Located in San Diego County’s North County region, the city of San Marcos is a charming suburb of San Diego. The city is situated 35 miles north of San Diego, 15 miles southeast of Carlsbad, and 24 miles northeast of Encinitas. San Marcos is known for its amazing master planned communities and arguably most well-known for its lauded reputation in the educational world. Home to Palomar College and Cal State University San Marcos, as well as numerous highly-rated public schools, this is an excellent place for students at all levels.
San Marcos is Spanish for St. Mark, who is credited as the author of the Gospel of Mark. The city has been occupied since the early 1800s, but was finally incorporated in 1963. San Marcos’ nickname is “Valley of Discovery”.
San Marcos Population & Demographics
With a median resident age of 35, San Marcos is home to a young and vibrant population. When looking at San Marcos demographics, there is an even split of both males and females. The city’s population currently sits at 96,217 residents, which has steadily grown over the last decade.
Among the individuals living in the city, 54 percent are married, while 46 percent are single. Looking at the area’s race and ethnicity, 44 percent identify as White, 39 percent identify as Hispanic, 10 percent identify as Asian, four percent identify as two or more races, and two percent identify as Black.
Educational attainment in San Marcos is roughly comparable with the San Diego metro area. 87.1 percent have earned at least a high school diploma, whereas 38.5 percent have received a bachelor’s degree (or higher). Median per capita income figures currently sit at $35,232. The median household income is $86,408, which is slightly higher than the surrounding metro area.
San Marcos is a safe place to live. Crime rates are 58 percent lower than California, and 53 percent lower than the national average. Beyond that both the violent crime rate and the property crime rate are lower than the state and the national average.
Protecting the city is the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Cost of Living in San Marcos CA
Deciding whether San Marcos is affordable? Explore the city’s cost of living figures to determine if it matches up with your budget.
One of the first costs that most people look at when moving to a new city is housing. The San Marcos median home price is $950,000. This price tag is relatively consistent with nearby cities in Southern California. Alternatively, those who are planning to rent an apartment can expect to spend upwards of $3,000/month on a one bedroom unit. While this pricing is also consistent with rent rates across Southern California, it is significantly higher than the national average.
San Marcos everyday living expenses
- Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: $30
- One gallon of milk: $4
- Dozen eggs: $4
- Basic utilities: $84.19/month
- Fitness club fee: $60/month
- New release movie, one ticket: $14
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four will need to bring in $110,158 annually to afford to live in San Marcos.
San Marcos Neighborhoods | Where to Live in San Marcos CA
As such a highly-desirable city, finding the best places to live in San Marcos is relatively easy.
Nestled in the northern part of San Marcos, one of the area’s top neighborhoods is Twin Oaks Valley. When looking for San Marcos homes for sale, this is an excellent location to consider. Boasting scenic views of the desert, sprawling homes, and a rural setting, those who desire peace and quiet will find it here.
Another popular neighborhood in San Marcos is San Elijo Hills. This master planned community is situated in the southern portion of the city, and features amenities such as the Anne’s Descent Trail and Questhaven Park. Homes are spacious, upscale, and ideal for families.
Several other popular neighborhoods include:
- Coronado Hills
- Discovery Hills
- Rancho Dorado
- Lake San Marcos
For those who plan to commute, San Marcos to San Diego is a 35 mile one-way trip. When traffic is flowing, this equates to about a 38 minute drive. Click here if you need to travel from San Marcos, CA to San Diego, CA. Although San Marcos is not on the coast, it is within 10 miles of the beaches of Carlsbad and Oceanside CA.
San Marcos Weather & Climate
Moving to San Marcos means that you’ll always want to have your sunscreen and sunglasses at the ready. The climate here is arid and warm throughout the year. Cacti and other desert plants thrive in this city. Temperature fluctuations from season to season are moderate, making this an excellent place to live for those who enjoy consistent weather.
During the summertime, the average high peaks at 81 degrees in August. In the wintertime, daily highs seldom dip below 60 degrees (on average). The most cloud cover is experienced in February, while the “wet” season extends from November to early April.
Things to Do in San Marcos
Prior to moving to San Marcos, it is worthwhile to learn what things there are to do in the immediate area.
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Consider yourself to be an avid golfer? Book your tee time and bring your best set of clubs to the Twin Oaks Golf Course. Surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains, the scenery is just as amazing as the facilities. In all of San Marcos, this is one of the best attractions for golf players of all skill levels.
1425 N Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069, 760-591-4700
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Whether looking for a kid-friendly activity or something for couples to do, LSM Marina is a tranquil spot to get out on the water. Take the boat, kayak, or paddleboard out for a morning or afternoon of sightseeing. The marina offers boat rentals, dock leases, fishing gear, and a variety of other rentals to help you create lasting memories.
1025 La Bonita Dr #5221, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-621-0006
Among all of the fun things to do in San Marcos, one of the best indoor attractions is Bowlero. Plan a party or special group outing at this family-friendly bowling alley. Visitors can also enjoy an arcade, a restaurant/bar, and pool tables.
945 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92069, 760-744-7000
San Marcos operates 24 community parks and other amenities across the city for all residents to enjoy. Check them out on the San Marcos Parks and Recreation site.
Additional attractions in San Marcos:
There are many fun community events in San Marcos. Click here for a calendar of events. San Marcos also provides convenient places to shop including Grand Plaza, Nordahl Marketplace, Nordstrom Rack, Ralphs, and Costco Wholesale.
San Marcos Restaurants
Upon moving to San Marcos, there are several area restaurants that are must-trys. Spanning a variety of cuisines, locals are highly impressed by most nearby dining establishments.
Exuding a fun and modern ambiance, Urge Gastropub & Common House is one of the best spots in San Marcos for foodies. Offering an eclectic menu of local craft beer and elevated bar bites, diners can easily please their palates with the available menu selections.
Fish House Vera Cruz
Awarded with the distinction of having the best seafood in San Diego County, Fish House Vera Cruz is an exceptional eatery. Using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, and offering both indoor and outdoor seating, this restaurant is a popular pick for all kinds of celebrations. Top dishes include oysters on the half, Vera Cruz shrimp cocktail, fish tacos, and calamari steak.
360 Via Vera Cruz, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-744-8000
Upscale farm-to-table cuisine is at its best at The Bellows. Acclaimed for their old-world cooking and craft beer, this restaurant delivers a one-of-a-kind experience. It is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, 4pm to 10pm.
803 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd #107, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-290-3912
Jobs in San Marcos
Searching for a job in San Marcos? Top employers in San Marcos include Hunter Industries, UPS, Costco Wholesale, and Wal-Mart. If you want to get a job for the City of San Marcos click here. Currently, the median resident per capita income is $35,232 per year.
San Marcos Schools
Parents living in San Marcos send their children and teens to schools within the San Marcos Unified School District. It is made up of 19 total schools, and serves 20,873 students. Some of the top-rated schools in the district include Double Peak K-8, San Elijo Middle School, and High Tech High North County School.
In addition to the area’s excellent K-12 schools, San Marcos is also known for Palomar College and the San Marcos campus of California State University. Palomar College is located in northern San Marcos, and features 250 associate degree and certificate programs. The Cal State San Marcos campus was founded in 1989, and features 44 undergraduate programs, and over a dozen post-grad programs.
Students and others enjoy the free San Marcos library, which is located at 2 Civic Center Dr.
San Marcos Statistics & Information
- Zip codes: 92069, 92078, 92079, 92096
- Area codes: 442/760
- Time zone: Pacific
- Elevation: 581 feet
- Total area of the city: 24.36 square miles
- Closest airport to the city: McClellan-Palomar Airport
Map of San Marcos
Explore more things to do, places to eat, and beyond with this San Marcos map.
Pros & Cons of Living in San Marcos
- Pro: Consistent year-round weather
- Con: High cost of rent
- Pro: Outdoor recreation
- Con: High cost of buying a home
- Pro: Fantastic educational institutions
Ready to start living in San Marcos? Trust our five-star San Marcos movers to help you at every step. Contact us today at 619-000-0000 for services and pricing.