Local Highlights

What You Should Know About Living in San Diego


Get off to a great start with help from this guide to living in San Diego

Moving to the West Coast? California is full of amazing cities. Many people first think of Los Angeles and San Francisco, but sunny San Diego is a beautiful gem in Southern California. With scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, access to amazing beaches, and plenty of fun things to do in San Diego, there are tons of reasons to move to this city.

However, moving to a new city can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to do your research before taking the plunge to become a San Diegan. From learning about the best San Diego neighborhoods to using a calculator to determine how much the San Diego, California lifestyle will cost you, there’s a lot of information to gather.

To help you join other happy San Diego residents, we’ve created this guide to living in San Diego, California. Read on to learn more about the cost of living here, the different parts of town, and the best ways to enjoy San Diego living.

Your first step is learning more about the cost of living in San Diego

While living in sunny San Diego is more affordable than making your home in Los Angeles and San Francisco, it still isn’t cheap. NerdWallet ranks San Diego as the 14th most expensive city in its database of 268 cities.

According to NerdWallet, the median salary in San Diego is $63,739 and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,393. If you’re thinking about purchasing real estate in this California city, you can expect the median home price for a house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms to be $798,964.

This might seem like a lot of money, but there are ways you can save when you’re living in San Diego. Because NerdWallet ranks the city as “very walkable,” it’s easy to get around many parts of the city on foot which helps offset the high living cost. You can also opt to use San Diego Metropolitan Transit and travel by bus or trolley to make your way around one of America’s finest city.

Don’t forget to learn about the climate of San Diego

In addition to learning about the cost of living in a new city, you’ll also want to know what to expect from the weather in your new home. Thankfully, the San Diego area is famous for its gorgeous weather. 

According to Weather Spark, the temperatures in the city typically range from 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, it’ll be rare for you to see the thermometer go below 44 degrees or above 84 degrees.

During the summer, you can expect warm, dry, and clear conditions. Once the winter months hit, you’ll experience cool and partly cloudy conditions. For this reason, most tourists tend to visit the city between the months of June and October to enjoy the pristine beaches and warm-weather activities.

Get the lay of the land by exploring the different areas in San Diego

Like all cities, San Diego is full of different neighborhoods. Each one has a unique location within the city as well as its own vibe and activities.

Explore the attractions in Balboa Park

Balboa Park refers to a San Diego neighborhood that’s a cultural oasis that’s just minutes from downtown. This area in San Diego County is home to 17 museums, countless gardens, and the iconic San Diego Zoo. In addition to these institutions, you can also enjoy the arts, indulge in a little retail therapy, and grab a bite to eat or drink from one of the unique eateries in Balboa Park. 

Discover hidden gems in Downtown San Diego

You’ll never run out of things to do in Downtown San Diego. Also known as Centre City, this bustling hub of activity is located on a beautiful waterfront. Not only is it the financial center of San Diego, but it’s also the place to go for cultural events and entertainment. This area is divided further into different districts that each feature their own personality and charm, from Little Italy to the Gaslamp Quarter.

Enjoy outdoor activities at La Jolla

La Jolla is a point of pride for San Diego residents. This shining gem by the sea attracts many tourists because it offers amazing views and plenty to do. In terms of manmade attractions, you’ll find shops, restaurants, and resorts in La Jolla village. As for natural wonders, you can visit the beautiful beaches, hit the waves on your surfboard, watch the playful sea lions and enjoy other fun outdoor activities.

Relax at the San Diego Beaches

Mission Beach offers a casual, laid back vibe that both locals and tourists enjoy. As the name suggests, this area is famous for its big and beautiful beach. The crystal clear waters attract everyone from serious surfers to families looking to splash in the waves. As you explore the area, you’ll discover local bars, restaurants, and shops that give Mission Beach a uniquely relaxed and homey vibe.

If you’re looking to enjoy the California dream, Pacific Beach is for you. You’ll find surf shops, beach bars, and delicious eateries. Not to mention, you can also enjoy one of San Diego’s best beaches and the longest boardwalk in the area. If you want something a little quieter, Ocean Beach is a great option as well. Also nearby is Mission Bay, which is known for offering tons of outdoor activities, including sailing, swimming, fishing, biking, and camping. 

Visit Point Loma

No discussion of living in San Diego would be complete without mentioning Point Loma. This area is just a few minutes from downtown, but it still feels like a laid-back suburban community on the beach. The area offers beaches and access to outdoor activities like boating and hiking. It’s home to Liberty Public Market, which is a bustling market that’s always full of culinary delights and the people who enjoy them.

Explore San Marcos

If you’re a foodie, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in San Marcos. You can find many of the best eateries and coffee shops clustered on the aptly named Old Restaurant Row on West San Marcos Boulevard. The area also hosts multiple adult sports leagues and has a popular destination for hikers that’s known as Double Peak Park.

People living in San Diego never run out of fun and interesting things to do

As you get settled, it will quickly become clear that you’ll never be bored when you’re living in San Diego, California. This SoCal city is famous for offering tons of museums, a world-famous zoo, breathtaking beaches, and plenty of places to enjoy a bite to eat.

San Diego is home to several amazing museums that are unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else. Best of all, many of these museums are conveniently located in Balboa Park. Art fans will love visiting the Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Art Institute or the San Diego Museum of Art. At the same time, there’s the San Diego History Center and the USS Midway Museum for history buffs and the San Diego Automotive Museum for gearheads.

Just about everyone has heard about the amazing San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. This 100-acre institution is one of the biggest zoos in the United States. Not only that but it also has one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered animals. You can see everything from a herd of giraffes to the largest collection of koalas outside of their native Australia. You can also check out the associated Safari Park about 32 miles north of the San Diego Zoo.

In terms of beaches, you can pick from many options when you move to San Diego. From Mission Beach and Pacific Beach to Coronado Beach and La Jolla Beach, there’s no shortage of the best places to enjoy sand and surf near the Pacific Ocean.

If you partake in even a fraction of these activities, you’re sure to work up a big appetite. The good news is that living in San Diego means your next great meal isn’t far away. If you love fine dining and high-end seafood as well as beautiful bay views, you’ll love Top of the Market San Diego. If tapas are more your style, you can enjoy a New American take on them when you visit Juniper and Ivy.

If you crave a cold beer on a hot day, you can stop by one of the many San Diego breweries. Among the most popular are Coronado Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing Company, and Mission Brewery. You’re sure to love the city’s take on craft brews.


  1. https://www.nerdwallet.com/cost-of-living-calculator/city-life/san-diego-ca
  2. https://www.sdmts.com/
  3. https://weatherspark.com/y/1816/Average-Weather-in-San-Diego-California-United-States-Year-Round
  4. https://www.gosandiego.com/neighborhoods/
  5. https://www.sandiego.org/articles/balboa-park/balboa-park-san-diego.aspx
  6. https://www.sandiegorealestatehunter.com/blog/8-reasons-why-san-marcos-san-diego-great-place-live/
  7. https://travel.usnews.com/San_Diego_CA/Things_To_Do/
  8. https://www.balboapark.org/explore/museums


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