Ocean Beach is situated in San Diego on the Southern California coast line. It is located on the Pacific Ocean at the estuary of the San Diego River, at the western part of Interstate 8. It is relatively 7 miles from Downtown San Diego. O.B. is south of Mission Bay and Mission Beach, directly north of Point Loma, and northwest of downtown. The Ocean Beach community planning area is joined on the north by the San Diego River, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, seaside St and West Point Loma Boulevard, on the east by Froude St, and on the south by Adair Street. However, representations of community limits vary from person to person.
The main road of business is Newport Ave. which has antique bars, stores, coffee houses, restaurants, head shops, tattoo and piercing shops, bike and surf shops, and an international youth hostel. Ocean Beach has three schools – Ocean Beach Elementary, Sacred Heart Academy, and Warren-Walker. The community also has multiple churches, a public library, a U.S. Post Office, an independent supermarket, a vegetarian food co-op, and other amenities. Recreational facilities include the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, Dusty Rhodes Park, and Robb Field athletic fields and skate park.
O.B. organizations are the Kiwanis Club of Ocean Beach, the Ocean Beach Town Council, the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation, the Ocean Beach main street Association, the Ocean Beach Antique District and the Ocean Beach Historical Society. Local events are the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-off in June, a jazz festival at the foot of Newport in September, the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade in December, and the Ocean Beach Kite Festival on the first Saturday of March. Also, each Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m, two blocks of Newport Avenue are open to only foot traffic and bicycles for a farmers market. O.B.’s northern end of the waterfront is known as Dog Beach, next to the channel that passes through the San Diego River. It is well-known particularly for the leash-free pets rule . A commemorative plaque at the entrance lays claim to this being the first leash-free dog beach in the United States.
The Ocean Beach Pier was built in 1966, it is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast, standing at 1,971 ft. The pier has a restaurant and also a bait shop, it is situated at the south end side of the beach and is available to the public for walking and fishing all day. A concrete walkway stretches in most of the one-mile beach.
Ocean Beach and the neighboring Point Loma are home town to a sizable population of feral parrots and their offsprings, known as the “O.B. air force.” The sub-tropical weather is ideal for parrots. There are many trees for resting, and plenty for birds to eat. The parrots, mostly Amazons, are especially active and vocal at sunrise and sunset.
Both of them developed the Cliff House, a resort hotel, and divided the area into different lots. To think of a business for their division, Carlson and Higgins organized a mix of promotional events, and band concerts. Despite efforts, the project did poorly, because it was 2-1/2 hours by carriage from downtown San Diego. They rented a train, but by that time, the growth ended and the development was paused. The Ocean Beach Railroad, opened in 1888, was a casualty of the decline in the economy. Passengers in the train could take a ferry from San Diego to Roseville in Point Loma to ride the train to the Cliff House. Higgins’ partner later committed suicide and the Cliff House burned down from a fallen chandelier in 1898. Carlson sold the Ocean Beach project to an foreign person, and its development had to wait another 20 years for a rail service – trolley cars – to be welcomed, carrying riders from Ocean Beach to Old Town. A wooden bridge, built in 1914 across the San Diego River flood-control channel in between Mission Beach and O.B., was destroyed in January 1951, thereby stoping through traffic to Ocean Beach from the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach neighborhoods.
Carlson and Higgins were not the first people to enter a division map in Ocean Beach. Theirs was filed in the city on 1887, reported by research done by librarian Rhoda E. Kruse. On April 22 of 1887, J.M. DePuy filed “DePuy’s Subdivision” on 15 blocks in the northern portion of Ocean Beach. There are a number of smaller hotels in the Ocean Beach. But there still no nationally franchised hotels In the beach community. A couple of blocks from the Pacific Ocean, the Ocean Villa Inn is the largest hotel in O.B. with around than 50 rooms. It has been there since 1964, the Ocean Beach Hotel located at the west side of Newport and the Pacific Ocean, it has been family owned and operated since. The northern end of Ocean Beach was controlled in the 20th century by the Wonderland Amusement Park, it opened on July 4, 1913 and was built on the sand at Voltaire and Abbott roads. It featured a 22,000 lights outlining the building dance pavilion, roller skating rink, big roller coaster, large menagerie, merry-go-round, and children’s playground. Until 1916, Wonderland was a popular attraction, when most of it was washed away by high waves. Some of the bungalows built as tourist spots atop the cliffs on either side of Niagara Avenue are still in use as homes and businesses.
Surfing is a very popular sport and recreation in Ocean Beach, and became a famous feature of the community in the mid-1960s. Major surfing contests are held at the end of Newport Ave. The small bungalows style homes, single family homes, cottages, and one two-storied condos in the residential areas, were rented by college students by different San Diego colleges and universities, also by may military, retirees and middle-class families. Because of the expansion of Mission Bay and the disassemble of the Ocean Beach and Mission Beach bridge, Ocean Beach became isolated from the rest of San Diego and the other beach neighborhoods, until the construction of Interstate 8 in 1967. The most western segment of I-8 from I-5 to the ending in Ocean Beach is officially labeled the “Ocean Beach Freeway”. The Ocean Beach Pier that opened in 1966, added to the features of the community’s waterfront.
Every spring, O.B. becomes a favorite local beach hang out for a lot of the young people. As many youth beach towns, a conflict arose between the young people and local police. 1968 was a particular interesting year, as there were good known police and youth conflicts at the beach during Easter weekend and Memorial Day weekends that season.
There are mostly “mom and pop shops” in O.B., and many Obcean’s do not want large chain companies or stores. In 2001, Starbucksrented property within the community. A grassroots effort attempted to block Starbucks from opening in Ocean Beach. But at the end, Starbucks remains to this day.