Living in Solana Beach in San Diego

Living in Solana Beach in San Diego

Today we’re taking you on a tour of Solana Beach, a laid-back beach town in North County San Diego! Sandwiched between Del Mar and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana Beach is an awesome community to consider calling home.

We start our tour at one of Solana Beach’s most recognizable landmarks, Fletcher Cove. Where Fletcher Cove Park is now used to be all one big cliff. But thanks to some committed San Diegans, the cliff was opened up in 1924 to create an access point down to the sand. That paved the way for Solana Beach to become the beach town we know and love today.

Next on our list, we head up Highway 101 to check out some of the restaurants, bars, and shops that line San Diego’s coast highway. Solana Beach is very walkable and possesses a laid-back beach town vibe – no wonder it’s been named one of the best places to live in the US! The local schools are also excellent. Though if you have high school students you should be aware that Solana Beach high schoolers actually go to Torrey Pines High School, which is just a few miles away in Carmel Valley. Solana Beach also has a train station just off the 101, where you catch the Coaster to go down to the city of San Diego or head up the coast toward Los Angeles.

Cedros Avenue, sometimes called the Cedros Design District, is the next stop on our tour. It’s a cute little street just off the 101 that’s filled with art galleries, boutiques, home décor shops, antique stores, and the famous San Diego music venue, the Belly Up. The Belly Up hosts events year round and has welcomed some famous musicians and bands like the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and more. There are also two great coffee shops on this street we love to check out whenever we’re in Solana Beach, Lofty Coffee and Barefoot Coffee Roasters. Culture Brewing is a cool outdoor brewery in the area as well.

So what’s it like to live in Solana Beach? Similar to other beach towns we’ve visited on Off the 56, Solana Beach has a bunch of different types of homes from little beach bungalows to condos and apartments all the way up to large single family homes. But no matter what you’re hoping to buy (or rent) in Solana Beach, know that it’s going to be pretty pricey. The median home price in Solana Beach is $1,288,000. Thinking of moving to Solana Beach? Be sure to reach out to get your real estate journey started. I’d love to help you buy (or sell) a home in Solana Beach or anywhere in San Diego County!

The 7 Best Places to Live in San Diego for Millennials

The 7 Best Places to Live in San Diego for Millennials

Welcome to Off the 56! Today’s video is for the Millennial who is looking to move to San Diego. If this sounds like you, keep reading to learn which neighborhood is right for you. I hope you enjoy!

North Park & South Park

North Park is located just north of Balboa Park and is very centrally located in San Diego. In contract, South Park is located (you guessed it!) on the south side of Balboa Park. This area is full of great restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and bars to enjoy. In fact, South Park is home to one of the best Italian restaurants in all of San Diego, Buona Forchetta. The school district isn’t the best in this area, but Garfield Elementary School is does have high rankings in San Diego County. The median home price in this area is $715,000.

Normal Heights

The quaint neighborhood of Normal Heights is a great area for Millennials and families alike. The main street of Adams Avenue has many coffee shops, restaurants, and lots of antique shops housed in its Antique Row. The homes in this area have a lot of charm and are much more affordable than in North Park and South Park. The median home price in Normal Heights is currently $608,000.

Little Italy

This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of San Diego- and it’s not just for Millennials! Little Italy is very walkable and has some of the best restaurants in the city. Some of my favorites are The Crack Shack, Juniper & Ivy, and Mona Lisa Deli just to name a few. This area is not the most affordable, but it isn’t the most expensive either! The median home price in Little Italy is $520,000.

UTC/ University Town Center

University Town Center, also known as UTC, is located just east of La Jolla. This area is best known for the great shopping at the recently renovated Westfield UTC Mall where you can go browse a wide variety of stores, as well as enjoy dining and entertainment. They are currently building a trolley line that will connect UTC to Downtown San Diego, which will be great for commuting! The median home price in UTC is $645,000.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach is a very walkable area, as are most of the neighborhoods on this list! Cedros Design District is full of cool art shops, furniture stores, coffee shops, and eateries to enjoy. The Belly Up is a great live music spot that is a local favorite! Solana Beach is very centrally located to Downtown San Diego as well as other beach communities, making it an easy pick for many Millennials. It is one of the most expensive areas to live, with the median home price at $1,255,000.

San Marcos

San Marcos sits on the edge of North County San Diego. Because it is a little out of the way, San Marcos is on the more affordable side compared to other neighborhoods on this list. And it has some great food options, too! Some of my favorite local spots in San Marcos are Urge Gastropub and Old Cal Coffee. There are lots of breweries in this area too, including the famous Stone Brewery in Escondido. If you have kids, San Marcos has some of the best schools in all of California! There is also great entertainment nearby, including LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Safari Park! The median home price in San Marcos is $607,0000.

La Mesa

This hidden gem of San Diego is located about nine miles east of Downtown San Diego. La Mesa has a great main street that has a very charming feel to it. The main street has great restaurants and shops to explore, perfect for Millennials looking to get out and socialize. La Mesa also has an impressive 21 parks and sports fields! It is a very community-centric area; they hold lots of seasonal events every year like Oktoberfest and a Christmas festival. It’s worth noting that it can get pretty hot in La Mesa. The average temperature tends to sit around 85 degrees! It’s a more affordable area of San Diego though, with a median home price of $585,000.

That wraps up my list of the 7 Best Places to Live in San Diego for Millennials! What did you think of my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Best School Districts in San Diego County

Best School Districts in San Diego County

There are a lot of schools in San Diego, but today on Off the 56 we’re covering the overall best school districts in San Diego County so you can make an informed buying decision for you and your family. If you’d like more information on homes or communities located within each of these top school districts, just reach out!

First, a few facts about what it’s like to go to school in San Diego.

If you’re new to San Diego, you might be surprised to learn that most of the schools in San Diego are outdoors. Which means kids are outside for a lot of the day as they move from classroom to classroom. Lunch is often eaten on a covered patio area rather than in an enclosed room. So you will need to make sure your kids wear sunscreen to school every day!

Another thing you might not be aware of is that many schools in San Diego don’t offer transportation to school in the form of school buses. If they do have transportation, you often have to pay extra for it. For example, Poway Unified has a charge for bus transportation. That’s partially because in San Diego they really try to build the schools in neighborhoods so that the kids can actually walk or bike to get to school.

Many San Diego Schools also offer great before and after school programs which fall under the heading of ESS – Extended School Services. ESS also offers summer camps and programs that can be very affordable.

Schools may have varying start times even within the same district. This is something to keep in mind if you are planning to drive your kids to school and both parents also have to get to work.

Finally, since San Diego is a coastal city, there are many different sports offered here that are not offered at schools across the country like surfing, crew, beach volleyball, water polo, and more. Similarly, there are also schools that don’t have traditional school sports like football or activities like cheerleading.

So with that in mind, let’s get to the best school districts in San Diego County!

San Dieguito Union School District

This is the public school district that encompasses Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, and more. has actually ranked San Dieguito Union School District the best school district in San Diego. Schools in this district include Torrey Pines High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley Middle School, and more.

Visit District Website

Poway Unified School District

Poway Unified School District is also an A+ rated school district on This is the school district that our kids are part of as well. This district encompasses communities like Rancho Peñasquitos, Torrey Highlands, 4S Ranch, Del Sur, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, and more. There are thirty-nine schools in this district, making it the second biggest district in all of San Diego! Schools include Del Norte High School, Westview High School, Poway High School, and others.

Visit District Website

Coronado Unified School District

Heading south, another A+ rated school district on is the Coronado Unified School District. This is probably the smallest school district in San Diego as it just covers Coronado Island.

Visit District Website

Carlsbad Unified School District

Another smaller district, Carlsbad Unified School District covers all four Carlsbad zip codes. Ranked the 38th best school district in all of California, schools in this district include La Costa Canyon High School, Carlsbad High School, Pacific Rim Elementary School, and more. Schools in this area are known for their aquatic sports and also for baseball – the Phillies #1 draft pick a few years back, Mickey Moniak, attended high school in this district!

Visit District Website

San Marcos Unified School District

Ranked the 45th best school district in California by, San Marcos Unified School District is another top district in San Diego County. It’s A-rated on and includes schools like San Marcos High School, Double Peak School, La Costa Meadows Elementary, and more.

Visit District Website

Grossmont Union High School District

This A-rated district covers Grossmont, El Cajon, La Mesa, and some other areas in East County San Diego. This district is ranked #74 on’s list of the best school districts in California.

Visit District Website

San Diego Unified School District

This is the largest district in San Diego County and covers the bulk of the schools that are located in the city of San Diego. Because it is so large, it has a wide variety of schools with different individual rankings though the district itself overall has a B rating from One school in particular, the Preuss School, is the 87th best school in the country and 9th best in California! San Diego Unified School District covers schools in La Jolla, Sorrento Valley, Mira Mesa, and Scripps Ranch all the way to downtown.

Visit District Website

If you’re interested in private schools, the #1 ranked private school in San Diego is the Bishops School in La Jolla. Other highly rated private schools include La Jolla County Day School, Francis Parker School, Cathedral Catholic School, San Diego Jewish Academy, and more.

Have questions on what we shared? Need help figuring out which neighborhoods and school districts might be best for you? Shoot us an email and let’s talk!

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