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The community of Olivenhain is primarily upscale single family custom homes with relatively large lots. Minimum lot sizes are key to Olivenhain's appeal, with lots ranging from 0.5 acres (2,000 m2) to 5 acres (20,000 m2). The topography tends to be rolling, and most streets are small and winding through the hills. Although it is considered[by whom?] to be its "own little town", Olivenhain Colony is part of the 92024 Encinitas zip code.
The town is located on the Rancho Las Encinitas Mexican land grant, and was settled by a German colony in the 1890s. The name Olivenhain is from the German and means "olive grove". The German settlers built the meeting hall which still stands. It is used today for community functions such as the annual Oktoberfest, Haunted House, summer movie series, craft fairs and a variety of civic group meetings. Residents of Olivenhain may schedule the Meeting Hall and grounds for private functions; it is a popular wedding site.
Olivenhain has a vast network of recreational trails, used by walkers and equestrians. Many homes have horse facilities, tennis courts, swimming pools, etc. A common site in the area during late afternoons and dusk are hot air balloons.
Olivenhain has a darker sky than coastal San Diego towns such as Encinitas and Solana Beach due to its "Dark Sky Policy" which restricts lights from street lights, tennis courts, and other forms of light pollution.
Olivenhain students attend the Encinitas Union School District and the San Dieguito Union High School District. Elementary students attend Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary, then Diegueno Junior High School. Public High School students attend La Costa Canyon High School or San Dieguito Academy. There also are several private schools nearby.