San Diego has a lot going for it. The economy is excellent with an incredibly low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. There's a well recognized university here in the University of California in San Diego. The medical community is significant and the military located here provides stability for jobs and the economy.
Start ups tend to thrive in San Diego, largely due to the local government's interest in seeing them succeed and offering a host of advantages. There is also many things to see and do, such as the San Diego Zoo and nearby Legoland, and you can travel to any of these fairly easily on the interstates with most accessible within just a few miles from any neighborhood. The beach is also a favorite place for most living in San Diego, although it is more accessible to some neighborhoods than others. There are also canyons and hiking for those who prefer the mountains.
One of the key things about living in San Diego neighborhoods is the number of local business owners and start ups. This provides for a true community feel and makes each neighborhood unique.
The most positive aspect about San Diego is that each neighborhood has its own vibe and creates its own community with plenty of local events for everyone, so there is a home-town feel about them even though it is an urban area. Below are a list of seven of the best neighborhoods, given in no particular order.
1. Torrey Hills
Torrey Hills consistently ranks and one of the top areas to live in San Diego. The population is 15,549. One of the reasons residents love it so much is two-fold. It has an urban feel but consists mostly of single-family homes that most people own. Statistics show 59 percent of residents in this neighborhood own their homes.
Situated between I-5, the Los Penasquitos Canyon and Carmel Valley, this area has a lot of visual interest from mesas, ridges and canyons. There are a wealth of restaurants, parks and coffee shops for residents to enjoy. Public schools are highly rates as well.
Most of those who live in Torrey Hills are families with children ranging from young to high school age. Most are also liberal and that shows in community activities. There is a lot of focus on natural and outdoor activities, since the canyons are close. There are parks and the shopping plaza of Torrey Hills Center is the gathering place. It has a dog park, outdoor green spaces and public art displays. The Ocean Air and Carmel Valley Recreation Centers are close. Ocean Air is an 18-acre park with a large recreation center that has meeting rooms and indoor courts for basketball, badminton and volleyball.
The median home value is $987,331 with a median rental price of $2,333.
La Jolla is a bustling neighborhood with a 33,007 population. The vibe of La Jolla is suburban with 66 percent of residents owning their own homes. Residents include a high number of retirees and most who live there are politically conservative. Schools are highly rated, so families looking for beautiful beaches, culture and a good place to raise a family love it there.
Daily life in La Jolla includes many restaurants, bars, shops and many specialized outdoor activities with the beach as a focus. This includes Torry Pines Glidersport where people can drift in tandem or simply watch.
The La Jolla Shores business district is a casual beach area with many shops and restaurants. There is also the La Jolla Underwater Park, Birch Aquarium and La Jolla Cove.
La Jolla is home to culture with museums including the Map and Atlas Museum and the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse.
The median home value is $1.3 million with the median rent at $2,422.
3. Kearny Mesa
For those who seek a centrally located space to live, Kearny Mesa is it. It is bordered by interstates and has major roads through it, specifically the 52, 15 and 805. The middle is divided by the 163. It is a big area for jobs that includes the corporate headquarters for Jack in the Box and Northrop Grumman.
The area also include a section called the Spectrum. This is an enclave formerly owned by General Dynamics that is now a mix of both retail shops and single family homes. Those who live in Spectrum can bike to work to the businesses in Kearny Mesa, making it super convenient.
The vibe caters to older, upwardly mobile professionals rather than millennials or students. The area is more laid back and quiet.
Convoy Street is a hotspot for Asian food. That area is becoming popular and business owners are working to make it more strollable and active. That includes coordinating an annual San Diego Nigh Market attended by 20,000 people last year.
Another plus is the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport with at least one council member planning to get more flights and getting some business currently going through McClellan-Palomar Airport.
Housing includes new townhomes and tri-level condos but they stay sold out because of their affordability in the mid-$400s to $500s range. Apartments are being built with rent starting at $1,800. Apartments are rented by mature professional adults in their 30s to 50s.
4. South Oceanside
This is a neighborhood not everyone has discovered yet, but there has been a lot of revitalization going on in its business district making it a great place to settle. There are lots of new restaurants, boutiques, breweries which are attracting young families in droves.
The area is family friendly with many people choosing to bike or walk downtown rather than drive. Residents are supportive of sustainable agriculture and many business participate in farm-to-table initiatives.
Two local schools, Palmquist Elementary and Lincoln Middle, have gardens parents and students helping grow produce. Local eateries sources its produce from the schools with the same families helping in the garden eating at the establishments. A two-acre local farm also supplies a lot of the communities vegetables and fruits.
There is a lot of local pride with business owners stating they are more collaborative than competitive. The area gets cranked up during the Christmas season with a Shop Local event that includes food stands and live music.
Homes here tend to be more expensive than other areas and inventory is slim, so buying in this neighborhood may take some patience. The average price of a 946-square foot tome with two bedrooms and one bath is $605,099, according to a local real estate
Downtown has worked hard to encourage more to live there and it is working. There are 34,550 people who live in downtown San Diego. That doesn't seem like much compared to the county's population, but the reality is the downtown resident population has grown 97 percent over the past 18 years.
Millennials make up most of the downtown residential population. The reason for that is young people want convenience with transit options and downtown provides for both. Sixty percent of the downtown population are male and more than half have a college degree. They tend to earn more than many too with an average income of $73,756 and there is a healthy number involved in start ups. Most, 76 percent, rent.
The downtown area centers around the Convention Center and Petco Park. It has an unofficial arts district. The Overture condos will be in a historic theater and there are plans for the building to house a 2,000-square-foot theater space in 2019 as well.
The area also has the Civic Theater, Copley Symphony Hall, the House of Blues, Spreckels Theater, the Lyceum Space, Balboa Theater, the Tenth Avenue Arts Center and the American Comedy Co.
Living downtown is doable even in a tight market. There are more than 1,600 apartments there and the downtown area typically has around 200 homes for sale. Condos rent for around 675,000 with houses listing around $595,000. The average rent is $2,044, according to reports.
This area has long been a neighborhood loved by locals and desired by those moving to the area. It has seen big changes over the past couple of years. The Chargers left and officials are pushing to attract a new major league sports team. The Union-Tribune left and Macy's closed There is also a plan for the 200-acres Riverwalk Golf Club to become mixed use.
Ground was broken for the Discovery Center at Grant Park and two major hotels either went through renovations or are about to start revamping their buildings.
Residents who live here like to be close to things. Freeways, movies and Fashion Valley are all nearby. The area is minutes from the San Diego International Airport and is within a 15-minute drive from things like the San Diego Zoo, Sea World San Diego and the Downtown Gaslamp District. It also has the Riverwalk Golf Club and the Mission Trails Regional Park.
The area was named for the 21 missions established in the state and the Mission San Diego de Alcala is a cultural attraction. It is close and considered a sister to Old Towne with Old Towne State Park, a12-acre historical sites, located close by.
The one aspect of Mission Valley that makes this area distinctive are affordable Home Owner Associations. There are many planned communities were people can afford to lead a quality life. This is attractive to many younger people just starting families as well as those in the middle-aged bracket looking to cut some costs.
Civita is the biggest development with some homes edging into luxury-scale with a $600 and up price tag. However, the emphasis is on community with a full-time lifestyle director to plan events like cooking classes and wine tastings. Civita is also planning a 14-acre park, planned to be the second largest public park in the city when completed.
The top-notch public schools, high ratings for safety against crime, diversity and good housing makes this neighborhood a great area for families. The population here is 14,808 and is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the area.
Residents who live in Carmel Mountain Ranch are young professionals and families, educated and tend to be liberal.
The median home value is $547,014 and a median rent is $2,184.
The area is know for high quality living, weddings and events at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Estate, formerly known as the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club. Those who want to play golf can go to the Maderas Golf Club just five miles away from the old country club. Most of those who live there are middle -aged with families to older residents.
There are several fitness centers and spas in the area and the neighborhood and many utilize those. Carmel Mountain Ranch is close to I-15, so you can get anywhere within minutes. It is across from Black Mountain Open Space Park. There are many restaurants and nearby breweries. Local residents like places such as Old Poway Park, Koi Zen Cellars Urban Winery and Ballast Point Brewing Company. For the adventuresome, there is Potato Chip Rock in Poway to test your fears of heights.
Whether you like the beach or canyons, hiking or gliding, the young single life, family activities or a quiet retirement, San Diego has a neighborhood for you. All feature a number of restaurants, breweries, and local community activities that will make you feel at home. The price ranges are far enough apart that most can find something within their budget.
San Diego has so many different neighborhoods, new residents can find one to fit their lifestyle rather easily. Most offer convenience and culture with several housing options. The secret to finding the one that suits you is to visit and see how each feels. Pretty soon, you'll start feeling the vibe that will help you decide.
If you want more information or have questions about any of these neighborhoods or others, feel free to call or text me at (760) 297-4539
I will be happy to help.
Your San Diego Insider,