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7 Best Neighborhoods to Live in San Diego in 2023

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Can you imagine yourself changing into a swimsuit after work and eating a fresh acai bowl on the beach, leaving the worries behind? On the southwestern tip of California spreads the peachy and sunny coastal city of San Diego, which promises 146 sunny days a year of that bliss! Here, workdays could feel like weekends.

San Diego buildings
Green Palm Trees San Diego Near City Buildings

Being one of the best university cities in California and home to a growing economy, in San Diego, you can balance between productive and relaxed life. With its predominantly mid-20s population and many families who choose to raise their kids in this laid-back city, San Diego is a place for everyone!

A better option than LA?

San Diego Bay was the first region inhabited in Cali. The birthplace of California is a true representative of what Californian coastal city has in its pocket. It has been living under the Los Angeles shadow for some time now. Still, a valuable thing to know is that San Diego has a lower crime rate, better healthcare, and a 4.5% lower cost of living! Many people agree that beaches in San Diego are better looking too.

San Diego is for those who work smarter and not harder!

Quick city facts:

  • With its 1,350,000 residents, San Diego is the 8th largest city in the country by population!
  • The cost of living in San Diego is 4% higher than the state average and 47% higher than the national average.
  •  The average yearly household income in San Diego is $108,864.
San Diego Mission Beach
People ride bikes on the Mission Beach boardwalk, a concrete walkway shared by walkers and bicyclists.

Neighborhoods

If you are already a local and are thinking of relocating and trying out a new neighborhood, know that San Diego has a lot more in its pocket for you.

If you are a fresh San Diego resident, you can start anew in our favorite SoCal city. Depending on your priorities and lifestyle, you can choose from the areas waiting to be explored!

Either way, The City in Motion promises to keep things dynamic!

Let’s go and explore some of the areas!

Downtown San Diego

The part of San Diego that most resemble an urban area is definitely Downtown! The city’s beating heart with many young people, college students, and tourists promise dynamic days and nights. It is the city’s cultural hub, and it is pretty eventful!

Downtown San Diego
Lovely San Diego skyline at sunset

Little Italy- everyone’s favorite

We are starting with this much-adored area, perfect for families and young people hungry for versatile food and leisure options. It is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that is home to more than 28,000 residents!

Being initially an Italian and Portuguese fishing neighborhood, Little Italy kept some of its small fishing area charms. Now chic and fun, It is lined up with trattorias. You can’t miss the famous Filipi’s Pizza Grotto! You will love Salt and straw ice cream, and be sure to check RoVino for its more complex dish options.

Speaking of the art of fishing, the allure of Grand Isle beckons with its own unique charm. Beyond the urban chic of Little Italy, the serene waters of Grand Isle provide an idyllic backdrop for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice casting your first line, the experience is enriched by exploring insights and tips available on a dedicated fishing website like fishingforbig.com. This platform seamlessly combines traditional angling wisdom with contemporary techniques, offering a wealth of information to enhance your fishing adventure in Grand Isle.

Just as Little Italy has evolved while retaining its essence, the fishing scene in Grand Isle invites you to delve into a world where the old and the new coexist harmoniously, creating an unforgettable experience for those eager to explore the region’s aquatic treasures. Whether you seek trophy catches or a laid-back angling experience, Grand Isle’s coastal waters promise a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation, making every cast and reel a memorable moment on the open waters.

Also, you can visit Little Italy Mercato Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday morning. This is one of the best farmer’s markets in town, selling fresh produce and second-hand clothes.

If you are not a fan of the 24/7 crowd and noise, find a house far from the fuss and come by the center to get a coffee when you feel like it.

In this area, you can expect to pay an average of $2,947 for a one-bedroom apartment compared to the standard of $2,916 of the whole city.

Little Italy
City life in Little Italy on a sunny day

East Village- The hotspot

East Village is the largest urban neighborhood in downtown San Diego and consists of 130 blocks. It is a shopping, eating, and nightlife center. It is popular for college students since there are four educational institutions here. The Thomas Jefferson School of Law, New School of Architecture and Design, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and San Diego City College. San Diego Central Library is also located here. With all these college students goes a large urban community with plenty of nightlife!

In East Village, be sure you’ll find a diverse food scene- from Greek food in Spiro’s Greek Café to Mexican restaurants such as Lola 55 Tacos and Cocktails and The Blind Burro. Being a border city, San Diego has some of the best fresh salsa, giant burritos, and tacos. Since San Diego produces 90% of California’s avocados, be prepared for the best guacamole of your life!

The metropolitan transit system serves here, making transportation simple and fast.

If you are a baseball lover, you will be happy to know that Petco Park, home to San Diego Padres Major League Baseball Team, is located in East Village.

Here you can find a more affordable place for rent since the average price is $2,550. It is still higher by 11% than the city’s median. A hotspot is a hotspot…

East Village
San Diego, California cityscape at the East Village.

Coastal neighborhoods

Ah, the starting point for every newcomer and the perfect dream of Californian life! Pacific Coast!

For beach lovers, take advantage of the coastal area since it is getting increasingly popular for its amazing beaches and not-so-crowded streets!

Pacific Beach- every one has its PB phase!

This area is getting more and more popular since it is cheaper than the Downtown but still has a big crowd around it. The median one-bedroom apartment rent is 4% more affordable than in the East Village. Plus, it goes with an exceptional Ocean view!

Pacific Beach is considered a common starter area for people in their mid-twenties. Even though it is a huge party place full of beach and tiki parties, you can find more peaceful parts outside Garnet street.

You would need a 15-minute ride to the nearest mall and market, but this lowkey life gives it its charm!

It is known for its casual restaurants and beautiful Kate Park. Pacific Beach is a great surfing location since it has some of the most amazing beaches in the State. Since PB represents San Diego’s friendliness, be prepared to meet somebody new every day!

To live this lifestyle, prepare an average of $2,450 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Pacific Beach San Diego
View of the Pacific Beach from the pier in San Diego

Del Mar- a paradise for families

This area’s name means ‘of the sea’ and represents its vibe.

Del Mar is located on the beautiful coast and 20 minutes ride from San Diego’s downtown.

It is considered the best suburb for raising a family in San Diego Area. It is ranked 3rd for having the best schools in California!

Have your family lunches at Zel’s Del Mar, which has a variety of American and global food and some fresh seafood.

Drink coffee on the coast and enjoy fairy-tale sunsets!

The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Del Mar is $2,528. This equals the price for one bedroom apartment in other popular areas!

La Jolla- a fancy breeze

This quiet area where everything shuts down early has its own rules. It is home to college students, families, and retired people enjoying the scenery. It is on the pricier side, too, since it is one of the top beach destinations in the world!

La Jolla is considered one of the city’s safest areas and provides a healthy lifestyle! You can start your mornings by kayaking and hiking at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. If you enjoy running, you will enjoy it even more while doing it on a beautiful sandy beach.

Being home to the University of California San Diego, one of the world’s biggest research universities, it has attracted companies such as Scripps Research and Pfizer.

You can try out different brunch places in your free time, and we suggest you start with The Cottage.

Here we are talking bigger numbers. For a one-bedroom apartment, you would pay $3,284.

University of California San Diego
Hepner Hall on the campus of San Diego State University.

North County

In the northern area, we have the second most popular region in the county. Slightly isolated from the rest of the city, North County is overall a beautiful place with a lively SoCal surf and skate culture. Mexican food is the best here, and the nightlife is exceptional. This region is a calm and warm place to grow up.

Encinitas- Flower capital of the world

Encinitas is the Flower capital of the world, with an excellent collection of flower and butterfly gardens. It is located just 26 miles north of downtown. Its mixture of calmness and urbanity is an excellent option for families.

This sunny and casual area has some of the best beaches, such as Moonlight and Swami’s. It can be quite eventful on Coast Highway 101 and has a pinch of convenience and a fast lifestyle from the downtown.

For a one-bedroom apartment here, expect to pay an average of $2,500. This is 11% less in 2022 than in 2021.

Encinitas
Encinitas California Ocean Shore, United States. Sandstone Cliff and the Sandy Beach

Carlsbad Village-great for families

Home to outdoor enthusiasts and families, Carlsbad Village, is once again a good representative of an average San Diego area. Here you can go to the theatre, farmer’s market or try new dishes in an upscale restaurant such as Paon. If you have school-aged children, know that Carlsbad Unified School District is a top-rated public school district.

On the other hand, it does come with a higher price tag.

The average rent for an apartment here is $3,050. Also, if you are lucky, you can find a cheap 3-bedroom apartment outside the center for $1775!

Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Village Drive is the heart of the town

Final words

Choosing the one that stands out the most from many options can take time. As you read, you see that renting prices are similar throughout the town. It all depends on what you need and want. Explore the details and imagine your life in the chosen neighborhood before making a big step!

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