1. Local Farmers Market
The OB Farmers Market is a place where authentic, funky feels collide with farm fresh produce and local eats galore. You won’t want to miss the in-season fruits and veggies grown right here in San Diego or the bakery items that will rival your nana’s. With the beach as your backdrop, you can enjoy San Diego staples and international favorites from mom and pop restaurants. As you make your way further into the market, you will find that each booth has its own story; from local art and handcrafted jewelry to fresh seafood and homemade tamales, be prepared to speak with creators, chefs and passionate business owners who truly care about the community they serve.
The market pops up along Newport Ave every Wednesday from 4-8pm creating a true pedestrian walkway along the main OB drag. Since this is a crowd favorite, you may want to plan ahead and line up early to avoid a wait time to enter the market. If you happen to find yourself in a queue, chat up those around you to get some day-of recommendations!
2. People Watch at Salvavida Square
Speaking of funky fresh vibes, please take a minute to stop and experience the activity pouring out of the grassy area at the corner of Abbott and Newport. On any given day you can find people creating collective experiences, practicing performance art, meeting for group discussions, and jamming out along the grassy patch at Salvavida Square. From fire dancers and hula hoop troops to jiu-jitsu masters and slackline pros, there is never a short supply of prime people-watching. Grab a snack and a beach towel and head on over to make some new friends! .
3. Tide Pools
Feeling fishy? Hit up the Ocean Beach TIde Pools. Best visited at low tide, you can find a variety of sea life within the little pools located here. My best advice is to wear excellent footwear or none at all as you carefully adventure along the coastline finding crabs, starfish, sea slugs, fishies, and more! You will want to check out the Ocean Beach Tides to have an optimal sea animal spotting experience. Take note of when low tide occurs and plan your visit for around that time.
Protip: If you have never read a tide chart before or want to confirm your finds, the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station displays the water temp, tides and sunset times daily!
4. Sunset Cliffs
Named after its sheer cliffs and beautiful sunsets, this is a spot you won’t want to miss. A walk along Sunset Cliffs transports you to a tropical oasis of crashing waves and multi-million-dollar mansions. Whether you are a whale watcher or HGTV House Hunter, you will find a goldmine of entertainment here. As you continue your walk along the cliffs you may stumble upon wild cliff jumpers, wedding proposals, and lots of beach body runners. Much like the rest of Ocean Beach, a walk along Sunset Cliffs truly shows off the variety of life and the interesting people who call this palace home.
The best times to visit are in the morning for a sunrise run or, you guessed it, in the hours leading up to the sunset. If walking isn’t so much your thing, there are some prime picnicking areas along the cliffs as well!
5. Walk the Ocean Beach Pier
With a long history and an even longer boardwalk, the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier is the perfect spot to enjoy a “long walk on the beach” and a look at the ocean from a new perspective. While the pier is most well known as a local fishing spot, fish are not the only sweet catch here. On a clear day from the end of the pier, you can spot dolphins, sea lions, and the famous San Diego surfers shredding the gnar! If you are looking for a pick-me-up, the hot coco at the Cafe is one of the best in San Diego (in my humble opinion) and even better when paired with a sunset and good company.
6. Beach Day at Newport Avenue Beach
You can’t visit Ocean Beach without a proper beach day. I mean business when I say claim your spot early, pack some snacks and soak up all the Vitamin D as you enjoy a full day at the beach. While there are lots of great beach spots to choose from along the coastline of Ocean Beach, by far the most popular is Newport Avenue Beach. At Newport Avenue Beach you will find surfers, families, college kids, and bronzed beach bods all enjoying their slice of sand. This beach is truly at the center of Ocean Beach activity.
With one of the “surfers only” areas in San Diego, this beach does bring in some skilled riders looking to catch a wave under the pier. When you are ready to cool off from the San Diego summer heat, just head North towards the Lifeguard Tower for a swimmer’s area- the locals will thank you!
7. Yoga with a view
Tell me a better way to wrap up a day at the beach than with some deep stretching and a sunset over the ocean – I will wait. Can’t think of one? Same here! Join the local crew for a quintessential San Diego experience: sunset yoga along Sunset Cliffs. Whether you gave surfing a try and need to stretch out those newly exercised muscles or spent time exploring Ocean Beach by foot, this free outdoor activity will sooth all of your senses. While you might stumble upon a class of your own, one that I recommend is found here. Grab your beach towel and take the opportunity to connect with the ocean, nature, and yourself like a true San Diegan!
*Most outdoor yoga classes at Sunset Cliffs are held for free, with donations optional but encouraged.Give what you can as you take what you need.
8. Dog Beach
If you love dogs and the beach, add this spot to your must-see list! This literal paradise on earth is located just North of the Volleyball courts in Ocean Beach. You can simply follow the sounds of the goodest boys’ barks to Dog Beach. There is not much I can think of that is purer than watching doggos run through the waves and fetch frisbees in the sand. Dog Beach does much more than allowing for dogs to run free, it also embraces the heart and soul of the community and is an incredible spot to get a true feel for the culture that is carried on in Ocean Beach. Pack your sunscreen, hat, and tennis ball, and prepare to make some four-legged friends!
9. Self-Guided Mural Walk
Looking for a good photo opp? Look no further. While snapping that Insta worthy shot, you will learn what matters most to the Ocean Beach community and the messages that they have chosen to share, all through art. The Ocean Beach Community Mural Project gives an insider perspective into the unmistakable culture, unique character, and history in action that exists within Ocean Beach. This easily walkable route will take you through the hub of Ocean Beach and introduce you to not only the local art scene but help you discover tons of local shops and businesses as you follow the path from mural to mural. Pro Tip- schedule your walk during golden hour (the last two hours before sunset) to beat the heat and for optimal lighting in your photos!
10. Point Loma Native Plant Garden
Let your inner plant mom/dad self-shine and visit the Point Loma Native Plant Garden. The Garden is located about 20 minutes walking from the main streets of Ocean Beach and is tucked away just enough to be an off the beaten path experience. If you are looking to get involved and give back as you travel or if you are an aspiring plant parent who needs some pointers, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Since the garden is fully managed by volunteers, they always can use an extra pair of hands with water, weeding, and other projects!
In order to get involved, you just need to reach out through the website and plan your visit. The good news is that no experience is necessary, so even novice gardeners are welcome to volunteer, or you can always opt to have a garden tour!
And that’s a wrap folks!
Ocean Beach truly does have such an inclusive, collective culture that free activities could keep you busy for your whole visit.
As you explore the area and try out these activities, don’t forget to let us know your favorites! Share your experiences and photos with us.
Bio for Mary
Meet Mary. She loves adventuring, eating guacamole, and attempting to inspire others through writing (occasionally all at the same time.) On the weekends you will find her wherever the sun is shining, people are laughing, and craft beer is flowing.
Instagram Handle: @maryascanbe