, and souvenirs!
Points of Interest
Click on the top left map icon to expand a list of hidden gem locations.
Click Here to open in Google Maps application.
Heritage Park Village
Have you visited Heritage Park Village and Museum in O’side? Located a short walk from Mission San Luis Rey, this spot was first established in 1970! While there, enjoy a picturesque gazebo that has historically served as the centerpiece for countless Oceanside events, the old Blade Citizen (newspaper) building, the Libby School House dating back to the mid-1800s and more historic treasures! - Photo by: @carlitaxyz
Oceanside's First Post Office
This hidden gem is a historical landmark in O’side! Located at 517 Seagaze Drive is Oceanside’s first ever post office! According to the Oceanside Historical Society the building was first dedicated as a permanent post office in January 1936. The building features two Works Progress Administration (WPA) elements, including a mural of the San Luis Rey Valley on the interior of the building and a wooden Coat of Arms above the doorway. Have you noticed this historical landmark before? ✉️ 👀
Have you discovered Artist Alley🎨 located between Mission Avenue and Pier View Way in downtown O’side? This colorful alleyway lined with vibrant murals is the perfect spot to take a fun photo with a unique background and to enjoy Oceanside’s Art Walk – a first Friday of the month street market featuring pop-up art galleries and handcrafted artisan goods for purchase. As one of California’s first 14 designated cultural districts, Oceanside’s Artist Alley is a fun hidden gem to explore in a city that celebrates innovation and art for everyone to enjoy!
Oceanside Civic Center
This hidden gem can be found under the arched gateway of the Oceanside Civic Center.📍This bright courtyard was designed by Charles Moore in 1990, and emulates the style of renowned architect Irving Gill. Just beyond the Civic Center Pathway, you can enjoy a unique water feature situated under a golden fountain sculpture decorated with 22 colors of tile. 🎨 - Photo by: @almayanesphotography
The Blade-Tribune Newspaper Building
The Blade-Tribune Newspaper Building located at 401 Seagaze Drive was built in 1936, designed by renowned architect Irving Gill. The notable motif in the front of this building was recently uncovered revealing Gill’s design and the name of Oceanside’s longest published newspaper. The building is now home to the Blade 1936 restaurant, a name given as an ode to its history. You’ll still find many of the original elements to this 6,000 sq. ft. structure including the Modern and Art Deco architecture, second-floor offices and newspapers printed from the 1930s to 1960s. Be sure to check out this historical spot the next time you Visit Oceanside! – Photo by Oceanside Historical Society
El Camino Real Bells
Have you noticed the El Camino Real bells around Oceanside and wondered the meaning behind them? El Camino Real is Spanish for “The Royal Road” and appropriately the name for the historic California Mission Trail that connects all 21 missions. The bells were established in 1904 by Mrs. Armitage Forbes to mark the original route of El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma. Each bell is inscribed, “El Camino Real 1769-1906.” The dates reflect the founding of the first Mission in 1769 and the dedication of the first bell in Los Angeles in 1906. – Photo by Mission San Luis Rey
Love Lock Sculpture
Get your O’side love on LOCK! 🔓 The “Love the O” sculpture is a great way to commemorate your time in Oceanside. This publicly funded artwork by @RandallArtRanch was installed for the community to celebrate LOVE! 💖🔐
Behind these fun finds around the city, Oceanside’s vibrant history is perhaps the greatest gem of them all! With such unique city roots dating back to the early days of Mission San Luis Rey’s earliest settlers, Oceanside is a city built on ingenuity, creativity and a lust for coastal retreats that date back to the 1800s. With a vibrant tourism history and beautifully preserved downtown historical landmarks that can still be viewed today, there is so much to learn about when it comes to understanding the heart and soul of Oceanside. If you’re interested in a deep dive of a few hot historical topics, check out the history of one of Oceanside’s most historically exclusive neighborhoods: St. Malo or the popular vacation rental: Roberts Cottages, loved for its epic location along The Strand. You can even become an expert on our iconic Oceanside Pier and its many iterations that led to the structure we know and love today or get up to speed with the history of our Oceanside Harbor – a beautiful escape that remains an important part of the city’s outdoor recreation landscape!