The word Del Mar means “from sea” in Spanish, which is why this name was the perfect choice to give to a beautiful village that sits on the shores of the Pacific Ocean 20 miles north of San Diego.
In the 1940s, Del Mar was the summer playground for Hollywood stars like W.C. Fields, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Red Skelton, Ava Gardner, and Dorothy Lamour who came to enjoy the beaches, Del Mar Racetrack, and old European charm.
Today, around 4,200 people call this quaint town covering 2.2 square miles, home. The community of Del Mar is primarily single-family residential neighborhoods, retail and restaurants, a small commercial area, and several hotels. A hotel worth noting is L’Auberge Del Mar, which is now located at the spot where The Stratford Inn was built in 1910 L’Auberge was designed to honor the 1940’s glamor of Del Mar with a European flare obvious in its chateau-like architecture. Del Mar City Beach is known as one of the best beaches in San Diego and it is accessed right in front of L’Auberge Del Mar.
While the number of residents in Del Mar is small, the visitors are plentiful with up to two million visitors coming from around the world to enjoy the perfect weather and sandy beaches.
There aren’t any malls or chain stores to be seen in Del Mar, but there are plenty of one-of-a-kind boutique shops offering unique finds for the whole family. The open air Del Mar Plaza is at the center of town close to the beach offering ocean breezes and sunset shopping and dining. Shops like Sea Biscuit Del Mar is the place for upscale summer dresses, hats, and more while Urban Girl has local gifts and accessories that you will love to browse.
Just east of the I-5 freeway is the Flower Hills Promenade, which has a nice collection of specialty stores, restaurants, and a Whole Foods Market. Between the Sheets is there selling luxury bedding to help customers sleep in comfort and Lavender Home and Garden is filled with the perfect gifts to pamper loved ones. Mia Bella Couture has elegant night out on the town evening wear and Nicole Frank offers versatile, comfortable clothing.
Del Mar Highlands Town Center is a newer shopping center filled with top notch restaurants and boutiques. Visit Little Apple for sophisticated New York fashion meet California comfort casual. Specialty bra-fit lingerie, Reumer Lingerie, and Vuori for the most comfortable joggers around are also found at Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
Del Mar’s dining scene is a fantastic compilation of award-winning fine dining and casual fare for the whole family. Addison in the Fairmont Grand Del Mar Hotel is a two star Michelin restaurant that features a nine course tasting menu. MARKET Restaurant and Bar is a three-time James Beard “Best Chef” nominee and has been one of the highest ZAGAT rated restaurants in Southern California. Jake’s Del Mar has arguably one of the best restaurant views in all of North County. Situated on the beach with gorgeous sunset views, Jake’s has been a staple in Del Mar for romantic dinners and that scrumptious Hula Pie since 1981. Pacifica Del Mar is another Del Mar classic offering the finest seafood and steaks. They are the recipient of the Gold Medallion for "Best Seafood Dining in San Diego," and Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
North Beach in Del Mar is also known as Dog Beach because it’s the only place dogs can be off-leash in North County, San Diego. If you want to make your pup’s day, bring them to 29th Street north where dogs can frolic freely all the way to Solana Beach (summer months dogs must be on-leash). Enjoy the art garden on your way in and out of Dog Beach; there is even a spot to wash off sandy paws.
A local favorite beach is the Del Mar City Beach from 15th Street to The River Mouth where there are two coastal parks and great ocean swimming and surfing.
The most famous attraction in Del Mar is the Del Mar Fairgrounds and racetrack where the "turf meets the surf” every year from July to September. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Racetrack is one of the biggest horse racing venues in the U.S. with the capacity to hold 44,000 spectators. The racetrack also hosts concerts on the Seaside Stage and the fairgrounds hosts events like the hugely popular County Fair and exhibits such as the Van Gogh.
The Free Flight Bird Sanctuary in Del Mar is open by appointment only to interact with and learn about exotic birds. The Del Mar Farmers’ Market is held at the Del Mar Civic Center on Saturdays from 1-4pm where patrons will find the usual offerings as well as a myriad of international foods and meats.