A Parent’s Guide to LEGOLAND California

A Parent’s Guide to LEGOLAND California

One of the most famous places in Carlsbad has got to be LEGOLAND California! This is one of my kids’ favorite place to go visit and I’ve actually done a lot of staycations at the LEGOLAND hotel. I recently went to LEGOLAND with my son, my niece, and my nephew. We filmed our day so I could give you an inside look at the park! 

My first pro tip is to pick up a LEGOLAND pass if you’re a Costco member. They’re about $100 a year and if you go a lot, it definitely pays for itself. 

My next pro tip is to make sure you go right when you enter the park. You can go either left or right and probably 90% of people go to the left. The best roller coasters are to the right though, so you can beat the crowds and ride them while the lines are still short. My son’s favorite rides are the Technic Coaster and the new ride in the LEGO movie world, Emmett’s Fly Adventure. Another pro tip, the Dragon roller coaster tends to have the shortest line of all the roller coasters.

In addition to roller coasters, there are a number of LEGO statues throughout the park and interactive things to do. There’s a Driving School, where kids can drive their own cars around on a track. It’s pretty cool because they have two different experiences depending on the child’s age. Skipper School is a boat ride, where you get to pilot the boats around the lake. On this trip, we also checked out the 4D theater which was fun because it’s inside and air conditioned. Definitely recommend that on a hot day. 

The LEGO movie land is a newer part of the park that was added after the success of the LEGO movies. Built in the last year, it even has a splash pad right in in the middle – a great thing to take advantage of if you’re visiting in the summer! You can take the kids here instead of to the water park.

Yes, that’s right – LEGOLAND has a water park as well. We didn’t visit it on this trip as it tends to be very crowded in the summer. The water park stays open into the fall, which is when we like to go. Less crowded after most of the tourists go home. There’s also an aquarium here. 

There are a bunch of food places scattered throughout the park. We often go to the BBQ place, but on their trip, we went to Urban Kitchen. They have a lot of different items on the menu including a Philly Cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz. Maybe not super authentic but could be a good item to try if you’re super hungry and looking for something more filling.  

My last pro tip for visiting the park is this: if you can leave without your kids noticing the LEGO store, do it! We can never leave without picking up a new LEGO set. 

If you’re from out of town, I highly recommend staying at the LEGOLAND hotel. It’s super fun for kids. They have rooms with bunk beds and treasure chests that you need to figure out the combination to. Inside the chest are LEGOs the kids can play with. There are two hotels, the original LEGOLAND Hotel and a castle-themed one. Both are great and super close to the park. Really lets you get the full LEGOLAND experience. 

I hope you enjoyed this tour of LEGOLAND California. We’ll be visiting some of the other parks in the San Diego area so leave a comment below with where you’d like to see Courtney and I go next! 

Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch: Where Should You Live?

Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch: Where Should You Live?

Welcome to the first of our new series, Battle of the Burbs! 

Buyers are always asking us, “What neighborhoods should we live in? Pacific Highlands Ranch? Torrey Highlands? 4S Ranch? Del Sur?” So, we thought we’d do a few episodes pitting these neighborhoods head-to-head so you can get your questions answered and ultimately decide which is the right choice for your family! 

Today we’re going to be discussing Torrey Highlands vs Pacific Highlands Ranch. We’re going to compare amenities, park, restaurants, schools…everything each neighborhood has to offer.

Restaurants in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Both neighborhoods have some pretty good restaurants. Pacific Highlands Ranch has a good breakfast spot, lunch spots, and dinner spots. Places like Pacific SocialBreakfast RepublicWokou RamenDeath by Tequila, and Flora Bar & Kitchen

In Torrey Highlands, we have some great pizza options like Fresco, which is my favorite pizza place Off the 56. The Merge 56 shopping center is also coming to Torrey Highlands and that should give us some new restaurants, breweries, and coffee shop options. 

Winner: Pacific Highlands Ranch

Parks in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Next up, we’re talking parks!

Pacific Highlands Ranch is a little bit bigger, so they tend to have a few more amenities than Torrey Highlands. They have the beautiful Pacific Highlands Ranch community park and rec center, plus some smaller neighborhood parks. They also have an indoor rec center and a pump track

Torrey Highlands does not have a rec center, but we do have Torrey Meadows Park. That’s the largest park in Torrey Highlands and it’s only about two years old. It has a beautiful playground. We have other smaller parks as well, but we don’t have any community pools or rec centers in Torrey Highlands. 

Winner: Pacific Highlands Ranch

Schools in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

The schools in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch are both excellent. They are actually two different school districts though, so we really have a face-off between San Dieguito and Poway Unified School Districts. However, based on Great Schools ratings, those are both some of the best school districts in all of San Diego. 

Talking specific schools, Pacific Highlands Ranch has the 10-rated Canyon Crest Academy and Pacific Trails Middle School. In Torrey Highlands, you have Westview High School, Willow Grove Elementary, and Park Village Elementary. Both neighborhoods have highly rated schools, 9s and 10s all over.

Winner: Draw

Homes in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

All right, now we’re talking about the homes in these two neighborhoods!

The median home price in Pacific Highlands Ranch is $1.8 Million! Torrey Highlands is a bit more affordable – the median home price over there is around $1.4 Million. 

Pacific Highlands Ranch might have a few more amenities than Torrey Highlands, however you’re definitely paying for it. Torrey Highlands is also just east of Pacific Highlands Ranch, so you’re still super close to the beach and the 56 freeway. The HOA fees in Torrey Highlands tend to be a bit less than Pacific Highlands Ranch, mainly because they don’t have as many community amenities. 

As far as Mello-Roos fees goes, both of them have Mello-Roos. However, most of the Mello-Roos fees in Torrey Highlands are going to expire within the next ten years whereas Pacific Highlands Ranch is newer, so you still have a lot of time left on those fees. 

Winner: Torrey Highlands

Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails in Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch

Last on our list in this Battle of the Burbs are hiking and mountain biking trails.

The trails in Torrey Highlands are some of the best in the entire city. Torrey Highlands is right on the Rancho Peñasquitos Canyon which, as we’ve covered on previous episodes, is absolutely amazing. Pacific Highlands Ranch does have access to this canyon, however Torrey Highlands has the trailhead right there!

Winner: Torrey Highlands

So, for those of you keeping score at home, this Battle of the Burbs is all tied up! However, we’re going to give this one to Torrey Highlands because this is the neighborhood where we personally live so we can attest to how awesome both the neighborhood and the neighbors are.

Either way, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to Pacific Highlands Ranch and Torrey Highlands. Both great places to live in San Diego. If you’re looking to move to either of these communities or anywhere else in San Diego County, we’d love to help!

Living in Carlsbad: Neighborhood Tour

Living in Carlsbad: Neighborhood Tour

The city of Carlsbad is one of the most desirable communities in San Diego. Located at the very north end of San Diego, it’s known for its family-friendly neighborhoods, great beaches, restaurants, golf courses, public schools and more.

The median home price in Carlsbad is just over $1.1 million.  A good rule of thumb when it comes to San Diego homes prices is that the closer you are to the beach, the more expensive it gets. The farther away from the coast you go, the land prices become slightly more affordable. 

As far as Carlsbad’s location goes, probably the only real negative is that it’s not in the center of San Diego County. We’re just south of Oceanside and just north of Encinitas, which is about 35 minutes to downtown. If you tend to work up in Orange County or Los Angeles, Carlsbad is a great choice because you’re going to save time on your commute by being further north. A lot of industries are located right in Carlsbad though so many people that live here commute locally to the office. There’s a ton of technology companies here. Upper Deck Baseball Cards has a headquarters here. Some video game companies including High Moon Studios which developed Call of Duty. They also have a lot of golf companies in the area, including Callaway and TaylorMade.

One of the best things about living in Carlsbad are the beaches. There’s Carlsbad City Beach, Tamarack Beach, Ponto Beach, and the Carlsbad State Beach as well. They also have some great lagoons where you can do things like paddleboard, jet ski, water ski, or just cruise around on a boat. 

Carlsbad has a very walkable village with lots of great coffee shops and restaurants. Campfire is really good, as is Blue Water Grill. Crackheads has a great outdoor patio. If you’re living in San Diego, you want to be able to eat outside all year round and Carlsbad has the most outdoor patios in all of San Diego. There’s also Park 101 which is one of the best restaurants in Carlsbad – love their lobster tacos. Speaking of food, they also have a great donut shop in Carlsbad! I really like the glazed donut at The Goods.

LEGOland is one of my kids’ favorite place to go visit and we’ve actually done a lot of staycations here. LEGOland hotel is awesome for the kids. In the bedrooms, they have this little treasure chest in there that you have to try to figure out the combination to it. When you open it, they have a LEGOs that kids can play with. The hotel and the park both are just very interactive in general. If you are a Costco member, you can get a great deal on an annual pass for around $100. So, if you go two times a year to LEGOland, it definitely pays for itself. 

Carlsbad offers residents and visitors tons of options when it comes to parks. Poinsettia Park is one the largest parks in the area, but there are other great ones like Alga Norte Park. Calvera Hills Park actually has a dead volcano, which I thought was kind of interesting. 

A few breweries with tasting rooms in the Carlsbad Village include Pure Project and Culture Brewing.  There’s also Burgeon Beer Company here. If you’re looking to move to Carlsbad or in San Diego, we’d love to help you find your next home. Click here to get in touch with us!

The Most Expensive San Diego Neighborhoods

The Most Expensive San Diego Neighborhoods

Today on Off the 56, we’re going to talk about the top five most expensive neighborhoods in San Diego!

Number one on the list is Rancho Santa Fe. This exclusive enclave was really up and coming in the twenties and thirties. You had people like Bing Crosby coming down from Hollywood and this is where they settled and put all their money and all their resources. Most of the homes here have big lot sizes, even acreage. So, a lot of people have horses at their homes or at one of the training centers in the area. In fact, several members of the US Olympic Equestrian teams actually live and train in this area. You also have a lot of other retired athletes in Rancho Santa Fe. Some great golfers live here and there are some excellent golf courses in the area. Rancho Santa Fe has a very walkable and quiet village. They do a weekend car show and an annual 4th of July parade. The Rancho Valencia Hotel is here, which is a great place for a staycation, an anniversary celebration, or even a wedding. It’s expensive so definitely the place for a special occasion. Median home prices here are about $2.7 Million.

Number two on the list is La Jolla, which means “the Jewel.” It truly is the jewel of San Diego and attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world, along with people who want to own a coastal home with ocean views. La Jolla is basically built up on the cliffs so many properties have great panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The median home price in La Jolla is about $2.4 Million. You know what they say, they better the view, the higher the price. There’s also a lot of things to do here, especially with kids. There’s Birch Aquarium, great beaches, and good surfing. Torrey Pines Golf Course is just north of La Jolla.

Third on the list is Coronado. The median home price here is about $2 Million. What makes this area significant, aside from the location, are the homes. There are a lot of different styles of homes here from Victorians to Cape Cod, bungalows, more modern homes – whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it here. Coronado is also a great place for a staycation. There’s a very walkable village with restaurants, boutiques, all sorts of small businesses. A little touristy, but still very fun. Of course, you also have the famous Hotel Del Coronado which we’ve talked about before on Off the 56 – it’s apparently haunted!

Number four on our list is Del Mar, which brings us back to North County. Del Mar is only about four square miles so it’s very small and pricey. It’s bunched up along the coast, west of the I-5 freeway and south of Solana Beach. The median home price in Del Mar is just around $2 million, though it might even be higher now as the market here has been absolutely insane. Del Mar has a lot of famous residents including Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers used to have a home here, maybe still does. There’s of cool stuff to do in Del Mar. Like many of the areas on this list, it also has a downtown village with lots of shops and eateries. Del Mar has some beautiful beaches, too, and great surfing. There’s Torrey Pines State Reserve and Beach, Del Mar Beach, and the dog beach in the North of the city. The Del Mar racetrack is also here with a lot of the horses that race there either coming from Rancho Santa Fe or up in Bonsall or Temecula.  

The fifth spot on the list is also one of our favorites in San Diego – Solana Beach. It’s not a huge city, but a little bit bigger than Del Mar. There’s a train station that you can use to commute downtown on the Coaster. By car, it’s still only about 25 minutes from downtown. In general, Solana Beach is very centrally located. It also has its own design district called Cedros Avenue. have 85 different art galleries and the famous Belly Up. Really good restaurants and coffee shops. Beautiful beaches, family-friendly neighborhoods, great schools – all this for about $2 Million. 

If you want to buy a home in one of these neighborhoods or any others in San Diego, get in touch – we’d love to find you the perfect home! 

New Construction San Diego Merge 56 Lumen 3 Roots

New Construction San Diego Merge 56 Lumen 3 Roots

Looking to buy a new construction home in San Diego? In today’s video, we take you on a tour of some of the newest projects being built Off the 56. 

Our first stop is Merge 56 in Torrey Highlands. Lennar is going to be the home builder here of the two communities, Arlo and Vine. These will be a mix of single-family homes, townhomes, and condos. There’s also going to be quite a bit of office space here. Rumors are that a tech company might be coming to the area. 

There was originally going to be a movie theatre here, but unfortunately COVID-19 stopped that particular plan from moving forward. There’s also going to be a small grocery store here, probably like a Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, or Jimbo’s. There’s going to be some sort of boutique fitness offering (our fingers are crossed for a 9Round Fitness) along with great restaurants and coffee shops.

The project is supposed to be done in 2023 and the road that’s going to connect Camino Del Sur into Park Village is supposed to be done by 2022. 

Next up on our San Diego new construction home tour is Pacific Highlands Ranch. Shea Homes is building a new project called Lumen, which is just townhomes. These are expected to be priced in the mid eight hundreds. They’ll be within walking distance of all the fantastic offerings at the Pacific Highlands Ranch shopping center

One of the more unique things about the Lumen project is that they’re going to actually have what they call shopkeeper units – basically you have a retail space down below and then you live above it. It’s a live/work loft-style concept. You can either have your own business down there or rent it out. These units are supposed to go on sale this summer.

Another project in Pacific Highlands Ranch will be the Sendero Collection just across the way from Lumen. It’s probably five minutes down the road. These are going to be single-family homes, priced from $1,600,000 to $1,900,000. They are for sale right now and the waiting list is about 280 people. So, you still have a shot at one of those. 

In Sorrento Mesa, the new project off of Camino Santa Fe is called 3Roots. There are actually three home builders here: Lennar, California West, and Shea Homes. Shea has already started selling homes and Lennar will be starting their sales soon. You should know though, that there are over 14,000 people on the wait list between the three home builders. Two hundred homes will be released this year and they’re planning for 1800 homes here by 2025. 

It’s going to be another mixed-use community. It’s really close to a bunch of the tech campuses that are here like Qualcomm. Apple also has offices here. It reminds me a bit of the Playa Vista community in Los Angeles. I think this is going to be a very popular spot as it’s only five to ten minutes from La Jolla, Del Mar, and the beach. Very centrally located! The only negative is that you do have the plane noise from Miramar.  

The scope of this project is much larger than the other two that we looked at today. You’ve got parks, restaurants, coffee shops, hiking, and mountain biking trails all around here. So, when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a pretty cool place.If you’re interested in buying a new construction home in one of these communities (or any others!), I’d love to help you. Even when you’re buying direct from the builder, you can have your own real estate agent represent you. Many of my clients have found it helpful to have someone experienced who can negotiate for them and make sure everything is in order. Just reach out to me today to get started on your San Diego home search!

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