The Crowned City
It may measure only 13.5 square miles in size, but this sparkling seaside town — just across the bay from San Diego — boasts 28 miles of the world's most pristine beaches, 18 public parks, an 18-hole golf course, dedicated bicycle paths, tennis courts, plus a public pool and other recreational facilities.
Coronado is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Glorietta Bay, and San Diego Bay, and is linked to the mainland by the spectacular Coronado Bridge and, to many visitors' surprise, a narrow strip of land called the Silver Strand.
In other words, Coronado is not an island, though with its quiet, charming atmosphere and warm, sunny climate it often feels like one!
The city was named for "Los Coronados" — translated as "The Crowned Ones" — after the four martyred brothers of ancient Rome, the anniversary of whose martyrdom was celebrated on the day Coronado was discovered in 1602. That's why it's called "The Crowned City."
As legend has it, businessman Elisha S. Babcock was so fond of rowing over to the Coronado peninsula to hunt jackrabbits that he and a partner finally bought the place back in 1885. Babcock's idea was to build a luxurious resort hotel, and he financed the construction through the sale of private lots. The grand Hotel del Coronado — fondly referred to by today's locals as the Hotel Del — had its first guests in early 1888. It has since been visited by 14 American presidents and too many celebrities to name.
Soon after Babcock opened the hotel, he found himself in a financial squeeze and was bought out by the Spreckels, the famous sugar family. They built a mansion across the street from the hotel. (It's now the Glorietta Bay Inn — and, like the hotel, is a designated historical monument open to the public.) During World War I, the family sold the area known as North Island to the United States Navy for $5 million. A few years later, in 1927, Col. Charles A. Lindbergh started his historic flight to Paris from what's now the North Island Naval Air Station. In 1969, the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge was opened and for many years it replaced the ferry crossings from San Diego that had been initiated by Babcock in 1886. (Ferry service has once again become available, though only for pedestrians.) Through each of these milestones, the hotel and the city that grew up around it have continued to thrive.
Today, the incorporated city of Coronado is a delightful mix of luxurious residential living, resort atmosphere, and bustling Naval activity. Coronado is home to about 26,000 full-time residents, though the population swells during the balmy summers (the town attracts some two million tourists every year!). Mainly because available space has been well developed, growth has been much slower in Coronado than in San Diego County overall...and it is expected to remain slow. Population has actually decreased a bit in recent years.
According to residents and other experts, the three most desirable aspects of living in Coronado are the low crime rate, the school system, and the weather. The city boasts one of the lowest crime rates in San Diego County — that's most likely because there are only two entrances to the city. The Coronado school system is one of the highest rated in the state. And the weather is unique. Because Coronado is nearly surrounded by water, it's warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than it is in the rest of San Diego County. Indeed, Coronado is touted as having the most moderate year-round weather in North America.
Local Realtors say that the city can be divided into three residential areas. The "Village" includes downtown, the Hotel Del, and the area around it. It's here you'll find plenty of palm trees and tile. Golfers love the Village because it's so close to the 18-hole Coronado Municipal Golf Course. The Glorietta Bay Marina is also nearby.
"Coronado Shores" is the second residential area. It's a narrow strip of land along the south side of the Silver Strand, close to the Village. High-rise condos are the housing of choice here, and ocean views are spectacular. Many wealthy Mexican citizens own here.
The third residential designation in the city is the "Coronado Cays," an exclusive, gated community on the bay side of the Silver Strand. Most homeowners have private boat slips just steps from their doors. This is the only community south of Newport Beach to boast such a feature. At the center of the development is the prestigious Coronado Cays Yacht Club. The community of Coronado Cays consists of 1,201 dwellings grouped into 10 villages, each of which has its own unique character. Adjacent to the Cays is the world-class family-friendly Loews Coronado Bay Resort. From the resort, you can take a ride through the Cays canals on a genuine 36-foot Venetian gondola.
Recreation and Shopping
The Glorietta Bay Marina caters to boaters and there are lifeguarded beaches all along Ocean Boulevard.
Good times in Coronado don't ALL revolve around the sea. Popular Spreckels Park, right in the center of town, has year-round art shows and Sunday concerts during the summer. The city also has two active community theaters.
For shopping and dining, check out Coronado's Ferry Landing Marketplace, where the ferry docks from its frequent trips from San Diego's B Street Pier. This newer development features fine restaurants, shops, tree-lined walkways, and spectacular views of the San Diego skyline. In addition, Coronado's main street — Orange Avenue — is dotted with exquisite eateries, boutiques, and beachy shops. It's also the site of one of San Diego County's favorite Christmas parades.
Another event not to miss is the mid-April Annual Flower Show. It's the West Coast's largest flower show under a tent. A variety of other community events — such as a book fair and a Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast — add to the festivities that weekend.
To familiarize yourself with the city, you should take the Coronado Walking Tour, which starts at the Glorietta Bay Inn. The 90-minute tour includes historic Coronado sites.
Coronado House Prices
The median price for a single-family home is $1,450,000. The median price for a single-family luxury home is $2,150,000. Please note that our "Home Price Points" are based on the luxury market.