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Priscilla brings you the best places to eat, stay, and play in Huntington Beach, California.
By Priscilla Willis
1. The Beach
The Beach of course, is the main attraction in #myhometownguide! We have the widest expanse of golden sand along the longest uninterrupted stretch of nature’s wave machine in southern California. The sunbathing, surfing, boogie boarding, body surfing, volleyball, and people watching is unparalleled. Unless you surf, you may not know that Huntington Beach’s claim to fame is surfing. Besides their location in the sunny, warm, palm tree lined, beach paradise known as Southern California, Huntington Beach is also the epicenter of surf and skate culture with global lifestyle brands like Quicksilver and Roxy whose North American headquarters are based in Huntington Beach, and Hurley which was founded in 1999 in Huntington Beach. To make it official, Huntington Beach was granted the Surf City, USA trademark by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which approved three designs in November, 2006. Throughout the year, Western Surfing Association surf contests are held near the Huntington Beach Pier and at the end of July, the Van’s US Open of Surfing draws far too many people (last year, nearly 1 million over 10 days) to be a part of the biggest beach party ever. The 2014 US Open of Surfing is set for July 20 through July 28th and, in an effort to avoid last year’s crowd issues, promises to return to the spirit of an event centered on surfing. Join us on the sand to see who will out surf last year’s champions Carissa Moore (Hawaii) and Alejo Muniz (Brazil) to win the ASP Women’s and Men’s title. There’s always something going on at the pier, including a farmers market every Friday from 12-5.
Huntington Beach Pier
315 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA
Phone (714) 898-7927
To get primed for beach action, you must have an excellent cup of coffee. Sure there’s the standard Starbucks, but you’re on vacay – treat yourself to the potent signature BOLD blend at Bruxie or a cup of fine, organic Kean Coffee at Baguetier. Both are on 5th Street – one block north of Main – and have awesome grinds (“food” in surf lingo) to replenish and energize for the glorious, fun-filled day ahead. Bruxie offers killer savory Brussels waffle sandwiches or, for your sweet tooth, freshly made Liege waffles with fruit and chocolate and whipped cream. My favorite is the Green Eggs and Ham with arugula pesto and add arugula! So good, and healthy, too But there are sooo many delicious choices! For croissants, bread, gluten free pastries, vegan raw bars, cookies, and other scrumptious baked goods (lemon bars and pineapple coconut bars are my fave) look for Baguetier’s cheery orange awning right off Pacific Coast Highway.
180 5th Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
120 5th Street
Huntington Beach, California 92648
Phone (714) 969-1700
3. Main Street
is where the action is when you’re parched from the beach (where no alcohol is allowed).Whether it’s shopping, eating or drinking, Main Street offers some of the most eclectic choices in all of Orange County, all within a three block area. At the Huntington Beach Pier, there’s Duke’s and Sandy’s. Walking from the pier, there’s Fred’s Mexican Cafe, Perq’s, 25 Degrees (just off Main, left on Walnut ), Gallagher’s Irish Pub (right on Walnut) Huntington Beach Beer Company, Killarney Pub & Grill, Sugar Shack, No Ka Oi, Hurricanes, Longboard Restaurant & Pub, Aloha Grill, Dos Toros, 301 Beachfront, Main Street Wine Co., Sushi On Fire, Pizza Lounge, and El Ranchito. Just leave the car keys at home, assign a designated driver, or cabs are readily available if you’re not staying within walking distance (See #5).
If you’re in town on a Tuesday, catch Surf City Nights – a family friendly affair complete with sidewalk sales, arts & crafts, farmers market, live music, food vendors, small petting “farm”, jump houses, and other kids activities.
4. Fish Tacos
Fish tacos originated in Baja, Mexico and traveled north to become a staple in Southern California. Fresh fish from the sea is a natural love for sand and surf worshipers and Huntington Beach is home of many fish taco joints, but if you want the BEST – you can find it about a mile from the sand, at Slapfish on Beach Blvd.
Having the best fish taco means ordering it fried – a large fresh fillet of Hake fish, all warm and crunchy, topped with a drizzle of avocado crema, garnished with slivers of radish and bright cilantro leaves. A squeeze of lime and you’re in fish taco heaven. If you’re a total seafood lover like me, you won’t be disappointed with Slapfish. Of course, fish tacos are on the menu at several downtown restaurants, but at least once during your stay, drive up Beach Blvd. to Slapfish (in the Newland Center at Beach and Adams). Slapfish calls themselves a modern seafood shack with a mission of serving the freshest sustainable seafood. Open for lunch and dinner, their seafood is so fresh – it slaps you As a partner with the Aquarium of the Pacific they’re serious about their sourcing as well as the flavors they bring to the table.
19696 Beach Blvd.
Phone (714) 963-3900
5. Shorebreak Hotel
Where to stay? SEXY, SURFER, CHIC – is a spot-on description of Huntington Beach’s Shorebreak Hotel and its restaurant & bar Zimzala. We enjoy Zimzala’s youthful vibe, the menu’s emphasis on familiar American dishes made with farm fresh ingredients, beach-inspired handcrafted cocktails, and, of course, the surf-inspired décor.
500 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Phone (714) 861-4470
And for extra measure, #6 – Huntington Beach is DOG FRIENDLY. Expect to see every breed and mix of dog walking along the streets with their humans in tow. Shops downtown have water bowls set out for pups to hydrate and many several downtown restaurants have outdoor tables where dogs are able to relax while mom and dad dine. There’s even a dog beach at Pacific Coast Highway and Goldenwest St.! The Shorebreak Hotel is a dog-friendly hotel and Zimzala, the hotel restaurant, has a large patio with a fabulous view of Huntington Beach Pier and a special canine menu.
Businesses along 5th Street have treats for their favorite four-legged friends – which makes this our Corgi Tank’s favorite street in Huntington Beach. He loves running up to all his buddies at Bruxie, Baguetier, the Shorebreak valets, and the nice people at ChiliBeans sunglasses while on his daily stroll.