A walk around beautiful Oceanside Harbor.

These photographs were taken during a walk around beautiful Oceanside Harbor.

I began where Harbor Drive descends to the water and intersects with North Harbor Drive.

The walk proceeds west along the South Harbor, then curves to the North Harbor, taking in many interesting sights along the way.

At a point across the water from the Jolly Roger restaurant, I turned about, retraced my steps, then explored the South Harbor’s various shops and attractions.

I then made my way west to North Pacific Street, next to Oceanside Harbor Beach, and headed past the boat ramps to the jetty that juts out into the Pacific Ocean beyond a parking lot.

Hopefully you’ll get a taste of what this walk on a sunny, late February weekend afternoon was like!

Descending Harbor Drive to beautiful Oceanside Harbor.
Looking past Joe’s Crab Shack and boats in the South Harbor marina toward the picturesque lighthouse.
Across from the Oceanside Harbor boat ramps, which we’ll see close up later in the walk.
Turning north, walking past the Oceanside Broiler restaurant, where diners sit outdoors gazing at boats in the Southern California sunshine.
Many benches along Oceanside Harbor are dedicated to loved ones, or feature inspirational messages.
Monument to Erwin Sklar, 1910-1974. During his term as Mayor and City Councilman this harbor was designed and built, fulfilling a Dream of Erwin Sklar and the People of Oceanside.
Small boats pass stand up paddleboarders near the entrance to Oceanside Harbor.
Watching activity on the water from the end of the Oceanside Harbor Fishing Pier.
Monument by the Oceanside Harbor Fishing Pier. Remember Pearl Harbor.
Fishermen wait patiently for a bite on the pier. I was told many types of fish can be caught here, especially when the water warms up later in the year.
A large ship’s anchor with a small plaque across from the entrance to Oceanside Harbor.
In memory of those lost at sea. Dedicated January 9, 1979.
Along North Harbor Drive, large blue and white letters spell OCEANSIDE.
Many along the boardwalk were watching Sea Lion Island, where there appeared to be a lot of napping.
Sea lions relax in the Oceanside sunshine.
A better view of the OCEANSIDE sign, which is visible to boaters entering the harbor.
Continuing the walk, now along the North Harbor.
People pass me on the boardwalk carrying a kayak.
I pass the Oceanside Weighing Station. No fish being weighed at the moment.
The Jolly Roger restaurant across the North Harbor.
Kayaks stacked on the nearby dock.
Right around here I turned about to retrace my steps.
Back by Joe’s Crab Shack. The walk now proceeds in that direction.
People walk out onto the docks.
Some sportfishing vessels can be boarded nearby.
Approaching shops and restaurants and other touristy attractions of the New England-style Oceanside Harbor Village.
Sportfishing and whale watching trips are available at the Oceanside Sea Center.
A great view from up there.
I like this mail box!
Interesting photo of the red and white faux lighthouse, which is actually home to Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill.
Lots of beachy souvenirs attract passersby.
Looking back at the lighthouse and Oceanside Harbor Village.
We’ve arrived at North Pacific Street, which runs between the harbor and the beach.
Heading north again, but on the west side of Oceanside Harbor.
We’ve come to the boat ramps, which are very active on a sunny weekend day.
Marker at the Oceanside Harbor Boat Launching Facility.
Curtis Landing, dedicated September 17, 2005, honors two people named Curtis. Jon W. Curtis was a harbor police officer hero. Joe V. Curtis contributed as a community leader.
Photo taken across the harbor from beside the boat ramps.
Another photo.
Continuing north.
Kites were flying near the harbor entrance.
I’ve turned west and am heading toward the jetty which protects Oceanside Harbor from the Pacific Ocean. In the distance past a sailboat you can see the Oceanside Marina Suites.
A right turn on the water leads to Camp Pendleton Harbor’s boat basin.
That sailboat we just saw is now entering the harbor.
Near the foot of the T-shaped jetty. The beach is on the left.
People by the shining Pacific Ocean.
And to the south, far beyond this surfer on the beach, juts the long Oceanside Pier.

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The Welcoming Arches and Bell of Oceanside.

The Welcoming Arches and the Welcome Bell greet motorists driving south on Interstate 5 as they enter Oceanside, California. The arches and bell stand just beyond a large American flag and beside the parking lot of an In-N-Out Burger.

I passed by the California Mission inspired structure last weekend as I walked down the Coast Highway.

Mission San Luis Rey, founded in 1798, is located about four miles east-northeast of these bright white adobe mission-style arches.

The Welcoming Arches were designed by noted Southern California architect George M. Adams in 1978 and dedicated in 1982.

The first part of the above plaque reads:

THE WELCOMING ARCHES

AN OCEANSIDE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PROJECT

“THE WELCOMING ARCHES WERE CONCEIVED FROM A WISH THAT
OCEANSIDES’ VISITORS RECEIVE A WELCOME REFLECTING THE
BEAUTY, BOUNTY AND HERITAGE OF THIS AREA.

REALIZING WHERE THERE IS PRIVILEGE THERE IS ALSO
OBLIGATION, THIS ENTRANCE EDIFICE WAS BUILT BY THE
VOLUNTARY GENEROSITY OF THE PEOPLE OF OCEANSIDE”


..LORRAINE SHAFFER

Part of this smaller plaque reads:

“WELCOME BELL”
DONATED BY
OCEANSIDE ROTARY CLUB
JOHN A. STEIGER, PRESIDENT
JANUARY 1983

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Mural depicts boats in Oceanside Harbor.

This mural painted by artist Caleb Smith depicts Oceanside Harbor. Elements include two boats, the harbor lighthouse and an American flag. You can see it as you drive south down the Coast Highway near Neptune Way, not long after you pass over the San Luis Rey River. It was painted on the side of Harbor Liquors.

After I took a look at this mural on Saturday, I walked north over the river bridge, turned west toward the Pacific Ocean, and descended to beautiful Oceanside Harbor, where I took many photographs. Those photos will be coming up shortly!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Nostalgic car mural at The Fin Hotel.

During my long walk through Oceanside yesterday, my very first cool discovery was this large nostalgic mural on the side of The Fin Hotel. It depicts a slice of Americana: a small town scene from the mid-20th century.

The Fin Hotel is a boutique hotel that began its life as the Keisker Hotel, built in 1927. Before it was The Fin it was The Dolphin. Today it’s an historic Oceanside landmark that has survived decades of change in the growing city.

The mural, painted by Southern California artist Lisa Kelly, incorporates the cool The Fin Hotel neon sign, as you can see in the coming photos! It also features many classic cars, the Oceanside Pier, and a woodie with a surfboard on top!

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Famous house from movie Top Gun is restored!

The famous Top Gun House, where Maverick ate dinner with Charlie in the popular 1980’s movie Top Gun, has been restored!

I passed the iconic house today during a long walk through Oceanside, and the beachfront cottage appears completely changed from a few years ago. When I last took a look at the Top Gun House, back in 2018, the color scheme and porch were quite different, as you can see in today’s photos and my old blog post here.

The beautiful little 1887 Queen Anne Cottage has been restored to its original appearance. Learn about the Graves House’s historical importance in Oceanside and see a photo of how it looked when built over a century ago by clicking here.

The house has not only been restored, but it has been relocated a short distance up North Pacific Street, to a spot in front of the newly built Oceanside Beach Resort, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The following photo is one that I took in August of 2018…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Cool murals in the heart of Oceanside!

Cool mural in Oceanside at Bubbles by the Beach by Nicholas Danger.
Cool surfer mural in Oceanside at Bubbles by the Beach, by Nicholas Danger.

During my walk around downtown Oceanside last weekend, I came upon a variety of great murals!

In addition to the artwork of Artist Alley, which I shared here, I found these cool murals painted on buildings within a block or two of the Oceanside Civic Center.

Because my walk was somewhat random, I probably missed other murals in the heart of Oceanside. If I did, perhaps I’ll spot them on a future adventure!

Large mural behind building at Pier View Way and North Coast Highway depicts Oceanside attractions as postcards.
Large mural behind building at Pier View Way and North Coast Highway depicts Oceanside attractions as postcards.
Oceanside Harbor and a surfboard.
Oceanside Harbor and a surfboard.
Mission San Luis Rey and a windsurfer.
Mission San Luis Rey and a windsurfer.
Oceanside Pier and a beach ball, blanket and umbrella. Wish you were here!
Oceanside Pier and a beach ball, blanket and umbrella. Wish you were here!
Mural painted at Johnny Mananas on Mission Avenue features tropical flowers and birds.
Mural painted at Johnny Mananas on Mission Avenue features tropical flowers and birds.
More of the very colorful tropical mural.
More of the very colorful tropical mural.
The beauty of Oceanside enhanced by a cool mural.
The beauty of Oceanside enhanced by a cool mural.
Large colorful mural on Civic Center Drive at the Star Theatre.
Large colorful mural on Civic Center Drive at the Star Theatre.
The beauty of the sea will always be with me. By artist Skye Walker.
The beauty of the sea will always be with me. By artist Skye Walker.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Fantastic architecture at Oceanside Civic Center.

Uniquely beautiful civic centers can be found all around San Diego County. I’ve photographed many of them. But the Oceanside Civic Center might be my favorite.

I walked randomly about the Oceanside Civic Center complex last weekend and was amazed by everything I saw.

As you can see from various plaques I photographed, the original Oceanside Fire Station (also called Oceanside Engine House and Police Station) was built in 1929/1930, and the original City Hall and Library were completed in 1934. They were designed by Irving Gill, a renowned San Diego architect who is now a recognized major figure in the modern movement. His welcoming simplicity, unadorned classic lines and graceful arches have appeared in various places on my blog. His style has been described as cubist. You can see that signature style in these photographs as well. Designing buildings for the City of Oceanside was the final monumental project of his career.

As you can see on another plaque, a City Hall renovation was completed in 1957, and as you can read in this article, a large new Oceanside Civic Center and Public Library were completed in 1990. The large complex “designed by Charles Moore emulated the styling of Irving Gill (with) the white arches and simple architecture…Moore remarked about Gill’s legacy: “We use his plain white walls, his unadorned concrete arcades, disciplined fenestration and flat roofs as our architectural vocabulary, and then allow ourselves the exuberance of bright colors with tiles in niches at the entrances, in the jambs and soffits of deep set openings, and through the contrast of palms and broad-leafed plants surrounding our structure.”

The Oceanside Museum of Art, with its exquisite 1972 Opus sculpture by James Hubbell situated near the entrance, is another beautiful part of the large civic center complex. It occupies the original City Hall.

In the same article, you can read that “After renovation of the interior of building, the Museum of Art opened to the public on October 6, 1997. In 2008, a new addition to the Oceanside Museum of Art was dedicated in 2008. The contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot addition designed by architect Fredrick Fisher sits alongside the historic building designed by architect Irving Gill, who redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California.”

Should you ever visit Oceanside, California, look for the big colorful fountain at the corner of North Coast Highway and Pier View Way. Then take a stroll through one of the most fantastic civic centers you’re likely to ever see!

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A visit to the California Surf Museum!

On Saturday I enjoyed my first ever visit to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside.

This one-of-a-kind museum might be small, but WOW! Every inch of it is packed with cool exhibits that celebrate the history, art and technology of surfing!

I found myself deeply fascinated by everything I saw. Even though I’m not a surfer!

Most notable was the museum’s incredible array of historic surfboards, many of which are true works of art.

I could easily see why so many people love surf culture. I could see the poetry and the physical joy of surfing and its spiritual quality. I asked the friendly docent what he liked most about surfing, and he said it was being in the moment. Forgetting unimportant things, riding a wave, feeling alive.

If you are the least bit fascinated by this sport or the Southern California beach scene, definitely visit the California Surf Museum. To give you an idea of what you might see, check out my photographs, and read the captions!

Numerous exhibits fill the small but very cool California Surf Museum in Oceanside.
Numerous exhibits fill the small but very cool California Surf Museum in Oceanside.
One exhibit details the Anatomy of a Wave.
One exhibit details the Anatomy of a Wave.
A gun surfboard made of layered agave wood, created by local surfing and shaping legend Gary Linden.
A gun surfboard made of layered agave wood, created by local surfing and shaping legend Gary Linden.
Asymmetrical redwood surfboard made from the wood of a large wine barrel, created by Carl Ekstrom.
Asymmetrical redwood surfboard made from the wood of a large wine barrel, created by Carl Ekstrom.
Display case holds 1946 California Surfriders book by Doc Ball, his wood waterbox camera for surf photography, and the 1928 Tom Blake Perpetual Trophy.
Display case holds 1946 California Surfriders book by Doc Ball, his wood waterbox camera for surf photography, and the 1928 Tom Blake Perpetual Trophy.
Another exhibit celebrates the boogie board, invented by Tom Morey in 1971, and explores its history.
Another exhibit celebrates the boogie board, invented by Tom Morey in 1971, and explores its history.
Plastic Fantastic rounded pin surfboard, with cool artwork by Randall Kraemer.
Plastic Fantastic rounded pin surfboard, with cool artwork by Randall Kraemer.
A special, inspirational exhibit celebrates Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack.
A special, inspirational exhibit celebrates Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. You can see her surfboard with a chunk missing.
Bethany Hamilton's inspiring story was told in the movie Soul Surfer. She has won multiple competitions after losing her left arm in a 2003 shark attack.
Bethany Hamilton’s inspiring story was told in the movie Soul Surfer. She has won multiple competitions after losing her left arm in a 2003 shark attack.
A very unique hydrofoil for kneeboard surfing, designed by oceanographer Dr. Tareah "Terry" Hendricks. A plaque in his honor can be found at Swami's in Encinitas.
A very unique hydrofoil for kneeboard surfing, designed by oceanographer Dr. Tareah “Terry” Hendricks. A plaque in his honor can be found at Swami’s in Encinitas.
Circa 1910 early California alaia made of Sugar Pine, built by Ralph Noisat. One of the oldest documented boards in the mainland United States.
Circa 1910 early California alaia made of Sugar Pine, built by Ralph Noisat. One of the oldest documented boards in the mainland United States.
Surfing toys, games and pop culture imagery in a display case at the California Surf Museum.
Toys, games, comic books and pop culture artifacts celebrate surfing in a display case at the California Surf Museum.
A museum display memorializes local surfers who've passed on.
A museum display memorializes local surfers who’ve passed on.
Various bodysurfing handplanes.
Various bodysurfing handplanes.
A cool art exhibit titled Abstractions in Symmetry by Russell Spencer features photographs created using light and rotating surfboard fins.
A cool surf art exhibit titled Abstractions in Symmetry by Russell Spencer features photographs created using light and rotating surfboard fins.
A redwood surfboard by Francis Todd II and Mary Krahn pays tribute to popular Southern California surfing destination Encinitas.
A redwood surfboard by Francis Todd II and Mary Krahn pays tribute to popular Southern California surfing destination Encinitas.
A small slice of heaven for surfing enthusiasts!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

The cool murals of Artist Alley in Oceanside!

Artist Alley in Oceanside, California is a very cool “hidden” place that I discovered on Saturday. I was walking near the Oceanside Civic Center when I noticed that colorful mural with the whale you see above. It drew me into the alley!

Artist Alley is located directly across Pier View Way from the Oceanside Public Library and the nearby Civic Center fountain. The alley stretches midway between Freeman Street and North Coast Highway. Step into it and not only will you find all sorts of amazing murals, but there are several artsy specialty shops you’ll want to explore.

I was told by the friendly guy at the Ikigai Artifacts body jewelry store (on the inside walls there are even more awesome murals!) that most of the artwork in Artist Alley was painted in the past year or two. Much of it resulted from a group effort, involving a variety of local artists.

I captioned photos of the larger murals where I ascertained who the artist is.

(My Saturday walk resulted in many more photos, so stay tuned! Upcoming blog posts include a visit to the very cool California Surf Museum!)

Ojos de Picasso (Eyes of Picasso), Mario Torero, 2016.
Ojos de Picasso (Eyes of Picasso), Mario Torero, 2016.
Art near entrance to Ikigai Artifacts by Amber (@_deadcorpse_).
Art near entrance to Ikigai Artifacts by Amber (@_deadcorpse_).
Mural in Oceanside's Artist Alley by Paul Knebels, 2019.
Mural in Oceanside’s Artist Alley by Paul Knebels, 2019.
Mural at entrance to Artist Alley in Oceanside by Marilyn Huerta, and Caymin Charles Ellspermann.
Mural at entrance to Artist Alley in Oceanside by Marilyn Huerta, and Caymin Charles Ellspermann.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!