Ocean Beach is a brilliant place to help get you in the mood for summer; it's casual, funky and colorful. I find shopping amid salty ocean breezes and hazy, early-summer sunshine to be the perfect antidote for June gloom. I recently decided to walk up and down O.B.'s Newport Avenue and pop into any shop that looked interesting.
I started at the northeast end of the street at The Closet (4878 Newport Ave.). It's a little like Forever 21-meets-Walmart—nothing here is expensive or high-quality, but most things are high-trend. Hoping for some mood brightening, I tried on a tank-style chiffon dress with a tie front in coral for $15.99. I also eyed the sunglasses at $5.99 and an open-lace sweater in turquoise for $19 but kept my wallet in my pocket for the time being.
I crossed Cable Street and ducked into the Ocean Beach Antique Mall (4926 Newport Ave.). There are 10 vendors in this long, skinny store, which has been in existence for more than 30 years. The place was jammed with jewelry, furniture, books, barware, sterling silver and collectables. It was surprisingly lively inside; I listened in on a brief lecture about amber and its origins given to some potential jewelry buyers. I browsed through an early-jazz record collection while my companion ogled a huge case of rhinestone pendants worthy of Liberace.
Hoping to find something more current, we headed next door to Miss Match (4932 Newport Ave.). I was encouraged to find a few urban-cowgirl-type items I'd seen on Pinterest, such as a Lani dress with a Navajo-style print for $58.99 matched with a faded cropped denim jacket for $42.80. I also found an open-lace tube-top dress with a tiered prairie-skirt bottom in white for $54.80. This store seems to stay current, and the staff was helpful.
My last stop on the north side of town was Dream Girls (5054 Newport Ave.). My friend Shawn turned me on to this store, and itís been a destination for me for years. Stuffed from end to end with separates, dresses and shoes, itís a great place to pick up something for yourself and gifts for friends. I browsed through a rack of maxi skirts in dozens of colors and patterns and considered a studded jade envelope handbag and a pair of striped platform-wedge heels. The skirts ran from $29 to $35 and were next to a table of assorted tank tops in different fabrics, cuts and lengths. I bought a dip-dyed oversized cardigan for $38 and a matching brown tank for $11.
We needed a boutique break and headed across the street to The Black Bead (5003 Newport Ave.). The shop's filled with rows and rows of brightly colored glass beads organized by shape and use and broken up by tools of the beading trade—cords, fasteners, chains, posts and more. I was impressed with the selection of polymer clay beads, bezel-set shells and wide assortment of turquoise and hand-blown glass beads. I left considering a prayer-bead necklace with a crystal pendant in rose quartz but not sure if any beading projects were in my future.
Our last stop was at Lola Luna (4985 Newport Ave), a stable influence on this ever changing-street that's been in the same location for a dozen years. Black-and-white chevron floors and exposed white walls showcase a smallish selection of dresses, pants and tops while highlighting some kicky shoes and snappy summer scarves. My companion bought a pair of Soda sandals with a seashell design in pewter for $22 and yearned for several other styles. The dress selection was OK, with other stores weíd visited being a little more on trend and offering better quality.
There are several other stores to consider here—The Humble Hippie, Wings, Wahine and South Coast, to name a few. With Hodad's and BBQ House creating an intoxicating aroma throughout the street, you might not be able to leave.