Ocean Beach is a small beach front community located directly north of Point Loma and south of Mission Beach. It was founded in 1887 by Billy Carlson, who opened the real estate firm Carlson & Higgins and proceeded to develop the area. In the beginning, Ocean Beach struggled in development, because it was a 2 ½ hour ride by carriage from downtown, making it a less than desirable commute. It wasn’t until the establishment of the Railroad in April 1888 that there was advancement with the city, but it slowed once again with the economic decline. In 1898, Carlson sold the Ocean Beach development to an Eastern financer. It would be another 20 years before the establishment of permanent rail service, including trolley cars.
In the early 20th century the Wonderland Amusement Park was established in northern Ocean Beach on July 4th, 1913. Located on the sand at Voltaire and Abbott Street, the park featured a large roller coaster, dance pavilion, menagerie, roller skating rink, merry-go-round and 22,000 lights outlining the buildings. Bungalows were built on top the bluffs on Niagara Avenue for tourists and some are still in use today. In 1916, Wonderland was washed away by high tides.
On the south end of O.B. is the Municipal Pier, built in 1966, it is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast, measuring 1,971 feet. The pier, which includes a restaurant and bait shop, is available to the public for walking and fishing 24 hours a day, and has been a popular attraction in the city since it was built.
Up until the construction of Interstate 8 in 1967, nick named Ocean Beach Freeway, O.B. was geographically isolated from the rest of San Diego. At this time, real estate in Ocean Beach consisted of small cottages, bungalows, single-family homes and two-storied apartments. Residents were mostly college students, sailors, retirees and middle-class families. By the mid-1960’s surfing became a prominent feature of the beach community. O.B. became known as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego, attracting hippies from all over the world and creating an atmosphere that still exists today.
In 1978 the Ocean Beach Main-street Association (OBMA) was formed to co-ordinate improvement projects and events for the city. Today the main street of business is Newport Avenue, which is lined with antique shops, restaurants, head shops, tattoo and piercing shops, coffee houses, cars, bike and surf shops, and an international youth hostel.Demographics:
The current population in Ocean Beach is 28,164, with a median age of 33.76 and a median household income of $51,529. The crime risk in O.B. is above average compared to national levels, especially when it comes to automotive theft. More serious violations such as rape and murder are close to equal the average national crime risk.Parks:
There are several parks and recreational facilities for residents to enjoy. On the north end of O.B. is the first leash free Dog Beach in the United States. Other facilities include the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, Dusty Rhodes Park, and the Robb Field Athletic fields. Located at the I-8 freeway exit at Nimitz and Sunset Cliffs, the O.B. Skate-Park is a great place for skaters of all levels. It opened in 2000, and features 40,000 square feet of concrete ramps, banks, and bowls.Schools:
Ocean Beach has three schools, Ocean Beach Elementary, a public school for grades K-4 named a California Distinguished School in 2008. The two other schools are private schools for students in grades K-8, Sacred Heart Academy and Warren-Walker.Restaurants:
Ocean Beach business is dominated by small independent owners. The city prides itself on the opposition of chain businesses opening in the area, and actively promotes the small local shops and restaurants. Dining in O.B. is truly a local experience. O.B.’s world renowned burger grill is Hodad’s. Their simple menu of burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes keeps customers lined up down the block. For a more elegant dining experience and a wine selection of over 1,000 bottles, visit The 3rd Corner Bistro. Close by is the Kaiserhof German American Restaurant featuring a biergarden and authentic German cuisine. If you are looking for great pizza and amazing beer variation, the Newport Pizza and Ale House, or Pizza Port has it all.