Guide to Neighborhoods in San Diego
Are you a retiree looking for a temperate climate? Are you someone who loves the beach? It could be a great idea to move to San Diego, a place that’s known for providing a high quality of life. Aside from the calming beach vibes, a wide variety of job opportunities exist in downtown San Diego, too.
As the city with the second highest population in California, living in downtown San Diego provides fascinating cultural access. Residents of San Diego are free to enjoy the topnotch museums, art galleries, fine restaurants and a plethora of fashion shopping spots.
San Diego residents are certainly familiar with the abundance of outdoor activities the city has to offer. Whether it’s surfing, sailing, deep sea fishing, or golfing you’re after, San Diego will have you covered and then some.
Because of the housing crisis in San Diego, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re looking for in a rental. You can still find impressive neighborhoods, with beaches and all the conveniences of a modern city in one place! Here are some of the interesting San Diego neighborhoods to look into:
1. Gaslamp Quarter
Calling this neighborhood home will bring you right into the middle of the action in downtown San Diego, in terms of entertainment and culture. It’s a historic downtown San Diego area that’s often packed with tourists, and it’s full of attractions.
If you're considering a move, rent in the Gaslamp Quarter is fairly affordable too. Given its central location, it is one of the most reasonable areas to rent or buy a home in San Diego.
You’ll be within close range of San Diego attractions including: Horton Plaza Park, Balboa Theatre, San Diego Zoo and Seaport Village.
2. Ocean Beach
Are you looking for a home in a more affordable area but with the same laidback beach lifestyle? Maybe you’re in search of a short-term rental for a relaxing San Diego vacation. This neighborhood is a great spot in San Diego for relaxing by the sea.
You'll be in close proximity to some of that deep sea fishing San Diego is known for. If you’re feeling adventurous, the surfing is good, too. You can also grab some burgers at the quintessential San Diego favorite, Hodad’s.
For fresh seafood, you can’t go wrong with Blue Water Seafood. The best part of living in by the ocean is the calm atmosphere. It’s hard to beat exploring the seaside cafes and charming shops.
3. Little Italy
If you’re more at home pursuing gastronomic adventures than staying in, Little Italy is one of the best neighborhoods downtown San Diego. You’ll be able to stroll around a farmer’s market on weekends to buy fresh produce and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts. Enjoy the tranquility of breathing in the refreshing air along the Waterfront Park.
Some of the best and trendiest restaurants in downtown San Diego are located in Little Italy. Try Ironside Fish & Oyster, Indigo Grill, Burger Lounge and Juniper and Ivy.
If you’re looking for authentic Italian fare in downtown San Diego, Bencotto Italian Kitchen, Mimmo’s Italian Village, and Buon Appetito won’t disappoint. For famous pizzeria and gelato spots, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto and Pappalecco are highly recommended.
4. North Park
This central San Diego neighborhood is aimed at young professionals who prefer hip surroundings. There are plenty of cafes and independent shops catering to young people who cherish the neighborhoods that offer all that is aesthetic and cool.
Order some matcha doughnuts at C’est Christine or some of the best San Diego vegan pizza at Tribute Pizza. You can shop for curated goods at Pigment, and essential surfer items at Aloha Beach Club.
Casual cafes and cool decor are the norm here, in one of the trendiest San Diego neighborhoods.
5. South Park
For a more nature-inspired area outside of downtown San Diego, South Park is the answer. It offers a charming tree-lined neighborhood with single homes for young families. Plenty of boutique shops like Junc Life & Style, Progress, and Grafitti Beach Boutique can be found in South Park.
Foodies in San Diego will feel right at home amidst scrumptious bites at Buona Forchetta and Café Madeleine, or grab some craft beers at The South Park Abbey.
6. East Village
For a less crowded atmosphere while remaining in San Diego, you might consider settling in East Village, one of the artsier neighborhoods. It retains the exciting appeal of a cultural center. Book and art lovers will gravitate towards the main library, with its three story reading spot.
In East Village, you can find interesting art exhibits. You could also catch a baseball game at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. After taking in a ball game, you can head to Half Door Brewing Co. or You & Yours Distilling Co. for great selections of beer and cocktails.
7. La Jolla
If you’re looking to live in one of the magnificent oceanside neighborhoods that San Diego is famous for, La Jolla is a good match. It's also one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family, as you’ll be surrounded by topnotch schools and lovely, spacious housing.
This neighborhood is filled with classy restaurants, trendy shops, and safe walking areas. Living in this neighborhood will give you access to San Diego’s incredible beaches, like La Jolla Cove Beach, Wipeout Beach and Marine Street Beach.
Swimming, sailing, surfing and sunbathing are always just around the corner here or in nearby Pacific Beach, another excellent beachside neighborhood.
8. Mission Hills
If you prefer the hillside views to beaches, you’ll likely be attracted to this neighborhood near Old Town San Diego. It’s an ideal neighbourhood for families, with its safe and pedestrian-friendly access to the downtown area.
This neighorhood is filled with some of the more luxurious homes in San Diego. What makes it a unique neighborhood is that it offers both eclectic options of high-end restaurants and homegrown cafes. Some of these restaurants are The Red Door, Harley Gray Kitchen & Bar, and Farmer’s Bottega and Restaurant.
For some of the best casual cafes in San Diego, check out Kettle and Stone, Heartwork Coffee Bar and Meshuggah Shack.
Geared towards a younger demographic, this neighborhood is filled with dive bars and nightlife entertainment. Popular bars include Nunu’s, CJ’s and Alibi. Though bar traffic has understandingly slowed lately due to the ongoing global pandemic, you can expect them to bounce back.
Beyond the bars, plenty of daytime activities are available here. You can visit the popular Farmers Market on Sundays, or explore the urban cultural Balboa Park.
When it comes to food, residents are spoiled by a list of choices, with some of the best European, Mexican, Asian, and other multicultural options available in San Diego.
The Bottom Line : Where to Live in San Diego
Moving to San Diego will provide you with access to an abundance of riches when it comes to natural beauty and outdoor adventures. From golfing in the sunshine to catching a perfect wave to pulling a massive bluefin tuna from the sparkling sea, there’s no end to the possibility in San Diego, California's second-largest city.
It's important to be aware of the differences of different styles of neighborhood and home in San Diego.
For example, while a historic neighborhood may have an irresistible character, the homes may have more wear and tear than a new subdivision, which could lead to a long list of maintenance problems. Older buildings could also have limitations related to rent control.
San Diego also has no shortage of great business opportunities, and it can be an exciting real estate market. If you’re considering a vacation, looking for a property to rent, considering a rental investment or thinking of a move to San Diego, get in touch with North County Property Group today to learn more from our expert team.