The City in the Country
It's easy to understand why Poway's motto is "the city in the country." Rolling hills, open spaces, and lots of trees both surround and separate the town, which is about 23 miles northeast of downtown off Interstate 15. Its neighbors include Rancho Bernardo to the north, Rancho Penaquitos to the west, Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta to the south, and Ramona and the mountains to the east. The city offers excellent access to all parts of the county. State Highway 56 enables residents to be at the coast in 15 minutes and Interstate 15 goes all the way to the U.S. border to the south and to the Greater Los Angeles area to the north.
Poway came into its own in the latter half of the 1900s when it was a stopping point on the stagecoach road from San Diego to Julian and points east. The city's name is believed to be the derivation of "Paguay" from the Diegueno and Luiseno Indians who roamed the area for several hundred years before the Spaniards arrived. An approximate translation is "meeting of the valleys." "Poway" was adopted as the official name when the first Poway post office opened in 1870. Most people in San Diego County pronounce the name "Pow Way," but the City of Poway says "Pow-Y" is the phonetically correct pronunciation.
Poway Residents and Schools
Just behind Del Mar, Poway residents have the second-highest median income among all the incorporated cities in San Diego County (remember: La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe are not incorporated!). Studies have shown that they also have one of the highest percentages of residents whose work is in the professional category. Outlook magazine ranked the city number 6th in the state for business growth. The South Poway Business Park is comprised of more than 300 businesses and employs 12,000 people.
Poway is particularly attractive to families with kids. "We are spoiled in Poway - the weather is beautiful," says a local Realtor. "Once you live in Poway, you never want to leave. It's truly quality living. Gorgeous homes on useable acreage, great family-oriented community, and an awesome school district." Adds another local Realtor, "The Poway Unified School District's award-winning performance is the basis for the steady values of homes located within the district's boundaries. With record-setting test scores, a nationally recognized spelling winner, professionally signed athletes right out of high school, contest-winning bands, and all of the other attributes of a school system recognized at a national level of excellence, the Poway area is a sought-after place to live and raise a family."
Poway: San Diego's Secret Luxury
Bet you didn't know that there are homes worth as much as $25 million in Poway. "You just never see those homes listed, because the owners are happy here and don't want to move," says a local Realtor. The median household income in the city is in itself an astonishing $91,000 plus, but Poway also attracts buyers whose incomes are in the stratosphere - CEOs of major companies, professional athletes, and people who have made fortunes in the high-tech and biotech booms. They are generally residents of North Poway's luxury communities.
Why are such people choosing Poway over San Diego's other high-end communities? They have more privacy, for one thing, and construction is as high-quality as it is in Rancho Santa Fe, because many of the same builders undertake projects in both communities. You get more land, more house, and more amenities for your money than in other luxury communities in the county. In addition, the weather is pretty close to perfect.
But the major reason well-off people decide to buy in Poway is because they want the high quality of life it, as noted above, offers for their families. Poway residents like to say you're more likely to meet your neighbors in their town than in any other high-end community.
Recreation, Activities, and Shopping
Poway has some 60 miles of hiking and horse trails, which is why many residents have horse properties. Golf is a passion in Poway, too. Among the local courses are the beautiful Stoneridge Country Club and the Johnny Miller-designed and Troon-managed Maderas. You can see concerts and theater productions at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. At Old Poway Park, you can take a train ride, browse in the old-fashioned shops or at the weekly farmer's market, or see some of Poway's history at the museum. Lake Poway offers fishing, boating, and summer concerts. (For more information about some of these venues, see "Points of Interest" above.) Events include street fairs, the Poway Days Parade, Old-Fashioned Fourth of July, Christmas in the Park, and the Train Song Festival. On Poway Road you'll find every kind of store or service you need.
The median price of a single-family home in Poway is currently $475,000. The million-dollar-and-up homes are in North Poway, such as in the Heritage Golf Estates at the Maderas golf course. Other luxury communities include Lomas Verdes, Bridlewood Country Estates, Green Valley Estates, Old Winery, Saddlebrook Estates, and the Old Coach Collection. Please note that our "Home Price Points" are based on the luxury market.