Two of Carlsbad’s oldest neighborhoods, Barrio and Carlsbad Village, are going to see some changes over the next few years. According to an article in the San Diego-Union Tribune, developers plan to add more businesses as well as housing opportunities in the downtown. However, important landmarks will be preserved while the area gets a few modern tweaks.

Some of the proposed changes include the conversion of Grand Avenue into a pedestrian promenade, closing it off to drivers. The proposed plan will also give way to more entertainment avenues. Residents are very much in favor of making these neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly, as they wish to boost the accessibility of walking, biking, and public transit access.

But just because these neighborhoods are in the process of getting some modern updates, it doesn’t mean they’ll lose their historic charm. Here’s a closer look at Carlsbad’s two oldest neighborhoods.

Carlsbad neighborhood welcome sign


Not to be confused with Barrio Logan, Barrio is Carlsbad’s oldest residential neighborhood and is comprised of seven square blocks between the railroad tracks and the I-5 near Downtown Carlsbad. As a walkable neighborhood, it is full of quaint, affordable single-family homes, as well as several residential buildings. It has a rich Mexican heritage, initially cultivated by immigrants and farmers escaping from the Mexican Revolution in the early 19th century. Immigrants fled to Barrio and created a farm community, initially called Barrio Carlos.

Many homes in the Barrio pre-date the city’s incorporation in 1952 and have been passed down from generation to generation. The population was around 2,400 people in the late 1950s, but the area saw a population surge following World War II and the growth of local industries. Camp Pendleton and a plant gave jobs to many locals living in the neighborhood. The dominance of agriculture also shifted in the Barrio at that time, as workers began to tend to flower fields.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, both biotech industries and golfing entered into the fray, helping people discover Carlsbad, which led to more growth.

Carlsbad Village

Only a few blocks away from the Barrio and along the coast is Carlsbad Village, which locals refer to simply as the Village. Predominantly commercial, it is full of mixed-use developments, restaurants, hotels, restaurants, and businesses like the Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall. With plenty of free parking, the Village is a great destination for shopping and entertainment. Still, the Village is able to maintain its Old California charm thanks to developmental policies that date back to the 1980s. One of the more interesting things about the Village, however, is its historic mineral water spa. It was discovered in 1882 and serves as a means of therapeutic healing for people.

The Village also has strong Italian influences and roots. The Tuna Fishing Industry brought a wave of Italians to the area in the 1880s. This is seen today in the number of authentic Italian restaurants in the neighborhood today, such as Gregorio’s or Caldo Pomodoro.

The Village is also home to the historic Carlsbad Village Theater, which has been open since 1927. Going through several name changes over the years, it has a full stage, orchestra pit, fly gallery, pipe organ, and a projection movie screen. It was the only theater in Carlsbad until the early 1960s, was renovated in 1999, and will be undergo renovations once again that will be modeled after its historic aesthetics.