San Diego slang: Getting from OB to PB without the BS

Oh, what? You thought we would make it easy to get to the primo beach spots? We've developed something of a secret code in San Diego. We rattle off messy sentences like "Oh, just take the 8 to the 805 to the 5 and exit in Encinitas by that one bakery." I'm also semi-convinced a clandestine coalition meets once a month to develop new neighborhood names (I've lived here 15 years and just found out Sherman Heights is a thing). To make matters more complicated, SD just might be the Acronym Capital of the World. I once watched the eyes of a new colleague from Seattle go cross while I told him about someone moving from from the OC to PB to be near USD.

If you're headed to San Diego and don't want to look like a noobie, there are a few abbreviations you should know. You could nod and smile and then Google them later, but memorizing them now is the better option.


This is short for Ocean Beach. What's that, you say? Every beach in San Diego is at the ocean? Well, I'm just here to report the facts, not explain them. This is one of the southern-most beaches, and it's definitely the most laid back. And by that I mean it's full of hippies and 420 enthusiasts. The highlight of the neighborhood is the pier, and it's also one of the only remaining beaches in SD where you can still find fire pits in the sand. Bon fire away, friends.


Nope, not peanut butter. Not even close. PB is Pacific Beach in San Diego, situated just north of Mission Beach. I'm not going to say it's full of college bros, but I will say the neighbrohood brocial scene is always hopping. That being said, if you explore outside of Garnet Avenue there are plenty of sophisticated brunch spots on Lamont Street and quaint coffee shops on Grand Avenue. Come as you are, just don't try to find a parking spot in under 10 minutes (this is where your ride share app will come in handy).


OK, so this one's not as common. But it may still come up, especially if you're going to spend any time in North County. RB is Rancho Bernardo, and the main reason for visiting is the Rancho Bernardo Inn. They throw a good wedding, and their spa is incredible. The Bernardo Winery pours a mean glass of Merlot, and residential neighborhoods with gigantic lawns give way to stellar golf courses.


Any fan of the Real Housewives will recognize OC as Orange County. For good measure, we refer to it as "the OC," because extra articles are very SoCal. The drive to the OC from SD is just about an hour, given regular traffic. Hop in your car and head north on the 5, and you could be people watching for LA Lakers at the Irvine Spectrum or laying on the sand of Laguna Beach by lunch.


San Diego is just a few miles north of Mexico, and TJ is just across the border. Known as Tijuana to the rest of the world, the best way to get to TJ is by taking the trolley to the border and walking across (remember to bring your passport). Eat enough churros to put your insulin in overdrive, barter for faux designer purses and eat the best fish taco of your life.

Lara Vukelich is a San Diego writer who likes to drink a nice glass of red on a beachside patio in her spare time.