San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Need a beach day? Bird Rock is ‘the place to be’

Find a welcoming retreat from campus life in this charming San Diego beach neighborhood
Isabella Dallas
Surfboards on display at Hermosa Surf

“There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon because they both shine on their own time,” the local Bird Rock UPS deliverer tells me and the others waiting for our coffees outside of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. “(I) just wanted to give you a little positivity today because this is the place to be.”

To spend a day at the beach is to indulge in simple pleasures — the scent of the salty sea air, the rhythmic pattern of waves and the first feeling when sinking into the sand. For San Diego State University students, it’s a free revival for the soul. 

Especially as the final exam season approaches, any trip to visit the ocean is worth savoring. It’s the swift drive to those beaches where it feels like nature has gone all out just for us. Surely there’s nothing better than a beach.

Try a beach town. 

Sitting snugly between Pacific Beach and La Jolla, you’ll find the tiny neighborhood of Bird Rock — a newly revitalized, picturesque spot that holds its own against its more established counterparts.

Named after the towering rock formation that serves as a sanctuary for birds, Bird Rock is a coastal community that exudes a charm that is unmistakably its own. This mini stretch of La Jolla Boulevard embodies all the allure of those small beach towns you often encounter in books or movies. And the best part? It’s not just fiction — it’s a lively destination ready to be discovered. 

With the neighborhood’s impressive array of local businesses, figuring out where to start may seem daunting. Choose one end of the boulevard, grab a coffee (Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is always a five-star cup), and leisurely stroll along. You’ll pass quaint boutiques with the chicest beach finds, inviting restaurants, wine tastings and local salons next to yoga studios. You’ll also find families enjoying the sunny weather with their adorable dogs, neighbors catching up and surfers who look desperate to get their hands on a pastry from Wayfarer Bread (even with a line out the door).

And amidst this spirited scene, Hermosa Surf stands out as a must-visit destination. It offers the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality where you can grab an acai bowl while browsing through a selection of surf essentials. Picture surfboards lining the walls like works of art, complemented by impressively styled merchandise inside. Hermosa Surf is undeniably cool. It embodies the essence of Bird Rock — a place where style meets adventure, and every corner is filled with excitement and possibility… you might even contemplate becoming a surfer.

A few local shops in the neighborhood of Bird Rock

“Bird Rock is absolutely amazing. I love it,” said Craig Bender, the owner of Bird Rock Animal Hospital and board member of the Bird Rock Community Council. “What makes it so special? Oh, everything. It’s that small-town feel that you just don’t get in Southern California. I’ve always had a crush on it.” 

From leading the Bird Rock Merchant Group to acting on initiatives for neighborhood improvement, Bender’s dedication to building connections among residents is unwavering. His vision for Bird Rock extends beyond its streets. It’s the people of Bird Rock who make this place truly special. From long-time residents to newcomers drawn by its small-town charm, Bird Rock is a melting pot of community spirit. 

“You walk down the street, and you know a bunch of people, and it feels good,” Bender said. 

It’s this sense of belonging that sets Bird Rock apart — a place where neighbors become friends and strangers are welcomed with open arms. Whether it’s the annual 4th of July parade or the Halloween window painting event with Bird Rock Elementary students, there’s always a reason to come together and celebrate. 

“I love to walk around the cafes and get a coffee before checking out the surf at Bird Rock,” Rosie Griffin, a third-year business major, said. “It’s really a special beach town. The community is very welcoming, and it’s such a relaxing escape from our college campus.”

As the day transitions into night, Bird Rock comes alive with the buzz of excitement. Restaurants and wine bars overflow with locals, their laughter mingling with the salty breeze that drifts in from the nearby ocean. Soon, lights twinkling in trees and a “Welcome to Bird Rock” sign will be added, contributing to the perfect backdrop-esque feeling of this coastal neighborhood.

Maybe it’s Bird Rock’s incredible closeness to the sweeping ocean views and surf culture that draws you in, or perhaps it’s the charm of the roundabouts and the colorful mosaic benches. 

With only a few weeks left of the semester at SDSU, don’t hesitate to let the spirit of Bird Rock capture your heart.

About the Contributor
Isabella Dallas
Isabella Dallas, '24-25 Arts & Culture Editor
Originally from San Jose, California, Isabella is currently in her third year at San Diego State University. She is pursuing a major in Journalism, with a minor in Creative Writing. While starting her third year at The Daily Aztec as a Senior Staff Writer, Isabella has discovered her love for covering cultural events and topics with artistic aspects and aesthetic influences. She writes for the Arts and Culture section, where her favorite pieces focus on live music, pop culture, fashion, and differing lifestyles. She can also be found writing about TV, books, and her many other obsessions. When Isabella isn’t sitting at a coffee shop writing articles or reading a new book, you’ll find her devouring the latest issues of Vogue and Rolling Stones. Her only life goal is to one day interview Harry Styles—any leads are gratefully welcomed.