How to choose the best San Diego neighborhood to live in? A short guide

You plan to move to San Diego? You made the right decision as San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and a second largest in the state of California. What makes San Diego such an attractive location is its mild climate, long beaches, diverse population and abundance of green areas. San Diego also offers some great business opportunities. The city boasts many different living areas each having its unique appeal and charm. With so many options at hand, choosing the best San Diego neighborhood to live in can be an intimidating task. Thankfully we have invested some time to save you from making any rash decisions.

While the choice will inevitably come down to your personal taste and preference, we believe that some of the more important factors to take into consideration when deciding your living area are:

  • Costs of living
  • Crime rates
  • Public transportation and commute
  • Quality of schools
  • Green Areas

Also, bear in mind that no matter where you are moving to it’s always important to have a reliable moving partner with long experience. For instance, in case you are an ex-member or current member of the military, and you are looking for someone of trust to help you out with your relocation, take a look at and check out their services.

A view of San Diego from the water

Panoramic view of San Diego’s famous skyline

La Jolla

Beautiful scenery, cliffs overlooking the ocean, picturesque sunsets, no wonder that La Jolla is named the jewel of San Diego. Considering the fact that this area is located on the Pacific coast you can imagine it is a heaven for people who love outdoor activities such as cycling, kayaking, kite surfing, and swimming. Downsides are relatively high rental prices and distance from downtown San Diego. Thankfully La Jolla has a rich offering of surf stores, atmospheric coffee shops, and restaurants with fresh seafood. You may also want to drop by the Museum of Contemporary Art to stare at its many paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Ideal for people who would like to retire and enjoy the serenity of the waves and the palm trees.

Gaslamp Quarter

Located at the heart of downtown San Diego this historic district is packed with Victorian style buildings some of which date back to the 1860s’. Many of those buildings are still in use today and are home to galleries and theaters. It’s perfect for long walks and exploring some of its many indie shops, authentic bars, and quirky coffee places. This San Diego Neighborhood is the place to spend your nights out and feel the true vibe of the city. Gaslamp Quarter is in proximity to another hip neighborhood, the East Village.

Little Italy

This San Diego neighborhood was originally a village and a home to a population of Italian fishermen. By the time it became a part of the busy city downtown but it stayed true to its Italian roots. Sicily themed restaurants offer a huge selection of traditional Italian dishes, ice creams, and coffees. Many cultural manifestations with Italian music, culture, and food are organized all year round. This area also has very low crime rates compared to other Sand Diego quarters. It is also home to Italian Cultural Center of San Diego and the Convivio Center & Little Italy Heritage Museum.


Hillcrest is a neighborhood known for its openness and acceptance of different cultures. It is a home to San Diego’s LGBT community and the annual pride event is held here. As you might have predicted Hillcrest is known for its vibrant nightlife with plenty of clubs, wine bars and bistros to choose from. For your weekly needs for fresh fruits and vegetables, you also have Hillcrest farmers market.  Nearby Balboa Park offers some escapism from city crowd, while downtown San Diego is easily accessible by foot or by bus.

North Park

North Park is a mixture of residential and urban buildings. Cheap rents and proximity to other cool neighborhoods is what makes North Park so attractive. But don’t get us wrong as this area has much to offer on its own. It is rich with modern coffee shops, trendy boutiques, places to grab craft breweries. Forbes magazine named North Park as one of America’s best hipster neighborhoods.  Ideal for students, young businessmen and people who love the city bustle.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach or just OB as locals like to call it is another beachside San Diego neighborhood. Located north of the Point Loma Ocean Beach is known for its palm trees, tranquil and laid-back atmosphere. You love to start your day with morning jog by the shore? This is the place for you. You would like to have a craft beer coupled with a beautiful sunset? Again, this is the place for you. With its many tourist-friendly bars and coffee shops, cycling and walking paths Ocean Beach is ideal for people who would love to escape the busy city center, while still being close to all the major events. The downside is that this area tends to become a bit overcrowded during the summer months.

Ocean Beach is a great San Diego neighborhood to live in

San Diego at sunset

Normal Heights

Contrary to its name this is probably the hippest San Diego neighborhood. Located in the mid-city region, this bohemian neighborhood is home to many of San Diego’s artists. It is a predominantly residential area with many condos and single-family homes to choose from. It’s adjacent to University Heights neighborhood and it also has many schools of its own. Namely, it has three public elementary schools, one Catholic and one private. On the north-east, you have a beautiful Balboa Park, a place for relaxation from busy city life. Apart from having many walking paths and botanical gardens, Balboa Park is also home to the famous San Diego Zoo.

Lion in the San Diego Zoo resting on the rock

A lion in the San Diego Zoo

To conclude our research: The city of San Diego is a melting pot with many different cultures and influences. It is constantly evolving and changing rapidly. Therefore choosing the right neighborhood, for you to live in, could be rather tricky. We hope that after reading this article you will have some insight into what might be the best San Diego neighborhood for you.

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