San Diego Neighborhood Highlight: Cardiff by the Sea

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a charming seaside community in northern San Diego County. Tight-knit and walkable, Cardiff (as the locals call it) is the kind of place where neighbors talk to each other as they stroll down to the eateries with their dogs.

Cardiff Homes

Spanish styles homes for sale in San Diego
Spanish styles homes for sale in San Diego

One of the main reasons people tend to be attracted to living in Cardiff is because the homes are not cookie-cutter. Here you’ll see Spanish style homes with tiled roofs, Cape Cod styles with siding, and Craftsman with wraparound porches.

Because it’s right above the Pacific, Cardiff single family homes start at around $1.5 million. However, there are some condos to be had for just under $600K. Its competitive market means that there are often multiple offers on homes. This also makes Cardiff a good investment- prices have risen by 2% last year, and low inventory plus its location makes it unlikely for housing prices to dramatically fall. In fact, San Diego in general continues to have rising home prices, with prices up 4.5% over 2018.


Cardiff’s home to two elementary schools. Cardiff Elementary, which is ranked number 777 in all of the thousands of California elementary schools. Ada W. Harris Elementary is likewise highly ranked. There are also a number of private schools in the area, such as Bishop’s and La Jolla Country Day. Both of these are in La Jolla, but only a 20 minute or so drive away through morning traffic.


Speaking of driving, Cardiff is in the northern part of San Diego County. Commuting should be a factor in deciding where to buy a home. It’s a good choice to live here if you work around University City (UTC), La Jolla, or places to the north like Carlsbad. Commute times to these places are usually about a half hour, even with traffic. If you work downtown, there’s also the option of taking the commuter train for a quicker route.


Pizza in Cardiff by the Sea
Pizza in Cardiff by the Sea

Cardiff is home to many great eateries, most concentrated along South Coast Highway 101. Pacific Coast Grill features a patio right on the sand. Its menu is mostly seafood, but also includes some other proteins like ribs. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free menus if you ask. Ki’s Restaurant is nearby and has a locally sourced, casual dining menu that includes a variety of dishes, including sushi.

If you’re more in the mood for pizza and beer, check out the aptly named Best Pizza and Brew on Aberdeen (also within walking distance). Their “two slices of pizza plus a beer” is one of the best values in town. They also serve up buffalo wings and salad and have gluten-free and vegetarian options. If want to venture out a little further, Chiko, a Chinese-Korean fusion place that’s a short drive up Highway 101 to Encinitas, offers inspired Asian dishes.


Cardiff is known as “the Riviera of the West” for a reason, and that reason is Cardiff State Beach. With surfing, swimming, or just beach lounging available, it’s a popular spot for locals and their dogs, as long as the dogs are leashed. If you’re parking there, you’ll need to purchase a pass by the hour, or a year pass that’s good at all state parks. Pipes Beach is most popular with surfers and tends to be less populated; it is, however, known for having a host of squirrels and seagulls who will take your food, so use caution. People also like to frequent San Elijo State Beach, which has campsites for tents and RVs that can be reserved in advance. Another popular surfing spot is Cardiff Reef, on the south end of this beach right where the cliffs stop.


Cardiff by the Sea, despite its high home prices, is a laid-back coastal community. There are plenty of activities and attractions year-round. The town prides itself on their annual event, the Cardiff Kook Run, which is so named after a statue of a man surfing. Popularly called the Kook, the statue regularly gets dressed up in various outfits by locals. The Kook Run is a 5K or 10K that’s held every February; there’s also a kid’s option.

The local Patagonia store is the hub of the Cardiff community. The store sells surf and swim equipment and attire, along with other exercise gear and clothing. It also hosts or lists a number of local events, such as a monthly Board Swap, where people can sell or buy surfboards; film screenings; yoga classes; and even book signings.

No matter what kind of home you choose, as long as you’re surfer-friendly and like the beach, you’ll enjoy living in Cardiff by the Sea.

San Diego Neighborhood Highlight: Scripps Ranch


Scripps Ranch is a charming neighborhood suburb in the northeast part of San Diego County. Though inland, it’s still only about a half hour drive to the beach and close to many booming companies and attractions.


Scripps Ranch, like many things in Southern California such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Scripps College, was named after the Scripps newspaper family. E.W. Scripps at first thought he was building a vacation home to get out of Illinois’ frigid winter.  He bought 400 acres of land, gave part of it to his sister, Ellen Browning Scripps, and built a ranch there at the site of where the members-only Scripps Ranch Swim and Racquet Club a community hub, now stands. He also built a castle, called Miramar, where the community of Miramar is today.

Real Estate

Scripps Ranch is considered one of the premiere neighborhoods of San Diego County. With a population of 29,000 and home values at a median of around $700K, Scripps Ranch is a desirable area for families. It has top-rated public and private schools and a variety of public parks and open spaces. 

The outlook for real estate here is good, with a 9% increase in home sales over last year.  Houses here retain their value in an area that has very few vacancies. While there are many single family homes, there are also a lot of condos and townhouses for sale, too, at prices well below $500K. If you’re looking for well-maintained and clean houses, Scripps Ranch is the perfect San Diego neighborhood for you!


Scripps Ranch is home or close to many large high tech companies in the area. Among them, Intuit, one of the region’s largest employers, is located in nearby Rancho Bernardo. Broadcom is also close by, as is Fitbit.

If you work on the northwest side of the county over in UTC and Sorrento Valley, the commute’s not bad either—less than 10 miles. The commute to downtown San Diego is a bit longer at 18 miles.

Things to Do

There are lots of things to do in Scripps Ranch. Whether you have a growing family or you’re single, activities abound. Hoyt Park hosts Symphony in the Park, a concert series that has most sessions during the summer, but since San Diego is so mild, it also has a couple of concerts in the fall and winter. There’s a farmer’s market on the site of Innovations Elementary every Saturday, with produce from local growers, as well as kid-entertainment like face painters and balloon artists. Vendors also serve a variety of different foods for breakfast and lunch.

The Scripps Ranch Theatre is a popular and well-regarded community theater run by all volunteers, putting on many different shows, including those written by local playwrights. The Erin Hanson Gallery sells California impressionist paintings created by the local artist; there are frequent shows here open to the public.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly the Wild Animal Park, is a few minutes up Interstate 15 in Escondido. At this massive zoo,  you can ride a tram through wild animal habitats, take a behind-the-scenes tour, sleep overnight in the park, take a hot air balloon ride, or zip line.

Scripps Ranch also offers many opportunities for hiking in and around the area. Black Mountain Open Space Park has a variety of trails where you can hike, stroll, or horseback ride. Mountain biking is also a popular pastime in these parts with many options.

Golfing is another big thing around here, with several different courses to choose from. In this area, there’s the executive course, Oaks North; the course at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; and, in nearby Poway, the Maderas Course, the top-rated course in San Diego County.


Despite Scripps Ranch being a suburb rather than a city spot, there are dozens of different restaurants in and around the area. Some of the most popular local spots include Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese grill where you can barbecue your own food at the traditional grill right at your table—including s’mores.

Ballast Point Brewing is a local brewery that’s become popular worldwide in recent years. The kitchen serves Californian cuisine. Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room and Kitchen serves up burgers, sandwiches, and its signature vodkas, whiskeys, and gins made on the premises. You can even get a distillery tour at the same time.


Scripps Ranch has a few different shopping centers with grocery stores, including Scripps Ranch Marketplace,  which includes a bank, a Starbucks, and other standbys. By 2020, a project called Watermark will bring in a Whole Foods, a movie theater, more restaurants, and a Marriott hotel.

Only a few minutes further away is Mira Mesa, which has many more shops and a movie theater. Mira Mesa Market includes this, as well as the region’s largest Barnes and Noble bookstore, and many different chain restaurants.

Scripps Ranch is a family-oriented, quiet area that nevertheless has a lot of different activities to keep you occupied. Whether you want a local brew, a nature run, or a relaxing round of golf, Scripps Ranch has it all.

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Also known as UTC and the Golden Triangle, University City lies nestled between the intersections of I-5, I-805, and CA-52. It is a hidden jewel of single-stories at affordable prices.

Divided into North and South by the popular Rose Canyon, South University City is much more residential, while North University City is home to the Westfield UTC mall and a vast assortment of apartments, townhomes, and condos, populated by young families, UCSD students, and college grads.

Map of University City

Buildings and Institutions:

University City is home to several public schools, included University City High, Marie Curie Elementary,  Doyle Elementary, Spreckles Elementary, and Standley Middle. There are also several private schools in the area.

Most notably, University City is home to the iconic, white-steepled San Diego California Temple, an LDS church. Several other churches operate in the area, including another LDS church on the south side of University City, a Catholic Church, and and Episcopalian church, among others.

The newly renovated UTC mall is a major hub for activity, featuring many stories, restaurants, and even a new movie theater, the Arclight.

There are several office parks and hotels on the North Side of University City.

Two libraries serve the area, one on the north side and one on the south.


The largest point of recreation in the area is the wide swath of open space that makes up Rose Canyon, effectively separating North and South University City. The walking trails in Rose Canyon are wide, sandy, and fairly flat. Entrances from Genessee and the northern side of Regents Road provide the most accessibility. For the more adventurous walker of jogger, there is an entrance located at the base of Regents Road on the south side, which is rather more hilly and difficult. Additional points of entry can be found in the scattered neighborhoods on this Western-most tip of University City.

University City is home to many parks, including several dog parks.

Well-maintained sidewalks and neighborhood areas provide plenty of safe, recreational walking space.

University City High houses a full track that is open to recreational use when not in use by the school.

Numerous gyms are available in the area, along with a couple community recreation centers.

Rose Canyon

Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants:


Sushi Ki

La Jolla Strip Club

Seasons 52 (UTC mall)

Eureka! Burger (UTC mall)

Aloha Sushi (UTC mall parking lot)

Star Anise Thai

Fleming’s Steakhouse

Donovan’s Steakhouse

Apollonia Greek



Mitsugawa Sushi

Bite of Boston

Lorna’s Italian Kitchen

If you would like more information on University City or any other neighborhood, please contact us!

San Diego News: Inventory to Watch

San Diego News: Market Inventory

Now is an amazing time to buy a home!

If you’re thinking of selling your home, now would be a good time to do it. We’ve noticed that the market in San Diego is going through a period of rather low supply and high demand. This is amazing because sellers are able to get higher prices than they normally would for their property in some cases. And the homes on the market aren’t all luxury homes either.

What that means for sellers:

-shorter time on the market

-selling for higher prices

One home in the Carmel Valley area, listed for around 1.5 million for approximately 3,000 square feet, was pending in six days!

Your home could be next! If you’re thinking of buying or selling, give us a call. We can help.