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San Carlos, California: The Best Place to Live
San Carlos, California is a rural neighborhood near San Diego. Learn all you need to know about this beautiful community in this guide.
San Diego is voted as a top city in the United States for a reason. Who doesn't want to be by the Pacific Ocean with a pleasant climate, diverse cultures, many activities, and quality dining options?
One of the many reasons San Diego is a great place to live is because it has something for everyone. It has many diverse neighborhoods and surrounding communities to suit all needs.
One of these neighborhoods is San Carlos California. So, what does it have on offer?
If you want a rural setting with urban facilities and a city nearby, then the San Carlos community could be for you. Read on for our comprehensive guide on San Carlos, California. By the end of the article, you will know if it is the neighborhood for you!
All About San Carlos
San Carlos is one of a few San Carlos communities in the US. There is also the San Carlos, California, near San Francisco, and one in Arizona.
This San Carlos community is small, with a population of around 16,700 people in the North East of San Diego County. It has a similar population density to San Diego city, with an area of 3.7 miles.
There are a variety of people who live in this area. It is a popular location for young professionals commuting into the city, young families, and retirees. It also has a diverse range of cultures.
Downtown San Diego is only ten miles away, making San Carlos a perfect location to access city life. It is close to open spaces such as Mission Trails regional park and also close to other popular neighborhoods, such as Fletcher Hills, Del Cerro, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, and El Cajon. Major freeways such as the I-8 and I-5 are nearby.
San Carlos History
The origin of the name San Carlos has differing stories. Most people say it was named after the developer who established the area. Carlos Tavares was the developer, who named San Carlos after himself, and the area of Clairemont after his wife.
However, there was also a ship named San Carlos that the Spanish used to explore California. Some people say this is the origin of the name San Carlos.
The San Carlos community began in the 1950s. San Diego had annexed land around open spaces such as Lake Murray, and Tavares Development Co. secured 4,200 acres. After World War II, San Diego had become a busy city, and demand was growing for real estate.
However, during the 1970s and 1980s, San Carlos real estate was affected by landslides, which hit other neighborhoods, including Carlton Hills. Building regulations changed, and real estate structures improved. Since this time, San Carlos has been growing into the close-knit community it is today.
Despite the neighborhood being established in the 1950s, the Kumeyaay people lived in San Diego County for thousands of years. They mainly lived close to the San Diego River, but they also lived throughout land areas such as San Carlos. However, due to the Spanish colonization and the Mexican-American war, many were displaced from their ancestral lands.
San Carlos Community and Schools
The San Carlos community is an active one in all senses of the word. There are various community meeting points, and people also often join forces with other local communities, such as Fletcher Hills. The San Carlos parks and recreation center is a community meeting spot.
Every month there are community, meetings too, which usually take place at the San Carlos Branch Library. Residents also join together for different recreational activities, such as running and hiking.
There are a variety of high-quality education options in the area. The San Diego Unified Schools District serves San Carlos. Top-rated schools include:
- Gage Elementary School
- Ralph Dailard Elementary School
- Myron B. Green Elementary School
- Benchley/Weinberger Elementary School
- Pershing Middle School
- Lewis Middle School
- Patrick Henry High School
Patrick Henry High School serves the San Carlos community, Allied Gardens, and Del Cerro. There are also private institutions:
- Sierra School of San Diego
- The Bilingual Montessori
- Silverman preschool
Schools are rated highly, with many parents praising the educational approaches. Most schools rank 8 to 10 out of 10 or rated A. The teachers, academics, and college prep are well-praised.
You are also a stone's throw away from some of the top universities in San Diego, such as San Diego State University.
San Carlos Parks and Recreation
There are several San Carlos parks and recreation areas. The San Carlos Recreation Center offers various recreational activities and youth basketball and volleyball leagues throughout the year. There are also monthly classes, including:
- Arts and crafts
There is also green space, baseball courts, basketball courts, a community garden, and a children's playground. The center also hosts various events per year, such as movies in the park, carnivals, and Spring egg hunts. It has been open since 1970 and remains committed to providing recreational and other community events for San Carlos.
The Dailard Neighborhood Park is a popular green space that is safe for children to play in. There is a play area, perimeter path, and stairs for exercise. It is also a dog-friendly park.
There are also a variety of other green spaces and community parks to enjoy in the area.
San Carlos Arts, Music, and Entertainment
There are a variety of things to do in San Carlos, which will keep you busy! It is a rural community, so a lot of the focus is on outdoor recreation. However, there are a variety of other events close by.
Music in San Carlos
The Navajo Live Bar in San Carlos hosts various live music events, including open mic nights, Blues Jams, and karaoke nights. There are also other venues, such as The Hills pub, which plays music.
There are music classes, such as piano classes and performing arts, on offer in the area, as well as nearby music shops. You are close enough to San Diego to access its vast music scene if you want more music.
Art in San Carlos
Some events include art demonstrations, such as those held at Navajo Live Bar. There is also the nearby Little Artists school, which offers arts and crafts classes. You are also close to many galleries, including the Hyde Art Gallery in Grossmont College.
Sometimes local performing arts groups will perform in the area. However, you have access to the San Diego Performing Arts Center, the Lamplighters Community Theatre, Grossmont College Theatre, Moxie Theatre, and more in nearby neighborhoods!
There is also an IMAX cinema in nearby El Cajon, which is extremely close to San Carlos.
Other Things to Do in San Carlos
As mentioned, the San Carlos community runs many events throughout the year. You can also enjoy the San Carlos Branch Library, which is a popular meeting spot.
The library hosts a variety of programs, mainly for children, such as homework sessions at the library. There are plans to expand the library and offer more amenities such as additional computers.
The rest of the entertainment is mainly the outdoor opportunities, such as at the local schools, which provide free recreational use. For example, the nearby Fletcher Hills community center has a pool, and Pershing Middle School has space for running, tennis, and other sports.
However, you are also close enough to the city of San Diego to access the many activities it has to offer. Explore one of its many museums, visit one of the beautiful beaches, discover the other neighborhoods in the area, or try a watersport. San Carlos offers the perfect opportunity to experience a small-town vibe, with an array of city amenities on your doorstep.
San Carlos Dining
The San Carlos dining scene is mighty despite the small size of the community. There are a variety of restaurants on your doorstep. However, you can also take a short drive to neighboring areas like Parkway Plaza in El Cajon.
Here are some of the popular San Carlos dining options:
The Trails Eatery
This is a popular breakfast spot that offers vegetarian and gluten-free options. It is a diner with plenty of delicious treats, from sweet options to savory. Be sure to try their pancakes, such as the cinnamon roll or chocolate peanut butter flavors.
Basil Thai Bistro
Basil Thai Bistro offers an upmarket dining option in San Carlos. There is a range of traditional Thai dishes, including vegetarian options. There is also the option for takeout.
Nicolosi's Italian Restaurant
This local Italian chain has a variety of dishes, including pizzas and pasta. The restaurant is in a relaxed scenic setting and is suitable for families. The staff is also extremely attentive.
Mountain Mike's Pizza
A popular pizza chain in the area is Mountain Mike's Pizza. There are a variety of pizza flavors, including vegetarian pizzas. There is also a salad bar.
Primos Mexican Food
There are a variety of Mexican restaurants in the area, including Primos Mexican food. Enjoy excellent service and a variety of menu options. They offer giant burritos.
Pure Press is a juice shop with a variety of options. It is the perfect post-hike spot due to its location by Cowles Mountain. There are also smoothies on the menu.
Cowles Mountain Coffee
The popular coffee spot offers scenic views in an open-air location. There is a variety of great coffee options. And there are a variety of snacks if you are hungry.
San Carlos Transportation
It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to drive to downtown San Diego. San Carlos is conveniently located near major freeways, which makes it a good spot for car connections.
San Carlos transportation also includes bus lines that run to transit centers such as El Cajon, where you can connect to other public transport links. Buses run several times an hour.
To access the trolley, you can take a short journey to Grossmont Center or La Mesa. You can also easily access taxis. It is possible to walk in certain parts of San Carlos, and there are not many bike lanes.
San Carlos Traffic
There are ongoing traffic improvements in the San Carlos area, such as four-way stops to slow traffic. Traffic limits are also kept at a minimum of around 35 miles an hour. In general, traffic is not an issue in San Carlos due to its small urban size.
However, you can experience traffic when accessing the nearby area. There will also be traffic during peak hours if you are using the nearby highways. Congestion usually starts around 6:30 a.m and 3 p.m.
San Carlos Weather
One of the main reasons San Diego and California, in general, are such popular destinations is because of the weather. San Carlos is no exception! Enjoy around 146 days of sunshine each year.
Enjoy pleasant temperatures throughout the year. The hottest month tends to be August, with a high average temperature of around 70°F, and the lowest is December at around 57.5°F. Precipitation is low year-round, but the highest month is generally December, with about 2 inches of rainfall.
Working in San Carlos
San Carlos offers the opportunity to live in a small community but near the city. It is the perfect option for commuters. Within San Carlos, there are a variety of local businesses, such as accountants and technical services.
However, a short commute away is San Diego's major corporations, such as Illumina, Maxwell Technologies, and Qualcomm. San Carlos is a great option to access many employment opportunities.
Cost of Living in San Carlos
San Carlos's cost of living is higher than San Diego city and the national average by around 56%. One of the main cost factors is real estate, which is significantly higher than the national average. However, residents get to experience a safe rural setting with fantastic real estate, ample amenities, and they are close to the action of San Diego city.
San Carlos Outdoor Recreation
San Carlos is in the perfect location to access some of San Diego county's best outdoor activities. One of the main spots is the Mission Trails Regional Park, which encompasses around 7,000 acres. It is the most visited park in the county, with about 40 miles of trails, different ecosystems, canyons, peaks, and the San Diego River to explore.
Cowles Mountain is in Mission Trails. It sits at 1,592 feet and is the highest point in San Diego. There are several trails to hike to the peak.
Lake Murray is another beautiful spot to enjoy if you live in San Carlos. It is also part of the Mission Trails park. It is open for shore fishing and private boats. It also has plenty of trails and picnic spots.
If you are happy to travel slightly further afield, you also have access to the many other reserves, parks, and other outdoor activities San Diego has to offer.
San Carlos Shopping
San Carlos has all the essential shopping amenities you need, from groceries and pharmacies to auto repairs. There are several shopping centers, such as Navajo Shopping Center. There are also independent shopping options.
Nearby you also have farmers' markets, such as in La Mesa. You are also close to larger shopping malls in neighboring areas.
San Carlos Sports
There are no professional sports in San Carlos. However, you are close to the action of the many sports in San Diego city! You can also follow local teams in San Carlos, such as the San Carlos little league.
San Carlos Social and Membership Clubs
There is a well-established Boy Scouts troop in San Carlos. YMCA also has a community-focused non-profit in the area. San Diego Elks Lodge #168 is another local club.
If you are interested in sports, then there is the Lake Murray tennis club. There are also golf clubs in the surrounding areas. The San Carlos fitness gym has plenty of equipment and space to work out, and there are fitness studios, such as a pilates studio.
San Carlos Real Estate
You can find a variety of San Carlos real estate options to suit all needs. There are no separate official neighborhoods due to the small size of the area. All streets are quiet, often with trees, views of the surrounding hills, and ample space between homes.
Crime rates are low, and it is a safe neighborhood with plenty of recreation areas. It has some of the lowest crime rates in the San Diego area.
Like the rest of San Diego, real estate continues to be in demand, so buying a home in San Carlos is also a great investment. Many people are seeking luxurious real estate outside of the city, and San Carlos is one of the best spots.
You can pick real estate close to one of the top-rated schools and outdoor spaces. Popular streets with excellent real estate opportunities include Larchwood Way, Blue Lake Drive, Golfcrest Drive, and Navajo Road. There are also some beautiful avenues with exclusive homes.
San Carlos Estates and Homes
Most San Carlos homes are single-family units of around 1000-1,300 feet, with garages and several bedrooms. Developers built a lot of homes in the 1960s and 1970s in the popular ranch style. However, many have been modified over the years with extra features, such as more levels, swimming pools, balconies, patios, and additional bedrooms.
There are also recently built condominiums, townhouses, and other tract-style homes. Most homes have detached garages, front yards, side yards, sidewalks, and driveways. There are some fantastic homes with incredible open-plan interiors, and many homes offer the potential for development.
Lot sizes vary depending on the home in question. However, there are a variety of sizes to meet most needs. The median home price is over $850,000. Pricing is competitive and several price ranges are available. Homes are also selling fast, often in less than two weeks of being on the market, as it is a stable neighborhood with many original owners.
Notable San Carlos Residents
Many notable people choose San Diego as their home. Familiar names such as Bill Gates, Alicia Keys, Tony Hawk, and many famous sports stars did or now reside in San Diego. It attests to why San Diego is a great place to live.
San Carlos also has had notable residents over the years. For example, Philip Pryde is a retired San Diego State professor who published a book on forgotten San Diego history. There are also other notable residents who purchase properties, which you may find out about if you move into the area!
The area is also producing many notable future people, thanks to the excellent educational opportunities.
San Carlos Fun Facts
San Carlos's community may be small, but it is full of surprises to discover. Here are some fun facts to learn more about San Carlos:
- Many streets are named after nature as the developer liked doing this
- San Diego has the most farms in the US, including around San Carlos
- It is an excellent spot to access local fishing locations
- The nearby Cowles Mountain is the tallest in San Diego city
- Cowles Mountain was known as 'S' mountain as students painted an S on it
- You can spot wildlife such as Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Californian Gnatcatchers, and hawks
You will discover many quirks and interesting facts about San Carlos if you choose to live there. It is a charming neighborhood with history but also signs of growth. It is guaranteed that San Carlos will keep you interested as it evolves and offers opportunities to discover its history.
Live in San Carlos California
San Carlos California, is one of two in the state. If you want to be close to the city of San Diego, look no further than this neighborhood. It is in a prime position to access city life and retreat to a rural setting with an urban feel.
Whether you plan to retire, commute into the city, or bring your family to San Carlos, there is one guarantee; it will meet your needs. It offers exciting opportunities to put down roots.
Are you ready to explore your San Carlos real estate options? Contact us today to get started!