Moving Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in San Diego

There’s a reason why San Diego carries the flattering title of “America’s Finest City.” Or quite a few of them – from its laid-back seaside atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and breathtaking beaches to a booming local economy and various job opportunities. And then we come to the matter of the best neighborhoods in San Diego. Being the best in a place with so much to offer is no easy feat. Some spots cater to the young and restless, some are suitable for young professionals looking for a job, while others are perfect for raising a family or just enjoying life. The choice is yours.

As with any other place, moving to San Diego takes a certain period of adjustment. California’s second-largest city has its share of pros and cons, and you’ll need time to find places, activities, and hobbies that suit you. One of the most noteworthy facts is that living in San Diego is a costly experience. Still, the number of unique things to do in San Diego and the diversity and livability of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods quite make up for relatively higher prices.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best places in America’s Finest City, where you can start from scratch in 2020.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Neighborhoods in San Diego

When deciding where to start over, you should be familiar with the typical qualities of a well-respected neighborhood in Sandi, which are:

  • Low crime rate
  • High monthly incomes
  • Low unemployment rate
  • Reasonable real estate prices
  • A pleasant climate with hot and dry summers, and colder and wetter winters
  • Well-rounded educational system
  • Commute time – the average one-way commute takes 24 minutes, which is shorter than the national average of 26.4 minutes
  • Accessible and affordable public transportation

Of course, there are plenty of other, more specific requirements based on your preferences and circumstances. Luckily, SD is a place that can satisfy different needs, but keep in mind that it’s practically impossible to find all these things merged into one neighborhood. Try to pick the one that has more advantages than drawbacks, and you can easily do that by defining the most important criteria among those listed above.

What Are the Safest Neighborhoods in San Diego to Live In

Like any large urban area, SD offers a variety of places that can please even the pickiest residents. The great thing is that it’s a generally safe environment, and whichever neighborhood you choose, you won’t have to fear for your safety. According to AreaVibes, the overall crime rate is 12% lower than the national average.

We’ve compiled a list of 7 neighborhoods where you will feel secure and cozy:

  • Del Mar Mesa
  • Via de la Valle
  • San Pasqual Valley
  • North City Future Urbanizing Area
  • La Jolla
  • Black Mountain Ranch
  • Torrey Hills

What Are the Most Affordable Neighborhoods in San Diego

Although known as a place with a high cost of living, you can still find modestly priced homes in this California gem. Based on Numbeo.com data, if you want to buy an apartment in the center, you need to pay about $600 per square foot or $400 outside of the downtown. And here are the numbers to expect if you’d rather rent:

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in the center: $2,100
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of center: $1,700
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the center: $3,700
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of center: $2,800

However, don’t lose hope – there are pockets of the city where accommodation and utilities won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Here is a list of the cheapest areas to live in SD, according to listwithclever.com:

  • Chula Vista – the median real estate value  is $540,000
  • El Cajon – the median value of homes is $513,000, and median rent $2,100
  • Poway – the median value of homes is $740,000
  • Gaslamp Quarter – the median real estate value of is $502,000
  • Mira Mesa – the median selling price of real estate is $575,000

South Park Is One of the Significant Historical Communities in SD

South Park was established as an official SD suburb back in 1905 and has since been regarded as one of the city’s most significant historical communities. It is known for its classic Craftsman and Spanish-style turn-of-the-century architecture and has gained an excellent reputation in recent years. Locals say it’s a highly diverse, lively, and walkable quarter with lots of foodie spots, picturesque Mexican cantinas, and curious shops.

Eat and Drink at Del Sur Mexican Cantina

Located in the heart of the area, Del Sur Mexican Cantina is vegetarian-friendly, dog-friendly, and kid-friendly. The cuisine is authentic Mexican, and prices are reasonable – simply put, there’s something for everyone. Order some traditional fare, great cocktails or margaritas, and spend a few quality hours with friends or family. And don’t forget to bring your pet, too!

SD has the ideal climate - temperatures averaging 70 all year long

La Jolla Is an Excellent Place to Find a Job

An excellent beachside district adored by younger people and students, La Jolla takes pride in a thriving local economy that includes more than 1,200 merchants and over 100 restaurants. If you’re looking for employment and your profession is oriented toward finance, software, real estate, medicine, bioengineering, and scientific research, this is the place to be.

Just Minutes From Downtown, You’ll Find a Beach to Your Liking

When you get tired of work, you can spend the rest of the day on some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, which are home to 242 seals. Besides snorkeling, surfing, camping, and playing with your kids, there are additional options for adrenaline junkies – kayaking tours or snorkeling among leopard sharks. You can also take golf lessons at the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Located on the coast of Pacific Ocean, SD can boast 50 miles of sun-soaked coastline

North Park Is Incredibly Culturally Diverse

This culturally-diverse area boasts a great location – it’s situated in the north of Balboa Park and is a favorite spot of young professionals, students, and hipsters.  North Park has a lot of amenities, such as hip restaurants, craft microbreweries, club live-stage events, shopping malls, and lower rent and real estate prices. It’s often lauded as one of the best hipster neighborhoods in America.

Parents with kids will feel safe and sheltered here, as well, thanks to the area’s low crime rate and several walkable paths.

One of the Best San Diego Neighborhoods for Beer Lovers

When you need to take a break, North Park’s bars and restaurants will welcome you. This place is home to plenty of breweries, and one of the most popular is North Park Beer Co. With an extensive beer menu, craftsman-style feel, high ceilings, and an upstairs attic with a lot of space, this is an appealing spot not only for locals but newcomers too. And a cherry on top is an on-site kitchen with a killer menu.

Plymouth of the West is a culinary treasure, boasting some of the most beautiful dining spots Southern California has to offer

Solana Beach Boasts the Cleanest Beaches in the US

Do you prefer sunshine and would like to enjoy warm days all year round? If so, Solana Beach might be the right choice. Winters are just a few degrees chillier than summers here, and fog and clouds are rare occurrences during the day. There are three beautiful beaches which take pride in pristine nature and strict rules for visitors:

  • Fletcher Cove
  • Tide Beach Park
  • Seascape Shores

Dogs, alcohol, and smoking are not allowed, while fires and parties require permits and are limited in terms of time and number of people.

It Is a Mecca for Active People

This spot is much more than an appealing coastline for leisure moments. It offers an excellent space for all those who prefer physical activity, walking, riding a bike, jogging, or skating. Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail is a 1.7-mile path perfect for outdoor activities with your family members and friends.

Hillcrest – the Most LGBTQ-Friendly District

Known for its welcoming vibe and pedestrian-friendly streets, Hillcrest is the most popular LGBTQ district in SD. The area takes pride in the annual mile-long parade held each July. Besides, you can enjoy an array of top-notch eateries, coffee houses, bars, shops. As heaven for gourmets, it’s home to over 200 restaurants, the most famous of which are:

  • Snooze: An A.M Eatery
  • Baja Bettys
  • Urban Mo’s
  • Chocolat Hillcrest

South of Hillcrest Sits Balboa Park – One of the Largest Attraction in North America

An excellent way to spend a day outside, strolling through 1,200 acres of breathtaking gardens, museums, art venues, and the worldwide famous San Diego Zoo, is to visit Balboa Park. As one of the most iconic urban parklands and a must-see attraction, this place has a rich history embodied in the magnificent architecture and cultural events.

This place was initially called "City Park," but was later renamed after Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Little Italy Is Well-Known for Its Food, Festivals, and Farmers’ Market

When you want to have a mouth-watering meal and enjoy pedigree wines, Little Italy is the place. Locals say it’s a spot where the past meets the present, and top chefs have established shops next to old-school eateries that remain precious landmarks. Famous Kettner Boulevard, dubbed “Top Chef Alley,” is a place with attractive restaurants where you can try the cuisine of both southern and northern Italy:

  • Born & Raised
  • Juniper & Ivy
  • The Crack Shack
  • Herb & Wood
  • Kettner Exchange

Also, you can come here and stroll through Mercato Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, dine on crepes, lemonade, and enjoy local chefs’ specialties with live music.

Piazza Della Famiglia Is the Central Gathering Point for Culture and Social Events

Piazza is designed as a mix of residential, public, restaurant, and retail space, including 125 apartments over 16,000 square feet of retail on ground levels surrounding it. On its east side, there is a beautiful fountain, tables, and chairs on a cobblestone street where you can enjoy sipping coffee or having lunch with the family.

Silicon Beach has the largest number of farms in the nation, approximately 7,000.

What Is It Like Living in San Diego

Even though you hear all the time how expensive this place on the Pacific Coast is and how public transportation is not always the most convenient option, there are still more pros than cons of living in SD. If you’re hesitant about calling San Diego movers and getting professional moving services, get to know the city better and we’re sure you’ll have no trouble deciding. After moving here, one thing is for sure – your life won’t be dull and monotonous but vibrant and exciting, thanks to:

  • The ocean, sand, and sunshine
  • Plenty of interesting places is in SD’s vicinity, such as Disneyland, Catalina Island, Big Bear Lake, Las Vegas, or Phoenix
  • A bunch of romantic things to do in San Diego with your significant other, such as booking a harbor cruise or visiting the Bernardo Winery, SD’s oldest winery
  • The culture – it is growing and offers different experiences, for example, you can enjoy Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival in 2020
  • There are plenty of outdoor activities you can choose after your own heart – kayaking the La Jolla Sea Caves, biking along the SD Coast, paragliding, etc.
  • SD is packed with excellent craft beer – don’t miss Speedway Stout or Arrogant Bastard Ale
  • Food options are endless thanks to some of the best restaurants in San Diego, such as Lion’s Share or Buona Forchetta
Written By: Mila Tacon