Sometimes referred to as the “Birthplace of California,” San Diego is considered the oldest European settlement in the state, and that doesn’t come as a surprise given its wonderful sunny climate and fascinating natural beauties. Meanwhile, the vibrant history of some of the best places to live in San Diego can be observed in the streets of the Old Town State Historic Park, Balboa Park with its Spanish Colonial-style architecture, the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, the famous Zoo Safari Park and plenty others.
There are over 68 miles of beaches in and around the city and an average of 200 days above 70°F, which makes it a highly desirable place to settle down permanently. And its economy is growing, supported by great educational opportunities.
As for entertainment, plenty of it is available both in the urban and suburban areas and, above all, on the long beaches. Being a large city, it features numerous classy restaurants and entertainment venues, without sacrificing its community ties, which people still foster by gathering together in parks and at the beaches, but also at festivals and farmer’s markets.
Things to Know When Looking for the Best Places to Live in San Diego
When moving to San Diego, you should find a place that has everything you might require, at the price that you can afford without compromising your budget or your savings. You need to take a look at San Diego schools and job opportunities, but you should also inquire about all the exciting things that you might entertain yourself with in your free time.
If you enjoy long, sunny days, visit some of the spectacular beaches and savor the beautiful ocean views. The average number of sunny days during the year is 146, and the average temperature is 72°F. If we add that there are only 41 rainy days on average and that it only snowed five times over the last 125 years, then it is clear that beach lovers are going to have the time of their lives here. The nice weather motivates locals to lead a healthy life outdoors, hiking, cycling, playing golf and tennis, and engaging in various water activities. And it’s also what drives people to find San Diego movers with moving services to take them here.
There are excellent restaurants for food lovers, too, especially with authentic Mexican food and craft beer. If you are looking for entertainment, visit Legoland, Sea World, the Zoo, or Balboa Park featuring several museums and various events organized in the city. And for comic fans, there is Comic-Con, a large entertainment and comic book convention held in July each year, where famous book writers and celebrities join their fans for a five-day event.
If you’re moving for a job, then you’ve got that part covered. But, if you’re not, you need to take a look at all the potential career opportunities and find out how to get a job in a new city. There are also many employment options, including large businesses such as PETCO, Chicken of the Sea, Qualcomm, and others. A variety of job opportunities is just another factor of Sandi’s lure, especially since the current unemployment rate is rather low, amounting to 2.7%.
Before we move on to our selection of the best places to settle down in America’s Finest City, both in the suburbs and in the center, let’s take a look at the two communities that stand out from the rest and deserve a special spot on our list.
Enjoy Life to the Fullest in Solana Beach
Situated in the coastal part of the city, this suburb emerged as a modern community in the early 1900s. Besides a number of dining, shopping and hiking opportunities, the place also offers a magnificent view of the ocean as it is situated on the cliffs of the California coast. The homes are mostly owned by their residents and the majority of the population here consists of affluent people. The unemployment rate is only 3.8%. This suburb is the second wealthiest neighborhood in the region. And it is considered one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego, as well.
Pacific Highland Ranch – Top Place for Outdoor Living
This is one of the residential neighborhoods that can boast having preserved its natural habitat to a large degree, offering a lot of trails where you can go for a walk or a jog. It is a rather wealthy neighborhood with a lot of parks and a suburban feel. The majority of homes are resident-owned, although the median rent is not very high.
Best Places for Families in the Suburbs
Living in big cities may have its perks for the younger population – being closer to all the happenings, for example – but families usually seek peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Urban areas offer countless entertainment and dining opportunities, but along with annoying traffic jams, a lack of parking spaces, and higher housing prices. That is why suburbs are a good option. They come with all the benefits of living close to the cities but still offer peace and quiet when you get back home.
Based on criteria such as high median household incomes and high home values, low unemployment rate and low poverty, the best suburbs here are Solana Beach, Coronado, Del Mar Mesa, Poway, and Chula Vista, among others. So, where should you move to if you’re craving for a peaceful life in a sunny place outside the city center?
Del Mar Mesa – a Modern Community with a Suburban Vibe
Known for its huge wildlife habitats, long bikeways, walkways, and hiking trails, this neighborhood is a nice place to live in. It is a modern area with a suburban feel, featuring many parks, safe neighborhoods, and highly rated schools. Keep in mind that some of these schools are the best in California.
Del Mar Mesa was originally a farming community that has developed into a modern residential district but still intent on preserving its suburban feel with golf courses and spacious homes. It is rather safe and peaceful with low crime rates.
Chula Vista, the “Beautiful View”
The name derives from the Spanish language and means “beautiful view,” because this suburb has over fifty parks, a lot of trails and open spaces, offering activities for people of all ages. Since this community hosts a year-round US Olympic training center, sports are very popular, starting from track and field, golfing, basketball, softball, and many others. Not to mention a lot of quality schools that your child can attend.
Also, for music lovers, there is a concert series held each year called “Music in the Park,” featuring all music genres. Living here is fairly affordable and it offers good education opportunities. The school district has become part of the Live Well initiative that is raising the general quality of life in affiliated schools.
Poway, the “City in the Country”
Poway is becoming more and more popular, given its low unemployment rate and robust job growth. The cost of living is much higher as compared to other parts of the country, including the median home price, but so is the median income. It is mostly an upper-middle-class community. The motto of Poway is “City in the County,” reflecting its policy of natural open space preservation.
What to Expect from Different Neighborhoods Within America’s Finest City?
Life in some of the city’s neighborhoods is not very affordable. The home prices are higher than the national average and are bound to rise. Furthermore, downtown area condominium complexes have additional association fees for maintaining the common spaces, so the cost of living in San Diego is far from low. Still, the local population jokes that it is a “sunshine tax” they have to pay and consider it worth paying to enjoy such a beautiful climate.
La Jolla and Its Expensive Real-Estate
With its growing economy and a variety of businesses in software, finances, bioengineering, real estate, and other industries, La Jolla is rapidly becoming a prosperous community. Its position among beaches and cliffs promises fascinating views of the ocean. La Jolla features great golf courses, waterfront restaurants, and hiking trails, which, combined with the mild climate, attract many visitors. Also, there is a vibrant social life, offering various events each day. However, it all comes at a price. The median value of homes and median rent are almost double the value of other nearby areas.
Because some places have high prices, you need to consider if it’s better to rent or buy a home. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but it all comes down to your budget and long term plans.
Some of the Local Attractions
There are a lot of things to do in San Diego that you will surely come to like. Apart from the attractions in downtown and the best restaurants in San Diego, you can visit many natural and historical spots.
Balboa Park, a multi-attraction park, was established for the Panama California Exhibition in 1915, so it features historical Spanish-style buildings, museums, and gardens. There is also the Zoo, safari park and wildlife conservation, one of the largest in the US, featuring exotic animals placed in areas that recreate their natural habitats.
The aquatic theme park SeaWorld, located along the shores of Mission Bay, with various shows and rides, and an aquarium with killer whales, sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and many other sea inhabitants, is one of the main attractions and a traditional family venue.
The Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District is a trendy area displaying not only the beautiful Victorian edifices but also a number of galleries, restaurants, and shops to satisfy every visitor’s taste.
Seaport Village is located on the waterfront and offers not only unique restaurants and shops but also afternoon outdoor performances, picnic tables, and benches which are crowded during the weekends.
If you want to take a peek into the Mexican and early American history, you should visit the Old Town State Historic Park, admission free, to see the fort on Presidio Hill. Point Loma takes you back even further to the past, offering displays and exhibits of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s land discovery, along with his statue and a refurbished lighthouse.
Art lovers will enjoy visiting the Museum of Art, displaying, among others, a collection of old master paintings, but will also admire the architectural design of the building itself, which is a copy of the University of Salamanca from the 17th century. Docked at Navy Pier, a decommissioned USS Midway historic aircraft carrier now serves as a museum, telling a story about the ship and its history and offering a flight simulator trial.
Another thing worth mentioning is the Mission Beach Boardwalk, a paradise for rollerblading, cycling, and skateboarding stretched along the seaside.
Don’t Miss a Visit to Carmel Mountain and Its Ranch
A community called Carmel Mountain Ranch is situated in the shadow of the Black Mountain, not Carmel Mountain as one would think, and was once part of the Mexican land grant. The Ranch Country Club arranges all sorts of social gatherings and golfing, while Carmel Mountain Plaza is a heaven for shoppers and Sabre Springs Recreation Center for hedonists.
Pacific Beach’s Coastline and Nightlife
Whether you decide to explore the waterfront by hiking or cycling, or you prefer taking a boat tour to view the city from the water, you will find lots of daily entertainment options along the beautiful, seemingly endless coast. The variety of restaurants and theaters will keep you busy at night.
The nightlife revolves around Gaslamp Quarter packed with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and stretches throughout the town. The 16 walkable city blocks offer celebrity DJ programs, live music, stage shows, rock and jazz clubs, dance clubs, and even Vegas-style nightclubs. But if you want something different, you can attend a baseball game at PETCO Park at night, and experience its lively atmosphere and excellent food and drinks.
Enjoy the Walkable and Relaxed Lifestyle
The relaxed lifestyle of this city is partly due to its moderate climate, which enables outdoor entertainment and attracts a younger population, especially in the downtown area. The city may seem expensive, but the local population loves it there – and you might, too. The long waterfront boardwalk with its attractions is another perk the locals take advantage of, because, after all, isn’t just soaking the sun enough to boost our mood?
Whatever your affinities, your age, or gender are, you will not be idle in this amazing place. With all being said, it’s no wonder the locals are willing to endure high living costs to be able to call themselves citizens of America’s Finest City.