San Diego/Mission Beach-Pacific Beach

thumb|right|350px|Rides and games at Belmont Park

30 things to do

All Places United States California

Mission Bay Park

Encompassing the entirety of Mission Bay, offering opportunities for sailing, boating, swimming, jet ski, and other water sports. You can also take advantage of the park space surrounding the bay for walking, bicycling, picnicking, etc. There are many miles of hiking, biking, and running trails that have a moderate level of difficulty for runners and an easy level of difficulty for bicyclists. There are marvelous views of the ocean and the bay along with numerous side trips. Starting at the '''Mission Bay Visitor Information Center''' (on East Mission Bay Drive near the Clairemont Drive exit from Interstate 5 Freeway) is a good idea, as there is parking (it can be scarce at times and is only limited to just one hour), and runners can can choose a trail to match their fitness level.

DO   —  Map


No frills or gimmicks, just delicious Mexican food. Located in a strip mall next to a barber shop, the painted windows lure you in off the street with 99 cent fish tacos and bean and rice burritos. For a little more you can order a quesadilla (but don’t let the name fool you, quesadillas at Cotija’s are like burritos with cheese). Also tasty are the multiple breakfast burritos, one of which has hash browns — and they’re not limited to breakfast. For true San Diego flavor, try the Shrimp Burrito (also available in the fiery but amazing "Diablo" version). The line to order crowds the dining area as the bars close but there’s nothing like a gut brick to put you to sleep after a long night on the town. And be sure to bring cash because they don’t take plastic.

Cass Street Bar and Grill

This comfortable, laid-back bar with deep sea fishing themed decor has a good crowd at practically any time of the day, night or week. It's a beer and wine bar, so be advised any cocktails drinks actually use an weak asian vodka called Han Vodka, but the twelve or so beers on tap and various other bottled beers are enough to keep most customers happy. The profusion of TV screens make it a popular daytime sports bar, the pool tables and shuffle board table keep it popular at night. The menu has some great seafood and burgers, served until about 10PM, and has great breakfast options too. This bar has a much more neighborly feel compared to the meat-market atmosphere of some of the more popular Garnet Street bars.

DRINK   —  +1 858 270-1320 —  4612 Cass St

Belmont Park

A seaside amusement park located near the southern end of Mission Beach, Belmont Park is a landmark with a number of shops, restaurants, an arcade, and a bunch of rides. The big attraction is the '''[ Giant Dipper]''', a historic roller coaster that is one of the only two remaining oceanfront roller coasters still operating on the west coast. Also popular is '''The Plunge''', a historic indoor heated swimming pool that continues to be the city's largest indoor pool. Among the other rides is a FlowRider (a simulated wave attraction which you can bodyboard on), an antique carousel, bumper cars, slides, pendulum rides, tilt-a-whirl, and a trampoline.

The Fishery

The retailer Pacific Shellfish Seafood Company was founded in 1979 but their attached restaurant debuted in 1998. With many different species of seasonal fresh fish in their cooler, you’ll be able to find something to tickle your taste buds from a simple tuna melt to a wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Since it’s a market too, you can verify that all the fish are fresh. And just in case you didn’t know what your particular entree looked like before it was caught, there are taxidermied models on the wall, displaying the fish in their full glory.

EAT   —  +1 858 272-9985 —  5040 Cass St

Sugar and Scribe Bakery

A newcomer to Pacific Beach, Sugar and Scribe Bakery is quickly making its home here, with sweets so good that dentists recommend them. They carry a varied selection of cakes, pies, and breads, including Irish soda bread. The pies are made with Irish-style pie crust and are most definitely worth a try. The proprietor uses traditional recipes passed down through her family, and if she's not too busy you may get some family history with your cake. The coffee is pretty good too. They update Twitter and Facebook regularly with daily specials.

The French Gourmet

Has been serving delicious pastries and desserts to San Diego since 1979. You can stop in and try one of their many desserts or you can sit down for a whole meal. Their main entrées are just as tantalizing as the desserts. The breakfast menu includes omelettes, crepes and French toast and is served on weekends from 8AM-2:45PM and on weekdays 10AM-2:45PM. Lunch is served until 3PM and dinner is served everyday except Sunday and Monday. They are also a full service catering and wedding cake company.

Fiesta Island

This island in the middle of Mission Bay hosts the '''Fiesta Island Time Trial Series''', hosted by the San Diego Bicycle Club. Competitors meet up to see who can ride the quickest 20k or improve the most. Single riders, tandems and teams are all welcome, and the event also hosts triathletes and world class road race athletes. There is always a waiting list for these trials, so early registration is vital if you want to take part in this very exciting aspect of cycling in Mission Bay Park.

DO   —  Map

The Broken Yolk Café

As you can guess, the Broken Yoke specializes in eggs and omelettes but they also serve the regular breakfast fare of pancakes and French toast. It’s great for sitting down and recapping the previous night’s events. If you’re hungry enough, you can try their 12 egg omelette, loaded with all sorts of goodies to make it hard to finish. If you do, it’ll only cost you $2 and your name will be forever engraved on the wall.


Now a minor fast food restaurant chain in the western United States, but what’s significant about the one in PB is that it was the first. In 1983, founder Ralph Rubio capitalized on the unique flavor of Baja California taco stands by replicating one in San Diego (accommodating, of course, for local health codes). The beer-battered fish tacos, the carnitas and carne asada tacos were an immediate hit.


For an alternative to drinking, why not try smoking? Although they serve beer, the specialty at is hookah smoking. Their menu includes 30 different flavors of premium hookah tobacco. Relax on the front porch with a hookah and watch all the passer-bys. Since it’s not technically a bar, you only have to be 18 to enjoy a toke. It’s also open after all the bars close on weekends –till 4AM.

DRINK   —  +1 858 866-6006 —  1050 Garnet Ave


Located across the entrance to Crystal Pier, this eatery has the best budget breakfast in town. A sign on the wall boasts how many days have passed since they last raised their prices; a figure which is easily over 365. On weekends the line outside gets so long you’d think it was nightclub, but the food is well worth the wait. They specialize in big breakfasts and breakfast burritos.

Mission Bay Playground

There are many playgrounds in the city, but this one is easily one of the best. For starters, it's a huge playground, with several elaborate play structures (one is built to resemble a pirate ship) and lots of elements for kids to explore. The setting is also ideal, located on the edge of Mission Bay and surrounded by expansive lawns perfect for kite-flying and playing sports.

Café 976

A café and restaurant with a large selection of coffee drinks, breakfast pastries and whole entrees. Located one block away from busy Garnet Ave., this Café 976 offers peace and quiet within the confines of its garden patio. Guests sitting outside are surrounded in all three dimensions by plants and trees. Free WiFi internet access for customers.

Sea World

Hours vary by season and day of week; typically 10AM-5PM in winter, 9AM-11PM in summer. A massive (200 acres) marine animal theme park with rides, lots of sea animals (dolphins, sea otters, arctic creatures, sharks, penguins, rays, manatees, etc.) and of course, shows of killer whales like Shamu.

SEE   —  500 SeaWorld Dr

Mr. Frostie

A Pacific Beach institution, Mr. Frostie's has been selling soft serve ice cream since 1949. The simple, no frills menu also includes sandwiches and hot dogs, but it's the dipped ice cream cones, milkshakes, sundaes, and banana splits that will make this place outlast any trendy yogurt shop.

Mission Beach

This beach is one of the calmest, easiest places to '''ocean swim''' in San Diego area. You can also go '''scuba diving''' (off the shore are several dive wrecks). Or you can '''bicycle''' or '''rollerblade''' along the boardwalk (several stores nearby rent equipment).

DO   —  Map

Crystal Pier Hotel

The closest that you can get to staying on the beach. Built on the historic pier, these rooms offer amazing views and soothing ocean sounds to put you to sleep at night. With a room, you can actually drive out on the pier and park in front of your quarters.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 748-5894 —  4500 Ocean Blvd

Mission Bay Aquatic Center

The aquatic center rents catamarans and other watercraft, as do several other franchises around the bay. Instructional lessons are available. Be aware that the western half of the bay is "sail only" (powerboats 5 mph no wake) during the daytime.

The Enchantress

A specialist lingerie and swimwear store with a wide range of sizes, colors and styles in stock, including strapless bras, nursing bra and Basques. Offers professional bra fitting.

Surfer Beach Hotel

Right on the Pacific Ocean and features a retro boutique-style décor, a popular onsite restaurant, and private guestroom balconies.

SLEEP   —  711 Pacific Beach Dr.

Beach Hut Bed & Breakfast

Offering free on-site reserved parking, free Wi-Fi, landscaped pool/patio, queen beds, flat screened TV/cable, faux fireplaces.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 272-6131 —  3761 Riviera Dr

World Curry

Great variety of world curries and great happy hour beverage deals.

EAT   —  1433 Garnet Ave

Best Western Blue Sea Lodge

A beachfront Pacific Beach hotel with oceanview rooms.

SLEEP   —  707 Pacific Beach Dr

Pacific View Inn

Rooms are reasonably priced and include kitchenettes.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 483-6117 —  610 Emerald St

Bare Back Grill

Enjoy burgers made with organic New Zealand beef.

Banana Bungalow

A small chain of tropical-themed hostels.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 273-3060 —  707 Reed Ave

Best Western Mission Bay

A kid friendly hotel off I-5 nearby.

SLEEP   —  2575 Clairemont Dr

About San Diego/Mission Beach-Pacific Beach

Mission Beach is located on a narrow strip of land between the ocean and Mission Bay, only a few blocks wide. It leads from more upscale Pacific Beach to the north to Belmont Park with the famous "Giant Dipper" roller coaster at its south end. It gets funkier the further south you go on the ocean-side boardwalk, though gentrification is slowly creeping through the area. It is a (somewhat) tamer version of the Los Angeles' famous Venice Beach. It's population soars in the summer with out-of-town surfer dudes, dudettes, wanna-bes, and "Zonies" (Arizona residents trying to beat the heat), packed like sardines into expensive, often beaten-up (but who cares?) summer rentals.

Pacific Beach (P.B. for short) is one of San Diego's many beach towns, bordered on the south by Mission Beach and Mission Bay, to the north by La Jolla, to the east by I-5, and best of all, to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Dotted with restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as clothing stores, beachwear stores, surfboard, bike and rollerblade rental places, it is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon, of which there are plenty. Many P.B. residents are in their 20s and 30s, as a result of the booming nightlife. P.B. is dominated by Garnet Avenue, a large commercial street that runs from the 5 freeway west to the Pacific Ocean.

Source: wikivoyage