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Carlsbad is a seaside resort city in the North County section of San Diego Countymarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. The 2009 population was estimated by the California Department of Finance to be 104,652. 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 Oceansidemarker. It is one of the highest-income places in the country.

The city has drafted ordinance protecting sensitive wildlife habitat, becoming one of the first municipalities in the State of Californiamarker to do so. The city has also pledged to protect a specified amount of land within the city limits from development of any kind and spends significant funds to restore habitats destroyed by newer development projects.

Carlsbad is located between the major cities of San Diegomarker and Los Angelesmarker. Its coastal location, scenic beauty, low population density, thriving commercial sector, abundance of upscale housing, and high performing school districts have made Carlsbad one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States. Land is also at a premium; as such, real estate commands prices high even by Southern California standards, with median home prices in the $1,000,000's in 2007.


Statue of John Frazier
Carlsbad's history begins with the Luiseño people who located one of their villages, Palamai, near what is today Agua Hedionda Lagoon. In the 1880s a former sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area. He began offering his water at the train station and soon the whistle-stop became known as Frazier's Station. A test done on a second fresh-water well found the water to be chemically similar to one of the most famous spas in Europe, at Karlovy Varymarker (Karlsbad), Czech Republicmarker.

To take advantage of the find, the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company was formed by a German-born merchant from the Midwest named Gerhard Schutte together with Samuel Church Smith, D.D.Wadsworth and Henry Nelson. The naming of the town followed soon after, along with a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. The area experienced a period of growth, with homes and businesses sprouting up in the 1880s. Agricultural development of citrus fruits, avocados and olives soon changed the landscape. By the end of 1887, land prices fell throughout San Diego Countymarker. However,the community survived on the back of its fertile agricultural lands.

The site of John Frazier's original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a German Hanseatic house, located on Carlsbad Boulevard.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.8 square miles (105.6 km²) of which, 37.4 square miles (97.0 km²) are land and 3.4 square miles (8.7 km²) are (8.24%) water, the majority of which is contained within three lagoons and one lake.

The northern area of the city is considered to be part of the tri-city area, which consists of northern Carlsbad, southern Oceanside and western Vistamarker.

Carlsbad neighborhoods

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Northwest quadrant

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"[16071].) 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 specialty shops, clothing stores, and restaurants. Regular events in the village, which include a farmers market held every Saturday and Wednesday from 1-5pm (see External Link below), an Annual Art Street Faire ~ "Art in the Village" the second Sunday in August from 9am - 5pm 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.

Northeast quadrant

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.

  • Calavera Hills is a planned community located near the intersection of College Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive (the community is bordered on the north by the Oceanside-Carlsbad city boundary). The western portion (phase I) was constructed mostly in the 1980s and the eastern portion (phase II) is currently under construction. Calavera Hills features two elementary schools, one middle school, a very large community park, numerous pocket parks, trails, an artificial lake, and single family, attached, and apartment units. Calavera Hills is subdivided into four neighborhoods (Barrington, Capistrano, Nantucket and Sheffield), each of which are maintained by a homeowners' association. Some, especially condominium developments, feature community pools. Calavera Hills Middle school is located in the area. Much of the community, especially around Calavera Lake, is designated open space. Numerous trails exist near Calavera Lake for public use. Because of strong opposition to the partial draining of the lake, the city is currently considering other alternatives for the removal of a concrete object that protrudes from the lake's surface, which some consider to be an eyesore in an otherwise picturesque area.

*Summerhouse is a residential area built in 2005 and bordered by College Boulevard to the west and the to Calavera Natural Preserve to the east. Many home feature views of the preserve, and cool ocean breezes in the summer create desirable weather conditions.

  • The Colony is an established residential neighborhood located just south of Calavera Hills community park. Homes in The Colony are greatly desired due to unique cottage style homes with shingle facades, large front and backyards and quaint street names (named after Scottish towns).

  • Tanglewood is a condominium complex located between Carlsbad Village Drive, El Camino Real and Avenida de Lousia. Homes, landscaping, and a community pool are maintained by a homeowners association. Although all units in the neighborhood are townhomes, all residents benefit from separate garage units.

  • Robertson Ranch is a proposed development bordered by Tamarack Avenue, College Boulevard, and El Camino Real. Development is anticipated through 2010. It will most likely be the site of three schools. Many Carlsbad residents are opposed to this development which will most likely bring severe congestion to the area. Preserve Calavera website

  • Sunny Creek is a smaller single family development centered along College Boulevard east of El Camino Real. A shopping center is proposed for the area, construction of which has been delayed numerous times. When completed, it will be the only shopping district in northeast Carlsbad outside of the Tri-City area. Among the residents the oppose construction are the original residents of Sunny Creek, who live in a somewhat rural area near Rancho Carlsbad.

  • The Summit (north) is a townhouse development currently under construction, located east of Marron Road and west of the unimproved Haymar Drive. One of its main purpose is to alleviate pressure to develop land on or near the Buena Vista Lagoon, which seen as highly undesirable to most residents.

  • The Summit (south) is a residential area built on a series of small hills, bordered by El Camino Real, Tamarack Avenue, and Carlsbad Village Drive. It is made up of several developments, including Tamarack Point, Falcon Hills, and Carlsbad Meadows, that were completed in the late 1990s.

Southeast quadrant

The southeast quadrant is located south of Palomar Airport Road and east of El Camino Real. It is the newest quadrant in Carlsbad and also one of the most expensive. It has many planned communities and million-dollar homes. Some notable communities in the southeast quadrant include Bressi Ranch, La Costa Ridge, La Costa Greens, the Villages of La Costa, which includes the completed planned community of La Costa Valley, and the nearly completed La Costa Oaks. The ZIP code of the southeast quadrant is 92009.

  • Bressi Ranch is an upscale, award-winning 623 home mixed-use planned community south of Palomar Airport Road and east of El Camino Real. Resting atop 585 acres in the heart of Carlsbad, Carlsbad’s Garden District is composed entirely of all-new construction and is the only community in the region to follow the smart growth concept. Bressi Ranch is home to eight premiere neighborhoods with homes ranging in price from $700,000 to over $2 million. Homes can come as large as 6,280 square feet and many command views of the nearby Pacific Ocean, surrounding hillside, and city. At the center of the community is Bressi Commons, complete with a private clubhouse, Olympic-sized swimming pool, wading pool, oversized spa, barbecue and picnic areas, lush landscaping, and terrace-covered walkways. Architectural diversity, tree-lined streets, upscale amenities, flower beds that bloom year round, executive homes, a convenient location, and the integration of schools, offices, shopping, and neighborhoods have made Bressi Ranch a highly desirable Southern California community. The community has its own shopping center known as Bressi Village, which has a high vacancy rate. In the Village is Carlsbad’s only Stater Bros. supermarket and Trader Joe’s grocery store, both of which opened in February 2009. Bressi Ranch Corporate Center is a sprawling 132 acre corporate business park and one of the largest and newest in San Diego Countymarker. Residents are served by the award-winning Carlsbad Unified School District. Bressi Ranch is also the site of the prestigious Pacific Ridge School, Poinsettia Elementary school, and an upscale, fully-integrated fitness and medical facility known as Tri-City Wellness Center. Bressi Ranch Self Storage is a 144,000 square foot state-of-the-art storage complex, which sits on the corner of Palomar Airport Road and El Camino Real. Currently under construction is a new $7 million, 18,600 square foot Boys & Girls Clubs of America clubhouse. Also planned for construction are a 32-acre mega park, various restaurants, a pharmacy, an assisted living facility, and a financial institution.

  • La Costa Greens is a new residential development built on the hillsides east of the La Costa Resort North Golf Course between the future Alga Norte Park and Alga Road. Many homes in the La Costa Greens have spectacular views of the ocean and the famous La Costa golf course. The neighborhood is anchored by The Presidio Club, which touts of providing a spa-like experience with a concierge on staff. The community amenities include a pool, spa, workout gym, tot lot and two tennis courts. The homes being built here are between 3,000 to 5,000 square feet (500 m²) large and the project is over halfway built out as of April 2006. With the exception of 24 houses in La Costa Greens, the community is served by the La Costa Meadows Elementary School, the newer San Elijo Hills Middle School and the newly-renovated San Marcos High School.

  • La Costa Oaks is the second in the Villages of La Costa and is located mostly east of Rancho Santa Fe Road at the end of La Costa Avenue. It is an affluent planned community with home sizes ranging in size from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet (500 m²) that were built between 2003 and 2006.

  • La Costa Ridge is the final phase of the Villages of La Costa. The top of a local mountain was shaved flat to enable construction of large ocean-view homes in this private gated community to be served by the La Costa Meadows Elementary School, the newer San Elijo Hills Middle School and the newly-renovated San Marcos High School.

  • La Costa Valley is a planned community that was built between 1998 and 2001 near the Carlsbad-Encinitas border. The first of the Villages of La Costa was planned and built by master developer Arbuckle Development. The builders included Kaufman and Broad Homes (later to become KB Home), Shea Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Greystone Homes (later acquired by Lennar), K. Hovnanian and Centex Homes. The Valley Club is the centerpiece to La Costa Valley that was sold with the slogan, "Beverly Hills meets Mayberry", and is home to mostly upper-middle class families. The Valley Club has social activities, a large swimming pool and two tennis courts. The El Camino Creek Elementary School is located in La Costa Valley. The middle school is Oak Crest Middle located in central Encinitas and older students are served by La Costa Canyon High School and San Dieguito Academy.

  • Rancho Carrillo is a community centered on a picturesque canyon surrounding the historic Leo Carrillo Ranch Park. Over half of the canyon and hillsides are dedicated as preserved open space and a yearround stream flows through the canyon. Rancho Carrillo offers a balanced mix of about 1,500 residences from condominiums and townhouses to large estates. Rancho Carrillo was designed in the theme of 'Old California' to match the park and is densely landscaped and laced with walking trails. There is an active social activities calendar with clubs and events offered in all seasons. The development has the Carrillo Elementary School in the neighborhood and is part of the San Marcos Unified School District.

La Costa

La Costa refers to both a residential community of Carlsbad and the world-class golf and tennis resort and spa that thrives at its center. The community is located primarily south of Alga Road, east of El Camino Real, north of Olivenhain Blvd. and west of the north-south portion of Rancho Santa Fe Blvd. The La Costa Resort and Spamarker consists of two 18-hole golf courses, resort hotel and condominium units, 19 tennis courts and related retail businesses. Dr. Deepak Chopra operates the Chopra Center located at the resort. La Costa the community is mostly residential, with shopping centers, upscale boutiques and fine dining restaurants. Because of overlapping district lines, schools within the community may be located in one of four school districts. La Costa Canyon High Schoolmarker and San Dieguito Academy serve residents of Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and other surrounding communities, along with the southernmost portion of Carlsbad. The popular San Elijo Middle School and San Marcos High School serve students on the north side of the golf course. Real estate in La Costa is priced well above the average for both Californiamarker and San Diego Countymarker.

La Costa's development began in 1965, when Irv Roston and a partner of the Desert Inn hotel in Las Vegas purchased 3,500 acres (14 km²) of the scenic area. A golf course was developed and homes began to be sold. The 90-room Rancho La Costa Inn was built to accommodate the visitors. Then, the Spa was added and ultimately, another 2,000 acres (8 km²) were purchased as the Inn grew in size. Sports Shinko, a Japanese company, bought the Resort in 1987. After years of decline, it was purchased in 2001 by KSL Resorts, a California resort hotel group, who totally revamped the La Costa Resort, spending in excess of $140 million.

Each February since 1999, La Costa Resort and Spa has hosted the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, one of the World Golf Championships events. The 2006 edition of the event was the last at La Costa. The Acura Classic, a WTA professional women's tennis tournament, was held at La Costa for many years, until recently being sold back to the WTA.

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Southwest quadrant

The southwestern quadrant is located south of Palomar Airport Road and west of El Camino Real. The area is a mixture of business and residential communities. Because of the city's increasing population, the area was recently assigned the ZIP code 92011 by the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Ponto is a single family and mobile home residential community. While the mobile homes are quite established, the homes located in the neighborhood are new. A plan to develop a portion of the area is currently awaiting approval, although the plan is drawing opposition by concerned citizens. Among the new community types proposed for the area are live-work units, where a business owner is able to live one story above an establishment, eliminating the need for a commute. However, the proposed development directly abuts a protected wetland bird breeding ground. It is located near the city's southern border with Encinitasmarker, west of Carlsbad Boulevard.


Aviaramarker is a resort community in the hills of southern Carlsbad, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon. The community has a total area of 1.6 miles² and is just north of Encinitasmarker and west of La Costa. Just outside of Aviara at El Camino Real lies a movie theater, restaurants, jewelry boutiques, a branch of the Carlsbad City library, U.S. Post Office, and several salons. Aviara is located at .

At the heart of the 1,000 acre (4 km²) Aviara community is the Four Seasons Resort Aviara, a 331-room, five-star hotel. Guests enjoy spectacular views, famous lush tropical grounds, a popular Lobby Bar, personal services, shops, a renovated spa area and a world-class golf course.


As of the census of 2000, there were 78,247 people, 31,521 households, and 20,898 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,090.2 people per square mile (806.9/km²). There were 33,798 housing units at an average density of 902.8/sq mi (348.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.55% White, 0.96% African American, 0.42% Native American, 4.24% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 4.65% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.72% of the population.

There were 31,521 households out of which 30.7% contained children under the age of 18, 54.3% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of single individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The mean household size was 2.46 and the mean family size was 2.96.

23.3% of residents were under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. Among those 18 and older, there were 92.8 males for every 100 females.

According to a 2007 Census estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $79,444, and the median income for a family was $100,932. Males had a median income of $54,826 versus $39,415 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,863. About 3.4% of families and 5.9% of the population fell below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.

Current estimates

According to estimates made by the CBRE Demographic Report in 2005, an estimated average household income for Carlsbad neighborhoods (92008, 92009, 92010, 92011) were $106,459, $108,364, and $111,483, respectively.


In the state legislature Carlsbad is located in the 38th Senate District, represented by Republican Mark Wyland, and in the 74th Assembly District, represented by Republican Martin Garrick. Federally, Carlsbad is located in California's 50th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3 and is represented by Republican Brian Bilbray.

Carlsbad voters in 2008 approved making Carlsbad a charter city. City government is led by an elected mayor and four council members, elected at large. Mayor Claude "Bud" Lewis has been mayor since 1986 and on the council since 1970. Carlsbad has no term limits. Other council members are Matt Hall, Mark Packard, Ann Kulchin and Julie Nygaard, a former councilwoman who was appointed last year to replace Norine Sigafoose, who resigned, for personal reasons, with 18 months left in her term. Nygaard was appointed with the promise that she would not seek re-election. In the fall of 2008 Kulchin announced she would seek an eighth four-year term. Also in the race, for Kulchin's seat and the open seat vacated by Nygaard, were publisher and veteran journalist Thomas K. Arnold, police sergeant Keith Blackburn and print shop owner, and planning commissioner, Farrah Douglas. They were joined by college student Evan Delaney Rodgers and retired Marine Glenn Bernard. Bernard has run for office in Carlsbad before. Aided by endorsements by the increasingly powerful Carlsbad firefighters union, Kulchin and Blackburn won. Blackburn set a new record for campaign expenditures, pouring nearly $100,000 into his successful campaign. Douglas finished third, and Arnold came in fourth. Glenn and Rodgers came in fifth and last, respectively. It should be noted that Rodgers vowed to spend less than $100 of her own money on the campaign and succeeded. Both Glenn and Rodgers vowed right from the start not to use plastic campaign signs for ecological reasons.


School Districts

Public High

Public Intermediate

Public Interlevel

Public Elementary
  • Aviara Oaks Elementary School
  • Buena Vista Elementary School
  • Calavera Hills Elementary School
  • Carlsbad Seaside Academy (K-6 Alternative Education)
  • Hope Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Kelly Elementary School
  • Magnolia Elementary School
  • Pacific Rim Elementary School
  • Poinsettia Elemenraty School
  • El Camino Creek Elementary School
  • La Costa Heights Elementary School
  • Mission Estancia Elementary School
  • Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School
Private Schools

Public libraries

Sister Cities


Notable corporate headquarters in Carlsbad

Notable former and current residents



  1. Carlsbad 92011 holds the fort on home prices,
  3. Smithsonian Magazine | Arts & Culture | Endless Summers
  4. > Sports - Winter X marks surfer's spot
  5. Today’s Local News » Restless no more

External links

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