by Roberta Murphy
Late yesterday afternoon at a Carlsbad Cinco de Mayo fest, I met two wonderful ladies who had spent the last 20 years with their families living in downtown Oceanside.
Their kids went to school in Oceanside–and for the umpteenth time, I heard rave reviews about the downtown Oceanside community spirit, and the friendliness and caring of its residents.
“People here don’t just come home from work and pull down their garage doors. We truly connect and socialize with our neighbors,” one explained.
Oceanside, CA is a great place to spend a weekend, a two-week vacation, or even a lifetime (say local residents). It offers a great coastal climate, broad sandy beaches, relatively affordable homes, condos and townhomes, and lots of activities for all ages.
Visitors to Oceanside (many arriving by train) marvel at the downtown building and bustling activity. High rise condominiums, such as the newly-constructed Oceanside Terraces, are reshaping the local skyline, while the historic Oceanside Pier continues to draw fishermen, sightseers or those out for a lengthy ocean stroll.
For those seeking museums and missions, Oceanside has many rich offerings. For example, the California Surf Museum located at 223 North Coast Highway is a surfers’ mecca. Not only do they offer displays showing the evolution of surfing, but they also have a large display of surfboards, ranging from single-finned woodies to contemporary four-finned and lightweight fiberglass models.
If you are interested in the visual and fine arts, there is the edgy Oceanside Museum of Art, located at 704 Pier View Way. In addition to their eye-opening and provocative art displays, the museum also hosts their School of Art, which offers instruction in a variety of media, including painting, pottery and ceramic sculpture, along with drawing and drumming. The Oceanside Museum is housed in the classic Irving Gill-designed building that preserves the 1930s flavor of Southern California.
Oceansides Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is California’s King of Missions. It was established in 1798, and is located just four miles east of downtown Oceanside. This early and largest California mission is still a center of Catholic Church activities and events. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the Mission Church and the surrounding gardens and grounds.
The Oceanside Farmers Market is a local’s favorite and is held every Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Pier View Way, between Coast Highway and Ditmar Street. The event reopens in the late afternoon at 4 p.m. to the delight of both downtown residents and visitors. All can find just-picked and local fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, fragrant and steaming hot tamales, bouquets of local flowers, and other culinary surprises. Bring your appetite and sense of adventure!
Restaurants are abundant in downtown Oceanside, and range from seafood spots by the Oceanside Harbor, to Cuban, Japanese Mexican, French and California Nouveau cuisine. For a taste of history (but not yesterday’s fare ), you may wish to stop for a cup of coffee or a meal at the 101 Cafe, located at 631 S. Coast Highway. This roadside treasure has been around since 1928, and offers visitors glimpses of what life was once like in this scenic California beach town.
For additional information about Oceanside and life in San Diego’s prime North County, you may wish to view the following: