48 Hours in O’Side

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The view from Mission Pacific Beach Resort_credit Mission Pacific Beach Resort
The view from Mission Pacific Beach Resort | Photo by Mission Pacific Beach Resort

Discover this transformative coastal destination.

By Steve Zepezauer


Oceanside, the quintessential old-school beach town, is going through a renaissance. With a growing culinary scene, popular breweries, a lively downtown and some hip new beachside resorts, this is not your father’s Oceanside.

Less than an hour’s drive from Newport Beach, Oceanside makes for a great weekend getaway. Its nearly 4 miles of coastline have a reputation as consistent surf spots with easy access. The following 48-hour itinerary exemplifies one ideal trip to this distinctive and burgeoning hot spot.


Where to Stay

The super stylish sister hotels by Hyatt, the Mission Pacific Beach Resort and The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa, sit adjacent to each other on the beachfront right across from the iconic pier. Since their openings in 2021, the side-by-side properties underscore a burgeoning downtown scene. Though the properties complement each other, they each offer unique experiences.

011922_MB_SB-71_credit Mission Pacific Beach Resort
Photo by Mission Pacific Beach Resort

Mission Pacific sets the new aesthetic for casual luxury in O’Side. A Joie de Vivre hotel, the property features 161 guest rooms and is undeniably Southern Californian. The laid-back design exudes a comfortable, residential feel with rooms featuring sweeping ocean views and an anti-hotel room vibe with custom furnishings, original artwork and spa-inspired baths. Local art is featured throughout the hotel—both hotels, in fact. Curated by the Oceanside Museum of Art, eclectic ocean-inspired pieces can be found seamlessly integrated in all the public spaces, but the lenticular 3D works on the unlikely walls of the elevators are particularly memorable.

The iconic Rooftop Bar has become the place to go in town for a sunset drink. Sip on craft cocktails and indulge in Mediterranean-inspired bites in the lounge environment on the sixth floor of the hotel while watching surf breaks. It doesn’t get much better.

SANDO-Piper-Restaurant-Terrace_credit The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa
Photo by The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa

The Seabird resort is surf culture with a classy yet unpretentious vibe. With 226 rooms, this coastal beach house is comfortable and airy. The signature pool deck is a fantastic place to chill while Sunny’s Spa & Beauty Lounge is the choice for locals and visitors alike to indulge in a playful twist on holistic “soul care.” Check out the secluded wood-paneled library on the second floor and grab a book from the shelves or return a few emails in the quiet nautical ambiance.


Day 1

josh-hild-g-8_TnGy1gg-unsplash oceanside pier_Josh Hild/unsplash.com
The historic, wooden pier in Oceanside | Photo by Josh Hild/unsplash.com


Begin your morning with a walk on the historic wooden pier. Frequently visited by anglers, tourists and locals alike, the pier, which has origins dating back to the 1890s, is the ideal spot to reflect on your place in the world while looking out at the Pacific. After your daybreak refresher, head back to Mission Pacific and High/Low to kick-start your day with a specialty coffee and a unique take on a breakfast classic, like Hawaiian fried rice or the spicy breakfast BLT. Or head south a couple of miles to the very popular Beach Break Cafe, which has been a local favorite since 1988. Try the famous coffee cake or the banana crunch French toast.

High/Low breakfast_credit Mission Pacific Beach Resort
High/Low breakfast spot | Photo by Mission Pacific Beach Resort


After you’re fueled up, meet your surf concierge at Mission Pacific for a private surf lesson. Lessons are tailored to individuals based on age and skill level, and participants will learn to read the epic Oceanside surf and ride the waves. After you play in the Pacific, take a short walk over to Hello Betty, which is across the street from The Seabird resort. This surf-and-skate inspired restaurant is the epitome of the place you want to hang after a few hours on the beach or for happy hour. There’s a relaxing Baja-style environment and menu plus a chill rooftop lounge and plenty of craft beer. Before you head back to your room to freshen up, hit The Ozone shops at Mission Pacific to sift through a highly curated selection of products made by local brands, artisans, designers and artists. It’s a perfect place to find a special keepsake from Oceanside. Don’t miss out on one of the featured clothing lines, Outerknown, founded by legendary pro surfer Kelly Slater. The sustainable clothing brand has cool threads for both men and women that will help keep your visit to Oceanside memorable for years to come.

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Photo by Hello Betty


After a much-deserved beer nap, get ready for a world-class dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Valle at Mission Pacific. Acclaimed chef Roberto Alcocer’s elevated Baja-inspired cuisine exhibits a cross between traditional and distinctly creative flavors and is a must-do in Oceanside. The highly popular eight-course tasting menu features seasonal ingredients and wood-fired cooking to create an unforgettable experience. And the top-shelf wine parings include some of the best pours from northern Mexico’s wine region, Valle de Guadalupe.

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen-2
Photo by Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

Or, if you’re in the mood for a local pub favorite, head on over to the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen. This award-winning restaurant serves up Southern-style comfort food in a casual setting. No matter what else you order from the menu, be sure to try the pork belly with honey pear braise and sweet habanero jam.


Day 2

Piper Oceanside-5_The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa
Piper at The Seabird resort | Photo by The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa


Start your day at Piper at The Seabird resort. With a California-coastal ambiance, open kitchen and fresh ingredients sourced from regional small farms and artisanal purveyors, Piper is an agreeable destination for breakfast, brunch or dinner. For more of a coffeehouse feel, try Communal. This creative space, less than a mile away, offers specialty coffees, a toast bar and myriad breakfast sandwiches as well as a flower shop and next-door home decor shop. After breakfast, grab an e-bike at Mission Pacific and explore the coast. Cruise south to explore the beaches and surf spots or head north to Oceanside Harbor to see everything it has to offer, from bird watching to finding souvenir swag. Oceanside Harbor is also a mecca for water activities.

Top Gun House 2 - Credit Douglas Freidman
The “Top Gun” House | Photo by Douglas Freidman


After a little cardio, head back to the hotel and stop by the historic “Top Gun” House. The iconic Victorian cottage, made famous by the 1986 movie “Top Gun,” sits in the confines of the Mission Pacific Beach Resort, about a block from its original location. The building serves as an homage to the hit movie and is filled with memorabilia, but it is also home to High-Pie, a dessert-focused eatery featuring baked-to-order mini pies a la mode and more.

After your nostalgic visit, check in for a spa appointment at Sunny’s Spa & Beauty Lounge at The Seabird resort. Sunny’s is beloved by guests and locals alike and is known for providing 30- to 90-minute hits of joy through its integrated services of wellness and beauty offerings. The environment is open and warm and, no matter the treatment or service you prefer, one can’t leave Sunny’s unhappy.

Mission Pacific Beach Resort roof_credit Jordan Younis Photography
Rooftop views at Mission Pacific Beach Resort | Photo by Jordan Younis Photography


Head up to The Rooftop Bar at Mission Pacific to take in the ambiance and enjoy the sunset. Nosh on snacks and small plates while taking in the scene and watching for the elusive green flash as the sun disappears into the Pacific. Or go out for dinner first and end your evening at the Rooftop listening to the top DJs in town in this open-air lounge. For dinner, some of the best wood-fired pizza can be found a short walk away at Blade 1936. Named after the historic building that housed the Blade-Tribune newspaper from 1936 until the 1960s, this local favorite serves up authentic Italian cuisine with modern twists. But it’s the Napoli-style pizzas that get all the buzz, partly due to their craveable crusts coming out of the custom-made Italian brick oven.

Alex_iFly_2 indoor skydiving at iFly Oceanside
Indoor skydiving at iFly Oceanside

If You Have More Time…

There’s much more to explore in the area so, if you have the time, visit the California Welcome Center on your way into town. Get some expert advice on what to do and see as well as historical perspective from some passionate O’siders. If you’re looking for a little more of an adrenaline rush, try iFly Oceanside for an indoor skydiving experience. Or spend some time at one of the top attractions in town, the California Surf Museum, which showcases the history of surfboards and wave-riding and also features revolving exhibits throughout the year.

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