take an o'side photo walk

Contributing Writer & Photographer: Jefferson Graham, @PhotowalksTV

We tapped iPhone expert, Jefferson Graham for tips on snapping O’side like a pro. Jeff is a former USA TODAY tech columnist, host and podcaster, where he fronted the “Talking Tech” series over 2,000 episodes until 2021. He now hosts “PhotowalksTV” travel photography series on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Roku and Tubi & “iPhone Photo Show” podcast. Watch his photography tour here or read on for an insider guide that will ensure you leave Oceanside with stunning photos that will impress your friends!

Did you know that O’side is one of the most photogenic of the North San Diego beach cities? It’s got the historic downtown, which dates back to 1888, along with surf and beach culture, fabulous murals seemingly everywhere you look, a historic former movie palace, a fun harborfront with sea lions and pelicans who are happy to pose for photos and California’s largest Mission. 

How’s that for beefing up your Instagram? Here are 7 of the best places for photos on your phone.

Artist alley


(212 Artist Alley Lane) is a great place to start to pose by dozens of murals. Remember to use Portrait Mode on your phone to blur the background–otherwise, people will just blend into the mural. For the classic “Greetings from Oceanside” mural that looks like a 1950s postcard, the place for that is the Seahive antique mall parking lot, 1555 Coast Highway.

The Star Theatre


The beautiful Star Theatre is across the street from Artist Alley on 402 Coast Highway. The theatre, now a home for theatrical productions, has a massive marquee that can be blocked by a street light. Tip: put your phone on .5 for ultra-wide and stand right underneath to fit it in, without the distractions.

Historic Sites


Local color: Downtown O’side is awash in the historic (the lovingly restored Brick Hotel, circa 1880s) and Top Gun House (as seen in the original movie) dozens of retro barber shops and many new, upscale bakeries, breweries and the like. Have fun juxtaposing the two different eras together downtown.

Oceanside Pier


The Pier is the centerpiece of downtown and stepping out along it is a great place to look down and get shots of the crashing waves and surfers riding them. For a great shot of the pier itself, try standing to the left of it, at sunset and get it just after the sun shine through it.

Roberts Cottages


Down off the Strand are the Roberts Cottages, a row of tiny little bungalows built in 1928 and still standing (and available for weekly rentals) today. They make a great shot, especially if you climb the stairs nearby and look down.

Oceanside Harbor


You can walk to this next spot from the pier, about two miles away, or take a short drive to the Harbor. This is the home of boating activities and getting your best shots of marine life, who tend to come out early in the morning. Remember not to approach the Sea Lions, as they are faster than they look!

Mission san luis rey


Mission San Luis Rey, set four miles from town, is worth the drive to see the expanse of the building set against the impressive lawn.

Published: April 1, 2024

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