Carlsbad: A Neighborhood Guide

Carlsbad CoastlineThinking of moving to San Diego? Live in SD already and thinking of relocating? A case for moving to Carlsbad. 

When I made the decision to move to San Diego from Washington, DC, I had one requirement – my new home had to be steps from the beach. After checking out a few of the coastal beach towns, Carlsbad seemed like the best fit. It has so much to offer and is a great place for singles and young families.

Staying Active

The first thing I noticed when I moved to Carlsbad was how active everyone here is – I always see tons of people running along the beach in the morning and groups of bikers riding throughout the day. The perfect weather year-round leaves you with no excuses to prevent you from getting outside and staying active.

Poinsettia Park offers almost anything you’d want – lighted tennis courts with group lessons available almost every night of the week, athletic fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds for younger children.

There are some lovely trails at the Batiquitos Lagoon, which are wheelchair and dog-friendly. The Lagoon is an ecological reserve, meaning the area was established to protect threatened and endangered plants, animals, and habitats. As one of the few tidal wetlands that remain in Southern California, this is a must-do walk.

A stereotype about Southern California that’s rung true is that everyone is a yogi. My absolute favorite studio is Peace Love and Yoga, an independent studio owned by a young couple. The atmosphere is so welcoming, the teachers are fabulous, and there are classes available for all levels of practice.


If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good meal. My favorite places to eat are in Carlsbad Village, which has everything from casual tacos after a day at the beach to upscale restaurants perfect for date nights. Here are a few of my favorites:

Swami’s: Swami’s is hands down the best place in Carlsbad for a casual meal. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, and menu options are organic and always fresh. Another draw is that it offers many vegetarian and vegan options, so there really is something for everyone. If you go, you’ve got to try the yam fries, which are the best in town.

Relm: Relm is the one place in Carlsbad Village where I almost feel like I’m back in DC because of its swanky atmosphere. It’s a wine bar and bistro with an always-changing wine list, local beer selections, and unreal cheese boards . If you’re looking for a heartier meal, their flatbreads and mac and cheese are delicious. My favorite thing about Relm, aside from their wine and cheese, is their friendly staff. They always remember you by name, making any transplant feel at home.

Sushi Taisho: I am a firm believer in only ordering sushi when near the ocean, and this place fits the bill. Always fresh and delicious, this is my favorite sushi spot in town. Prices are a bit steep for the special rolls, so try going during happy hour (daily from 4:00-6:00) when all rolls are half price.

West Steak and Seafood: If you’re looking to impress a date or just have a fantastic meal, I recommend the West. 100% of their produce is grown at the West Farm, so meals are always fresh and seasonal. Another perk is the Bistro West right next door which offers a more casual menu than the Steakhouse. Its happy hour is always busy and is a great place to meet and network with young professionals.

Community Events

One of the best things about Carlsbad is that it truly feels like a community, which has really eased my transition from east to west coast.

Locals gather at the weekly State Street Market each Wednesday to purchase fresh produce, handmade items, and even some special treats like California Cheesecakes. It’s the perfect opportunity for the community to come together to support local farmers and businesses.

There also are always productions playing at the New Village Arts Theater, a critically acclaimed theater in Carlsbad Village. With regular shows and events, the theater has become a community staple, providing educational opportunities for local students and entertainment for all.

Carlsbad has been the perfect place for me to settle in Southern California. From the beautiful beaches and hikes to the strong sense of community, Carlsbad is a wonderful place to live.

Downtown: A Neighborhood Guide

Thinking of moving to San Diego? Live in SD already and thinking of relocating? A case for moving downtown. We’ll be offering guides to other San Diego and county locales in the future.

Downtown’s distinct neighborhoods have a lot to offer a new graduate, singles, couples, families with children and empty-nesters. One of the best parts of living downtown is the ability to walk everywhere, most importantly the BC Alumni bar, Beer Co., for BC game watches. My husband, also a BC graduate, and I live downtown with our nearly 2-year-old daughter, so here are a few of our haunts and personal favorites, maybe we will see you around!

Little Italy on India Street has numerous restaurants, bars, and coffee shops all situated just a few blocks from the waterfront (with a new revitalization project coming in the next few years). On Saturday mornings, the Farmer’s Market is the place to be seen, so get there early. Little Italy also boasts a quaint Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary, and several festivals each year, including the FESTA in September. A short walk from Little Italy near the Broadway Pier is the ferry to Coronado, which is well worth the day trip (and another neighborhood guide).

Influx: A modern coffee shop with indoor, patio and sidewalk seating
Davanti Enoteca: Small plates, fabulous oasis of a back patio, Sunday brunch, build-your-own Bloody Mary bar
Assenti’s Pasta: Fresh pasta shop
Mona Lisa’s Market: A true Italian deli where sandwiches are made to order and most of the food is imported straight from Italy
Landini’s Pizzeria: A New York-style pie in San Diego

East Village, known primarily for it’s proximity to Petco Park, has undergone quite a revitalization with several modern condominium buildings and, coming in September, the new Central San Diego Library will open.

Phil’s at the Ballpark

Petco Park: A truly affordable ballpark boasting fish and chips from Anthony’s, Phil’s BBQ, Hodad’s and many local brews on tap. The park is open year-round and on non-game days, so children can play on the jungle gym and visitors can stroll around, have picnics or walk their dog.
Knotty Barrel: Quiz night every Thursday, shuffleboard and a huge beer list
Cafe Chloe: Every Francophile’s dream with a sidewalk patio and Sunday brunch
Village 631 Coffee Shop and Wine Bar: A spacious dog-friendly coffee shop with a wine bar in back and sidewalk seating that hosts a Reggae brunch on SundaysThe Gaslamp is well known for several streets of restaurants and bars. Perfect for a bar crawl, or a fancy night at a restaurant with friends from out of town. From the Gaslamp it is just a short walk to Seaport Village. Along the way don’t forget to grab a drink at either Brickyard Coffee and Tea or, for something a little later in the day for dinner and drinks, The Lion’s Share. Looking beyond the tourist trap restaurants and vendors is a spectacular view of the bay and a great place to let the kids run loose and watch the kites.

Cortez Hill is just up 9th street, a quite neighborhood full of condominiums and apartments, a small playground and Sole Luna, an Italian restaurant with a sidewalk cafe and back patio at the base of the famous El Cortez building.

Downtown is also just steps from Balboa Park, where the entertainment is endless. If you haven’t explored downtown in a while, park your car and take a walk.