Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Pacific Beach, San Diego

  • Published 2023/04/24

With the tag “America’s Finest City,” San Diego works hard to live up to that reputation.

This charming city in Southern California has always remained one of the best vacation destinations in the United States.

People flock there for its amazing beaches and considerable climate.

One of the most popular places in San Diego that you need to visit is Pacific Beach or, as the locals prefer, “PB.”

It is a vibrant beachside community in San Diego, the favorite destination for beachgoers and surfers.

Pacific Beach has dozens of boutiques, hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, and casual cafes that line up along its picturesque boardwalk.

This community is a haven for people who long for leisure, entertainment, and relaxation.

It is adjacent to La Jolla, another beach community along San Diego’s shoreline.

There are many activities, aside from frolicking on the beach and surfing.

Its streets also teem with delicious food and vibrant nightlife

While visiting San Diego, don’t miss out on Pacific Beach.

To help you with your adventure in this excellent destination, here are the best things to do in Pacific Beach, San Diego:

Walk along the Scenic Ocean Front Walk

The pathway of Ocean Front Walk

Everton Bento /

Right after you arrive at Pacific Beach, the most distinctive attraction that grabs your attention is the Ocean Front Walk.

This path stretches about 3.2 miles across La Jolla and Mission Beach.

If you want to immerse yourself and get a feel for the whole place, head to Ocean Front Walk.

Tourists on bikes along Ocean Front Walk

Conchi Martinez /

Strolling along this place will allow you to choose what restaurant, bar, or shop you can frequent for the rest of your stay there.

You’ll also find a bunch of tourists and locals strolling along or engaging in outdoor activities at the beach.

Ultimately, the Ocean Front Walk is safe to stroll since it’s exclusive for pedestrians.

Buildings at Ocean Front Walk

Everton Bento /

Ride an Electric Scooter with Boardwalk Electric Rides

The trendy Bird Scooter, which originates in Santa Monica, California, is already in San Diego.

These incredible, affordable electric scooters are available at the Boardwalk Electric Rides Pacific Beach.

If you want a more convenient way to explore Pacific Beach, you can easily rent an electric scooter from this shop.

They have a wide array of different types of Bird scooters for other riders.

To visit the Boardwalk Electric Rides, find them along Mission Boulevard.

Breathe in the Ocean Breeze at the Crystal Pier

Silhouette of Crystal Pier during sunset

Earth Trotter Photography /

Pacific Beach’s most iconic tourist attraction is its white-sand beach, but many would prefer to go to Crystal Pier.

The pier stretches out into the sea and provides a picturesque view of the entire Pacific Beach shoreline.

You’ll see beachgoers, cyclists, hikers, and joggers scattered along the shoreline.

Also, the water around this pier is a popular surfing spot, so you can enjoy watching surfers catch waves.

The view from within the Crystal Pier

Gabriele Maltinti /

If you want to relax, Crystal Pier has a boutique hotel called the Cottages, where you can stay the entire night.

Constructed in the 1930s, the Cottages welcomed countless visitors to Pacific Beach.

Crystal Pier is also nearby dozens of restaurants and bars you can visit after a relaxing stroll.

Crystal Pier is located along Ocean Boulevard.

The cottages on Crystal Pier

Lowe Llaguno /

Shop and Dine along Garnet Avenue

Pacific Beach has a designated strip where visitors and locals can party and shop from morning till the next day.

It is at Garnet Avenue where you’ll find the best clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops to visit.

To visit Garnet Avenue, you can start from Mission Boulevard and stroll to Garnet Avenue’s tip leading to Crystal Pier.

You’ll also come across many international cuisine restaurants, specialty shops, bars, and clubs.

Costa Brava, Mavericks Beach Club, Pacific Plaza Shopping Mall, Moonshine Beach, 55 Thai Kitchen PB, and Hoboken Pizza & Beer are the most popular places.

Grab Some Coffee at the Better Buzz Coffee

This local favorite coffee chain in Pacific Beach already has three branches in San Diego.

They’re famous for their unique coffee drinks and delicious breakfast items.

Better Buzz Coffee is highly recommended if you want something to wake your senses up.

Their coffee shop is fun and cozy, making it ideal for hanging out and spending time while you enjoy their best-selling coffee beverages.

Their most accessible branch is along Grand Avenue, while you can find the others at Garnet Ave. and Mission Bay.

Catch Some Waves with the Pacific Beach Surf Shop

A person about to surf in Pacific Beach

DCornelius /

As already mentioned above, Pacific Beach is a popular surfing destination.

Whether you’re already skilled or a newbie in surfing, you shouldn’t miss this kind of activity on Pacific Beach.

If you’re worried, Pacific Beach’s waves are safe for newbies to enjoy.

Also, if you’ve been yearning to learn about surfing, dozens of surfing instructors will gladly teach you how to ride the waves.

Most of these instructors also offer surfboard rentals at the same time.

You can choose from different instructors and surfboard rentals like Ray’s Rental Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach Surf Shop, Cali Dreams Rentals, and SurfUp X Diamondhead Inn.

All of these services enjoy a five-star rating on Google.

Shop for Beach Outfits at the Pangaea Outpost

As an eclectic beach community, Pacific Beach has dozens of shops that offer casual beachwear.

One of the best is the Pangaea Outpost at Garnet Avenue.

It’s well-known locally as a provider of a handful of beachwear.

Pangaea Outpost is home to more than 80 local artisans who feature their products at a very affordable price.

If you’re planning to shop for beachwear and some souvenirs to bring back home, head to the Pangaea Outpost, open daily.

Learn to Dance at Tango Del Rey

Tango Del Rey is a restaurant, a bar, and a dance academy popularly known for its tango classes.

This institution in Pacific Beach started in 1993 as El Mundo Del Tango.

Eventually, they changed the name to Tango Del Rey when they began serving delicious food and cocktails to guests.

People often go there not just for their food and tango lessons.

They’re also excited to take photos of Tango Del Rey’s building, filled with sculptures of Spanish bullfighters, dancers, and other works of art.

Tango Del Rey also serves as an event center for various occasions in Pacific Beach.

Visit this famous dance academy and restaurant at 3567 Del Rey Street.

Roam the Kate Sessions Park

View of San Diego from Kate Sessions Park

LauGSmith /

This beautiful park in Pacific Beach is widely known for its scenic view of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, and the community below.

This 79-acre park is nestled atop Soledad and Lamont Road, a few kilometers from Pacific Beach’s shorelines.

This famous park gets its name from Kate Sessions, a notable horticulturist in San Diego.

She was also known as the “Mother of Balboa Park.”

Aside from sightseeing, you can do numerous outdoor activities there.

Try picnicking, playing frisbee, barbeque, or simply stroll around and enjoy its scenic view.

Kate Sessions Park is at Soledad Road.

Try Bird Watching at the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve

The Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve is where you’ll find more than a hundred species of migratory birds.

The nature reserve nestled on the southern tip of Pacific Beach is one of these birds’ stopovers during their great migration every winter.

It covers more than 40 acres of marshes and wetlands.

Currently, the University of California Nature Reserve System and UC San Diego manage this preserve.

During winter, thousands of birds like bufflehead, Northern shoveler, ring-billed gulls, Northern pintail, etc. visit the place.

With that in mind, it’s an excellent opportunity to do bird-watching there.

If you want to try it, you can coordinate with the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve authority.

Otherwise, visit the Campland on the Bay.

Campland on the Bay offers bird-watching tours and other outdoor activities.

Chill and Have Some Drinks at Bub’s at the Beach

Since Pacific Beach is close to around ten universities in San Diego, most of its visitors are young people looking to party and drink.

So, you’ll find them hanging around many bars and clubs scattered around Pacific Beach.

One of the best bars to visit is Bub’s at the Beach.

Bub’s at the Beach is situated at Garnet Avenue.

This place has already reached iconic status in Pacific Beach for parties, live events, and drinks.

They’re also popular with their burgers, wings, and barbeque.

If you want to party at Bub’s at the Beach, they’re open from noon to the wee hours.

Play Different Sports at the Crown Point Park

A bicycle parked at Crown Point Park

Shannon L. Price /

Crown Point Park is a popular spot for sports buffs in Pacific Beach.

It’s located on the southern portion of Pacific Beach. fronting Fiesta Bay Park.

It has numerous basketball courts, beach volleyball courts, a boat launch, and a spacious sandy area.

It’s where most locals play sports every morning and afternoon while families usually hang out in its picnic area equipped with fire pits and tables.

The Crown Point Park is also near the Kendall Frost Mission Bay Reserve and the campgrounds of Campland on the Bay.

To visit Crown Point Park, go to Crown Point Drive.

Eat Delicious Food at Kono’s Cafe

Since 1991, Kono’s Café has served visitors and locals in Pacific Beach with their mouthwatering all-day breakfast meals.

Aside from their great food, they’re also ideally situated along the scenic Ocean Front Walk.

Kono’s Café is a classic restaurant in Pacific Beach where locals love to keep coming back for their breakfast meals and other enticing menu items.

They also serve numerous Mexican food like quesadillas, burritos, and tacos the whole day.

To dine at the Kono’s Café, go to Garnet Avenue.

Buy Exotic Plants at the Green Gardens Nursery

The family-run Green Gardens Nursery in Pacific Beach has been operating for more than 40 years.

They are widely known for their extensive plant collection, which you can buy and take home with you.

They’re one of the most beloved businesses in the community because of their friendly staff and wide collection of exotic plants.

They’re also the plant experts in town who provide expert tips for plant lovers and apply sustainable and organic approaches to their gardening methods.

They also sell garden decors and accessories for very affordable prices.

To visit this Pacific Beach icon, it is at 4910 Cass St, San Diego, CA.

Test Your Tennis Skills at the Pacific Beach Tennis Club (PBTC)

If you’re into sports like tennis, head to the Pacific Beach Tennis Club, which has been operating since 1961.

Thanks to the late Dr. James Grant, Pacific Beach locals learned how to play tennis.

He constructed six courts and added two more in the following years.

Today, the Pacific Beach Tennis Club takes pride as one of the best tennis centers in San Diego.

They offer tennis lessons, court, and equipment rentals while regularly organizing tennis tournaments.

So, if you know a thing or two about tennis, head to the Pacific Beach Tennis Club.

The Pacific Beach Tennis Club is at 2639 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA.

Go Surfing at Law Street Beach

Law Street Beach is one of the best areas in Diamond Bar that’s famous for all sorts of water sports, whether it’s boating, surfing, or simply swimming.

Surfing is particularly popular at Law Street Beach because it experiences a lot of strong waves that’s perfect for all skill levels.

Lifeguards and restrooms are abundant, so despite the crowds during peak season, Law Street Beach is still a great place to be.

If you’re not feeling sporty, you can also enjoy simply relaxing at the beach, especially since it has a pier and a boardwalk like other beaches in Pacific Beach.

You can access Law Street Beach along Ocean Boulevard.

Have a Feast at World Famous

World Famous is one of the go-to places to have a scenic feast in Pacific Beach as it’s right by the ocean.

Focusing on a lot of inventive Californian classics, the menu and drinks selection at World Famous is extensive, giving a little bit of something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for surf n’ turf, pub food, or home-style American classics, World Famous is the place to be.

Some of their specialties here include lobster bisque, seafood tacos, and grilled sea bass.

With amazing service and pretty interiors, this is a no-brainer to visit when finding a restaurant in Pacific Beach.

Buy Desserts at The Baked Bear

The Baked Bear is a San Diego staple in the dessert industry, so put this in your must-visit areas in Pacific Beach as well.

Two of their most popular food items are their cookies and ice cream—the cookies are served fresh daily and they offer a ton of different flavors.

If you’re on a budget, The Baked Bear also sells one day-old cookies for much cheaper, and the quality is still top-notch.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try their ice cream sandwiches as well–you won’t regret it!

The Baked Bear can be found along Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach.

Do Recreational Fun at Fanuel Street Park

Because of its geography, Pacific Beach has an inlet of water that forms the Sail Bay which it shares with its neighboring area, Mission Bay.

One of the best places to experience Sail Bay is at Fanuel Street Park, located along its namesake street near the oceanfront.

Fanuel Street Park has lots of fun in store for you—there’s a beach, picnic grounds, and a ton of open areas for recreational fun.

There are also a ton of boat rentals at Fanuel Street Park, and yacht rentals are also found within the vicinity.

A nice way to experience a different side of Pacific Beach, this park is a great way to enhance your itinerary.

Cycle through Rose Creek Trail

Rose Creek Trail, or also known as the Rose Creek Bikeway, is a great way to diversify your trip in Pacific Beach.

Whether you’re bringing your bike or renting, this is a fun way to experience the inland areas of Pacific Beach while exploring its local businesses.

The bikeway stretches throughout Pacific Beach and its eastern neighbors such as parts of Mission Bay, North Clairemont, and Soledad South.

Named after a picturesque creek, it’s also a tranquil way to experience this serene side of San Diego.

You can begin your adventure at Rose Creek Trail along Fog Street.

Final Thoughts

Vacationing in San Diego is always about its natural beauty.

Despite being a huge metropolis, it maintained its charming coastal town appeal.

Its beauty is evident on its beaches and communities like Pacific Beach.

While most cities are known for their artificial attractions, San Diego and Pacific Beach boast what nature can best offer.

Pacific Beach serves as San Diego’s laidback part, perfect for a summer vacation.

So, which of these Pacific Beach attractions will you visit first?

Don’t forget to bookmark this post and head to any of the 15 attractions listed above.

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