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Miles of beautiful beaches, delightful shops, world-class resorts, excellent restaurants and the home of LEGOLAND California make Carlsbad the complete vacation destination. Carlsbad is blessed with sun-splashed beaches, three graceful lagoons and a quaint downtown Village.
The City of Carlsbad is a unique coastal community located 35 miles north of the City of San Diego surrounded by mountains, lagoons and the Pacific Ocean. Although the “village” dates back more than 100 years, the City was incorporated July 16, 1952. At that time, Carlsbad had a population of approximately 7,000 people and covered 7.5 square miles. Since its incorporation, the City has grown substantially in population and size (through annexations). As of January 1, 1998, the population of Carlsbad was 73, 688 and the City encompasses approximately 42 square miles. There will be no foreseeable growth in the land size of Carlsbad because all County islands have been annexed. At build out, sometime beyond the year 2010, there will be at most 54,599 residential units in Carlsbad, housing approximately 135,000 residents. The dwelling unit cap was ratified by the voters of Carlsbad in the November 1986 election and can only be increased by a majority vote of the people.
Carlsbad is a seaside resort-town in the North County section of San Diego County, California. According to the state Department of Finance, the city had a total population of 90,271 in 2003. Carlsbad was incorporated in 1952, in large part to generate sufficient funding to connect with the water pipeline running through San Diego County, but also to avoid being annexed by Oceanside. It is the most expensive coastal city in North County, San Diego.
The city has drafted ordinances protecting sensitive wildlife habitat, one of the first such ordinances within the state of California. The city has also promised to protect a certain amount of land within city limits from development of any kind, along with spending significant funds to restore habitats destroyed by newer development projects.
Because of its location, relatively low population density and high performing school districts, the city is seen to have a high quality of life. Thus, real estate tends to be rather expensive compared to most cities. In the annual Forbes Magazine ranking of “Most Expensive Zip Codes” in the U.S. the city of Carlsbad placed as one of the top most expensive zip codes. In a recent article published in San Diego’s “Riviera” December issue, the magazine reported San Diego County’s priciest neighborhoods, stating that “Rancho Santa Fe is the most expensive with the average prices just over $2 million. La Jolla’s average is $1.4 million…and Carlsbad is just over $1 million.”
The northwestern quadrant is Carlsbad’s oldest region. The quadrant is located north of Palomar Airport Road and west of El Camino Real and is concentric with the ZIP code 92008. Though there are some newer developments, the area features many more established single family homes, and in some cases, apartments and condominiums. The fact that many areas in this quadrant existed many years ago is apparent by the fact that some streets (notably Highland Drive) lack sidewalks and/or street lighting. In the case of Highland Drive, however, the city has made the decision to omit improvements to preserve the street’s country-like feel.
Hosp Grove, a grove of trees relatively untouched by development and now designated by the city for recreational use, is located in the northwest quadrant, along with the Buena Vista and Agua Hedionda Lagoons. The Buena Vista Lagoon is one of three the subject of controversy. The Concerned Citizens of Carlsbad is currently floating a Petition to stop the city council from rezoning the fields into new homes and a state of the art City Hall complex. San Diego Union Tribune article
* Carlsbad Village, or downtown Carlsbad, is generally located along Carlsbad Village Drive (formerly “Elm Avenue”, the 1991 name-change prompting local consternation, a “Locals Call it Elm” bumper-sticker campaign, and later license plate holders reading “Locals Still Call it Elm”.) east of Carlsbad Boulevard (also Pacific Coast Highway or U.S. Route 101) and west of Interstate 5. It is currently in a process of ongoing redevelopment, and features many antique shops, clothing stores, and restaurants. Regular events in the village, which include a farmers market held on Saturday mornings 9am-1pm and Wednesdays from 2-5pm (see External Link below), and a marathon, draw many people from throughout the region to downtown Carlsbad. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce also host a bi-annual street fair, called the Carlsbad Village Street Faire, of the first Sunday in May and November. The Village Street Faire is the largest single day street faire in North America with almost 1,000 vendors and well over 120,000 people in attendance.
* The Barrio was the first Carlsbad neighborhood, built in the 1920s. It is densely populated by Latinos and is the site of the city’s Centro de Información, a Spanish division of the Carlsbad City Library.
* Olde Carlsbad refers to the area south of the Buena Vista Lagoon, west of El Camino Real and north of Cannon Road. These were the original boundaries of the city of Carlsbad. The area features many historic buildings. It is perhaps the most socioeconomically diverse section of the city, where homes range from enormous mansions to modest, one story homes. Architectural styles in the area vary widely as well. A number of elementary schools are located within the area, as well as Carlsbad High School and the current site of Carlsbad Seaside Academy, Magnolia Elementary School. Carlsbad’s only historic museum, the Magee House, is located in this area, and it is the home of the Carlsbad Historical Society.
The northeastern quadrant is located north of Palomar Airport Road and east of El Camino Real. With the exception of one shopping center, the area is almost exclusively residential. Because of the city’s increasing population, the area was recently assigned the ZIP code 92010 by the U.S. Postal Service. The quadrant has many condominiums and single family homes. Some of the units are quite established while others, particularly in Calavera Hills, are currently under construction.
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