The City of the Smart and the Progressive
You can complain about corny old clichés. But that it's the place where "the turf meets the surf" — as Bing Crosby once crooned - is still one of the main reasons hordes of visitors descend upon the small town of Del Mar. Every summer the thoroughbreds race at the Del Mar Racetrack, which is near Del Mar's northern border (Torrey Pines State Reserve is the southern border). Del Mar, about 18 miles north of downtown San Diego, is also host each summer to the wildly popular San Diego County Fair, and antique shows, home and garden shows, and a variety of other events - including the Del Mar National Horse Show — keep people coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds all year-round.
It all began in 1885, when a Texan named Jacob Taylor bought 160 acres along the railroad tracks and laid out a town, complete with streets, a railroad station, and a hotel named Casa Del Mar. The land boom of the 1880s ignited growth, and more and more residents and merchants moved into the area. But then a series of huge floods in 1889 brought disaster by isolating Del Mar, and Taylor's hotel burned down that year, too. He returned to Texas.
Not much happened in the next 15 years and the town was mainly occupied by itinerant laborers and the occasional hobo. Then, in 1905, a Colonel Ed Fletcher, representing the South Coast Land Company, bought the land. Del Mar got its second wind and began to flourish again, both socially and economically. The town became a celebrity hangout after Bing Crosby and Pat O'Brien opened the racetrack in the late 1930s. Del Mar hosted the first county fair in 1936, and the next year thoroughbred racing began.
Who Lives Here?
Incorporated in 1959, the city of Del Mar is governed by a five-person city council that directs a city manager. Comprised of two square miles of coastal land, its 4,500 residents are for the most part well-educated professionals. "In the late 1950s, Del Mar residents were mostly retired Navy people," says a local Realtor. "Then the aircraft industry personnel came to town, followed by the General Atomic physicists." Today, most Del Mar people work at the University of California/San Diego and the Salk Institute in neighboring La Jolla, and in other educational, research, and biotech companies in nearby industrial and corporate park areas such as Sorrento Valley. "Del Martians," as they fondly call themselves, are for the most part progressive, as is their city, which was among the first in the state to prohibit smoking at parks, beaches, and at their access points.
Shopping and Dining
The city is also known for its tourist-oriented main street dominated mostly by Tudor-style boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Another major draw is the Del Mar Plaza, a pleasing mix of upscale shops and some of the highest-rated restaurants in San Diego County.
Del Mar has great beaches. Canine owners love Del Mar Dog Beach, which is open to dogs from mid-September through mid-June and off-limits to dogs during the summer months. It's an expansive stretch of beach nestled against rugged cliffs and highly rated on dog-lovers' websites. Similarly, Del Mar Beach, a long stretch of sand, is highly rated by users on travel websites. Above the beach is Seagrove Park, situated on a lovely grass-covered cliff overlooking the ocean. It's very family-oriented, with lots of picnicking and a terrific children?s playground.
The median price for a single-family home is currently $1,400,000.The median price for a single-family luxury home is $2,695,000. Please note that our "Home Price Points" are based on the luxury market.