SoCal Spotlight: Pacific Beach

biking in pacific beach san diego ocean in background

SoCal Spotlight: Pacific Beach

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One of the most popular beach areas in San Diego is a neighborhood called Pacific Beach. It is north of downtown San Diego, bounded by La Jolla to the north, Mission Beach to the south, Interstate-5 to the East, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

It is enjoyed by all but especially by college students; it has one of the busiest nightlife areas in San Diego with dozens of bars and restaurants.

Pacific Beach was first developed in the 1880s. To attract residents and visitors, a racetrack and a college were built.  There was also a rail line that brought passengers from downtown.  In the early 1900s, an oceanfront lot could be purchased for $300-$700. That same lot today would cost 1000 times that amount.

There are a few popular attractions that bring visitors to the area.  The one that attracts the most crowds and causes the majority of traffic issues is the beach.  The white sands of Pacific Beach stretch for miles from Mission Beach to the cliffs of the Windansea area of La Jolla.  A boardwalk parallels the coastline for over three miles from Pacific Beach to the jetty in Mission Beach.  The boardwalk is usually a hub of activity, a menagerie of bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and tourists.

Two other favorite attractions are Sea World and Mission Bay Park.  Sea World is a large theme park with rides and exhibits perfect for the entire family.  Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country; it’s filled with jet skiers, wakeboarders, sailors, sunbathers, and campers. 

After the sun sets below the beautiful Pacific Ocean, Pacific Beach is probably best known for its nightlife. On Garnet Avenue, between Mission Blvd. and Ingraham St, there are many bars and restaurants.  No place parties harder in San Diego except for Downtown’s Gaslamp District.

Pacific Beach is the place to live if you want to be surrounded by casual party people. There is still a palpable sense of that relaxed California beach lifestyle, but it is sometimes obliterated by the traffic, the partying, and the crowds.  There are most likely better places to move with the kids in San Diego.  However, for those who are young, unencumbered, and have enough money to pay a healthy rent, Pacific Beach is the perfect California locale.

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