Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad is a coastal and inland city in the North County region of San Diego County, California, United States. The city is 87 miles (140 km) south of downtown Los Angeles and 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown San Diego and is part of the San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Carlsbad is a popular tourist destination. The city's estimated 2018 population was 115,877.[6] Among the nation's top 20 wealthiest communities, Carlsbad is the 5th richest city in the state of California with a median household income close to $105,000.[8]

Carlsbad, California
City of Carlsbad
Downtown Carlsbad

Village by the Sea
Location of Carlsbad in San Diego County, California.
Location in the United States
Carlsbad (California)
Carlsbad (the United States)
Coordinates: 33°7′19″N 117°17′49″W
Country United States
State California
County San Diego
IncorporatedJuly 16, 1952[1]
  MayorMatt Hall
  Total39.12 sq mi (101.31 km2)
  Land37.74 sq mi (97.74 km2)
  Water1.38 sq mi (3.57 km2)  3.55%
Elevation52 ft (16 m)
  Rank5th in San Diego County
54th in California
  Density3,055.91/sq mi (1,179.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
9200892011, 92018
Area codes442/760
FIPS code06-11194
GNIS feature IDs1660437, 2409984
City flowerBird‐of‐paradise[7]


Carlsbad's history began with the Luiseño people (the Spanish name given to them because of their proximity to Mission San Luis Rey). Nearly every reliable fresh water creek had at least one native village, including one called Palamai.[9] The site is located just south of today's Agua Hedionda Lagoon.[9]

The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition of 1769, met native villagers while camped on Buena Vista Creek.[10] During the Mexican period, in 1842, the southern portion of Carlsbad was granted as Rancho Agua Hedionda to Juan María Marrón.

In the 1880s a former sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area. He began offering his water at the train station and soon the whistle-stop became known as Frazier's Station. A test done on a second fresh-water well discovered the water to be chemically similar to that found in some of the most renowned spas in the world, and the town was named after the famed spa in the Bohemian town of Karlsbad (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic).[11]

To take advantage of the find, the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company was formed by a German-born merchant from the Midwest named Gerhard Schutte together with Samuel Church Smith, D. D. Wadsworth and Henry Nelson. The naming of the town followed soon after, along with a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. The area experienced a period of growth, with homes and businesses sprouting up in the 1880s. Agricultural development of citrus fruits, avocados and olives soon changed the landscape. By the end of 1887, land prices fell throughout San Diego County. However, the community survived on the back of its fertile agricultural lands.

The site of John Frazier's original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a German Hanseatic house, located on Carlsbad Boulevard.

In 1952, Carlsbad was incorporated to avoid annexation by its neighbor, Oceanside.[12]

The single-runway Palomar Airport opened in 1959 after County of San Diego officials decided to replace the Del Mar Airport.[13] The airport was annexed to the City of Carlsbad in 1978 and renamed McClellan-Palomar Airport in 1982 after a local civic leader, Gerald McClellan.

The first modern skateboard park, Carlsbad Skatepark, was built in March 1976.[14] It was located on the grounds of Carlsbad Raceway and was designed and built by inventors Jack Graham and John O'Malley. The site of the original Carlsbad Skatepark and Carlsbad Raceway was demolished in 2005 and is now an industrial park.[14][15] However, two skateparks have since been developed.

In March 1999, Legoland California Resort, LLC was opened. It was the first Legoland theme park outside of Europe and is currently operated by Merlin Entertainments.[16] Merlin Entertainments owns 70 percent of the shares, and the remaining 30 percent is owned by the LEGO group and Kirkbi A/S.[17]

Carlsbad is home to the nation's largest desalination plant.[18] Construction of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant at the Encina Power Station was completed in December 2015.[19]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.1 square miles (101 km2) of which 37.7 square miles (98 km2) are land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) are (3.55%) water, the majority of which is contained within three lagoons and one lake.

The northern area of the city is part of a tri-city area consisting of northern Carlsbad, southern Oceanside and western Vista.

The ocean-side cliffs fronting wide white-sand beaches and mild climate attract vacationers year-round.[20]


Carlsbad has a semi-arid Mediterranean climate (Koppen classification BSh) and averages 263 sunny days per year. Winters are mild with periodic rain. Frost is rare along the coast, but sometimes occurs in inland valleys in December and January. Summer is almost rain free, but sometimes overcast and cool with fog off the Pacific. While most days have mild and pleasant temperatures, hot dry Santa Ana winds bring high temperatures on a few days each year, mostly in the fall.

Climate data for Carlsbad, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 45
Record low °F (°C) 20
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.42
Source: [21]


Carlsbad has Coaster and Amtrak rail service at its two stations, Carlsbad Village station and Carlsbad Poinsettia station. North County Transit District provides public transportation services in Carlsbad. They operate bus service under the BREEZE brand and SPRINTER light rail service.

Interstate 5 runs through the western part of Carlsbad while California State Route 78 passes close to its northern border.

McClellan–Palomar Airport is located about seven miles (11 km) southeast of downtown Carlsbad, and allows general aviation and limited commercial service to the city.

Carlsbad neighborhoods

For city planning and growth management purposes, Carlsbad is divided into four distinct quadrants.[22]

Northwest quadrant

The northwest quadrant of Carlsbad (ZIP code 92008) includes the downtown "Village," the Barrio, and "Old Carlsbad." It was the first part of Carlsbad to be settled. Homes range from 1950s cottages and bungalows to elegant mansions on the hill overlooking the ocean. It is also home to Hosp Grove Park, a grove of trees relatively untouched by development and now designated by the city for recreational use, in addition to the Buena Vista and Agua Hedionda Lagoons. It is located west of El Camino Real and north of Palomar Airport Road.

"The Barrio" area is near downtown Carlsbad bordered by Carlsbad Village Drive to the north, Tamarack Avenue to the south, Interstate 5 to the east and the railroad tracks to the west. It was settled by Latinos in the early 20th century.[23] It is the site of the Centro de Aprendizaje, a Spanish division of the Carlsbad City Library.[24]

Northeast quadrant

This quadrant (ZIP code 92010) is located east of El Camino Real and north of Palomar Airport Road and consists mostly of single-family homes, with larger lots found in the older area known as Chestnut Hills and the new developments around Calavera Hills.

The Northeast quadrant also contains the Lake Calavera Nature Preserve, a 110-acre space containing a 513-foot extinct volcano known as Mount Calavera. The Preserve — notable for its small lake, wide dam, and mountain — was officially set aside in the 1990s as the surrounding land was being developed. The preserve is bordered on three sides by suburban single-family homes, and on one side by small farms and rural compounds. In 2012, Sage Creek High School was developed in the southwest corner of the preserve amid some controversy. Nature experts challenged the decision to construct the large concrete buildings that would accommodate 1300 students on the protected preserve, but Carlsbad High School was reaching its carrying capacity and there were few undeveloped areas that had sufficient space for an additional high school. Despite missing one of its original corners, the preserve still offers miles of hiking trails with magnificent ocean views.[25]

Calavera Lake and Mount Calavera on the eastern boundary of Carlsbad

Southeast quadrant

The southeast quadrant (ZIP code 92009) is located east of El Camino Real and south of Palomar Airport Road and features several newer expensive master-planned communities set among hillsides, golf courses, Alga Norte Community Park and permanent open spaces. It includes Bressi Ranch and the La Costa neighborhoods of Rancho La Costa, La Costa Ridge, La Costa Oaks, La Costa Greens, La Costa Valley, and Rancho Carillo. In 1965, La Costa gave its name to the Gold Medal Golf Resort, La Costa Resort and Spa, now known as the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa.[26] Residents here are served by the Carlsbad Unified School District, San Marcos Unified School District and the Encinitas Union School District.

Southwest quadrant

This quadrant (ZIP code 92011) extends along the Pacific Ocean to the south of the center of Carlsbad. It includes the Aviara neighborhood, which is home to the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. It is located west of El Camino Real and south of Palomar Airport Road.


Historical population
Est. 2018115,877[6]10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[27]


As of the 2010 United States Census[28] Carlsbad had a population of 105,328. The population density was 2,693.1 per square mile (1,039.8/km²). The racial makeup of Carlsbad was 87,205 (82.8%) White, 1,379 (1.3%) African American, 514 (0.5%) Native American, 7,460 (7.1%) Asian, 198 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 4,189 (4.0%) from other races, and 4,383 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13,988 persons (13.3%).

The Census reported that 104,413 people (99.1% of the population) lived in households, 459 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 456 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

Out of 39,964 households in 2011, there were 26,992 (67.5%) families, of which 12,345 (30.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 21,705 (54.3%) were married-couple families, 1,489 (3.7%) had a male householder with no wife present, and 3,798 (9.5%) had a female householder with no husband present. There were 12,972 (32.5%) nonfamily households, of which 10,198 (25.5%) were made up of a householder living alone and 3,299 (8.3%) were a householder living alone who was 65 years or over. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.10.

The population was spread out with 25,366 people (24.1%) under the age of 18, 6,718 people (6.4%) aged 18 to 24, 28,073 people (26.7%) aged 25 to 44, 30,373 people (28.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,798 people (14.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

There were 44,673 housing units at an average density of 1,142.2 per square mile (441.0/km²), of which 26,808 (64.8%) were owner-occupied, and 14,537 (35.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.6%. 69,855 people (66.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 34,558 people (32.8%) lived in rental housing units.

In 2011, the median household income was US$85,743 and the median family income was US$102,254, with 11.9% of households and 14.9% of families earning US$200,000 or more.[29] Males had a median income of US$80,590 versus US$54,159 for females. The per capita income for the city was US$42,712. About 6.8% of families and 8.4% of the population reported income below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.

Of the population 25 years and over, 95.7% graduated from high school and 51.3% held a bachelor's degree or higher. 65.2% of the population 16 years and over was in the labor force.


As of the census of 2000, there were 78,247 people, 31,521 households, and 20,898 families residing in the city.[30] The population density was 2,090.2 people per square mile (806.9/km²). There were 33,798 housing units at an average density of 902.8 per square mile (348.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.6% Caucasian, 1.0% African American, 0.4% Native American, 4.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.7% of the population.

There were 31,521 households out of which 30.7% contained children under the age of 18, 54.3% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of single individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The mean household size was 2.46 and the mean family size was 2.96.

23.3% of residents were under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.8 males. Among those 18 and older, there were 92.8 males for every 100 females.

Politics and government

Carlsbad voters in 2008 voted to make Carlsbad a charter city.[2] City government is led by an elected mayor and four council members, elected at large.

Carlsbad's current mayor is Matt Hall, who has served since 2010. Starting with the 2018 elections, Carlsbad will go from having its city council members being at large to district representation. The mayoral office will remain at large.[31]

The city has drafted ordinances protecting sensitive wildlife habitat, becoming one of the first municipalities in California to do so. The city has also pledged to protect about 40 percent of the city as permanent open space.[32]

In May 2018, the Carlsbad city council voted 4-1 against California sanctuary cities.[33]

Federal and state representation

In the California State Legislature, Carlsbad is in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Patricia Bates, and in the 76th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Tasha Boerner Horvath.[34]

In the United States House of Representatives, Carlsbad is in California's 49th congressional district, represented by Democrat Mike Levin.[35]


Carlsbad's core industries include information technology, video game development, manufacturing, robotics, medical devices, life science, wireless technology, clean technology, action sports, tourism, design development and real estate. In 2013, Google named Carlsbad the digital capital of California with the strongest online business community.[36]

Carlsbad is also known as the "Titanium Valley" because of its golf manufacturing industry. Callaway Golf Company, TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company, Cobra Golf, Titleist, and Odyssey Golf are all located in Carlsbad.

Top employers

According to March 2015 figures,[37] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer
1 Viasat Inc.
2 Life Technologies Corporation
3 Legoland California
4 Carlsbad Unified School District
5 Smart Kids Publishing, Smart Kidz Media, Inc., and Penton Overseas, Inc.
6 Omni La Costa Resort and Spa
7 TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company (TMaG)
8 SGN Nutrition
9 Gemological Institute of America
10 City of Carlsbad
11 Optum Rx

Notable corporate headquarters


School Districts
Public High
Public Intermediate
Public Interlevel
  • Carlsbad Seaside Academy (Independent Study)
Public Elementary
  • Aviara Oaks Elementary School
  • Buena Vista Elementary School
  • Calavera Hills Elementary School
  • Carlsbad Seaside Academy (K-6 Alternative Education)
  • El Camino Creek Elementary School
  • Hope Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Kelly Elementary School
  • La Costa Heights Elementary School
  • La Costa Meadows Elementary School
  • Magnolia Elementary School
  • Pacific Rim Elementary School
  • Poinsettia Elementary School
  • Mission Estancia Elementary School
  • Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School
  • Rancho Carillo Elementary School
Private Schools
  • Army and Navy Academy: College Prep Middle and High School
  • Beautiful Saviour Lutheran Elementary School
  • Montessori Arts and Sciences School
  • Pacific Ridge School
  • Palisades Point Christian Academy
  • St. Patrick School
  • The Academy by the Sea: Camp Pacific

Public libraries

Sister cities

Carlsbad has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


Amusement Parks
Open Space

Notable people

See also


  1. "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. "City Hall". City of Carlsbad. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  3. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  4. "Carlsbad". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  5. "Carlsbad (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  6. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  7. "All About Carlsbad". City of Carlsbad. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  8. "California Is Home To 15 Of 20 Wealthiest Cities Nationwide, Site Finds". May 24, 2016.
  9. "Mary Robbins-Wade, COASTAL LUISENO: REFINING THE SAN LUIS REY COMPLEX, Articles of the SCA Proceedings, Volume 1, Society for California Archaeology, 1988, p.75 "The site is located within Luiseno territory according to ethnographic maps by Kroeber (1925), White (1963), and True, Meighan, and Crew (1974). The site and nearby satellites may be the village of Palamai, mapped by Kroeber (1925)."" (PDF).
  10. Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi, Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. p. 128. Retrieved April 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. City of Carlsbad - History of Carlsbad Archived November 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved March 1, 2012.
  12. The Battle for Incorporation, at the Carlsbad Historical Society, retrieved January 12, 2014.
  13. Burge, Michael. "McClellan-Palomar Airport - Flying High at 50". California Pilots Association. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  14. "Carlsbad Skatepark Memorial". Carlsbad Skate Park. Carlsbad Skate Park Memorial. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  15. "Save The Carlsbad Raceway!". Save Carlsbad Raceway. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  16. Kinsman, Michael (July 14, 2005). "Control of Legoland parks sold". The San Diego Union Tribune.
  18. Rogers, Paul (May 29, 2014). "Nation's largest ocean desalination plant goes up near San Diego; Future of the California coast?". San Jose Mercury News.
  19. Fikes, Bradley J. (December 14, 2015). "$1-billion desalination plant, hailed as model for state, opens in Carlsbad". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  20. "Carlsbad, CA Visitor Information & Travel Guide". Visit Carlsbad. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  21. "Average Weather for Carlsbad, CA". The Weather Channel.
  22. Quadrant Map, available at the City of Carlsbad's Growth Management page, retrieved March 1, 2012.
  23. New effort begins on planning for Carlsbad's Barrio area Archived October 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, in North County Times, retrieved October 19, 2011.
  24. Las Bibliotecas de Carlsbad, retrieved October 19, 2011.
  25. Lister, Priscilla (January 22, 2012). "Take a Hike: Lake Calavera Preserve". The San Diego Union Tribune.
  26. "Hotels In Carlsbad CA - History of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa".
  27. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  28. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Carlsbad city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  29. "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on September 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
  30. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  31. "What City Council District Elections Mean to Carlsbad". October 31, 2017.
  32. "Growth Management". City of Carlsbad. City of Carlsbad, California. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  33. "City of Carlsbad says 'no thanks' to sanctuary status -". McKinnon Broadcasting. May 22, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  34. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  35. "California's 49th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  36. Wright, Ellen. "Carlsbad's economy is on the upswing". The Coast News. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  37. Carlsbad at a Glance, published by the City of Carlsbad
  38. "US-Japan Sister Cities by State". Asia Matters for America. Honolulu, HI: East-West Center. Archived from the original on November 21, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  39. "World-renowned Golf Manufacturers Call San Diego Home". Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  40. Barnes, Mike (March 4, 2011). "Character actor, director Frank Alesia dies". The Hollywood Reporter. Reuters Canada. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  41. "Where Does Brian Bilbray Really Live?". ABC 10 News. 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  42. "Local Super Bowl alumni honored by NFL". San Diego Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  43. "City of Carlsbad - Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park".
  44. Paris, Jay (June 17, 2005). "Federer is Laver's Wimbledon favorite". North County Times. Retrieved September 25, 2007.
  45. Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2012, page C5, "Fred Lynn's Cautionary Tale"
  46. " > Sports - Winter X marks surfer's spot".
  47. Today's Local News » Restless no more Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  48. "Kevin Pearce's Recovery: Documentary Looks at Snowboarder's Journey Back - Valley News". June 14, 2013.
  49. David Alexander (March–April 1991). "Interview with Gene Roddenberry: Writer, Producer, Philosopher, Humanist Originally published in The Humanist, March/April 1991". DR. RAYMOND NIGHAN'S STAR TREK PAGE. DR. RAYMOND NIGHAN. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  50. "Doris Hart and Francisco "Pancho" Segura inducted into USPTA's Hall of Fame". United States Professional Tennis Association. September 25, 2012. Archived from the original on January 15, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  51. "Brett Swain". San Diego State University. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  52. "Barbara May Theresa Werle Obituary". U-T San Diego. January 5, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  53. "Shaun White". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
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