Pokémon Go in Oceanside

Gamers’ latest obsession has everyone in the family exploring everywhere in Oceanside.

It was Friday afternoon when we’ve first noticed copious amounts of people wandering with their eyes glued down and frantically swiping on their phones outside the doors of the California Welcome Center. Only then we learned that the newest mobile game app and the country’s current craze, Pokémon Go, has made the CWC a location for a Pokéstop (A place where players can obtain items that help them in the game). To learn more about the app and get some insight on our location, we downloaded it ourselves and sent out our very own Pokémon trainers around Oceanside to discover some of the best locations and to hear what others had to say.

Before we get started, here are a few things we learned along the way.

  • This app is seriously a fun way to get to know different destinations and landmarks! Pokéstops are placed at almost every tourist stop and some even offer additional information when you tap on the name. We learned about some fun murals, sculptures, and historical facts!
  • Be careful not to stop abruptly in the middle of a path to catch a Pokémon. Step to the side in case anyone is right behind you. This was causing pedestrian traffic on the pier.
  • Hunting during the day? Wear sunscreen. (Don’t forget the back of your neck…ouch)
  • When you see other players, don’t be afraid to ask them where you should go next! It’s a very social and friendly game!
  • Always remember to use good judgement on locations you are headed to:
    • Do not play inside places of worship.
    • Enter shops, restaurants, or local businesses cautiously to play unless you plan on buying something.
    • Be aware of curfews and closing times. Public parks are generally open until sunset.
    • Resist the urge to go onto private property, no matter how rare the Pokémon, it is still an illegal act.

First Stop: Pokémon at the Pier with Trainer ExploreOside

As we drove down Mission Avenue toward the pier, my navigator’s eyes widened in excitement as dazzling blue diamonds dotted the landscape of the app’s map. There were a flurry of pink flower petals on almost every corner with groups of kids and adults alike gobbling up the Pokémon that appeared. Oceanside had come to play!

At the bottom of the ramp as you enter the Oceanside Pier, we copped a squat on the Jerry Stapp Bench that beckons us to “Relax and Enjoy” but were suddenly ambushed by a Rhyhorn. He was no match for my tossing skills and was nabbed.  Since the bench was also a Pokéstop, we chilled and spun for some treasure for a few moments.  Then the servers went down.. ok… back up… let’s move on.

All along the pier, Pokémon will pop up in your path so stay vigilant! Be sure to hang on to your phone tightly.  There are slats in the pier that are plenty wide enough for your phone to slip through. Also, there are a lots of folks fishing off of the pier so watch where you’re walking or you might just find an angry angler instead of a perky Pikachu.

Half way down the pier you’ll come to the Oceanside Pier Bait Store; fantastic little shop that services our fishermen, visitors, and even takes care of Charlie the Pelican. They’ve quickly caught on that they’re a Pokéstop and will happily tell you the best places to stand to pick off your Ponyta.  Isn’t she cute!  Krabby was caught here and Meowth was mine.  

Note: Here I met a couple of fellow trainers who told me that they heard there was a rare Pokémon at the Old Mission San Luis Rey. Now before you rush to head over, remember that this is a historic landmark and a current place of worship. If you’re going to catch an elusive Pokémon, you should at least donate a couple of dollars to the Friars.

Keep heading toward Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s a gym. You need to be at a Level 5 to compete. This newbie isn’t that far along yet and challenging another trainer to take over a gym is just too confrontational for me.  However, it was entertaining to see the groups of people taking up the cause and the Grimer here makes for a cute photo op. Celebrate your victory with a Classic RubyBurger and chocolate malt. 

After staring out into the big, blue ocean behind Ruby’s and enjoying a couple of dolphins frolicking in the waves, we strolled one of the longest wooden piers back to shore. My peace however was disrupted by this annoying Hypno who had the nerve to break free four times and then run away from me. Argh… Next time you beast!  Before we left to find some lunch, I caught a fish of my own. For now, we’ll wave “bye” to the pier.  Thank you Poliwag.

Stop Two: Trainers go to Ty’s

It was quite busy for a late afternoon lunch at Ty’s Burger House on a Thursday, but for good reason. This place is tasty! My Pokémon partner and I perched on a couple of pedestals and pulled out our phones. The mural at Ty’s is a Pokéstop as well as Artist Alley across the street so every few minutes we were spinning the disc for some swag. Someone had placed a Lure Module so we were catching ‘em all while munching on burgers and salads. Trainers welcome and come hungry! Is this Hitmonlee hitting on me?

Playing Pokémon in Oceanside? Stop by the California Welcome Center – Oceanside, show them you’re playing, and receive a free Oceanside postcard and a dollar discount dining coupon! (One per trainer) 

Stop Three: Hanging at the Harbor with TheVeronicaBuzz

After a long day at work, most people like to go home, have dinner, and rest, but when 5 o’clock hit, my night of Pokémon hunting had just began. I met with a fellow trainer and we took a cruise to the north side of the Oceanside Harbor. Easy and free parking in front of the Jolly Roger Restaurant, which was a great central point for hitting the various stops in the area. As soon as we stepped out of the car, our tools of the trade vibrated with the hopes of an Aerodactyl. This was my hardest catch to date. After 6 tries I remembered to pull out a Razz berry from my item list. Got ‘em! Continued the stroll towards Oceanside Marina Suites where I encountered a Psyduck, Horsea, Magikarp, Shellder, and Poliwag.

It was then time to head over to the gym located in front of the Oceanside Harbor Headquarters.

A Kabutops appeared right on the sidewalk, probably to mock me, but I took it as posing for the camera. This is where a lot of the fellow trainers were; all ages, all backgrounds, coming together to play this interactive app. We met Marines, runners, a family playing together while having a picnic, and a cool Dad who yelled “Viva La Pokémon!” after we departed from discussing the game together.

Stop Four: TheVeronicaBuzz Mingling on Mission Avenue

Leaving the Harbor, we drove Pacific Street to the pier, where there was an overwhelming amount of Pokéstops, and Lure Modules which was a good thing since I had just run out of Pokéballs. Replenished with supplies, I noticed that I had leveled up 4 times during this day- wow! We were lucky enough to catch a watercolor sunset while powering up. Take it from Rhyhorn here; stop and enjoy the scenery now and again.

Mission Avenue, the street that leads to the Pier and the hub of Downtown businesses looked promising. Ended up waltzing into the new 608 restaurant while on the hunt. It was good to take a break and call it a night with fresh locally sourced food. Leaving our late dinner, a group zoomed past us shouting “Have you seen Onyx?”, that was at 9:40 pm. Driving back along Coast Highway, almost 10 pm and there were large crowds around the Oceanside Slash Mural at the Breakfast Club Diner. There is a gym nearby, bringing everyone out to battle. Please remember that it is important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially if you are urging to play at night.

The next day was Thursday and the weekly Sunset Market in Oceanside. I decided to head back to Mission Avenue and came across the Vine Mural Pokéstop right next to The Loose Leaf Tea Bar so I stopped in, grabbed a coffee, and listened to some live music by Corey Leal. I had not been to the Sunset Market in awhile, which is a testament to the great benefits that come with this app, other than catching ‘em all.

Seeing Oceanside through the Pokémon app was surprisingly an active and authentic way to experience a destination and the people in it. We were led to murals, restaurants, historical sites, memorials, sculptures, fountains, and street art where you’d least expect it. It was definitely a new way to look at our city that we thought we knew so well. Some of us were reliving our childhoods while others were introducing our children to it and some of our children were introducing it to us! So have fun out there and please share with us your own Pokémon adventures in Oceanside!

See our Pokémon map of the Oceanside area

Have you found some great places to play? Let us know on Facebook and we’ll add them to this interactive map.

Published: July 20, 2016

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