If you’re a hipster traveling to San Diego, everyone will tell you to hang out in North Park or Hillcrest. These areas are trendy, hip, and full of local/sustainable food, craft beer, indie movies, compost bins, and hipsters themselves. You should check them out.
You know what they won’t tell you to check out, though? Pacific Beach. Known more for party frat kids rather than indie vegan kids, PB is not a hipster hangout.
But isn’t the essence of hipster going against the grain? What would be more hipster than doing hipster things in a non-hipster spot? If you did do hipster things in mainstream hipster spots, are you technically not hipster?
So in this guide, I’m going share some hipster things to do in San Diego and focus only on Pacific Beach. Minus the gentrification. Yes, hipsters do that, but this area is not actively pushing poor or brown or poor brown people out in favor of $6 lattes.
In This Post
Drink local small batch kombucha & cold brew at TapShack
This is the cutest place ever, and they make delicious locally brewed, small batch craft kombucha and cold brew. They don’t even have tables- only pillows on the floor. How hipster can you get?!
Eat eco-friendly brunch at Second Nature
While this isn’t an exclusively vegetarian or vegan restaurant, most of their menu is meat and dairy free and tastes amazing. When they do have meat, they focus sourcing meat grown with local or sustainable practices. So it’s a perfect place to go if you want to take better care of the environment but your friends are like “but beef tastes good.”
Rent old school roller skates for the boardwalk
A popular day time activity in this area is biking, scootering, or walking down Pacific Beach’s beautiful coast via the boardwalk. Roller skates are less common but more retro and therefore kind of hipster, and you’ll still get to enjoy the ocean and palm trees.
Do yoga along the water
Being by the bay and beach, popular alternatives to regular old yoga studio yoga are paddleboard yoga at Spirit Yoga and beach yoga at Bird Rock Yoga. Paddleboard yoga is actually kind of difficult but hey, it’s a unique experience! Also, because San Diego has nice weather all year, there are a few other outdoor yoga options all over the city.
Eat handmade craft ice cream
Specifically, you should check out Hammond’s. They’re more known from those over-the-top food videos because of their up to 32 ice cream cone flight, but their ice cream is handmade and actually really good. They have dozens of unique flavors that rotate somewhat, so I would really recommend the earl grey shortbread, the “yin and yang” or black sesame and white chocolate, and the lavender (which honestly is the best lavender anything I’ve ever had).
Go on a craft beer crawl
Along highway 78 and in North Park, there is a much more ridiculous concentration of breweries and tap rooms that you need to check out when you’re in San Diego.
One way you can recreate this without having to drink and drive is going to the SD Tap Room. Here you get a wristband and can pour however much of whatever taps you’re interested in. DIY beer drinking! And they have over 50 craft beers and some wines!
Shop at the farmers market
Pacific Beach has its own farmers market every Tuesday night. It’s small compared to other places, but it’s still fun to check out because of the high ratio of food to land.
The vendors are all great, but you should definitely check out Maya’s Cookies (which sells vegan cookies that are super soft and somehow taste like a regular not vegan amazing cookie), The Gumbo Pot (for vegetarian Creole/Cajun/West African options that are okay, but mostly the owner is so nice), Pacific Beach Peanut Butter (for organic, local, and creative peanut butters- you need to try the cinnamon), and the one stand with red and green salsa samples (the green one is honestly so good that I drink it- but I also used to live in Seattle so I don’t know what Mexican food is).
Go second hand shopping
San Diego, let alone just focusing on PB, does not have the most exciting thrift shops, to be clear. Or at least they’re hiding from me.
Even though Buffalo Exchange is a chain (GASP), I think they have one of the best thrift store clothing selections in this area. There’s also a Goodwill and a local United Cerebral Palsy thrift store, which is a great place to shop since it supports people with cerebral palsy. For secondhand books, check out Pennywise Books.
Relive the time you studied abroad in Spain and had tapas (small plates)
I hate everyone who says that sentence. We know what tapas are, Chad, and obviously you had good ones in Spain, but you’re in #america now.
Anyway Pacific Beach does have cute Spanish foods, and it’s different way to eat out compared to the typical bar or taco shop foods more visible in the area. If you’re on a budget, head to Pata Negro, a Spanish cheese and wine market and have a DIY a picnic at the beach. If your parents helped pay for your liberal arts degree in this world of unaffordable US colleges which we need to change, check out Costa Brava for delicious tapas.
Do trivia night at multiple bars
What better way to demonstrate your intellectual prowess than by doing trivia night? Different places have this on different days, so here are a few locations and days from one of the popular trivia companies.
Psst – Need a place to stay in Pacific Beach or San Diego? Here’s my guide on where to stay in San Diego!