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San Marcos City Overview

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San Marcos is one of the fastest-growing cities in San Diego County, and it's easy to see why: affordable housing, master-planned communities, excellent schools and park system, plus a variety of new retail centers and restaurant choices. Residents also love their easy accessibility to all points of San Diego, thanks to nearby I-15 and Highway 78.

San Marcos real estate includes a wide range of home styles and prices, and boasts the lowest taxes in San Diego County. Several of the master-planned communities have won design awards and sport a number of mini-parks. Lake San Marcos is one of the more well-known communities, and is predominantly a senior community situated around the lake, with its popular golf course. San Elijo Hills is San Marcos' newest community, which, when complete, will include 3,400 homes on 2,000 acres in the hills behind Lake San Marcos. Currently San Marcos median housing prices are $560,000, with condos starting in the low-to-mid $200s and single family homes from the $400,000s to over $2 million.

According to historical legends, San Marcos was "discovered" when the San Luis Rey mission flocks were captured by a small band of Indians in the late 1700s. While pursuing the Indians, the Spaniards came upon the fertile valley in 1797 and named it Los Vallecitos de San Marcos (Little Valleys of Saint Mark) to honor the day of discovery: April 25th, "St. Mark's Day".

San Marcos is home to two expanding institutions of higher learning. Cal State San Marcos is a new and rapidly growing, modern campus of new buildings, the latest computer technology, and cutting-edge science labs. Palomar College is a public two-year community college, with its main campus in San Marcos, enrolling approximately 30,000 full-time and part-time students.

Community theatre, music and fine arts organizations are also active San Marcos. TheatreWest, the city's youth drama program, presents five outstanding community theatre productions per year. The Performing Arts Center at Palomar College showcases student and professional dramatic works.

San Marcos residents enjoy 17 parks, three golf courses, and a variety of hiking trails. The city is known for having some of the best restaurants in North County. Old California Restaurant Row features a large concentration of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. On Sundays it's easy to find freshly harvested produce, fresh cut flowers and handmade crafts at the Farmer's Market in Old California Restaurant Row. The Grand Summer Festival, held every August, features specialty foods and micro-brews, live blues & jazz performances, and one of the largest classic car shows in San Diego County. The Carnival of Cultures, a multi-ethnic features international cuisine, traditional arts & crafts, and children's activities, is held every March.