Pacific Beach is a very cool beach town just north of San Diego and just south of La Jolla. The beachfront city is a part of San Diego but has its own, unique vibe and neighborhood culture. With inexpensive beachfront lodging, great craft beer and excellent dining options, I think it’s a great weekend getaway from Los Angeles. It’s only a two-hour drive from LA, as long as you don’t get caught in rush hour traffic (which goes both ways, in the morning and in the afternoon).
PBers live their lives outside. Spend some time on the beach and boardwalk. Rent a bike or some skates and explore the miles of bike paths, stretching from La Jolla, all the way to San Diego and around beautiful Mission Bay too. If there are waves, there are also a few surf schools that operate right from the beach. Stand-up paddleboarding on nearby Mission Bay is also a great way to explore the area from an ocean perspective.
For me, it has to be a hotel on the sand, one where I can hear the waves from the bed. My go-to is the classic Surfer Beach Hotel, right on the boardwalk at Pacific Beach Blvd. The mid-century modern place is well-managed and has clean, comfortable rooms, some with direct ocean views.
If you stay at the Surfer Beach, there are a few great food options right on the property. Woody’s is the burger and breakfast place on the boardwalk, in front of the hotel. It’s the perfect place to enjoy coffee and French toast, while staring out at the blue Pacific. The same guys also own a new place called Truckstop, located in the mini-mall behind the hotel. It’s a larger space, with a larger menu, think upscale diner.
For dinner, you have to visit World Famous. That’s not just a description, that’s the restaurant’s name. It’s on the corner of Pacific Beach Blvd. and the boardwalk and has a very talented chef whose California Coastal Cuisine-focused menu features seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The prices are also amazingly cheap, compared to dining out in LA.
I cruised to Pacific Beach in style and luxury in the 2018 Infiniti Q70 5.6 Luxe. The sport sedan has a crazy-powerful 5.6L V8 with 420 horsepower. It also has a luxurious leather interior with Japanese ash wood interior trim. To make it exciting, I took the back way from my home in Palm Springs, which takes you over the mountains via CA 74. The aptly named “Pines to Palms Scenic Byway” connects the palm trees of the Coachella Valley with the pine trees of the mountain areas of Hemet, San Jacinto and Idyllwild. It’s 100 miles of curvy mountain driving with some intense elevation changes and the Q70 just ate it up.