If you are a teenage runaway from Nebraska chances are you will end up at the foot Newport Avenue. All kidding aside, Ocean Beach is the least expensive beach community in San Diego. The downtown is a real throwback to the past, with store fronts that have actual services people use. The interesting eating and drinking establishments abound on Newport and the area is a real treat to shop and visit. The housing stock in the flat areas is one huge apartment world. Once you start climbing the hill, the properties are all single family homes, many with wonderful ocean views.
Beach towns in Southern California are well worth the premium you need to pay. But compare to La Jolla and Pacific Beach, OB represents a real bargain. Over time some of the counter culture vibe here will fade. Gentrification is here and there is nothing to stop it.