Pacific Beach, or “PB” as locals would call it, and Mission Beach are both central beach communities in the City of San Diego, sharing the zip code of 92109. They are sandwiched between their refined brother, La Jolla, to the North and eclectic brother, Ocean Beach, to the South. The close cousin neighborhoods of Clairemont, Bayho, Baypark and Mission Valley are to the East. PB and Mission Beach are bustling neighborhoods where you can find the boardwalk, alley ways and streets filled with beach cruisers, skate boarders, roller bladers and joggers. Both have an abundance of dining, shopping and beach-related entertainment to offer. The largest commonality is its appeal to beach lovers. PB and Mission Beach are an active person’s playground; a place where residents take their pick of the beach or the bay to paddle board, kite surf, kayak or jet ski! While PB and Mission Beach have a lot of similarities they also differ in some ways.
Mission Beach is PB’s little sister to the south. Mission Beach is only 0.6 square miles in size and has a population of about 3,200 while PB is approximately 4.4 square miles in size and has a population of roughly 41,000 people. In terms of size and population PB is seven times larger and 13 time more populated than Mission Beach.
Both sisters like to stay active, host and entertain! PB and Mission Beach have no shortage of attractions. PB is centered around Garnet Avenue which hosts an abundance of trendy shops and tattoo / piercing / beauty salons. Also, endless eateries including delis, ethnic restaurants and open air restaurants and bars. The iconic Crystal Pier can be found at the end of Garnet Avenue and is well known for the Crystal Pier Hotel which was built on the pier itself. Given that Mission Beach is surrounded by water, the bay to the east and ocean to the west, it has several aquatic centers that offer water sport rentals and lessons. Another iconic landmark is Belmont Park which marks the end of Mission Beach and the beginning of what locals refer to as “South Mission”. This historic beachfront amusement park features the Giant Dipper and The Wave House as well as other dining, shopping and attractions.
As far as the residents in each community; a large percentage of the homes in Mission Beach are used as vacation rentals during the busy summer season whereas PB is more of a traditional long-term residential neighborhood. Regardless of whether people stay for a season or a lifetime, both communities are equally magical in their beach lifestyle offerings.