San Diego a beautiful port city, home to the Padres, military bases and the best Mexican food you’ll ever have.
So, you’re thinking of moving to San Diego?
There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, live an active lifestyle or are a huge sports fan. You can experience it all within a 20- to 30-minute drive, depending on what neighborhood you live in.
Keep on reading to see how this picturesque city can fit you and your lifestyle.
San Diego overview
At a glance, San Diego is a population-dense city that comes at a price no matter how big or small your family is. Here’s a brief breakdown of important stats you should know before moving here.
- Population: 1,423,851
- Population density (people per square mile): 4,020.4
- Median income: $79,646
- Average studio rent: $2,032
- Average one-bedroom rent: $2,439
- Average two-bedroom rent: $3,205
- Cost of living index: 140.4
Popular neighborhoods in San Diego
Each neighborhood in San Diego appeals to a particular lifestyle, whether you’re single, have a family or are looking for a close-knit community. Which one is the best neighborhood for you? Here is a short list of popular areas for you to review.
- North Park: Centrally located in the middle of the 8 and 805 freeways, this neighborhood allows for easy travel to where you need to be. North Park attracts more established professionals in their 30s with nightlife, restaurants and vintage shops.
- Mission Valley: This area is ideal for any college student because it’s close to San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. It’s also the home of two popular malls and an essential shopping plaza so you won’t have to travel far to get necessities.
- Hillcrest: Hillcrest attracts young professionals and single folks, thanks to the diverse, thriving bars, plant-based eateries and LGBTQ nightlife. You also get access to Balboa Park, and it’s just a short drive to the downtown area.
- Pacific Beach: This popular beach town is known for its nightlife. If you love walking to bars, restaurants and the beach away from city life, then this spot is for you.
- Little Italy: This beautiful downtown area is well-known for its Italian Eateries and bar scene. A major perk of this neighborhood is that it’s just a few miles south of the airport, which is perfect for frequent flyers.
The pros of moving to San Diego
Every city has its pros, and San Diego has plenty to justify the hefty price tag to live here. Here are the three top reasons why you should move to San Diego.
An active lifestyle awaits
If you crave an active lifestyle, San Diego is a top choice hands-down. There are multiple hiking trails, parks and different types of fitness centers throughout the county. You can also hit the beach for sand and watersports at any time of the year.
Nearly perfect weather year-round
If having nice weather is important to you, then you won’t have a problem living here. You can expect 70-degree weather year-round, except for a few months when the temperature fluctuates.
The summer heat can be a bit much, which is why locals often escape to the beach well through November. Meanwhile, December through February tends to have cooler weather and can bring occasional rainstorms.
Fun for everyone
Whether you’re single or have a family, there are fun activities for everyone to enjoy throughout the city. If you’re single, you can enjoy the clubbing/bar scene in the Gaslamp District, North Park or Pacific Beach.
Families have the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, Children’s Museum, Balboa Park, SeaWorld and Legoland.
The cons of moving to San Diego
As much as people love San Diego, it does have drawbacks that locals don’t think about too often since they’re used to the San Diego way of things. Here are three cons to keep in mind when considering moving here.
Traffic is atrocious
Unfortunately, the metropolitan area of San Diego is very spread out, so you may have to drive a bit to get where you need to be for work or school. Plus, San Diego’s major freeways can get awfully congested. San Diego drivers lose about 70 hours per person in traffic, according to a 2019 report from INRIX. Prepare yourself to listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks to kill time during the morning and evening rush hours.
The public transit system isn’t the greatest
If you don’t have access to a car and rely on public transit, you’re in for a rude awakening. As you leave the downtown area, access to public transit tends to thin out with limited bus schedules and multiple transfers needed to help you get to your final destination. It may take you just as long to get somewhere on the bus as it would drive the same distance.
Living expenses can add up quickly
San Diego’s higher than national average gas prices, car insurance, groceries and housing prices are something to keep in mind when you’re calculating your budget. Once you add up all those expenses, it may have made a big dent in your monthly income. You may need to get a roommate to help reduce living expenses.
How to get started on your move to San Diego
Have we convinced you to make your move to Sunny San Diego? No matter what neighborhood you end up calling home, you’ll fall in love with the city and the laid-back beach vibes pretty quickly.
To help with your move as you pack your apartment, head to our Moving Center to get free quotes and more information about planning out your move to Southern California.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in November 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.