Whether you’re a San Diego native, hosting out-of-town family, or making the most of a San Diego vacation, nothing beats a meal with an incredible waterfront view. Lucky for you, San Diego County has a beautiful coastline full of delicious options – all with a not to be missed view.
When visitors come to San Diego, the first thing they have a hard time wrapping their heads around is the fact that downtown San Diego isn’t on a beach. There isn’t even a good beach to at least stick your toes in, and say you went to the beach. However, you can find amazing beaches both North and South of downtown San Diego that range from the most family friendly, to the most dog-friendly, to beaches for the adventure junkie, or wild animal watcher.
If you’re keen for that classic “drinks on the beach; toes in the sand” vibe, Sea 180 Coastal Tavern in Imperial Beach is calling your name. This place has a great Happy Hour that runs every day of the week. Enjoy your cocktail with something from their surprisingly large Happy Hour food selection all while watching the local surfers catch wave after wave at this popular local spot.
What can you say about the Hotel del Coronado that hasn’t already been said a million times by awestruck visitors over the decades? How about “yes, the historic Victorian hotel is gorgeous; yes, the Del’s beaches are the stuff of San Diego legend BUT have you tried the Hotel del Coronado’s Sun Deck Bar and Grill?” Grab a seat next to one of the fire pits overlooking the Del’s famous beaches and enjoy a well-mixed cocktail or local beer to say you’ve experienced the iconic oceanfront resort, Hotel del Coronado, at sunset and it’s everything they say it is.
One of the perks of exploring the waterfront bars and restaurants in Coronado is that you can take in the amazing skyline views of downtown San Diego from across the bay. Enjoy Taco Tuesday or Sunday Brunch at Candelas on the Bay in Coronado. Grab the Bay Ferry, and switch up the view from downtown San Diego looking across to Coronado at Sally’s. Sally’s Fish House and Bar serves up impeccable fresh, seasonal seafood dishes as well as sushi.
For knock-your-socks-off views, just a stone’s throw from downtown San Diego, head out to Harbor Island right across from the San Diego International Airport. Park your car, and enjoy a short stroll along the San Diego Bay before kicking back in Coasterra. You can either sit outside on the patio or inside the oceanfront room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Stop by on Thursday evenings for live music and tasty modern Mexican fare – just don’t forget to order their crowd favorite coconut margarita!
You can’t visit San Diego without a taste of a proper fish taco. Hit up South Beach Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach (OB if you’re talking to a local). Head upstairs to their rooftop deck and enjoy arguably the best fish tacos in San Diego with an ocean view to rival many far more expensive restaurants. If you’ve got a free Sunday morning, don’t miss the bottomless mimosas during Sunday Brunch.
The most happening beach boardwalk in San Diego is easily the wide, beautiful stretch from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach. This is the fun beach-town atmosphere winter dreams are made of, and now you can take a delicious, relaxing break from it all at Cannonball. Touted as San Diego’s biggest oceanfront rooftop, it’s the perfect place for a craft beach-inspired cocktail and some of the best Pacific Rim-inspired sushi and Japanese small plates in town.
Just north of Mission Beach is the equally popular Pacific Beach (PB according to locals). As far as oceanfront bars in SD go, Waterbar is the perfect place to grab a seat inside. Whether you’re escaping the sun or a chilly ocean breeze, you’ll find great food made with quality ingredients on the menu at this new PB darling. The salt and vinegar fries are the perfect complement to the ocean view room, the pork belly toast is a favorite and easily shareable, a side of their standout coconut rice goes perfectly with nearly everything on the menu, and brunch is always a good idea at this hot new venue.
The ocean views in San Diego are plentiful and amazing but don’t forget about the beautiful water views to be had around Mission Bay. The casual Barefoot Bar in Mission Bay has lush tropical landscape and beautiful views of all the sailboats in Mission Bay. It’s easy to get here by land or water since they have boat dock for those wanting to dock and enjoy their frequent live music and seasonal Californian cuisine.
If the family is in town and you really want to set the tone for an amazing visit, start with lunch in La Jolla at George’s at the Cove. While every meal at George’s is excellent, lunch on the rooftop is reasonably affordable and offers up excellent views of the rocky La Jolla Cove and beautiful Pacific views. It’s also surprisingly kidding friendly with a children’s menu and a small toy (Wikki Stix last time we were there) to help keep them entertained while you catch up.
Also in La Jolla, Eddie V’s serves an extensive lunch and dinner seafood menu with great bar bites for those who don’t want to splurge. Eddie V’s has live jazz in the evenings making it a perfect way to cap off your day of shopping, playing in the sand at La Jolla Shores and seal watching in downtown La Jolla at Children’s Pool.
North of La Jolla in Del Mar, Poseidon should absolutely be on your to-do list. Right on the beach with indoor and outdoor seating and the sound of the ocean accompanying your meal, you can’t go wrong. You’ll be extra happy that you ordered the coconut shrimp, seafood grill, and seafood linguine.
If your San Diego plans include driving Hwy 101 (and let’s be honest – they absolutely should), Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff by the Sea is the perfect place to stop. Every dining seat in the restaurant has a view of the ocean and the quality food has many people saying this is the best oceanfront restaurant north of Del Mar and quite possibly in all of North County. Don’t miss the lobster tacos that everyone is raving over!
Bellies full, thirst quenched, happy and dreaming of those beautiful sunny days and gorgeous San Diego sunsets over the ocean, we’d have it no other way here in America’s Finest City! For custom tour inquiries, make sure to consult with our expert staff. We would love to show you around our favorite nook in the world.0