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Solana Beach is a delightful seaside town with a quiet attitude, perfect weather and everything you need to relax. With charming shops and family-friendly beaches, this neighborhood welcomes young families, but it costs a little more than the average for the privilege of living in this tiny corner of paradise. Solana Beach sits 30 miles north of San Diego, which can be easily reached using the Coaster commuter train that conveniently stops right in the community. With the Del Mar racetrack just down the road, a wonderful little shopping district and a friendly, relaxed vibe, Solana Beach charms all who choose to call it home.
As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in Solana Beach, CA is $1,573 for a studio, $1,673 for one bedroom, $2,093 for two bedrooms, and $2,643 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Solana Beach has increased by 5.6% in the past year.
Solana Beach features many casual dining options, many of them on or near Highway 101, just blocks from the beach. Choose from cozy cafes, pizza joints or coffee shops when you need a quick bite, or head for one of the fine dining options when you're in the mood for something special.
The Curious Fork may be located in a strip mall, but with handmade breads and market-to-table meats and produce, you'll want to come back again and again. Enjoy the simple tomato soup, the avocado and albacore sandwiches or the Mexican soyrizo wrap. Gluten-free fans can expect to be amazed by the pie crusts and breads, and the restaurant even teaches cooking classes if you want to know how they make everything taste so yummy.
When you want coffee and a snack, stop by the Lockwood Table Cafe. Expect a bit of a wait during meal times, since locals love this little cafe. Replace a boring PB&J with the cafe's version, made with walnut butter and fresh strawberries, or go for the grilled turkey sandwich stuffed with apricot marmalade, Brie and caramelized onions. Don't forget to wash it all down with pear iced tea.
If you have something to celebrate but still want to stay local, the Pamplemousse Grille should be your destination. When you have to choose between gnocchi with shaved truffles, the perfect crispy duck or the dry-aged rib-eye steak, you can understand why residents of Solana Beach consider this their favorite place. The Kobe burger with truffled French fries and the grilled cheese with lobster make even the simplest dishes a celebration.
After the sun goes down, the bars open in Solana Beach, giving you plenty of after-hours choices. Stop at the Belly-Up Tavern to hear the best of local bands at reasonable prices. The huge bars, plentiful seating and top-flight sound system make this a relaxing place to listen to live music while you enjoy a beer.
When you want a casual drink after the nearby Del Mar Racetrack closes, stop in at the Pillbox Tavern for cocktails and appetizers; locals love the fried pickles. Just a few doors down the street, the Saddle Bar may look like a dive from the outside, but inside you can find welcoming bartenders, a tiny dance floor and a friendly atmosphere. With live music on the weekends and DJs spinning tunes during the week, this bar remains a local favorite.
The small beach community of Solana Beach began in the 1920s when tons of earth was moved to create the beach. Population booms occurred after World War II and again in the 1990s. Solana Beach made history in 2003 as the first California town to ban cigarette smoking on its beaches.
While no museums make their homes in Solana Beach, the Museum of Contemporary Art awaits south in La Jolla. Solana Beach features several art galleries of its own, as well as the North Coast Repertory Theater, which puts on a full season of musicals and plays each year.
Del Mar, the next small town down the coast, hosts the San Diego County Fair each summer, complete with carnival rides and a rotating line-up of hot recording artists in concert. Once the fair closes, the Del Mar Racetrack horse racing season begins, attracting horse lovers from all over California.
Two major bus routes serve Solana Beach. The North County Transit District's route 101 travels from Oceanside to the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla via Highway 101, and route 308 travels inland to Escondido. Solana Beach also provides one of the stops for the Coaster, a commuter train that runs from Oceanside to downtown San Diego, as well as for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains.
Most locals in Solana Beach get around via their personal cars, and Highway 101 runs right through the town to provide easy access to San Diego to the south or Orange County to the north. Street parking gets crowded near the beach, but short- and long-term public parking can be found at the Amtrak station as well as at Fletcher Cove. Uber charges a flat rate for users within the boundaries of Solana Beach, Del Mar and Encinitas, while two taxi companies are available on an on-call basis.
With 27 bike paths, Solana Beach welcomes bicyclists, and the community participates in the Coastal Rail Trail, a public walkway/bikeway that plans to connect Oceanside to San Diego and that features public art along the route. The town remains walkable, especially near the beach, where runners can enjoy their jogs along the sand.
The cost of living in Solana Beach runs about 32 percent higher than that of San Diego in general, with most of the difference due to the cost of housing. Once housing costs are removed, other costs of living in Solana Beach run about even with those of San Diego proper. One-bedroom apartments are rare and tend to average around $2,370 per month.
Taking the Coaster in to downtown San Diego runs $5.50 each way, which may provide savings on driving there, once you figure in gas and parking. Gas in Solana Beach runs about 11 percent higher than the national average. If you plan just to hang out in town, a craft beer runs about $7, or a little higher if you stop in at a brewery that makes its own beer.
Serious shoppers in Solana Beach are likely to head north to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets for incredible bargains from the outlet stores for Banana Republic, Guess, Jones New York, Lucky Brand, Nike and many more. Sticking closer to home, however, you can find plenty of charming shops right in Solana Beach, especially in the Design District along Cedros Avenue.
Stop in at Solo when you're ready to outfit your new home or pick up a housewarming gift for a new neighbor. With gifts, books, photography and vintage items, you can find something for every decorating style. Individual artisans offer their wares throughout the stores. Don't forget to check out the Christmas decorations when fall rolls around. Just down the street, Leaping Lotus operates the same way, featuring work from local artisans. You can even buy the furniture holding the displays if it strikes your fancy.
La Femme Chic on Cedros Avenue is a wonderful little consignment shop that sells top designers, including Chanel, Chloe, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Dior. Make sure to tell the owners what you're looking for so they can keep an eye out for you.
Although there's a Whole Foods down the road in Del Mar and other supermarkets close at hand, locals in Solana Beach love to stop in at Sprouts for great prices, incredibly fresh produce and tasty sandwiches from the in-store deli. Sprouts can supply the needs of Solana Beach residents who prefer their food gluten-free, vegan, kosher or organic. For farm-fresh produce, the Solana Beach Farmers Market sets up shop every Sunday afternoon. Pick up some local honey and heirloom tomatoes, and stay to chat with the friendly vendors.
Fletcher Cove Beach was the first accessible beach in this neighborhood, and the beach, combined with Fletcher Cove Park, remains at the heart of Solana Beach recreation today. This small jewel of a beach attracts families ready for some boogie boarding, and the attached park features a playground and basketball courts.
The Coastal Rail Trail is a mile and a half long park running alongside the railway tracks that's filled with sculpture, gardens and artwork. It has become a haven for joggers, cyclists, moms pushing strollers and neighbors walking their dogs.
Just down the road in Del Mar are several more parks and beaches that Solana Beach locals frequent. Seagrove Park backs up onto a dog-friendly beach and hosts many local weddings. San Dieguito County Park is a little further inland and features hiking trails and fitness stations. Powerhouse Beach and Park is a great place to watch surfers and trains. Parking is tough at any beach in the area, but metered parking can sometimes be found. Admission to the parks and beaches is free. While Solana Beach's relaxed vibe doesn't bring any big festivals to town, everyone in the north county area gears up for racetrack season during summer and early fall at Del Mar Racetrack only one town to the south.
Townhomes for Rent in Solana Beach, CA
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