One of the best-selling points about San Diego is its close proximity to the ocean. For many individuals, this is a main reason for them to relocate to this beautiful city. The ocean is the primary part of one specific neighborhood, known as Ocean Beach. It has a slightly isolated location that contributed to the slow development of this quaint area. Throughout the 19th century, developers attempted to drive home owners to build in this beautiful area. However, the lack of good transportation options limited the possibilities of development.
Not to be deterred, development began on Ocean Beach in the early 20th century. The question of transportation to downtown San Diego was solved by means of a railroad called Point Loma in 1909. Suddenly, families and individuals could enjoy the amazing beach front location while at the same time still access the benefits of the city. In 1915, a bridge was built to connect Ocean Beach with Mission Beach. The bridge provided access for a trolley and contributed to growth in both neighborhoods. However, the bridge was demolished in 1951, isolating Ocean Beach geographically until the building of the Interstate 8 in 1967.
Living in Ocean Beach
Today, the neighborhood’s combination of cottages, single family homes and two story apartments are home to college students, tourists and locals who love the beach lifestyle. Surfing is also a big part of this area, with the World Surfing Championship being held there in 1966.
The local economy is based on small independent businesses. Few chain businesses have successfully planted roots in Ocean Beach, due to a community effort to oppose them. As a result, one still can get a small town local community feel within the bounds of this neighborhood. Although there were plans to develop the ocean front, particularly in the 1970s, the plans for the waterfront were abandoned due to restrictions on the height of buildings and attractions.
As a result of the community’s efforts, one does not encounter chain hotels here. There are unique one of a kind restaurants, including Hodad’s. This particular eatery was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2007. There are also plenty of local retail options for antique lovers. Ocean Beach also reflects an artistic and hippie atmosphere, so there are plenty of tattoo parlors and art galleries.
Throughout its history, this district has maintained an independent streak despite its proximity to the San Diego urban core. One feels a connection with nature here. Parks that were defined in the 19th century are still in existence today. Historically, there are also some special landmarks to be found in Ocean Beach. One such landmark is the Strand Theater. This historical theater was a single screen movie theater. Although it was unable to survive as a theater, the building itself has been designated a historical landmark.
Ocean Beach is one of those neighborhoods that maintains its distinct identity, even in the face of development and its close proximity to a major urban core. One can really enjoy the small town feel in this cozy neighborhood.