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Oceanside Neighborhood Guide: San Luis Rey

Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

When driving through San Luis Rey, visitors might think this is a typical Oceanside neighborhood with a blend of shops, restaurants and residences, but this modest, family-friendly community is home to two popular, historically important North County attractions: Mission San Luis Rey de Francia and the Heritage Park Village and Museum.

The San Luis Rey neighborhood has a higher percentage of residents who are in the military than most cities in the U.S., largely due to the nearness of Camp Pendleton, and is one of the more diverse communities in Oceanside.

Those who call San Luis Rey home are fortunate to be just minutes from Oceanside beaches and the inland outdoor recreational opportunities available to the east, as well as plenty of parks, shopping centers and area attractions.


San Luis Rey and the surrounding areas were once home to indigenous people that came to be known as Luiseños, due to their connection to the mission. Since that time, the area that was part of Old Mission San Luis Rey – including the San Luis Rey neighborhood – has been influenced by distinct periods in history, including the Mission Era, Mexican Secularization and occupation by the American military from 1847 to 1857.

The historic Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (aka Old Mission San Luis Rey) was founded in 1798 and once covered more than 950,000 acres. It continues to function as a religious center and offers retreats, classes and community events throughout the year. It is also home to the oldest cemetery in North County San Diego that is still in operation, which was established in 1798.

Heritage Park Village and Museum in Oceanside

Within walking distance of the mission is Heritage Park Village and Museum, which once functioned as Oceanside’s town center and is still a popular community gathering place. Within the park you will find a village of historic buildings, including a jail, blacksmith shop, general store, livery stables and the old Blade newspaper building. There is also a gazebo and a museum with exhibits depicting Oceanside’s rich history.


The San Luis Rey neighborhood offers a variety of housing options for both renters and buyers. Approximately 42% of the properties in this area are single-family, detached homes, about 20% are mobile homes, approximately 16% are attached, single-family homes – such as townhouses, and the remaining available units consist of duplexes, triplexes and apartment complexes.

While the average rents in this neighborhood tend to be a bit higher than Oceanside as a whole, purchasing a house in San Luis Rey is generally more affordable when compared to average home values across the city.

In 2010 the average estimated value of single-family, detached homes was $397,622, while the average estimated value of attached homes, such as townhouses, was $203,722. The average estimated value of mobile homes – which make up about one-fifth of the housing options in this neighborhood – was $100,669.

Around 100 homes in San Luis Rey were constructed prior to 1950, but the vast majority of housing units in this community were built between 1970 and 2004, with the largest boom in housing construction occurring in the 1970s. For those interested in newer construction, more than 350 homes have been built since 2005.

Old Grove Marketplace in Oceanside

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

San Luis Rey residents do not have to travel far to run errands or spend an afternoon shopping with friends, particularly with Albertsons, Ralphs, Starbucks, Walgreens, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Petco being just a few of the recognizable names found along Mission Avenue and Old Grove Road.

Residents can get a manicure, grab lunch, ship Christmas presents, get their taxes done, pick up their dry cleaning, stop by the bank, get a root canal and more at Old Grove Marketplace, which is located where Old Grove Road meets Highway 76.

On nearby College Boulevard, residents will find some larger stores and discount retailers, such as Walmart, Kmart and Big Lots. At the corner of College Boulevard and Highway 76, Mission Marketplace is home to Ross Dress for Less, PetSmart, Sprouts and many more shops and restaurants.

There are also plenty of family-friendly entertainment options in the area, including Mission San Luis Rey de Francia and Heritage Park Village and Museum. Both of these North County attractions are historic landmarks where visitors can tour museums and learn about important parts of Oceanside’s rich history. To more fully enjoy these attractions, look for community events taking place throughout the year at these two popular gathering places.

alex road skate park

Parks & Recreation

There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces for Oceanside residents to enjoy within an easy drive of almost any neighborhood in the city, but the closest parks for San Luis Rey residents are Heritage Park Village and Museum, Fireside Park and Ivey Ranch Park.

Heritage Park, which is located at 200 Peyri Road, is more of a historical landmark than a typical community park, but it does offer some beautiful places to picnic or hang out around the gazebo and historical buildings.

At Fireside Park, which is located at the corner of Fireside Drive and Parkside Street, you will find four acres of community space with picnic areas and barbecue grills, a multipurpose field, playground equipment, and courts for basketball and volleyball.

At Ivey Ranch Park, which is located at 4101 Mission Avenue, you will find a 10-acre park with a multipurpose field, restrooms, playground equipment and picnic areas with barbecue grills. It is also interesting to note that Ivey Ranch Park is the only park in Oceanside that was specifically designed and built to be accessible for physically challenged members of the community.

Nearby Marlado Highlands Park located at Rivertree and Southwood Drive is a five-acre community space with playground equipment and a picnic area. This park was once a privately owned part of Marlado Highlands, but has been a city park since 1993.

If you have an avid skateboarder in your house, the Alex Road Skate Park is located at the corner of Alex Road and Foussat Road and offers 22,000 square feet of skateboarding, including two bowls and two snake runs.

Golfers can spend an afternoon on the green at the Oceanside Golf Course or Marine Memorial Golf Course, both of which are located north of the neighborhood, or the Emerald Isle Golf Course south of San Luis Rey.

Extended outdoor recreation options are available by traveling east on Highway 76 to Guajome Regional Park and Guajome Lake where locals and visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping and a day-use area with playground equipment and picnic areas.

Nichols Elementary School Library


Residents of San Luis Rey have both private and public schools to choose from for their children’s educational needs. The youngest residents can start their educational career at the Catholic Old Mission Montessori School or the secular Mission Montessori School before heading to one of the elementary schools in the area, including Nichols Elementary School, Louise Foussat Elementary School and San Luis Rey Elementary School. Middle School students generally attend Cesar Chavez Middle School, while teenagers head to El Camino High School for their diplomas.


The San Luis Rey neighborhood is located north of Mission Avenue (which is just north of Highway 76) and west of College Boulevard.

Additional Information

The San Luis Rey neighborhood of Oceanside offers an appealing blend of affordability, convenience and historic significance. This family-friendly community offers plenty of housing options that are generally more affordable than other parts of the city, is close to lots of shopping and entertainment options, and allows residents to enjoy the sought-after North County lifestyle.

Whether you are looking for the perfect place to buy your dream house or just some fun things to do in North County, this Oceanside neighborhood is definitely worth a visit – even if you just stop by to see Oceanside’s original town center or the bells at the historic mission church.


The Mission San Luis Rey de Francia photograph is courtesy of the Old Mission San Luis Rey website. The Heritage Park Village and Museum photograph is courtesy of the City of Oceanside website. The Old Grove Marketplace photograph is courtesy of the Old Grove Marketplace website. The Alex Road Skate Park photograph is courtesy of the City of Oceanside website. The Nichols Elementary School Library photograph is courtesy of the Nichols Elementary School website. Information regarding the variety and average estimated value of real estate in San Luis Rey is from

AJ Davis-Varela: AJ is a freelance writer and blogger at Articles by AJ specializing in travel, real estate, natural wellness and green living. She is a magazine columnist, a former San Diego newspaper columnist, has been published in a variety of print and online publications, and regularly contributes to several websites and blogs. You can connect with AJ on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+