6 Reasons Encinitas San Diego Is a Great Place to Live in 2021

Encinitas, California is an interesting mix of a coastal city filled with beautiful scenery and a bustling town of around 50,000 residents. It’s located 25 miles to the north of San Diego, and 95 miles south of Los Angeles, however, the laid-back vibe that permeates the area is closer to that of San Diego than L.A. Even though the name of the city – Encinitas – means “Little Oaks,” you’ll find more palm trees here than any other types of tree. Between the Pacific Ocean to the West and everything that there is to do in and around town, you’ll find that Encinitas is a great place to live. 

Here's a quick rundown of our list:

Reason 1 - The Wavecrest Woodie Meet Is a Sight To Behold

Every September, hundreds of wood-sided vehicles, known affectionately as Woodies, descend on Encinitas. The Wavecrest Woodie Meet has been going on for almost 40 years. This meeting of wooden cars (more than just the popular surfer Woodies are welcome) is the largest of its kind in the world. The event lasts for several days, and it’s now organized by the San Diego Woodie Club. It’s so popular that the town gladly shuts down several roads off of Highway 101 for classic car cruises, and thousands of people descend on the city in order to view these interesting vehicles. After all, the event is free to attend. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else. 

Read More: Encinitas Area Guide

Reason 2 - There Are Multiple Coastal Communities

The city of Encinitas consists of several different coastal communities or neighborhoods. They include Old Encinitas, which is located right off of Highway 101. This neighborhood is located alongside the beach, and it is home to several iconic businesses, as well as the Encinitas Arch, which welcomes people to the city. Another is Leucadia. This neighborhood also sits along the coast. It’s more residential than commercial, however, and you’ll find plenty of noteworthy houses here. Despite the residential feel, there are still some businesses here, including art galleries and several restaurants. Two beautiful beaches, Grandview and Beacons, are also in this area. Finally, there’s the oceanfront neighborhood of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. This area gets its name from the British town, which is made clear by the street names. Many of them were inspired by British cities. Among the many things that you’ll find in this neighborhood are a college (Mira Costa College’s San Elijo Campus) and the Lux Art Institute. Of course, these are just three of the five neighborhoods in Encinitas. 

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Reason 3 - The City Saved Its Historic Downtown Area

Many cities across the country (not just in California) are mourning the loss of their iconic downtown areas. New construction has taken over many of them, leaving them without the small-town feel that their residents used to enjoy. Not so in Encinitas. Several decades ago, the city decided that its downtown was worth saving – as is. They created a Main Street initiative in response that sought the participation of both residents and business owners. This involved asking for feedback, taking the necessary measures to keep small businesses open and active (and not allow the big, national chains in), and ensuring that the historic architecture remains intact. It worked, and thanks to the community involvement, those businesses are thriving. The city has retained its character, and people spend plenty of time in downtown Encinitas – to the point that when they were polled on where they wanted their new library, the people overwhelmingly chose downtown. 

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Reason 4 - The San Diego Botanical Garden Is Located There

Despite its name, the San Diego Botanical Garden is actually located in Encinitas. It’s located at the border between two of its neighborhoods, Old Encinitas and New Encinitas. The botanical garden consists of 37 acres of natural landscapes. Its Bamboo Garden is actually the largest in the country, and there’s a section called California Gardenscapes that features nothing but native plants. In addition, there are gardens inspired by countries around the world, including South Africa, Australia, the Canary Islands, Central America, and even New Zealand, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. There are special sections for children, as well as a fire safety learning center where visitors can discover which plants will help their houses survive a forest fire. This garden is certainly one of the jewels of the city.

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Reason 5 - It Is a Surfer’s Paradise

Although many of the coastal towns along the Pacific Ocean can be called a surfer’s paradise, how many of them have a whopping seven surf shops to boast about, on top of a festival dedicated to the iconic surf vehicle, the Woodie (see number one on this list?) The answer there is, not many, unless you’re talking about Encinitas. The town is home to the Leucadia Surf School, and it has two notable beaches known their surfing conditions – Moonlight Beach, which is great for beginners, thanks to its low and easy to ride waves, and Swami’s Overlook, home of the larger waves for more experienced surfers. Some would say that the laid back atmosphere in the town is conducive to surfing, while others claim that the surfing conditions (and the many surfers) are what actually contribute to that way of life.

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Reason 6 - It’s the Home of the La Paloma Theatre

Few beachside towns retained their historic Spanish architecture like Encinitas. One stunning example of this is the La Paloma Theatre. The structure was built in the 1920's in what preservationists refer to as a Spanish Colonial Revival Style. No matter how you define the building, what matters most are the many concerts, performances, and movies that are scheduled to take place there. This theatre is still in operation, and the interior has just as much charm as the exterior. It’s located in the historic downtown district of Encinitas, where it receives plenty of foot traffic from both tourists and residents alike. Whether you want to take in a theatrical performance, see a band perform, or watch a movie, there’s something on the schedule. It’s just one example of what makes this town so special.

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