The name of this community says it all; for the residents of Pacific Beach you have the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay as your playground. While largely populated by young people, surfers, and college students, the population is becoming older, more professional, and more affluent due to rising property and rental costs. “P.B.,” as it is known as by local residents, is home to one of San Diego’s larger nightlife scenes, with dozens of bars, eateries, and clothing stores.
Pacific Beach’s namesake stretches for miles from the Mission Bay jetty to the cliffs of La Jolla. The boardwalk, officially called Ocean Front Walk/Ocean Boulevard, is a pedestrian walkway that runs approximately 3.2 miles along the beach from the end of Law St. in the north down into Mission Beach, ending at the mouth of Mission Bay in the south. There are many local shops, bars, and restaurants along the boardwalk, and it is typically crowded with pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, and shoppers. Also adjacent to the boardwalk is the Crystal Pier, a public pier and hotel at the west end of Garnet Avenue.
Pacific Beach was developed during the boom years of 1886-1888 by D. C. Reed, A. G. Gassen, Charles W. Pauley, R. A. Thomas, and O. S. Hubbell. It was Hubbell who “cleared away the grainfields, pitched a tent, mapped out the lots, hired an auctioneer and started to work”. To attract people, they built a Race Track and the San Diego College of Letters, neither of which survive today. A railway also connected Pacific Beach with downtown San Diego, and was later extended to La Jolla.
Today, Pacific Beach is home to a younger crowd, including college students, single professionals, and families. The restaurant and nightlife culture has grown extensively, with Garnet Avenue becoming the major hub for places to eat, drink, and shop, and includes a range of bars, restaurants, pubs, and coffee houses.
Pacific Beach public schools are part of the San Diego Unified School District. They include Mission Bay Senior High School, Pacific Beach Middle School, and several elementary schools. Pacific Beach also serves as a central location for many of San Diego’s universities, including the University of California, San Diego, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University, as well as others.
In addition to bordering the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay Park, Pacific Beach includes Kate Sessions Park and the Pacific Beach Recreation Center. Rose Creek, which flows through Pacific Beach before emptying into Mission Bay, provides open space and a rich wetland area.