I’ve had a handful of friends reach out and mention they’re considering moving to San Diego and ask what life in San Diego is really like.
The question is hard to answer because there’s a handful of pros and cons of living in San Diego.
San Diego is one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities in America, making it hard to imagine that living in San Diego would have too many downsides.
But I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a handful of downsides that sometimes make me question my decision to move to San Diego from time to time.
To that end, I can confirm that life in San Diego is peachy most of the time for plenty of folks, but is moving to San Diego right specifically for you?
Today, I’d like to cover the honest pros and cons of living in San Diego for anyone considering living in or moving to San Diego.
The list below is based on my personal experience, so keep in mind that not everyone will feel the same way about these pros and cons.
Drop a line in the comments below if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help!
Table of Contents
Living in San Diego
- Pros & Cons of Living in San Diego
- Pros of Living in San Diego
- #1. The weather is pure bliss
- #2. There’s a plethora of outdoor activities
- #3. Access to the beach
- #4. Great food options
- #5. San Diego’s craft brew scene
- #6. San Diego is a diverse city
- #7. The arts & culture scene
- #8. Living in San Diego has a laid-back vibe
- #9. It’s a great city for millennials
- #10. San Diego has good public schools
- Cons of Moving to San Diego
- Pros and cons of living in San Diego (Post Summary)
- Pros of Living in San Diego
Pros & Cons of Living in San Diego
Note: This post is part of the Local Living Series, wherein locals share honest insights of living in a specific city through comprehensive pros and cons lists. If you’d like to reach out to the author directly with questions, please do so in the comments below and our team will ensure it gets to the right person.
Pros of Living in San Diego
#1. The weather is pure bliss
With average temperatures hovering around 70° year-round, it’s not hard to see why San Diego is considered “America’s Finest City.”
One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is that planning around the weather is seldom a consideration because 95% of the time, it’s going to be great outside.
I can’t stress enough how big of a perk it is to live in a sunny city. I lived in Portland, Oregon where most of my plans revolved around rain and the forever looming gray clouds (which I grew to love, but still — constant rainfall is hard to manage).
So if you’re craving a move to San Diego to escape dreary winters and single-digit temperatures, the city will not disappoint.
Just note that constant sunshine practically guarantees you won’t be experiencing all four seasons while living in San Diego. But hey, who can complain about spending Christmas under a palm tree?
#2. There’s a plethora of outdoor activities
The outdoor recreation was a big draw for me and a huge factor in my decision to move to San Diego.
After two years of living San Diego I still find myself amazed at the plethora of outdoor activities. There’s never a shortage of recreational opportunities to choose from.
You’ll never have a reason to be bored while living in San Diego because it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! For starters, you’re a mere stone’s throw from the beach and have access to world-class surfing.
Full disclosure, I’m a terrible surfer! But that doesn’t stop me from getting into the ocean on a board, it’s a great way to spend the day with friends.
In fact, I was surprised to learn that a ton of my coworkers start the day by surfing before starting the work day. I mean, how many other cities give you the opportunity to surf before starting the workday?
If you’re not into surfing, no worries, there’s plenty of other activities to choose from, like biking, hiking, fishing, snorkeling and much more.
Also, yoga culture is huge in San Diego. Sign up for a yoga class on the beach and see what all the hype is about.
#3. Access to the beach
I just touched on this lightly but it warrants mentions, a huge advantage of living in San Diego is that you’re always within a reasonable drive of the beach.
What you’ll learn quickly after moving to San Diego is that life revolves around the beach in one way or another because it’s home to some of the best beaches for surfing in the country.
Most of my new friends start the weekend at the beach either sunbathing or surfing. Plus, more often than not, an evening meal is walked off along the sandy shoreline.
With 70+ miles of coastline and an average of 266 sunny days per year, San Diego’s beaches are prime for exploration and play a big role in daily life in San Diego!
Like most people, I’m all for sunshine and Vitamin D. If you’re looking for great beaches in San Diego, my favorite are La Jolla, Coronado Beach and Pacific Beach.
P.S. Living in San Diego means that quality sunscreen is non-negotiable. Here’s the ONLY sunscreen brand I use, (I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk, you’ll never catch me without it!).
#4. Great food options
With more than 7,000 restaurants within city limits, San Diego is guaranteed to please foodies looking to call this city home.
San Diego’s food scene is more diverse than most people realize and I’ve actually been able to find great ramen, sushi and pho. But make no mistake, Mexican food takes the cake.
Mere miles from the Mexico border, it’s hardly a surprise that San Diego has some of the BEST Mexican food outside of Mexico.
Tacos are a way of life and completely acceptable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the fish tacos! Some of the best I’ve had in my life.
I consider myself a serious foodie (my lifestyle and travel revolve around meals – ha!), and thankfully living in San Diego has proven quite easy because there’s so much great food to choose from.
#5. San Diego’s craft brew scene
San Diego is home to more than 150 local breweries, suffice it to say that beer culture is a huge perk of living in San Diego.
San Diego’s brewery scene is so good, in fact, that a handful of the San Diego’s breweries rank as the best in the world. Ale Smith Brewing Company was ranked the 6th best brewery in the world in 2019.
You’ll never go thirsty and there’s no shortage of awesome breweries to spend an evening catching up with friends. I highly recommend trying Modern Times, their sours are out of this world.
Fun Fact: San Diego is often credited as having one of the strongest craft brew scenes in the country, earning the moniker of America’s Craft Beer Capital.
#6. San Diego is a diverse city
With an impressive population of 1.4 million, San Diego is the 8th largest city in the country. What’s more, due to its close proximity to Mexico, it has a fairly diverse population — 28% of San Diego’s population is of Hispanic origin and 59% is white.
A lot of my coworkers make an effort to teach their kids Spanish and say it’s easy for the kids to learn the language because they’re exposed to it daily.
You’ll notice that many signs are written in both Spanish and English, especially outside the downtown core, so teaching kids Spanish makes a lot of sense for daily life in San Diego.
#7. The arts & culture scene
San Diego knows how to impress many different interests and palates. Take, for instance, Balboa Park — the largest cultural urban park in the country.
Boasting 15 museums, beautiful art galleries, botanical gardens and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. It’s easy to spend lazy weekend mornings exploring this local gem.
After moving to San Diego, you’ll quickly learn that there’s always something going on during the weekends — whether it’s catching the numerous live bands peppered throughout the city, gathering at sporting events, joining beach parties or impromptu visits to a beer garden with friends.
There’s always something to do and great weather is practically guaranteed to boot!
#8. Living in San Diego has a laid-back vibe
One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is the easy-going and laid-back culture of the locals. I guess living near a beach does that to you.
Miles of stunning shorelines, great breweries, constant sunshine, what’s not to like?
The relaxed vibes inherent to beach towns imbues the entire city with a slower pace, which varies drastically from our larger northern sister, Los Angeles.
So if you’re looking to slow down, relax and enjoy life without constant chaos and quick pace, moving to San Diego might be just what the doctor ordered.
#9. It’s a great city for millennials
The median age in San Diego is 34.9 so you can bet there’s plenty of millennials that call the city home. Thanks to great outdoor recreation, ample sunshine and beach access it’s no surprise that so many millennials have decided to move to San Diego.
Small businesses cater to a plethora of millennial hobbies and interests, it’s not hard to find quaint cafes, great breweries, charming restaurants and dreamy plant shops throughout the city.
#10. San Diego has good public schools
San Diego is a great place to raise a family because the public schools are some of the best in the country. My husband and I don’t have kids but if we chose to in the future, we would consider living in San Diego while raising them because of the great school system.
Cons of Moving to San Diego
#11. Housing is too expensive
San Diego consistently ranks as one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the country so you can bet that living in San Diego won’t come cheap.
The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment clocks in at a steep $2,400 and the median home price is currently $765,000 (rising annually).
As two well-employed 30-year olds, we can’t even afford to entertain the idea of buying a starter home in San Diego (or most cities in America for that matter).
But it doesn’t change the fact that living in San Diego isn’t even in the same timezone as affordable and the high cost of housing/rent is a huge part of that.
Time and time again, San Diego makes the list as having one of the highest homeless populations in the country.
And it’s true, you can’t walk the city streets without seeing the detrimental effects of homelessness around you.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what the right solution for homelessness is, but I want to be transparent about it for anyone considering moving to San Diego.
The discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots is painstakingly clear on the streets and practically impossible to avoid.
#13. California has the highest state income taxes in the country
Clocking in at an arresting state income tax up to 13.3%, it’s no secret that California taxes are the among the highest in the nation.
The high tax rate should be taken into strong consideration while considering if moving to San Diego is right for you because it will greatly reduce your take-home pay.
If helpful, below is a chart that show the state income tax depending on your income bracket.
#14. You’ll need a car to get around (general lack of public transportation)
Unlike other large cities, the public transportation infrastructure in San Diego is not effective, in my opinion.
Relying on public transportation while living in San Diego means you’ll be adding up to 1+ hour to your daily commute. Based on my personal experience and that of my coworkers, most locals have come to the conclusion that you can’t live in San Diego without a car.
The fact of the matter is that San Diego is a car-centric city and parking is an absolute bear as a result.
Due to the severe parking problems, some of my coworkers have started trading in their cars for scooters and motorcycles to avoid the hassle of finding parking and paying heavily for it.
Oh, and lest I forget, California has some of the highest gas prices in the country to boot. Lack of transportation is a huge con of living in San Diego.
#15. The traffic is a nightmare
This goes hand-in-hand with San Diego being a car-centric city, but the constant traffic is such a hassle. Thankfully the downtown area is walk-able, but getting there is another story.
Considering the population of San Diego is 1.4M and since most households have at least one car, traffic is all but guaranteed while living in San Diego — seriously, it will become a part of your daily life.
Fact: On average, vehicle trips take 60% longer during rush hour in San Diego.
Pros and cons of living in San Diego (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the honest pros and cons of living in San Diego, based on firsthand experience.
- The weather
- The beaches
- Plethora of outdoor activities
- Arts and cultural scene
- Food scene
- San Diego is a millennial city
- Beer scene
- San Diego is diverse
- Laid back vibe
- Great school system
- High cost of living
- California taxes
- You’ll need a car
- Traffic is a nightmare
And there you have it! I hope you found this list of the pros and cons of living in San Diego helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have, always happy to help!
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Until next time!
Abel Lua says
I agree with everything EXCEPT for having the BEST Mexican food outside of Mexico. I was born and raised in Los Angeles,of Mexican decent, but came to San Diego in 2005 for college. One of my biggest disappointment coming here was the impact of Mexico on the city that boarders the country. Food was one of the biggest shockers. Los Angeles Mexican cuisine is by far better and more authentic than San Diegos. Albertos, Filbertos or any other “Taco shop” that ends with -ERTO is not AUTHENTIC Mexican food. The California Burrito or Carne asada friea are not MEXICAN. Just my thought
You’re damn right about burritos with french fries but chances are you went to some of the wrong places down here. There are a lot of garbage places for mexican food here to be sure, but having lived in both LA and SD, if you find the gems (most of them are closer to the border) they don’t even compare. My personal favorites are Tacos El Gordo and Tacos los Revolution.
If you did not try Try TJs tacos in Escondido you missed out. Their Adobada tacos ????????
You are right on with the pros and cons of living in San Diego. Vacation is the way to experience it. Del Mar horseracing is great mid-July to Labor Day. Stay at the Beach Bungalow in Pacific Beach if you’re single. 14 days/year maximum allowed. Avoid rush hour morning/evening traffic. Take Harbor Dr to get downtown.
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are definitely in the minority if you actually believe that LA has better food than San Diego. My friends who attended SDSU and are either from LA (or Orange County) or live there now, all say the same thing about the Mexican Food in San Diego, it’s far superior in San Diego and there’s many more options. There’s a Roberto’s or similar type fast food Mexican Restaurant on every corner, and it’s great food.
Melissa Schlafmann says
I disagree with the ‘lack of public transportation’. I live in San Diego, I travel everywhere via public transportation, there is seldom a time that I cannot get to where I need to go on the buses and trolley system and San Diego is constantly building more trolley lines, newest due to open in a couple of years(Covid-19 caused delays).
Yes it takes a long time to get most places but it does in any city that has public transportation. I get to all my many appointments, go shopping and I socialize all on public transit. Only reason I do not mention work is because I am on SSDI/SSI. I am a busker/street artist, and I bring all my supplies for face painting and balloon animals with me on the bus. That includes tables, chairs, paints, in brushes, canopy, balloons, and balloon pump. It isn’t easy but it is possible.
A ton of buskers do it, every day. So please do not put ‘lack of public transportation’ as a con for living in San Diego. Our public transportation is a Pro! If you are reading this and want to visit San Diego, do, and try the bus and trolley system. It is one of the best in the many places I have lived in my almost half century.
Antonina Pattiz says
Thanks for offering this input, Melissa. It’s very helpful!
That was not my personal experience with public transportation, but I’m glad you find it efficient. 🙂
I agree. I live downtown SD and my car stays parked most of the time in the garage of the complex. The trolly takes me most anywhere I want to go and now the blue line to PB and La Jolla, Perfect!
Loved this article & found it very helpful. What are your guys thoughts on IB area for living? I’m a 47 yr old single woman, working from home, originally from IN (living in AZ for 12 years) yesss a Zonie haha but like the small town feel of IB. Lover of everything you mentioned among just daydreaming with a good book & taking in the Farmers Market & not a materialistic type person so spending more on rent (don’t love) but feels more natural then having to spend $800-1200 each trip there every few months. Thanks I’m advance if you decide to add your 2 or 3 cents.
I grew up close to IB and they have built it up over the last several decades. Only problem is the beach water is constantly polluted by sewage from tijuana. If you work from home you dont have to worry about traffic.
Just as expensive as neighboring OB (Ocean Beach). We got priced out rent wise.
David Garcia says
This is a great list. I just moved out of SD to San Francisco last year-two months before lockdown. I had lived in San Diego since 1995. Your pros and cons are spot on. The only thing I regret about living in San Diego for so long was the compensation. If you are a recent college grad I would recommend moving to a city with a more powerful economy. I think I probably gave up an average of $15-20k in wages each year of my professional life in San Diego, because of the “Sunshine Discount.” I still own property there and plan to return when I retire. I can also say SD politics are a little red for my taste.
Hey! I’m starting to consider moving to San Diego. Thanks for the tips
Good list but 100% wrong on the great public school. SDUSD is horrible and an embarrassment to education. Other than that decent list I say as a native SD
I agree with most everything except transportation. San Diego has great transportation to take you anywhere and still coming out with more trolleys for faster service. Yes, I been to most USA states, we pay the price for our beautiful city and love the Mexican food.
I have traveled to many states in the US during the last year. I have found many other State and cities more beautiful! And so clean. But I like green and waking up to sunshine. I have lived in San Diego for many years on and off, we live in an expensive area near downtown it is so dirty the freeways are covered with trash and various encampment items, encampment fires are seen in canyons often. The weather is ok, never an “issue” but the marine layer is super dreary unless you are inland and ocean temp is cold aside from a couple of weeks. But if you are ok with overcast cool summers great. I look forward to living elsewhere.
Antonina Pattiz says
Thank you for adding your comment, Lani. I think folks will find it helpful 🙂
Mark Zegan says
I moved to SD in 1982, before climate change. Then, the weather was perfect year round. Summers are now hot and humid. Warm days, cool nights (I used to wear jackets at night in the summer!) That is gone for ever. I never had a place with air conditioning. Now, can’t live without it. This is not heaven, not even close and in retirement soon, I will have to depart to survive. Unless you make more than 100k, don’t bother.
Jon Z. says
The summers are not hot and humid…I mean, there are a few days in the summer that are like that, but it’s not the entire summer, as you’re making it seem.
1982 before climate change?
So, when did climate change come into existence? You must know the exact year?
You must live in East county.
Exactly right. It’s like those people that live within two miles of the beach for years then move to east county and complain that “San Diego never used to be this hot” Yeah because you moved 12 miles inland. You changed your climate alright.
Having grown up in the 80’s in San Diego, I totally agree with you. Not that the weather is bad now, but older places without a/c really need it now because summers are definitely hotter.
If you’re looking to live anywhere more than a couple miles from the beach (which most neighborhoods are), you’ll need a/c and will often have to pay a premium for a place that has it. East county was always hot and you can pretty easily find a/c there, but I’m talking North Park, College area (near SDSU), and other central SD neighborhoods.
Hi. I want to add a comment about SD public transportation. San Diego trolley (blue line) will expand from the border up to UCSD and UTC mall this winter.
Brian C says
Can’t wait! In the 1990s I was a commuter student from Chula Vista and transit each way consisted of (1) Chula Vista Transit bus, (2) SD Trolley, (3) city bus to the medical center in Hillcrest, and (4) medical center shuttle to UCSD. Two hours each way! Now I can basically get around town with a bike and the Trolley!
Climate is the number one reason for living in San Diego.
You can definitely find some rentable units and homes for less than what was mentioned. You will just be farther away from the coast.
Traffic is much better than LA.
Just a note on schools- this should definitely be under the cons section. They are truly terrible. I have experienced it first hand with my own daughter. I have also worked with adults who graduated from San Diego high schools and they didn’t know basic geography or history facts.
I agree! The schools are not great. After 13 years in the public schools, we’re opting into private school for our kids’ remaining years. The school board here is AWFUL. And the revolving door or superintendents leaves parents with whiplash every time one of them has a great new idea. 🙁
One of the cleanest cities in the nation? Maybe a decade ago. Take a glance at East Village downtown.
I work in downtown San Diego and have to hold my breath to walk to my office from my car to avoid the stench of urine. After visiting many other states in the last 10 years San Diego is not clean. The graffiti covers most freeway underpasses, trash, homeless camps among other debris. We have had a very humid summer which wasn’t pleasant. Oh and try to avoid Ocean Beach… ugh. Six more years until I can retire and get the heck out of here. I have lived here since 1969 and it’s nothing like it use to be.
Public transportation is great here. If you disagree you probably never used our public transportation. The city of SD is dirty. The areas further inland like La Mesa, Santee, San Carlos those ares are clean. Cost of living is astronomical. Property taxes if you are a homeowner are insane. Once I retire I’m moving to a cleaner, greener, place where the taxes aren’t breaking the bank seems like it’s difficult to get ahead. Those property taxes rise every year. Sure it’s great if you own your property and only have to pay property taxes but most of us have a mortgage or if we don’t own we rent and rent is rising all the time even in inland areas now.
Veronica Webb says
The pro’s are pretty accurate but moving to San Diego is the worst mistake of my adult life. It is just not my vibe and the people are aloof and too slow for my taste. No sense of urgency and the job market in my field is requiring thing other states do not. Only move here if you are coming with family, a great job and a ton of money and are okay living in that bubble. Luckily I am saying bye to this lonely paradise in a few months!
Heidi Page says
I agree with everything except transportation currently. There was a time that the transportation here was not great and it was VERY inefficient to get anywhere. Within the last few years San Diego has been investing more on it’s transportation services and it’s getting better.
I currently live outside of LA County and I’m shocked by the lack of public transportation options in many areas. From what I saw on my 2 visits to SD is that at least they have a bus, train, Trolley and the Pacific Surfliner. I’m considering a move to SD because I could still get to work 3 hours north of SD if needed. So you recommend the Surfliner to commute to work? Ever use it?
I used to take the Surfliner / Coaster from Oceanside to San Diego downtown every day for work. I loved it! What can be better than kicking back 45-50 minutes on a train ride along the San Diego coastline while everyone else is stuck in traffic? Great way to unwind after a long day or to prepare for the workday ahead…
I have two disagreements. The first is the arts scene is severely lacking in San Diego. If you are coming from a city like New York or Chicago you will be very disappointed in the art scene. There are few shows and museums from which to choose. It is easy to exhaust the art options; super easy. The second disagreement is on diversity. As a person of color I am often the only person of color at many places in San Diego. That might feel like diversity from the outside, but it is extremely isolating here.
Ann Ex says
For such a large city, San Diego is culturally stunted. It just doesn’t attract much cultural innovation, probably because of its own boosterism, which stresses the cosmetic aspects of the city so much. It really is a large town with a small-town mentality–very parochial. Culturally dynamic younger people often leave for L.A., though there is a tendency in San Diego to try to pretend that L.A.–the second largest city in the country–which is so close, doesn’t exist, or to write off L.A. for simplistic reasons such as traffic.
Public transportation is only “good” if you live near–and go to places which are near–trolley stations. Working people who need to go to less glamorous areas are screwed, because they have to waste so much time waiting for buses which run infrequently, and which require multiple connections that are poorly coordinated. The bus drivers, though, are usually very friendly.
Definitely a matter of which school district you go to. As far as Public High Schools, Canyon Crest HS and Torrey Pines HS are excellent Schools, so it’s just a matter of where you live.
Totally agree. Great City
Ashli Blake says
Great article, I’m thinking of moving to SD from Detroit, MI. I know it will get so getting use to but are there any neighborhoods I should look at besides La Jolla and downtown?
Pam Rich says
We are considering a move to San Diego but you sound like you can’t wait to leave. Everything you say makes me want to change my mind and look elsewhere since you are a long time resident and really know what it’s like to live there. I have only visited San Diego but never stayed more than 3 days. We have lived 6 months in Tempe AZ (not impressed) and over 30 years in Houston and are ready for a change since kids are grown and moved out.
So, have you made a decision yet? I’m kind of in the same boat coming from San Antonio.
Laura Hedden says
I am a disabled senior. Have lived in San Diego County most of my adult life. Love it and wouldn’t live anywhere else. I live currently in Escondido because of housing. I can live here on my SSI without too much difficulty. No car but I do fine with mobility scooter and Uber. Article very close to reality. Cost of living really only serious downside. SD has good theater, junior theater and musical concerts and shows. Mountains and LA within striking distance, including Disneyland, Knottsberry, Sea World and Legoland. Affordable housing can be found but you have to be willing to search.
Lisa Wilson says
I agree with EVERYTHING minus the Traffic issue.
Traffic is a nightmare during “Rush Hour.”
However that is the ONLY time there are traffic issues. Unlike Los Angeles where traffic is unpredictable or NYC where it can occur anywhere at any time you know when to avoid traffic if possible. The only places where it’s an issue at off hours is near Oceanside off the 5 freeway.
Otherwise traffic is not always an issue.
LJ native says
Long-time SD resident here. Weather is good if you can somehow afford to live at the beach. Otherwise you’re dealing with the heat and traffic inland — might as well be in Arizona. Outdoor recreation opportunities are indeed plentiful, but everywhere is overrun — tried hiking Cowles or Mt. Woodson lately? More negatives: astronomical cost of living, poor transit, awful City schools, homeless everywhere. The art/music scene is actually pretty lame, especially compared to LA. And the surf here is hardly world-class: the water is cold 10 months/year, it’s super-crowded with territorial locals or flailing beginners, and our best wave is in Orange County. San Diego was a great place to live, but those days are long gone.
G Lidell says
What about the mountains? And the tons of Rv parks in the area with some real great and affordable county parks? Where else can you go 30 minutes to the west and be in the ocean, 30 minutes to the East and be 6,000 feet up in the Lagunas, 30 miles to the south and be in Mexico and 1 hr to the East and be in the desert? If you like ridiculously high living costs, insane traffic, extreme congestion and cookie cutter housing subdivisions packed together like sardines…….come to SD. The weather is great but really boring. After 60 years of it I had enough and moved to East Texas. Never regretted it for a second..
In general I agree with the list. I do think the politics/government is a con. Low accountability and a lack of discipline. We purposefully did not move to a coastal city but are still only a 20 minute drive to the beach. We are not east county. We chose an area with choice schools for the kids and we love our neighborhood and schools. Downtown/OB/PB are definitely not my scene and glad we didn’t live there. Housing prices are exhorbant now so glad we bought right away when we moved down almost 3 years ago.
Best thing is hands down the weather and being able to do so many outdoor activities. As an active family who loves to do things out of the house we definitely appreciate being able to do anything outdoors pretty much whenever we want.
I agree with your pros and cons 100%. I was born and raised in southeast San Diego. I now live in San Bernardino and it is sad that it is almost unaffordable to live unless you make over $100k a year.
Beautiful place and all it has to offer. However extremely expensive to live there, we’re 1 bedroom and Bath 0ver a Million dollars ?
I do agree with your list and many of the comments . I do think cities are all about taste and who you are. I love the outdoors and sunshine . I have SAD and find it hard to live somewhere with extreme weather or rain. I bike everywhere in SD and didn’t drive a car for 8 years! The biking is great because it rarely storms and there’s alot of bike paths and side streets of you get to know the city well. I also think diversity depends on the neighborhood. I live east and am one of the few white people but go closer to the beach and then it’s mostly white people. Sad fact of the history of this city and most the country how white people get the privileged treatment that enables them to afford more luxury property. But I like inland too. The mountains are beautiful. And yes the art scene could be better but coming from bay area I’m kind of relalieved not everyone is trying to be a unique someone. This city is or used to be working class honest folks. And if you’re a more private person like I am, I appreciate the aloofness. I don’t like having pointless conversations in the grocery store line. If you want a more friendly city this isn’t it. However San Diegans are nice and polite as a basic rule. And most definitely friendly if you go to park with kids or bar for night out.
Spot on, except for that traffic is a nightmare. The vast majority of people do not have to commute during rush hour. For those that do – it can be a nightmare. But for the vast majority, traffic is not an issue.
W krause says
The airport authority put a grid in the sky for airplanes to fly directly over the coastal neighborhoods. Planes start at 6:30am and fly all day long. After living quietly in my hilltop house for nearly 30 years, my quiet, sleep and life was ruined. One week before I moved out of San Diego, I was attacked by a homeless person in the Vons parking lot in La Jolla. The once “finest city” has been spoiled by politicians who dont know how to run a city. Over building has caused traffic to become LA-like. Yes san Diego was once paradise. Those days are gone.
They are having issues with the bluff eroding. So it is on the table due to safety to move the tracks further inland which will be a huge undertaking. Financially and infrastructure. It’s been crumbling and the earth is weak. So I wouldn’t solely depend on it for commuting.
My husband and I moved to SD from Portland last year for my job and it’s been tough. The lack of seasons (I’m talking fall foliage, mild rain and some crisp cold air), high gas prices, and having no friends here is really depressing. I find myself wondering if we made the right decision.
Antonina Pattiz says
Hang in there Jordan — I’m sharing you comment in the hopes that a local reaches out to connect over coffee! 🙂
Thanks Antonina. We are staying for one more year because my husband already signed a teaching contract and then probably moving back to Oregon next summer. The cost of living here is outrageous, even with a combined 160k salary, we still won’t ever be able to afford to buy a home here. Last I checked 2 bed/bath apartments are going for 3k, I can get a full house with a fenced in yard in Oregon for that much. I agree that public transit sucks compared to the max lines in Portland. We love little italy, balboa park, liberty station, etc but at the end of the day it just doesn’t feel like home.
My friends have moved due to the cost of living so also looking for people to hang with!
Hi! Moved from Florida 7 months ago and I’m also very lonely. Doesn’t feel like home and it’s very hard to connect with the locals. I’m very friendly and outgoing and I haven’t met many people here that are authentic. Reading these comments because I’m considering moving to another city but I’m down to meet up. Im in downtown east village area. I know it’s a long shot this comment will even be seen
San Diego is being way overpopulated. Density is getting rediculous. And now especially since there is a shortage of water.
Jose Salvador Leal says
This is my first year in San Diego and I have to say that mixing public transportation with either a bicycle or any other kind of transportation is the perfect way to go, you can save a lot of time and since the weather is perfect year round you won’t have to worry of riding in cold, hot or rainy weather.
I love San Diego I’m originally from California I live in Las Vegas now and it’s terrible the violence crime is highSpeeding cars going 100 miles an hour I’m moving to San Diego in August and I can’t wait it is a beautiful city and laid-back
Antonina Pattiz says
So happy to hear you found your happy place and are able to get back to it. 🙂
Martie Rice says
Moved to La Jolla in 1966. Met my husband here and our 2 kids were born here. Left in 1990 so our kids could read and write when they finished elementary school – 42 kids in kindergarten at La Jolla Elementary! Moved to the NC coast and so glad we did. Wouldn’t go back to CA! Love having blue skies, thunder storms, change of seasons, and friendly people-even total strangers!
Antonina Pattiz says
So glad to hear you found happiness in NC!
Why don’t people give up their cars for good and get a good bicycle? That’s the way to get around town! It’s healthy. You get a workout at the same time your commuting, doing errands, etc.. Less pollution. Less noise. Less traffic. Friendlier people. You save a ton of money. No more worries about that large piece of metal on wheels you need to take care of. Parking? I don’t know why most people do not do this. I did many years ago and what a difference. I bicycle up to 10 miles one-way. Typically my shopping and dinning is within 1.5 miles. Freedom!
Antonina Pattiz says
Sounds like you’re enjoying life on the bike! I imagine that families with children or folks with mobility impairments may not share your sentiment. In any case, I love hearing your opinion and think other readers will too! Also, you should most definitely visit the Netherlands!
If you like the forest, trees, rivers ponds etc. San Diego is not the place for you!
If you’re from the northeast, San Diego will feel too laid back & sleepy.It’s like a ghost town even
downtown. It feels so lonely here, I couldn’t take it & had to move back to the northeast.
Missing from the list of ‘cons’ is the condition of the roads in San Diego, which are terrible and getting worse.
The insane traffic on the 5fwy from south OC into North County in Friday afternoons and and Sat morning and then the opposite going back Sunday afternoons. Expect to add in 1+ hours to your drive at these times.
Also, if you ever want to do something outside of San Diego besides going east like go to Santa Barbara or central coast, you have to go through LA…. 🙁
Best Amazon buys says
I love Mexican and Italian food. They’re the best ever.
San diego sounds great, especially the beach side.
How common are large cockroaches in San Diego? The summer isn’t too hot, and the winter isn’t too cold. It sounds perfect, exept for my phobia of large cockroaches. And they are a possibility, because the climate isn’t too cold. I know they’re everywhere, but how common are they? How many do you see in summer months?
Shelly R Heller says
My son has loved living in San Diego for 7 years, and he’s never had any problem with cockroaches of any size.
Tel Aviv feral cats says
The climate is my main concern. Many people don’t mind if it’s too cold or too hot to go outside. They can just stay in an air conditioned or heated house. There are many people who live in extremely cold climates, like in Chicago, but as someone who loves the outdoors, I can’t be happy in a place where the weather keeps you indoors.
Thanks for your article! So would you leave SD? There’s been a mass exodus lately due to housing costs. I’m not a milennial, Gen X. I really want to own a home and make a good salary (anywhere else) but am single so 1 income. And can’t afford a million dollar home which is the norm now for anywhere you’d want to live. I’m debating moving like others to Nashville, SC or Savannah. But I don’t know if it will be better other than cheaper and moving on your own at my age is tough. A lot of my friends have moved and single scene not great for 40s to 50s. But again not sure better starting over. Or that I want to deal with mosquitoes and bad weather being that I’m from East Coast originally. 🙂
It’s all relative. I came here from New York City and, while San Diego has its pros as stated, it also has many cons (I assembled a list of 12 each that are legitimate). A bigger city like New York has the best of everything (and yes, the bad stuff, too, but as an optimist I like NYC a lot better).
In San Diego, you cannot find good Chinese food, deli, pizza or even Italian food. What people rave about here is mediocre in a big city (except maybe the Mexican and sushi which I don’t eat but I hear are good based on the large Mexican and Asian communities here).
The laid back attitude is good if that’s your thing, BUT you will also find poor customer service as a result including laziness, not caring, and doing what is best for the rep and not yourself. I frequently had to contact the corporate office to get things done the way they should be done. There is a distinct lack of energy here compared to larger cities back East.
The people here are helpful but not friendly; by that I mean they will recommend places to go and things to do, but not befriend you so fast. If you move here, tell people that so they don’t think you are just visiting. You can get tired of the beaches. Most are the same. A beach is a beach. The sunsets are okay but I have seen much better elsewhere.
The homeless issue is huge. Nobody knows what to do with them and some are dangerous. Overall, I grade San Diego a B- to a C. Many New Yorkers have come here and left quickly. Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast fast-paced residents might agree, while transplants from LA and Phoenix, for example, where the pace is slower, might find San Diego to be a step up.
It’s a very nice place to visit, but to live here you need to be prepared for the above. Once you have seen and experienced better, you’ll know better, especially if you are from the Northeast.
You sound helpful but not friendly.
Linda Garcia says
I’m in the late 50’s & Husband early 60’s. What area is best to move in San Diego? Are there nice areas for seniors but no need to pay HOA? I live in Elk Grove, CA and I like the community but am looking for a smaller home in the future.
Abirra K Nartel says
Many individuals desire to spend their golden years in a location that offers the best of both worlds. A location where they may enjoy all that a major city has to offer while still maintaining their sense of reality and residing in a small village. San Diego is one of the locations that fits these requirements! San Diego stands out since it has a large number of senior living communities and assisted living facilities to match the demand. Both of my parents currently reside at Silver Gate, one of the city’s numerous senior living facilities.
I grew up in San Diego and lived there for 35 years. I disagree about the perfect weather all year. If you live any where near the beach the cold dampness of winter goes right to your bones. I was able to be warmer in Colorado in winter because of the dry humidity.
Also it is overcast almost every day in summer until late July or August. Actually August through October are the best summer days and I would tell visitors to come during those months because not only is the weather the best but the tourists are gone.