If there was ever a place to relocate, San Diego would be the place to start.
San Diego is known for its almost perfect year-round weather. Sunny skies, beaches, mountains, terrific restaurants and unique San Diego neighborhoods make this city a wonderful choice for young professionals, families and retirees.
The most popular San Diego neighborhoods
Figuring out which neighborhood may pose a challenge, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Perhaps you’re looking for a historic neighborhood with old-time charm, or a family-friendly area close to parks and beaches.
Keep reading to learn about the most popular San Diego neighborhoods, and then take our San Diego neighborhood quiz to find which one best suits you.
If you want to be close to everything, Mission Valley may be the spot for you. It’s divided by State Route 163 and is centered around the San Diego River.
It’s home to shopping and has three major shopping malls, Fashion Valley Mall, Hazard Center Mall and Westfield Mission Valley, as well as retail outlets. You’ll also be close to chain restaurants and Riverwalk Golf club, an 18-hole golf course.
Mission Valley is central to public transportation, so it’s easy to get around even if you don’t have a car. You can easily hop on the Green Line from the San Diego Trolley System, which makes several stops throughout the valley.
A one-bedroom apartment in this neighborhood averages about $2,360 a month.
North Park may check several specific boxes from your wish list, including a high walkability score, 1920s Craftsman-style homes and a central park (Balboa Park). The area is best-known for updated bungalow, turn-of-the-century homes.
If you’re ready to ditch your car and walk everywhere, North Park may be the perfect place for you. One of San Diego’s oldest and most hipster-y neighborhoods, you’ll never find a shortage of mustached and tattooed locals, along with craft breweries, vegan tacos and vintage boutiques.
Living in the center of the action will cost you. The average one-bedroom apartment here is more than $3,000 a month.
Little Italy is a part of San Diego’s vibrant business neighborhoods and offers plenty of options for foodies. From authentic tacos, homemade ravioli to fresh seafood, Little Italy is perfect for young couples or professionals who want to be close to a variety of restaurants and cafes.
You’ll also find high-end shopping, including boutiques, trendy cocktail bars and a weekly Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market. It’s a perfect place to hang out on the sprawling green on Waterfront Park and soak up views of the bay.
Expect to spend about $2,600 on average for a one-bedroom apartment.
Coined the Historic Heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is the place to go if you want to be close to a vibrant nightlife. Located downtown, you’ll find a unique mix of Victorian-era buildings and skyscrapers throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. It’s known for swanky cocktail lounges, dive bars, music venues and restaurants.
Gaslamp is great for folks who want to be close to the action, as well as cafes and coffee shops. Rich with cultural offerings, you’ll find theaters, art galleries and museums.
If a smaller, bohemian beach town is more of your thing, Ocean Beach might be just what you’re looking for. A local favorite, Ocean Beach is great for spending your days surfing, sunbathing, strolling through unique, local boutiques and watching the waves break at Sunset Cliffs.
Ocean Beach has a vintage feel with plenty of micro-brews, restaurants and shopping. Take a walk on the pier at the end of Newport Avenue, which is one of SoCal’s longest piers — a mile and a half out to sea.
Ocean Beach is also one of the few places in San Diego where a fishing license isn’t needed.
University City is an expansive residential and commercial area conveniently located in San Diego’s “Golden Triangle,” which makes it easy to get to the beach, desert or mountains. Close to La Jolla and marked by a massive “Lord of the Rings”-looking church, it’s easily accessible to plenty of hiking trails, valleys and outdoor activities.
The neighborhood is also near the University of California, San Diego, so you’ll never find a shortage of eateries, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping. The Westfield UTC outdoor mall even has an ice rink.
The average one-bedroom apartment in University City runs about $2,565 a month.
Gorgeous beaches, golf courses and spectacular views are great reasons to be a part of the affluent community in La Jolla. Enjoy snorkeling and swimming at La Jolla Cove and soak in the scenic views of the migrating whales.
La Jolla is also home to Scripps Park, an aquarium, art museums and the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and offers a number of hiking trails with soaring views of the ocean. It’s an ideal place for ocean lovers who want to be close to the waves and sand.
One-bedroom apartments in La Jolla average about $2,650 a month.
Chula Vista is the San Diego area’s second-largest city and has more than 52 square miles of coastal mountains, parks and trails. It’s been named one of the region’s safest cities, which makes it a great place to raise a family. The vast landscape makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy running, cycling, hiking and bird-watching.
Chula Vista’s close proximity to the bayfront means you can easily access Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and the Living Coast Discovery Center. Visit Chula Vista Bayside Park or go for a relaxing stroll at Otay Ranch Town Center for some shopping.
Living in Chula Vista is slightly more affordable than San Diego. A one-bedroom apartment here averages about $2,175 a month.
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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 September 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.
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.