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10 Real Pros and Cons of Living in Oceanside, CA

10 Real Pros and Cons of Living in Oceanside, CA Written by Aislyn Hobbs

Oceanside, along with Carlsbad and Vista, forms a “tri-city” in California. The population is very close to 170,000, so it is not a small town by any means.

It’s a breeze to live in Oceanside. It boasts great weather, plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, and a suburban setting not far from larger urban centers, all of which attract people to live here. And yet, it does have a few problems as well.

What are the benefits and downsides of living in this city? Let’s check out ten pros and cons of living in Oceanside, CA!

Pros of Living in Oceanside

1. The weather is amazing

One of the best things about living in Oceanside is the weather. Year-round mildness is the norm. The weather is great year-round, with mild winters and warm summers.

The coastal winds and ocean currents keep the temperature pleasant, even if the summers can get quite scorching in other parts of California. Oceanside experiences sunshine and temperatures above freezing more than 250 days a year.

Oceanside is relatively cool compared to other parts of California, with an average high temperature of 77.2 degrees, even in the hottest month of August when highs are often between 70 and 85 degrees. 

2. It has a suburban feel to it

As a bonus, the city is situated in an ideal location. Suburban Oceanside lacks the hectic pace of major cities. However, the city is near enough to the larger ones that getting there would take no more than a few hours at the very most. Therefore, for instance, a trip to San Diego takes only 47 minutes, while a trip to Los Angeles’s downtown takes less than two hours by car.

As a result of Oceanside’s proximity to these larger centers, its citizens can take advantage of city life without actually having to relocate. It’s possible to find employment in San Diego, Los Angeles, and other nearby places. In addition, these large urban centers provide them with beaches, parks, and other recreational opportunities.

3. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy

As San Diego County’s northernmost city, Oceanside is your last chance to enjoy the beach before getting into the crowded metropolis of Los Angeles. Oceanside boasts numerous sandy beaches. Moreover, the surrounding scenery is beautiful, and there are numerous tourist destinations to explore within the city itself. When you add in the beautiful weather, you have the makings of a fantastic destination for outdoor pursuits.

You’ll never run out of things to do in this area. There are miles of beaches where you can participate in various water sports. Those interested in exploring the attractions inland have that option. You can visit the Oceanside Museum of Art, the California Surf Museum, Guajome Regional Park, the San Luis Rey River Trail, and many other interesting attractions. In addition, the city is also home to several green spaces.

4. Downtown has all you want

You can get anything you’re looking for in the heart of Oceanside. Ready to hit the beach in no time? Check out Strand Beach, Oceanside Harbor Beach, or St Malo Beach. In the mood for a film? Regal Stadium has that classic California movie theater feel, so it’s the perfect place to catch the latest Oscar winner. 

You can get a turkey sandwich that’s the quintessential example of West Coast’s “quick food” at any number of establishments, like Swami’s Cafe, which also serves up excellent house tortilla chips and salsa. In short, when you’re in the mood for something exciting, just head downtown.

5. Arts and culture are a big deal here

The artistic and cultural community of Oceanside is essential to the city’s unique character. O’side, one of the original California cultural districts, is a place where people of all ages can come together to appreciate art and culture.

Not only does the Oceanside Museum of Art conduct public tours, films, and activities, but its exhibitions are also widely regarded as some of the best in the world. If you’re an art nerd, Oceanside is the place to be, with an average of 15 art-related events each year. These events showcase everything from neon sculptures to botanical prints to surrealist paintings.

There are several excellent theaters in Oceanside, including the Star Theatre Company and the Sunshine Brooks Theater, as well as the California Surf Museum, which houses an extensive collection of surf memorabilia.

6. Get everything fresh at the farmer’s market

Since there are always more than 30 vendors at the weekly farmer’s market in Oceanside, you can easily stock up on all the fruit and vegetables you need. If you like to shop in the evening rather than the morning, the sunset market is the place for you. Moreover, both markets face the Pier because they are situated on Coast Highway, providing an excellent view.

Cons of Living in Oceanside

1. A high cost of living

Is Oceanside where you want to settle down? You should be prepared to pay extra for necessities. This is especially important if you’re moving to Oceanside from somewhere cheaper. Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living in Oceanside is notably higher by 45%. Healthcare costs are the only thing that is less expensive than the national average. Most other necessities are more expensive.

The high cost of housing is closely tied to the high cost of living in the city as a whole, with a median home price of $822,422, almost double the national average.

Rental costs are high for obvious reasons, given the high prices of houses. Oceanside’s median rent is $2,055, which is significantly more than the national average. Housing costs will consume a big chunk of your salary, so plan accordingly.

2. There’s the problem of urban sprawl

 Oceanside is expanding rapidly, and as a result, the city’s population has grown, and urban sprawl has developed. Long lines of new single-family houses and extensive road networks are making for a vast lightly populated encroachment on the wilderness adjacent to the city. If the rate of urban sprawl development continues at the current levels, it could make getting about the city more difficult for residents and visitors alike. That could be a problem for people who dislike living in congested areas.

3. Traffic could be really bad

Although Oceanside is largely peaceful, the city does have congestion problems. The city’s average one-way commute time, at 28 minutes, is around two minutes longer than the national average. With the I-5 running straight through the middle of town, traffic is another problem for the community. It’s not uncommon for this route to reach a standstill during rush hour. You’ll likely encounter more traffic on your way to and from work if you have a job in San Diego rather than in the town itself.

4. You’ll need a car to get around

You’ll need a car to get around Oceanside. Driving is the most efficient, and really the most realistic, method of getting around town, whether you’re on your way to or from work. The city receives a WalkScore of 39 and scores 33 for both public transportation and bicycling. Some parts of the city are very walkable despite the overall low scores, but there isn’t much infrastructure for biking or walking in most other parts.

To Sum it All Up

The city of Oceanside is a fascinating place to call home, located on miles of beachfront along the Pacific Ocean and featuring pleasant year-round weather. Despite the high cost of living and high house prices, as well as other problems, it’s still a fantastic location to call home, and you may find that it works for your way of life.

Learn More About Living in Oceanside, CA

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