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Coronado, California

Coordinates: 32°40′41″N 117°10′21″W / 32.67806°N 117.17250°W / 32.67806; -117.17250
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Coronado, California
The Hotel del Coronado in December 2008
The Hotel del Coronado in December 2008
Flag of Coronado, California
Official seal of Coronado, California
"The Crown City"
Location of Coronado in San Diego County, California
Location of Coronado in San Diego County, California
Coronado is located in San Diego County, California
Location in the United States
Coronado is located in California
Coronado (California)
Coronado is located in the United States
Coronado (the United States)
Coordinates: 32°40′41″N 117°10′21″W / 32.67806°N 117.17250°W / 32.67806; -117.17250
Country United States
State California
County San Diego
IncorporatedDecember 11, 1890[1]
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorRichard Bailey (R)[2]
 • Total32.50 sq mi (84.17 km2)
 • Land7.80 sq mi (20.22 km2)
 • Water24.69 sq mi (63.96 km2)  75.72%
Elevation16 ft (5 m)
 • Total20,192
 • Density2,587.06/sq mi (998.82/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
92118, 92178
Area code619
FIPS code06-16378
GNIS feature IDs1660513, 2410233

Coronado (Spanish for "Crowned") is a resort city located in San Diego County, California, United States, across the San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego.[5] It was founded in the 1880s and incorporated in 1890. Its population was 20,192 in 2020,[6] down from 24,697 in 2010.[7][8]

Coronado is a tied island which is connected to the mainland by a tombolo (a sandy isthmus) called the Silver Strand. The explorer Sebastian Vizcaino gave Coronado its name and drew its first map in 1602. Coronado is Spanish term for "crowned" and thus it is nicknamed The Crown City. Its name is derived from the Coronado Islands, an offshore Mexican archipelago.[9] Three ships of the United States Navy have been named after the city, including USS Coronado.


Prior to European settlement, Coronado was inhabited by the Kumeyaay, who sustained fishing villages on the peninsula in North Island and on the Coronado Cays. As American settlers moved into the area, the Kumeyaay were pushed out of Coronado, with the last six Kumeyaay families deported to Mesa Grande Reservation in 1902.[10]

Coronado was incorporated as a town on December 11, 1890. The community's first post office predates Coronado's incorporation, established on February 8, 1887, with Norbert Moser assigned as the first postmaster.[9] The land was purchased by Elisha Spurr Babcock, Hampton L. Story, and Jacob Gruendike. Their intention was to create a resort community, and in 1886, the Coronado Beach Company was organized. By 1888, they had built the Hotel del Coronado, and the city became a major resort destination. They also built a schoolhouse and formed athletic, boating, and baseball clubs.

Amusement Park, Tent City

In 1900, a tourist/vacation area just south of the Hotel del Coronado was established by John D. Spreckels and named Tent City. Spreckels also became the hotel's owner.[11] Over the years, the tents gave way to cottages, the last of which was torn down in late 1940 or early 1941.

In the 1910s, Coronado had streetcars running on Orange Avenue. These streetcars became a fixture of the city until their retirement in 1939.[12]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.7 square miles (85 km2); 7.9 square miles (20.5 km2) of the city is land and 24.7 square miles (64 km2) of it (75.72%) is water.

A view of San Diego from Coronado

Geographically, Coronado is a tied island connected to the mainland by a tombolo known as the Silver Strand. The Silver Strand, Coronado and North Island, form San Diego Bay. Since recorded history, Coronado was mostly separated from North Island by a shallow inlet of water called the Spanish Bight. The development of North Island by the United States Navy prior to and during World War II led to the filling of the bight by July 1944, combining the land areas into a single body.[13] The Navy still operates Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI or "North Island") on Coronado. On the southern side of the town is Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, a training center for Navy SEALs and Special warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC). Both facilities are part of the larger Naval Base Coronado complex. Coronado has increased in size due to dredge material being dumped on its shoreline and through the natural accumulation of sand. The "Country Club" area on the northwest side of Coronado, the "Glorietta" area and golf course on the southeast side of Coronado, most of the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, most of the Strand Naval Housing, and most of the Coronado Cays (all on the south side of Coronado) were built on dirt dredged from San Diego Bay.

On New Year's Day 1937, during the Great Depression, the gambling ship SS Monte Carlo, known for "drinks, dice, and dolls", was shipwrecked on the beach about a quarter mile (400 m) south of the Hotel del Coronado.[14]

In 1969, the San Diego–Coronado Bridge was opened, allowing much faster transit between the cities than bay ferries or driving via State Route 75 along the Silver Strand. The bridge is made up of five lanes, one of which is controlled by a moveable barrier that allows for better traffic flow during rush hours. In the morning, the lane is moved to create three lanes going southbound towards Coronado, and in the evening it is moved again to create three lanes going northbound towards downtown San Diego.[15]


According to the Köppen climate classification system, Coronado has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[16]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
Coronado Bridge
Coronado Beach in 2009


The 2010 United States Census reported that the City of Coronado had a population of 24,697.[18] The racial makeup of Coronado was 20,074 (81.2%) White, 1,678 (6.8%) African American, 201 (0.8%) Native American, 925 (3.7%) Asian, 101 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 762 (3.1%) from other races, and 956 (3.9%) from two or more races. There were 3,354 Hispanic or Latino residents, of any race (13.6%).[7][8]


As of the 2000 census,[19] there were 24,100 people, 7,734 households, and 4,934 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,121.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,205.4/km2). There were 9,494 housing units at an average density of 1,229.8 per square mile (474.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.40% White, 5.15% African American, 0.66% Native American, 3.72% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 3.14% from other races, and 2.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 9.83% of the population.

There were 7,734 households, out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city, 16.0% of the population was under the age of 18, 20.2% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 139.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 149.1 males.

48.2% of those age 25 and over have a bachelor's degree or higher. According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $91,748,[20] and the median income for a family was $119,205.[21]

Real estate in the city of Coronado is very expensive. According to a recent county-wide ZIP code chart published in The San Diego Union-Tribune in August 2006, the median cost of a single-family home within the city's ZIP code of 92118 was $1,605,000. In 2010, Forbes.com found that the median home price in Coronado had risen to $1,840,665.[22]

By 2023, the median home value was $2.2 million with more than a quarter of households earning more than $200,000.[23]

Government and politics[edit]

Coronado is governed by a city council, which is presided over by a directly elected mayor. The mayor and councilmembers serve 4-year terms. Council designates one of its members as Mayor Pro Tempore.[24]

Coronado had long been a Republican stronghold; in 2013, about 47% of voters were registered Republican, 25% Democratic, and 24% nonpartisan.[25]

Prior to 2020, the resort city had voted for the Republican nominee in each presidential election since at least 1964. From 1968 to 1988, each Republican presidential candidate received over 70% of the vote. However the city has been trending Democratic in recent years, with each of the last four Republican candidates receiving less than 60% of the vote. In 2016, Donald Trump won Coronado with a plurality of the vote, and Hillary Clinton received the largest share of the vote for a Democratic candidate since at least 1964.[26] In 2020, Democratic nominee and former vice president Joe Biden won Coronado with 51.50% of the vote, being the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry the city in decades.

In the California State Legislature, Coronado is in the 39th Senate District, represented by Democrat Toni Atkins, and in the 78th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Chris Ward.[27] In the United States House of Representatives, Coronado is located in California's 52nd congressional district, which has a Cook partisan voting index of D+12[28] and is represented by Democrat Juan Vargas.[29]

After California state law mandated that localities zone for affordable housing across the state, Coronado refused to comply with the law.[23] Coronado mayor Richard Bailey described the housing development as "central planning at its worst" and refused to submit a housing plan that allows for construction of the required amount of homes.[23]

Coronado city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020[30] 51.50% 5,308 44.39% 4,575 4.11% 424
2016[26] 45.90% 4,024 48.06% 4,213 6.05% 530
2012[31] 39.04% 3,455 59.10% 5,230 1.85% 164
2008[32] 41.73% 3,855 56.94% 5,260 1.33% 123
2004[33] 36.26% 3,326 62.93% 5,773 0.81% 74
2000[34] 32.39% 2,823 63.74% 5,556 3.87% 337
1996[35] 31.16% 2,654 61.02% 5,197 7.82% 666
1992[36] 26.99% 2,517 46.22% 4,310 26.78% 2,497
1988[37] 27.21% 2,413 71.71% 6,360 1.08% 96
1984[38] 21.86% 1,781 77.05% 6,278 1.09% 89
1980[39] 18.09% 1,468 71.47% 5,799 10.44% 847
1976[40] 27.87% 1,941 70.31% 4,897 1.82% 127
1972[41] 23.50% 1,390 73.34% 4,338 3.16% 187
1968[42] 24.27% 1,162 70.41% 3,371 5.33% 255
1964[43] 36.86% 1,725 63.14% 2,955


The Coronado Ferry Landing

Tourism is an essential component of Coronado's economy.[44] This city is home to three major resorts (Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Island Marriott, and Loews Coronado Bay Resort), as well as several other hotels and inns.[45] The downtown district along Orange Avenue, with its many shops, restaurants and theaters, is also a key part of the local economy. Many of the restaurants are highly rated and provide a wide variety of cuisine choices.[45]

16th hole Coronado Golf Course

Golf on Coronado started in 1897 with a nine hole golf course hosting the 1905 Southern California Open.[46] Later, golf on Coronado migrated to a new site in the Southern portion of the island with 18 holes designed by Jack Daray Sr..[47] Golf is a popular diversion on the island, entertaining 90,000 golf rounds annually.[48]

In 2008, the Travel Channel rated Coronado Beach as the sixth-best beach in America.[49]

Hotel del Coronado[edit]

Hotel del Coronado from the beach

Coronado is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888 and long considered one of the world's top resorts[citation needed]. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and has hosted many notable guests, including American presidents George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, as well as sports, entertainment, and noted public figures: Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, Thomas Edison, Magic Johnson, Charles Lindbergh, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert Downey. Notable actresses Mary Pickford and Marilyn Monroe also stayed here.

Hotel del Coronado, 1885

"The Del" has appeared in numerous works of popular culture and was said to have inspired the Emerald City in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is rumored that the city's main street, Orange Avenue, was Baum's inspiration for the yellow brick road. Other sources say Oz was inspired by the "White City" of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.[50][51] Author L. Frank Baum would have been able to see the hotel from his front porch overlooking Star Park. Baum designed the crown chandeliers in the hotel's dining room.[52]

Because of the reported association with Oz, Coronado is often associated with the color green and is sometimes referred to as "The Emerald City". The colors of Coronado High are green and white; the Coronado city flag is a tricolor of green-white-green, with a crown in the middle.

The hotel is said to be haunted, with room 3372 being visited by the ghost of Kate Morgan. It served as the setting for a fictitious Florida hotel in the Billy Wilder classic comedy film Some Like it Hot.

Once owned locally,[53] the Hotel Del is now owned by the Blackstone Group (60%), Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. (34.5%), and KSL Resorts (5.5%). When Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. bought its stake in 2006, the hotel was valued at $745 million; as of 2011, the hotel was valued at roughly $590 million.[54][55]

In popular culture[edit]

Scenes from Denzel Washington's film Antwone Fisher were shot in Coronado.[56] Parts of Brian De Palma's film Scarface and Ron Howard's film Splash were shot at Coronado Beach.[57] A film called Carbon featuring Randy Davison was shot in Coronado near the restaurant Nado Republic.[58]

Principal photography for most films took place at the Hotel del Coronado.[59]


Coronado Public Library

Coronado Unified School District includes Coronado Middle School (CMS), Coronado High School, Silver Strand Elementary, and Village Elementary. Coronado School of the Arts, a public school-within-a-school, is located on the campus of Coronado High School. Among the city's private schools are Sacred Heart Parish School and Christ Church Day School.


Top employers[edit]

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Navy SEAL trainees, NAB Coronado, 2009

According to the city's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[60] the top 10 employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 United States Navy (Naval Air Station North Island, et al.) 11,000–14,999
2 Hotel del Coronado 1,000–4,999
3 Loews Coronado Bay Resort 500–999
4 Sharp Coronado Hospital 500–999
5 City of Coronado 250–499
6 Coronado Unified School District 250–600
7 Coronado Island Marriott Resort 250–499
8 BAE Systems 100–249
9 Peohe's 100–249
10 Realty Executives Dillon 50–99

Notable people[edit]

Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, 1978





Marine Corps[edit]


Politics and government[edit]

L. Frank Baum, c. 1901


Writers and poets[edit]


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External links[edit]