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13 Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego, CA

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Where the turf meets the surf is a place called San Diego! The first region ever to be inhabited in Cali, now it’s a dynamic city for all the energetic souls. If you plan to make a big step in your life and move to San Diego, we at Roadway Moving are more than happy to help you!

San Diego, California
View of San Diego from a park

Sandy beaches, sweet cocktails, and fantastic fresh food await you to make your life ten times better! We prepared the good, the bad, and the ugly to share with you before you decide to move to America’s Finest City!

Pros of living in San Diego

1. For the ants in your pants

Are you a person of action? If you answer yes, you will be more than happy once you make San Diego your base. For the couch potatoes out there, be prepared to go out more since everything in SD is beyond charming!

What is waiting for you:

  • Los Angeles, Las Vegas, beaches from your dreams as well as mountains, all these places are waiting for you nearby San Diego. You can wake up, go to the beach, and then if you crave the party of your life, you can sit in the car and go to Las Vegas! Disneyland is only about an hour and a half away, and for a weekend picnic, you have Catalina Island, an hour’s ferry ride away!
  • Never-ending list of activities! We are sorry to inform you, but you will be feeling pressure to start doing sports! San Diego is the ultimate surfing and skateboarding city and all the other adrenaline-rush and outdoor activities! You will pick your own, or more than one, and the list is long. Snorkeling before work? How about golfing on the weekend on one of the 80 golf courses? The choice is yours!
  • For all the nature lovers out there (and we all are, right?) San Diego has prepared all the magical places. Seventy miles of coastline with some of the best beaches in the world are perfect for spending a relaxing weekend. Two hundred hills to hike and explore, snowy mountains a couple of hours away, as well an enormous number of green parks and botanical gardens are making San Diego a peaceful place to call home.

San Diego Beach
Beach and Palm Trees in San Diego

Did you know that the biggest park in the United States is in San Diego? It is Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre space with 17 museums, many gardens, and theatres! It is the most popular place for romantic dates and first kisses!

2. Christmas underneath the palm trees

California dreaming days are over since sunny coastal city will become your reality!

The weather in San Diego is one of its top amenities. It is mild all year round, allowing you to go out, hike and enjoy the outdoors! Beach time is guaranteed most of the year, even though sometimes the Ocean can be freezing. An average of 266 sunny days a year promises you to have your vitamin D dose every day and be fulfilled and joyous!

If you are a fan of the wintertime magic, be prepared to celebrate Christmas underneath the palm trees. We promise that it has its charms too!

3. Fine wine and dining

Finger licking good is a minimal thing to say about San Diego’s food. Not only are the restaurants top-notch, but the fruits and veggies are the best in the U.S.! San Diego has the biggest number of farms in the whole U.S., producing the most considerable number of avocados as well! This guarantees some of the best guacamole of your life, and Farmer’s Markets is waiting for you!

San Diego Sunday Street Market
Sunday Street Market in San Diego. artisan market in Gaslamp Centrally Located in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter

For the restaurant nights, you will have a big pallet of international cuisines to pick from. Great ramen, extraordinary sushi, and of course, fantastic Mexican food. Burritos are a staple in SD; you can try out all the versions!

For the wines and drinks, you are once again lucky! San Diego has more than 150 local breweries, and it is known as one of the best beer cities in the world!

Fun fact: The original Margarita cocktail was created in San Diego!

4. Dreamlike diversity

Just like the food in San Diego, people are diverse as well! You will meet different cultures and try some of the best traditional foods ever. 28% of the population is Hispanic, making San Diego bilingual, everyone speaks Spanish! Except for Hispanics, SD has a big Filipino community as well.

5. Birthplace of skateboarding

In the 1960s in San Diego, surfers found a way to surf when the waves were flat- and they named it skateboarding! SD is actually the first place where a professional skateboarding competition was held!

Man skateboarding in the park with palm trees and city on background. San Diego, California

The birthplace of Olympian Shaun White and the city where Tony Hawk spent most of his life is for sure a skateboarding heaven!

San Diego named the official Tony Hawk’s day to be the 29th of May! That is how big the love for skateboarding is here!

Similarly to that, there is a surfing obsession as well. The first surfing store opened in San Diego in 1952. and many famous beaches for surfing are located in San Diego.

Your relocation will be perfect for you to try out both of these great activities!

6. Anti-stress!

Imagine if your workdays could feel like vacation days. Sounds unreal? Well, move to San Diego, and you will experience it on your skin! The laid-back culture of the locals is infecting, and you will soon forget what the real stress actually is. Maybe it’s the beach, maybe it’s the air, but who are we to try to understand? You will experience it once you become a fellow citizen of this fantastic city!

San Diego Boardwalk
The concrete boardwalk at Mission Beach, which is used by both pedestrians and bikers.

Fun fact: The median age in San Diego is 34.5, so many millennials will be surrounding you!

7. We say yes to the public schools in SD!

You don’t have a reason to worry if you plan to put your kids in school once you move. San Diego can actually brag about all the good schools it’s providing! Contrary to popular belief, public schools are actually good in SD! University City High School and La Jolla High School can easily compete with many U.S. schools. Interestingly, they are known for outstanding athletics programs, which help get into college!

8. Charming little neighborhoods

Okay, you understand by now that we love San Diego. What about its neighborhoods? Here are our top 3 areas to check out once you search for a house or apartment.

Pacific Beach San Diego
Panorama of San Diego’s Ocean Beach from the pier

  • Little Italy
    Excellent for families and young people who enjoy all day round activities. This pedestrian-friendly area is magical to live in. You will have a farmer’s market on your doorstep and many charming restaurants and shops to visit on your walks. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3000, more than the city’s average.
  • Pacific Beach
    This one is always the starting point for newcomers. Since you will be one, know it is cheaper than the Downtown but still as lively as possible. Amazing Ocean view and young people’s hotspots are vividly energetic and fun!
    P.S. Watch out for the parties since it can get loud!
  • La Jolla
    This one Is fancy! Away from the busy Downtown and with its own rules, La Jolla can be the vacation spot of your dreams, or if you are lucky and have $3,200 for rent a month, it can be your everyday! With beaches, kayaking, hiking locations, and excellent little restaurants, La Jolla has everything you need and more!

San Diego Little Italy
City life in Little Italy on a sunny day

Cons of living in San Diego

1. The expensive roof over your head

It is not a secret that California is very expensive! Since San Diego occupies one of the best locations in California, it is no wonder the housing prices are over the moon! Everyone wants to live here. More than 50% of units are for rent!

A typical home value in SD is $830,900. An average one-bedroom apartment’s monthly rent is around $2,500.

San Diego Neighborhood
Black Mountain, San Diego, suburban street with large villas next to each other

2. High state income tax

You may earn a lot in California, but you will give a lot on tax. California is actually a state with the highest tax, up to 13%. This is a hard one if you haven’t lived in Cali until now. Think about your finances once you have this number in mind.

It is worth it for someone, but sunny weather and a lifestyle to dream of are not everything you need to think about when moving.

3. Your car will be your best friend

San Diego is a car-centric city, and you should know that driving is almost a must! If you have a car, of course. You will be your own boss without depending on public transportation.

Another problem besides poorly organized public transportation is the need for parking spaces! Not only the lack of but the expensive parking tickets and parking spots. You will need extra savings to cover gas and parking.

4. Nightmare traffic

Like any other big city with a population this big (1.4 million people), this SoCal city has its virtues too. Since a city is car-dependable and almost everyone drives a car (do the mathematics), you can only imagine how bad the traffic is! Spending time stuck in it is time-consuming, and you better prepare a snack and a bottle of water for the times you will be stuck in it.

San Diego Traffic
Emergency in San Diego 911 a car on a busy interstate highway. During rush hour, a paramedic car is stuck in traffic on the highway.

An average driver spends 32 hours stuck in traffic a year in SD!

5. The obvious for the last

San Diego IS HELL OF EXPENSIVE. Yes, it needed to have upper letters. If you are charmed by this coastal city, be prepared to make savings before the actual move happens.

San Diego constantly ranks in the country’s top 10 most expensive cities! Everything is more expensive here: gas prices, taxes we’ve discussed, groceries, and restaurant prices.

Think about how the average hourly salary in SD is $25 and how to enjoy your time in one of the most exotic places in the world!


Let’s get this clear- San Diego is not for everyone. On the other hand, when someone falls in love with it, it is forever. We hope our list helped you with your decision. If you can’t wait to move to San Diego and spend some of the best times of your life here, we got you! Let us be your besties during the move, and you can sit back and scroll through the websites of all the places you’ll get to enjoy once you move!

Roadway Moving is happily waiting for your call any day of the week!

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