San Diego, 92106
History & Charm at the Edge of the World
Point Loma is a San Diego coastal community that has it all—incredible views, proximity to insanely gorgeous beaches, world class dining, and serious historical significance to boot.
We specialize in Point Loma homes & investment properties, and we cannot complain—it's a great place to live, work and play!
We've prepared this page to share a local's perspective on one of San Diego's most sought-after neighborhoods. But first, if you're curious about Point Loma homes for sale or how much your Point Loma home could sell for, start by creating your free San Diego MLS account!
Point Loma Location & Neighborhoods
Point Loma is a hilly peninsula between the San Diego bay and the Pacific Ocean, the tip of which is the most southwesterly point in the continental United States. The bottom third is protected land, including a National Park, military land, and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Point Loma has several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own features & charm.
Wooded Area is one of these neighborhoods, atop the hill between Sunset Cliffs and the La Playa neighborhood. Some of the nicest homes in Point Loma are located here among peaceful tree-lined streets, parks, and views in all directions.
Just east of Wooded Area is the bayside neighborhood, La Playa, which includes Shelter Island, one of the best places in San Diego for boating, restaurants, hotels & entertainment. We'll share more specific places to visit on Shelter Island in our Local's Guide to Point Loma, below.
Just north of La Playa is the historic Roseville-Fleet Ridge neighborhood, first settled by Point Loma fishermen over 100 years ago. Roseville was actually its own town at one point, but eventually merged into the City of San Diego.
Other Point Loma neighborhoods include Point Loma Heights, Loma Portal (with its signature vintage street lamps anchoring the roundabouts in the middle of the intersections), and the trendy new live-eat-play hub, Liberty Station.
It's easy to get lost driving around and marveling at the unique characteristics of these amazing neighborhoods. We encourage you to check out Point Loma!
Read on for Point Loma history and our Local's Guide to Point Loma, for the best spots to eat, drink & explore this wonderful community!
Point Loma History
Historians have said that Point Loma is "where California began," because it's the place where Europeans first set foot on the west coast of the United States. Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo arrived on September 28, 1542, docking his boats in the shelter of Point Loma's eastern side after a 3-month sail from Mexico. Of course, the indigenous Kumeyaay people were living in the area long before the Europeans arrived, but Point Loma is still significant as the point where Western culture began its journey on the west coast.
Cabrillo died during the expedition, but his crew is believed to have explored as far north as Oregon before being driven back to Mexico by winter storms. His discovery is honored with a National Park in his name encompassing most of the southern tip of Point Loma, the Cabrillo National Monument. Some of the best views in the country can be seen from the monument, from the Coronado Islands in Mexico, to the Cuyamaca Mountains to the east, and even as far north as Catalina Island on a clear day.
About 100 years after the Revolutionary War, Point Loma started to come of age. 1850 was a big year: the City of San Diego became incorporated, California was admitted to the Union, and San Diego County became the first county in the state. The military took over the southern tip of Point Loma starting in the 1850's. The Army built artillery batteries because of the strategic positioning of the land mass and they named the area Fort Rosecrans.
The first lighthouse was constructed in 1854, before which only a lantern hung from a tall pole at Ballast Point, warning ships from the north that the peninsula was not an island as it might appear. The first lighthouse keeper to stand out in the history books was "Old Bob" Israel, who tended to the lighthouse and lived on the rocky point with his family for almost 20 years, from 1871-1891.
Bob Israel lived a life of sacrifice on the point with his wife, three sons and a niece, along with horses, chickens, pigs and goats. There was no water, and they were a 2-hour journey by horse and buggy each way to get water for the farm. His sons would row their boat to school in Old Town because it was faster than taking the trail.
In 1891 a new lighthouse was constructed because the Old Point Loma Lighthouse had a fatal design flaw: perched atop a 400+ foot cliff, its beam was often obscured by the thick fog of the marine layer. Bob Israel and his family moved away from Point Loma after that, he died in 1908 and he was buried in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. You can tour the home he and his family lived in as well as the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument.
Another historic set of structures started cropping up in 1897 in a complex known as Lomaland, the school and international center for the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, (the site of modern-day Point Loma Nazarene University). Situated on a gorgeous expanse of oceanview land, Lomaland was famous for the eccentric architecture of its buildings, many topped with brilliantly colored glass domes. Several of the original structures remain, including the oceanview Greek Theater, the first of its kind in the US.
The Navy moved into Point Loma during the early 1900's, and by World War II the entire area was used exclusively for military purposes. Later, parts of Fort Rosecrans would become the National Cemetery and the Cabrillo National Monument. This preserved land remains one of the most beautiful and historic areas in the world. For suggestions on what to do, see, eat, and what the Point Loma real estate market is like, check out our Local's Guide to Point Loma, below!
A Local's Guide to Point Loma
Table of Contents
Point Loma Parks, Trails & Activities
The Cabrillo National Monument is an excellent recreational spot with lots of history and many activities to choose from. There is a $10 fee per vehicle to enter the park, which is good for 7 days.
Some of the best hiking in Point Loma can be found at Cabrillo National Monument. There is a beautiful 2-mile Bayside Trail that offers breathtaking views of the San Diego Bay & the Pacific Ocean. The Coastal Tidepool Trail leads visitors to one of the best protected tide pools in Southern California, all while surrounded by the rare plants and animals who reside in this unique coastal sage scrub habitat.
Visitors can learn about the rich history of this land at the visitor's center, where you can talk to park rangers, view historical artifacts, watch educational films, and more. Learn about Juan Cabrillo's expedition in the 1500's, to the US military's annexation of the land in the 1900s, to the unique wildlife & characteristics of this protected land.
For history buffs interested in touring the army bunkers on Point Loma, you have a great opportunity on the 4th Saturday of each month with the park's guided military history tours. World War II re-enactors lead you through the bunkers, demonstrating what life was like for the soldiers stationed at Fort Rosecrans and how they protected our coast during the war years.
It's just a short walk to the Cabrillo Monument, where you can take in some of the best views on the west coast. You can also tour the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and keeper's quarters, transporting yourself back in time into the shoes of Old Bob Israel, the famous lighthouse keeper.
Bonus Fact: Top Gun was shot at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse! It was used as the home of "Viper" towards the end of the film.
The tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument are some of the last and most well preserved tide pools open to the public in Southern California.
And if you're lucky you might even be able to spot the grey whales from the Whale Overlook as they make their migration each December through February.
Next door to Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma Nazarene University offers spectacular views and tours of the historic buildings which the modern day campus is built around. There is a spectacular Greek Theater which was the first of its kind built in the U.S.
Point Loma Community Park is another great place for recreation and fun. There are basketball courts and tennis courts, and a variety of free activities hosted in the Park, including the Point Loma Summer Concert Series and Summer Movies in the Park.
Point Loma has always been a village fueled by the sea, so a visit to the marinas on Shelter Island is a must, whether you join a deep-sea fishing expedition or simply enjoy the sights from the comfort of one of the locals bars or restaurants.
There are great restaurants which basically pull the fish off the boat and put it on your plate, some of which are listed in the section below on eating & drinking. And if you're looking for some entertainment, from spring through fall you can catch a concert at the wonderful bayside hotel & music venue, Humphrey's By the Bay. Check out their calendar of events here. It's a delightfully intimate open air venue—one of the best places to see live music in San Diego.
There are plenty of sailing operators who will gladly take you on an iconic sail out the mouth of San Diego Bay, past the protection of Point Loma and into the open ocean, where you can scuba dive in the kelp patties, do some deep sea fishing, whale watching, or just cruise.
Another hub of food, fun, and entertainment is Liberty Station. This complex of historic buildings was the Naval Training Center from 1923-1997, now repurposed into an eclectic center of shopping, arts, dining, and even high-end homes. Enjoy a meal and then take a stroll in the 46-acre park along the boat channel or hit a few balls at the historic 9-hole golf course, the Loma Club, which has been there for over 100 years and hosted several notable golf pros throughout the years.
Over on the west side of Point Loma you'll find, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, another favorite for tourists and locals alike. Stretching over one mile along the southwest side of the Point Loma peninsula, Sunset Cliffs provides breathtaking ocean views along unique cliff formations and caves. There are hiking trails and plenty of places to just sit and take it all in. It's a great place to watch the sunset, hence the name!
Point Loma Events & Other Fun Stuff To Do
There's never a shortage of a good time in Point Loma. For the latest local events, news and Point Loma homes, follow us on social media using the icons below. And don't miss out on these classic recurring Point Loma events:
Friday Night Liberty: The first Friday of each month Liberty Station's Arts & Cultural District hosts a free evening of open artist studios, galleries and events. Come indulge your creative side!
Kobe's Swap Meet: Each week vendors gather Friday-Sunday in the Sports Arena parking lot for one of the largest outdoor markets in the area. Come for produce, vintage items & more!
Live Music Concerts at Point Loma Nazarene University: Throughout the year there are various live music and dance concerts at the stunningly scenic Point Loma Nazarene University.
Point Loma Garden Walk: Each spring the green-thumbed homeowners open their doors for ticket holders to tour their magnificent gardens, all proceeds going to Rady Children's Hospital.
The Fall Festival: Hosted by Point Loma Nazarene University on their picturesque campus, families enjoy music, games & crafts for kids, a petting zoo, pony rides, free pumpkins & more!
Candy Cane Lane: On Garrison Street, near the Chatsworth Boulevard intersection, prepare to feel some serious holiday spirit.
Connect With Us on Social Media to Keep Up on All Things Point Loma Living!
Point Loma Schools
Point Loma has a strong sense of community and great public schools. In San Diego Unified School District, schools in each community are organized into "clusters," which consist of a high school, and the middle and elementary schools which feed into it. Click the link for more information on San Diego Unified School District Clusters.
The group of schools serving Point Loma is part of the Point Loma Cluster, and consists of Dewey Elementary (K-4th), Loma Portal Elementary (K-4th), Cabrillo Elementary (K-4th), Dana Middle School (5th-6th), Correia Middle School (7th-8th), and the highly sought-after Point Loma High School. For a map of the schools in this cluster, click here.
Where to Eat, Drink & Enjoy Happy Hour In Point Loma
There are a ton of great places to eat, drink, and get a little tipsy (responsibly!) in Point Loma. The big names can be found with a quick Google search, so instead of reiterating those here, we've hand-selected some the lesser known local treasures along with our favs. Listed in no particular order. Call us anytime for a locals-style tour! 858-230-8644
Point Loma Seafoods: A fresh fish market & restaurant on the sport fishing docks north of Shelter Island. Great atmosphere and food. Try the crab sandwich.
Mitch's Seafood: This is a "locals' secret" on the same sport fishing docks as Point Loma Seafoods. Serving up the best clam chowder & seafood straight off the boats. Try the shrimp tacos!
Jimmy's Famous American Tavern: Another dock-side dining experience, Jimmy's offers a more upscale atmosphere with amazing food & drinks. Try the seared ahi sandwich or French dip!
Old Venice: Cozy little hole in the wall with authentic Italian food & seafood and a charming atmosphere. Dine inside or in the outdoor courtyard!
Tom Ham's Lighthouse: Classy joint on Shelter Island with great food, expansive views of San Diego Bay and indoor & outdoor seating. Excellent Sunday Brunch.
Bali Hai: Polynesian-themed restaurant with panoramic views of San Diego Bay and a world famous Mai Tai with no juice in it. You can even pull up your boat and "dock-&-dine!"
Point Loma Real Estate
The Point Loma real estate market is unique, and heavily in demand. One of the cool things about Point Loma for buyers is that it's one of the few places left in the beach areas where you can still get a "deal," i.e., an older home or investment property that you can fix up and gain value through both sweat equity and a constantly improving market.
If you own a home in Point Loma, you might be surprised at how much you could sell for. There is a severe shortage of properties for sale in Point Loma, and overwhelming demand. This market gives you incredible leverage during the initial contract negotiations, which you must take advantage of in order to make the escrow process as smooth and predictable as possible.
Whether you'd like to buy a Point Loma home and hire an aggressive agent to help you get the best deal, or you'd like to know how to get the most money and least stress out of your home sale, give our broker Lauren a call today and book your free strategy session!
Point Loma Real Estate By the Numbers
We update these stats each month. The numbers you see below represent last month's sales activity.
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