Destination Main Streets

Encinitas, California

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Encinitas, California is one of many towns along San Diego County's coastal region. Much of the downtown's identity is closely tied to Historic Coast Highway 101, which is also the the area's Main Street. At one time U.S. Highway 101 hugged the Pacific Coast all the way south, leading to the growth of many cities. Today. Interstate 5 has taken over those duties and U.S. Highway 101 has been terminated in downtown Los Angeles many miles north. But the residents of the North County region are still proud of their Coast Highway 101 roots. In fact it is still used as a street address today. In Encinitas, you'll find a town filled with Americana, boutiques, antique stores, hip restaurants, bars, and taverns. This is where celebrities in the middle of the previous century would escape to to get out of Hollywood and visit the nearby Del Mar Racetrack. Also not too far away is the Pacific Ocean. So it's only a few short blocks to the beach. Therefore, it's not hard to see why many businesses will reflect that beach and Southern California lifestyle.

Encinitas, California is about 30 miles from San Diego and 100 miles from Los Angeles. The city can be reached by Interstate 5 or by the Coaster commuter rail system, which has a stop in Encinitas. The Main Street area itself is Coast Highway 101 with the majority of businesses between C Street to the north and K Street to the south. One good idea would me to make a scenic trip of Coast Highway 101 and hit all the towns along the way. Towns from north to south include Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Del Mar. Further south, closer to the heart of San Diego, other Main Street areas include La Jolla, Old Town San Diego, the Gas Lamp District, and Coronado.

Photo Gallery Tour

We'll start our tour of Encinitas, California on the southern side of town and work our way north.  Encinitas's Main Street is Coast Highway 101.  As you can see, this stretch seems a bit like a highway but it'll feel more like a Main Street as we head closer into town.
We'll start our tour of Encinitas, California on the southern side of town and work our way north. Encinitas's Main Street is Coast Highway 101. As you can see, this stretch seems a bit like a highway but it'll feel more like a Main Street as we head closer into town.
Here we see some shops, an art gallery, and even a Visitor Center.  Encinitas takes pride in its deep routes with U.S. 101.  Although the road is no longer officially U.S. 101, signs abound throughout the area reminding folks that this is now Historic Coast Highway 101.  The route winds through several towns along San Diego's North County area.
Here we see some shops, an art gallery, and even a Visitor Center. Encinitas takes pride in its deep routes with U.S. 101. Although the road is no longer officially U.S. 101, signs abound throughout the area reminding folks that this is now Historic Coast Highway 101. The route winds through several towns along San Diego's North County area.
Some interesting signs along Coast Highway 101 that hearkens back to the days when this was the major north-south route in the area.  Today Interstate 5 has taken over that role.  Also note that cross streets are given names of letters.  Here we are at the corner of Coast Highway 101 and G Street.  Yes, businesses actually use Coast Highway 101 as their street address.
Some interesting signs along Coast Highway 101 that hearkens back to the days when this was the major north-south route in the area. Today Interstate 5 has taken over that role. Also note that cross streets are given names of letters. Here we are at the corner of Coast Highway 101 and G Street. Yes, businesses actually use Coast Highway 101 as their street address.
More shops along Coast Highway 101.  If the name hasn't given it away, this road is just a short walk away from the Pacific coast and its beautiful beaches.
More shops along Coast Highway 101. If the name hasn't given it away, this road is just a short walk away from the Pacific coast and its beautiful beaches.
Now we're getting closer to Encinitas's downtown.  Here are some of its funky shops.
Now we're getting closer to Encinitas's downtown. Here are some of its funky shops.
And here is a sign welcoming you into the heart of Encinitas, California.  U.S. Highway 101 was once the major north south highway through the area but that has since been supplanted by Interstate 5 and El Camino Real to the east.
And here is a sign welcoming you into the heart of Encinitas, California. U.S. Highway 101 was once the major north south highway through the area but that has since been supplanted by Interstate 5 and El Camino Real to the east.
At the corner of F Street and Coast Highway 101 we find a newer development called Pacific Station that is also pedestrian friendly.  Condos are on the top with a Whole Foods and other shops on the bottom.
At the corner of F Street and Coast Highway 101 we find a newer development called Pacific Station that is also pedestrian friendly. Condos are on the top with a Whole Foods and other shops on the bottom.
We get a closer look at the Pacific Station development and see a courtyard, bank, and restaurant all along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas.
We get a closer look at the Pacific Station development and see a courtyard, bank, and restaurant all along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas.
Across the street we see a bar and pool hall in a building with an adobe architectural style.  For many years, this part of the North County was popular with tourists and even celebrities who wanted to escape LA and come down and enjoy the beaches, bars, clubs, and even the nearby Del Mar Racetrack.
Across the street we see a bar and pool hall in a building with an adobe architectural style. For many years, this part of the North County was popular with tourists and even celebrities who wanted to escape LA and come down and enjoy the beaches, bars, clubs, and even the nearby Del Mar Racetrack.
An arts and crafts store points out that it's located on 101.  Although the official U.S. 101 terminates many miles north in downtown Los Angeles, businesses and residents along this stretch of San Diego's North County are proud of their Route 101 history.
An arts and crafts store points out that it's located on 101. Although the official U.S. 101 terminates many miles north in downtown Los Angeles, businesses and residents along this stretch of San Diego's North County are proud of their Route 101 history.
A restaurant and a cafe along Coast Highway 101 that includes outdoor seating in Encinitas, California.
A restaurant and a cafe along Coast Highway 101 that includes outdoor seating in Encinitas, California.
A small mall, literally, along Coast Highway 101.  Some unique shops and businesses occupy the shopping center but it's reminiscent of when U.S. Highway 101 was the main north south route through the North County.
A small mall, literally, along Coast Highway 101. Some unique shops and businesses occupy the shopping center but it's reminiscent of when U.S. Highway 101 was the main north south route through the North County.
Speaking of what you can catch along an historic scenic highway, here's a piece of Americana, an old hamburger joint.  They even have a drive-through.
Speaking of what you can catch along an historic scenic highway, here's a piece of Americana, an old hamburger joint. They even have a drive-through.
We cross over E Street.  Here we find more gift shops, boutiques, and home and garden stores.  This is the heart of Coast Highway 101's Main Street feel.
We cross over E Street. Here we find more gift shops, boutiques, and home and garden stores. This is the heart of Coast Highway 101's Main Street feel.
Along Coast Highway 101 there are these small murals in the sidewalk.  I was told to pay a visit to these boathouses but sadly didn't get to it on this visit so here they are in sidewalk mural form.  These are not house boats but houses that look like boats built in the hillside in a residential neighborhood complete with pilot house, portholes, cabins, and a rudder.
Along Coast Highway 101 there are these small murals in the sidewalk. I was told to pay a visit to these boathouses but sadly didn't get to it on this visit so here they are in sidewalk mural form. These are not house boats but houses that look like boats built in the hillside in a residential neighborhood complete with pilot house, portholes, cabins, and a rudder.
More businesses along Coast Highway 101 including a diner, a salon, coffee house, and vintage clothing store all in downtown Encinitas, California.
More businesses along Coast Highway 101 including a diner, a salon, coffee house, and vintage clothing store all in downtown Encinitas, California.
Here is a view of the 101 Diner where we ate when we were in Encinitas.  On the left you can see some interesting stone work along the sidewalks.
Here is a view of the 101 Diner where we ate when we were in Encinitas. On the left you can see some interesting stone work along the sidewalks.
A view inside the 101 Diner.  They like their vintage Americana along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, California.
A view inside the 101 Diner. They like their vintage Americana along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, California.
More businesses, including shops, salons, and clubs.  One thing that is interesting is the frequent use of the number 101 in business titles in this town.
More businesses, including shops, salons, and clubs. One thing that is interesting is the frequent use of the number 101 in business titles in this town.
A view looking north along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, California.  In this shot you have both a Main Street angle and the highway sign overhead giving you both perspectives of Encinitas's unique personality.
A view looking north along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, California. In this shot you have both a Main Street angle and the highway sign overhead giving you both perspectives of Encinitas's unique personality.
Around the planters are these grates embossed with a Coast Highway 101 shield in Encinitas, California.
Around the planters are these grates embossed with a Coast Highway 101 shield in Encinitas, California.
A gift shop and some saloons and taverns along Coast Highway 101.  The bars are a reminder of Encinitas's early days when the city was a party town for celebrities and others who would escape Los Angeles to come down to the Coastal North County to party.
A gift shop and some saloons and taverns along Coast Highway 101. The bars are a reminder of Encinitas's early days when the city was a party town for celebrities and others who would escape Los Angeles to come down to the Coastal North County to party.
Here are some interesting murals on the side of a 7-Eleven facing Coast Highway 101.  The design symbolizes the nearby Swami's Self Realization Fellowship.  Its golden spires and unusual architecture is famous in Encinitas.
Here are some interesting murals on the side of a 7-Eleven facing Coast Highway 101. The design symbolizes the nearby Swami's Self Realization Fellowship. Its golden spires and unusual architecture is famous in Encinitas.
At the corner of D Street and Coast Highway 101 we have more shops and this Italian restaurant all in Encinitas, California.
At the corner of D Street and Coast Highway 101 we have more shops and this Italian restaurant all in Encinitas, California.
Here is an interior view of one of the shops along Coast Highway 101, Back to Cali.
Here is an interior view of one of the shops along Coast Highway 101, Back to Cali.
An historic looking bar and grill with a Spanish mission style look to it next door to the historic La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, California.
An historic looking bar and grill with a Spanish mission style look to it next door to the historic La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, California.
Here is a view of the famous Encinitas archway going over Coast Highway 101 at D Street.  Signs like this over downtown areas are popular around North County downtowns.  Also underneath the arch you can see the La Paloma Theater, which opened in 1928 and was one of the first to feature "Talkies."
Here is a view of the famous Encinitas archway going over Coast Highway 101 at D Street. Signs like this over downtown areas are popular around North County downtowns. Also underneath the arch you can see the La Paloma Theater, which opened in 1928 and was one of the first to feature "Talkies."
Here we see more businesses and a coffee shop.  The building where the Psychic was located has been undergoing redevelopment.  We have hit the northern end of downtown so let's head over to the beach.
Here we see more businesses and a coffee shop. The building where the Psychic was located has been undergoing redevelopment. We have hit the northern end of downtown so let's head over to the beach.
This, as the sign states, is the D Street Viewpoint.  You can see the Pacific Ocean off in the distance.  This is one way to access the beach.  The public beach here is known as Moonlight State Beach.
This, as the sign states, is the D Street Viewpoint. You can see the Pacific Ocean off in the distance. This is one way to access the beach. The public beach here is known as Moonlight State Beach.
Here is a view of the walkways and the palm trees heading down to the beach and to the ocean.
Here is a view of the walkways and the palm trees heading down to the beach and to the ocean.
Another view of Moonlight Beach and the houses overlooking it.  According to the State Parks & Recreation the "moonlight" in the name of this beach comes from the fact that local residents used to come to the area for midnight picnics in the early 1900s.
Another view of Moonlight Beach and the houses overlooking it. According to the State Parks & Recreation the "moonlight" in the name of this beach comes from the fact that local residents used to come to the area for midnight picnics in the early 1900s.
One last picture before we end our tour.  Moonlight Beach offers swimming, surfing and fishing.  Facilities include volleyball and tennis courts, recreational equipment rentals, a snack bar, and bathrooms.  And remember this was all a short walk from Coast Highway 101.
One last picture before we end our tour. Moonlight Beach offers swimming, surfing and fishing. Facilities include volleyball and tennis courts, recreational equipment rentals, a snack bar, and bathrooms. And remember this was all a short walk from Coast Highway 101.

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