Welcome to Carmel Valley
Upscale, mostly residential community known for its family-friendly vibe.
Carmel Valley is an upscale planned community located in the northern corner of San Diego near Del Mar and La Jolla. Boasting award-winning schools, exceptional shopping, beach access, and a plethora of entertainment options, this suburban neighborhood has become one of the most sought-after places to live in the area. The great schools and abundance of activities make the neighborhood especially desirable to families.
Despite being one of the newer regions, Carmel Valley has quickly grown in popularity over the past several decades. Interestingly, before Carmel Valley officially became Carmel Valley, it was dubbed that locals named it after a group of Roman Catholic nuns called the Carmelite Sisters of Mercy who established a dairy farm and monastery. In the early days, the community had been called North City West, but eventually, Carmel Valley stuck!
What to Love
Excellent shopping and dining
Del Mar Highlands Town Center
Local events and activities
People & Lifestyle
A sprawling master-planned community, Carmel Valley is home to incredible amenities, spacious homes, and exemplary schools. It's also easily accessible to the most significant attractions in San Diego County. At the commercial center of this SoCal jewel, you'll find a dazzling array of shops, restaurants, hotels, and office space. Among the many recreational opportunities are neighborhood parks, the Carmel Valley Recreation Center, the multiple nearby beaches, and an extensive trail system.
Not only has Carmel Valley been dubbed one of the all-around best places to live in San Diego, but it is also considered one of the best spots to raise a family. It's not surprising that families are so attracted to the area, given the family-oriented vibe. You'll regularly notice families milling through the neighborhood, and many of the parks and schools are only minutes away.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
One Paseo is one of the best destinations for a curated mixture of shopping and restaurant options in San Diego. Located on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road, this sprawling destination is the perfect one-stop-shop for everything from boutiques to salon services to workout options and much more.
You'll find an eclectic bunch of eateries catering to a broad palette of tastes from ethnic food to classic American fare at One Paseo. Catch up with your friends over a glass of wine and delicious fresh pasta at North Italia. The chef uses only the best and freshest ingredients to service their incredible food. If you prefer organic eats and health-conscious meals, visit Parakeet Cafe, a staple for simple, healthy options that will satisfy foodies and coffee lovers.
Shake Shack is a classic, counter-serve hotspot with restaurants all over the country. This "roadside" burger joint is famous for its crinkle-cut fries, all-natural Angus beef burgers, flat-top Vienna beef dogs, and chicken sandwiches. Experience the popular collaboration between Chef Michael Mina and lifestyle expert extraordinaire Ayesha Curry at International Smoke, a restaurant known for exploring global approaches to grilling to create bold, flavorful dishes.
Apart from One Paseo, the Del Mar Highlands Town Center is one of the most significant open-air shopping destinations in SoCal and a staple for Carmel Valley residents. Here, you'll find incredible places to shop and dine. Jimbo's is a notable health market whose mission is to help customers purchase ingredients that will make them feel good about what they're eating.
The town center is also home to the movie theater chain Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, boasting state-of-the-art sound and projection quality. Before you see a flick, stop by Urban Plates for a quick, delicious meal of pizza or a sandwich housed inside their mod-inspired interior. You can also sate your sweet tooth with a pick-me-up from Sidecar Doughnuts, famous for their made-fresh-hourly donuts and fantastic coffee.
Things to Do
Built in 1999, the Carmel Valley Recreation Center has become one of the most popular rec centers in the San Diego area. Apart from offering numerous programs and classes, the center has numerous facilities, including a multi-purpose athletic field, tennis courts, a full-size gymnasium, game room, swimming pool, tot lot, playground, picnic areas, and much more.
If you want to get outside and stretch your legs in the gorgeous Carmel Valley sunshine, several great trails and parks surround the neighborhood. The Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail is a heavily-trafficked loop trail featuring a waterfall. It's suitable for all skill levels, and dogs are allowed on-leash. There is also the Del Mar Mesa, a 900-acre preserve with hiking and mountain biking trails available, boosted by the area's breathtaking canyon views.
Skaters will delight in the 13,500-square-foot Carmel Valley Skate Park with a challenge course and urban elements like stairs, banks, ledges, and railings. It even has night lighting for those who prefer to skate during the evening hours.
Residents planning a staycation should consider booking an extended weekend stay at the luxe Fairmont Grand Del Mar. This Mediterranean-inspired resort offers plush rooms and private villas. Plus, the hotel's amenities include heated pools, a spa, a fitness center, a lush golf course, and an equestrian center.
Carmel Valley is served by two phenomenal school districts, Del Mar Union Elementary School District and the Solana Beach Elementary School District. The following list showcases some of the most popular middle and high schools in the area.
Carmel Valley Middle School, Public, 7-8
Pacific Trails Middle School, Public, 7-8
Torrey Pines High School, Public, 9-12
Canyon Crest Academy, Public, 9-12
- Cathedral Catholic High School, Private, 9-12