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A popular San Diego suburb with one of the best beaches in the region.

  • Upscale
  • Beach
  • Waterfront
  • Coastal
  • Tourism
  • Public Transportation
  • Rail Service
  • Amtrak
  • Airport
  • Golf
  • Schools
  • Arts

Nicknamed “The Village by the Sea,” Carlsbad is a bit bigger and more diverse than that moniker would suggest. The beach is certainly the most popular part of town for locals and visitors alike, and the coastal vibe permeates the entire community, but beyond the coastline Carlsbad is a thriving city of over 100,000.

The inland area is mostly residential, filled with upscale suburban homes as well as apartments and condominiums. Families love the exceptionally high-performing schools as well as the low crime rate. In addition to the beach, Carlsbad’s recreational options include numerous large city parks, golf courses, and the wildly popular LEGOLAND California theme park.

The arts are well represented in the numerous galleries, concert venues, festivals, and the unique Museum of Making Music. While it is a bit of a hike to get down to San Diego (forty minutes by car if traffic is light), many locals choose to take advantage of the Amtrak rail service to make the commute more manageable. For longer trips, McClellan-Palomar Airport sits at the center of the city, making it easy to get anywhere you need to go.

Explore the City

Rent Trends

As of September 2018, the average apartment rent in Carlsbad, CA is $1,413 for a studio, $1,908 for one bedroom, $2,237 for two bedrooms, and $2,996 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Carlsbad has increased by 2.5% in the past year.

Beds Avg Sq Ft Avg Rent
Studio 432 $1,413
1 BR 651 $1,908
2 BR 953 $2,237
3 BR 1,069 $2,996


45 Walk Score® Car-Dependent
28 Transit Score® Some Transit

Living in Carlsbad

  • Restaurants

    Dining in Carlsbad tends toward the casual, as one might expect in a beach town, with plenty of great pizza joints, sandwich shops and coffeehouses to choose from. But when you're looking for something a little more special, Carlsbad rises to the occasion with some fine dining choices. Many of the restaurant choices are clustered in Carlsbad Village and are close to the ocean.

    Treat yourself to breakfast at Cafe Topes in the heart of Carlsbad Village, and enjoy one of the special Benedicts the casual cafe prides itself on. The Joely Benedict features smoked salmon on a bagel rather than an English muffin, and the Mexican Benedict layers chipotle Hollandaise over chorizo for a spicy wake-me-up. French-pressed coffee and "dirty" cinnamon rolls drenched in cream-cheese icing are on the "must order" list.

    If a long day at the beach has you hungry, walk a block inland to Board & Brew for sandwiches that satisfy. The California Delight adds cream cheese and sunflower seeds to a turkey sandwich for an unexpected taste treat, or go for the hot Baja chicken sandwich with grilled onions and jalapeños.

    When you're ready to splurge, Paon Restaurant and Wine Bar in Carlsbad Village beckons with its buttery escargot, goat-cheese walnut appetizer or pan-seared diver scallops. If you're a steak-lover, get ready for a New York cut or ribeye that cuts like butter. Thanks to the attached wine bar, you can always find the right wine pairing for your meal.

    Nightlife is casual in Carlsbad, but a stretch of bars in the Village gives you plenty of choices. Squeeze into the tiny Village Pub for its friendly atmosphere, inexpensive beers and free popcorn, but don't expect any hard liquor at this neighborhood haunt with the most eclectic jukebox in town. If you like the feel of a traditional British pub, the Stag & Lion has English and Irish beers on tap, yummy comfort food and pool tables in the back. You'll find live music on weeknights and a DJ spinning dance music on the weekends at Boar Cross'n, or for a change of pace, head to the Cinder Room to smoke your cigars or enjoy the hookah lounge.

  • History

    Carlsbad began as a water stop for trains on the California Southern Railroad in the 1880s and was named after a famous German health spa because the mineral waters were similar. It quickly grew into a thriving agricultural community known for its avocados, olives, citrus orchards and fields of flowers. The world became attracted to this seaside town in 1999, when the first Legoland in America opened. High-end resorts soon followed to take advantage of the region's beauty and perfect weather.

    The Carlsbad Village Faire brightens up the town twice a year, with local arts and crafts, live music and food vendors filling the Village streets. Locals and tourists alike flock to the uniquely clever theme park Legoland. Take a tour of the whole world in the Minilands built of Lego, then stop at the nearby Museum of Making Music to let the kids have fun playing with real musical instruments.

  • Transportation

    While Carlsbad has some public transportation available, most locals use their cars to get around. Interstate 5 runs right through the town, dividing it in half and providing easy access to San Diego to the south and Orange County and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to the north. Carlsbad also has two train stations servicing the commuter rail that connects San Diego to Oceanside. In addition, bus routes run to La Jolla, Escondido, Cardiff and San Marco, as well as provide local transportation in and around Carlsbad. Taxis and Uber are available on-call only but are rarely used other than as a means of getting to the airport in San Diego.

    While you should expect to pay for parking near the beach, you can find public parking in much of Carlsbad. Enjoy walking around the Carlsbad Village area and along the beach. In addition, the area boasts dozens of hiking and bicycling trails both along the beach and in the hills. Bike rentals are available throughout Carlsbad Village and near the beach.

  • Cost

    The overall cost of living in Carlsbad is about 16 percent higher than that of San Diego in general, and the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment runs $1452.

    If you choose to take the Coaster commuter train down to San Diego, it'll run you $5.50 each way. Most locals decide to drive when getting around San Diego County, although gas prices run about 11 percent higher than the national average. Keep a little change in your pocket to pick up a beer at one of the local pubs for about $7 on tap, slightly higher if you're heading for one of the town's many breweries to sample the local specialties.

  • Shopping

    Carlsbad Premium Outlets has become a major shopping destination for people all over San Diego County. Shoppers can find amazing savings at the official outlet stores for Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Theory, Crate and Barrel, and more. Many stores offer in-store promotions or online coupons to make your savings even greater; the mall features plenty of dining choices so shoppers can make a day of it.

    Whether you need a pair of Uggs, comfy walking shoes or a cute pair of flip-flops for the beach, Elephant Walk Outdoor Footwear, located near the outlet mall, has what you're looking for, and the friendly proprietor regularly helps customers find just the right fit and style. If athletic shoes are what you're looking for, head to Road Runner Sports just down the road to get a personalized fit for your running shoes, including a running gait analysis and customized orthotics.

    When you want something to read at the beach or by the pool, head to Fahrenheit 451 Books in Carlsbad Village. This well-organized independent bookstore carries everything from the classics to rare books, so stop to pick up a used book that you've been longing to read. Carlsbad contains many chain supermarkets, with Costco available for your bulk runs and Trader Joe's for delightful specialty choices. Check out Carlsbad Ranch Market for farm-fresh fruits and veggies as well as an amazing salad bar. Right next door you'll find Tip Top Meats for those occasions when you need a special cut that only a real butcher can provide. The State Street Farmers Market opens up on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Don't miss the tamale booth, and pick up some fresh flowers from local fields to grace your dining table at home.

  • Parks

    When locals head for the outdoors in Carlsbad, chances are they're spending time on one of the town's wonderful beaches. Surfers choose Tamarack Beach or Warm Water Jetty to catch some waves, while parents are happy to take their kids to South Carlsbad State Beach, which also includes a campground on the cliffs over the beach and plenty of bike trails. Carlsbad uniquely includes lagoons as well as beaches for waterfront fun. Head to Agua Hedionda Lagoon for water-skiing, or take your dog for a walk, and enjoy the natural beauty of Batiquitos Lagoon. While many beaches are free to visit, state beaches incur a small entry fee and activities are extra.

    The Carlsbad Beach Fest inaugurates the summer beach season each year with a "beach walk" to clean up the sand, followed by live entertainment, food booths, local artisans and amazing professional sand sculptures.

    If you don't want to shake sand out of your shoes, you can find beautifully maintained community parks scattered all throughout the town of Carlsbad, including up in the hills. Choose Alga Norte Community Park for its dog park and aquatic center, take your kids to Aviara Community Park to play soccer, or enjoy the playgrounds and baseball diamonds of Calavera Hills Community Park.

  • Highlights

    Beach, Legoland, Ocean House, Raw Skin Surf Shack, “Carlsbad” arch sign (Carlsbad Village), Super Donuts, Crossings at Carlsbad, Bressi Ranch Gazebo Park, Alga Norte Community Park, Museum of Making Music


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Apartments for Rent Under $1,400 in Carlsbad, CA

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