Pacific Highlands Ranch Named “Best Neighborhood to Live in America”


If you live in San Diego, it should come as no surprise that it’s consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States. In fact, out of the 3,148 neighborhoods ranked in their “2017 Best Neighborhoods to Live in America” list, six neighborhoods in San Diego made the top 10! It just so happens that those six neighborhoods are all surrounding the Carmel Valley area, with Pacific Highlands Ranch taking the #1 spot. 

Niche’s 2017 Best Neighborhoods to Live in America:

  • #1 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Pacific Highlands Ranch
  • #3 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Black Mountain Ranch
  • #4 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Del Mar Mesa
  • #5 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Torrey Highlands
  • #6 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Carmel Valley
  • #9 of 3,148 neighborhoods: Torrey Pines

* rankings based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities using data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources. View the full list here.

Where is Pacific Highlands Ranch?

Pacific Highlands Ranch (PHR) is a 2,652-acre affluent community in north San Diego made up of luxury homes, condos, shopping, restaurants, and preserved natural habitats. Pacific Highlands Ranch is bordered to the north by Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch, to the south by Del Mar Mesa, to the east by Torrey Highlands, and to the west by Carmel Valley. PHR is only a 5 to 6-mile drive from Del Mar Beach.

Within San Diego County, Pacific Highlands Ranch is ranked #1 for best places to live and best places to raise a family, according to Niche in 2017.


Perks of Living in Pacific Highlands Ranch 


Since Pacific Highlands Ranch is centrally located in San Diego County, it’s just a quick drive from San Diego’s best attractions, like the beach, the San Diego Zoo, downtown, golf courses, shopping, dining, and much more. It’s also a short commute to many of San Diego’s high-tech and bio-tech employers.

Being a master-planned community, there are also tons of great restaurants and shopping in the neighborhood. The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch is a mixed-use living and shopping center featuring casual and gourmet restaurants, clothing and accessory boutiques, health and wellness studios, and specialty grocery stores (including a Trader Joe’s), in addition to residential units and gathering spaces. 

The Village at PHR provides a scenic environment to enjoy a stroll, with it’s charming Santa Barbara-inspired design, beautiful mosaics, and planned five-acre public park, including a community library, dog park, bocce ball court and garden (coming soon). Since Pacific Highlands Ranch is one of the newest neighborhoods in San Diego, much of it is still in the process of development.

Additional shopping and dining options are also available in the neighboring community of Carmel Valley at local hotspots like Del Mar Highlands Town Center and Piazza Carmel.

Outdoor Activities in Pacific Highlands Ranch

Pacific Highlands Ranch is the perfect community to enjoy San Diego’s great climate. Almost half of the 2,652 acres that make up Pacific Highlands Ranch will remain open space as the community continues to develop. Residents can enjoy miles of hiking and biking trails as part of PHR’s overall design. You can view a list of some of the best hiking spots near Pacific Highlands Ranch here. You can also view a list of golf courses and nearby beaches here

Top Schools Serving Pacific Highlands Ranch


One of the many reasons why Pacific Highlands Ranch is ranked so high is because of the great schools in the area. Three of the high schools are ranked in the top 20 public high schools in California by Niche

Schools in Pacific Highlands Ranch:

The Del Mar Union School District, the Solana Beach School District, and the San Dieguito Union High School District serve residents in Pacific Highlands Ranch. Elementary school students living north of Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights Road are typically part of the Solana Beach School District, and students to the south are served by Del Mar Union School District.

Most public middle school students will attend Carmel Valley Middle School, while high school students typically attend either Canyon Crest Academy or Torrey Pines High School.

Private schools near Pacific Highlands Ranch include Cathedral Catholic High School, San Diego Jewish Academy, La Jolla Country Day School, Kinderhouse Montessori School,, Diegueno Country School, Horizon Prep, The Nativity School, Good Shepherd Catholic School, Del Mar Pines School and Notre Dame Academy.

Pacific Highlands Ranch Demographics

According to census estimates by the San Diego Association of Governments, there were 4,224 people living in Pacific Highlands Ranch in January 2010. The racial demographics of PHR were estimated at 68.5% White, 17.4% Asian and Pacific Islander, 11.7% Hispanic, 1.6% from other races, 0.4% African American, and 0.2% American Indian. estimates the median household income of Pacific Highlands Ranch residents at $166,974 and education levels higher than the national average– with 49% having a master’s degree or higher, and 28% having a bachelor’s degree.

Pacific Highlands Ranch Real Estate


The majority of homes in Pacific Highlands Ranch are detached, single-family upscale homes that are almost entirely owner occupied. However, The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch will offer multi-family, residential rentals.

Another benefit of homes in PHR, is that most are designed to be energy-efficient with low-water landscaping.

Pacific Highlands Ranch is often considered part of the Carmel Valley community, and therefore “Carmel Valley” is sometimes used interchangeably with PHR when talking about this area. This is something to keep in mind when researching the neighborhood further or when looking for real estate in Pacific Highlands Ranch.

Fredricksen & Kellee are a San Diego REALTOR® team who know the ins and outs of real estate in Pacific Highlands Ranch and Carmel Valley. Contact them today to learn more about homes for sale in Pacific Highlands ranch.

Posted on November 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm
Mary Beth Kellee & Philip Fredricksen | Category: Uncategorized

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