The lighter side of real estate

30 Reasons To Move To San Diego

If you live here, you know there's San Diego... and there's everywhere else.

Kathryn Peoples

San Diego Enthusiast

3 articles, 0 comments

1. It’s Always 70 Degrees. Always.

Source: Flickr user SD Dirk

A friend of mine living in San Diego before me put it this way: “It’s always 70 degrees. Winter. Summer. It’s always 70 degrees.” While the outer parts of the city can reach closer to 80 or in the 100s in the suburbs, you can count on ditching your winter clothes.

2. The Beer. Oh, the Beer.

Source: Flickr user George Ruiz

It’s No. 3 on the Forbes best beer cities list (after Portland and San Francisco) for a reason. Nearly every bar carries a selection of local brews like Stone, Coronado, and Karl Straus. SD knows its way around a tasty IPA. And the beer festivals! The Festival of Beer in September donates money to cancer-fighting causes while the International Beer Festival in June crowns a best in show.

3. South Beach Bar and Grille is Fish Taco Heaven

Source: Flickr user mylerdude

A local favorite for fish tacos and a view to die for. Get mahi, calamari, shrimp, lobster, or shark tacos at Happy Hour and watch the sun set.

4. You Get to Spend Your Money on Something Other Than Rent

Source: Wikipedia

Compared to Los Angeles and the Bay Area, rent and mortgages are fairly low, giving you a chance to get the big city experience for less than $2,000 a month.

5. Our Beaches Destroy All Other Beaches

Source: Flickr user stevekc

Where does everyone go on the weekend? Because they sure aren’t downtown. If the sun is shining then they’re at the beach. Even the freeways just lead you to Beaches. And there’s one for each flavor. Get a bit of prep at Pacific Beach and bit of slummy hippy at Ocean Beach. Or check out Mission Bay for some great biking.

6. The Zoo Is Out of this World

Source: Flickr user fortherock

It’s easily the most recognizable thing about San Diego. Take a long leisurely stroll through this city owned zoo where the plants are worth more than the animals. See the elephants get a pedicure, watch the mama and baby pandas, or check out the new koala exhibit which has more koalas than any zoo outside of Australia.

7. You Can Touch a Freaking Whale

Source: Flickr user fortherock

Skip Sea World and book a whale watching cruise. See the local dolphins get up close to the boat or in the summer, you might catch some great blue whales on migration from Alaska to Mexico.

8. Comic-Con is Nerd Nirvana

Source: Wikipedia

The little convention that could has turned into a massive press junket for Hollywood but still maintains its geeky roots. Didn’t get a badge? There’s plenty going on around the convention outside. And don’t forget the after parties.

9. There Are Secret Bars Worth Hunting For

Source: Wikipedia

Scattered through the city are some pretty amazing drinking holes, with equally great names like The Hole and The Casbah. But you’re going to have to find the rest for yourself. That’s half the fun, after all.

10. La Jolla Cove Is Pretty Much Perfect

Source: Wikipedia

Just a little north of downtown is La Jolla Cove, a beautiful stretch of wild life preserve with crystal clear water and warm sand. Check out the tide pools and seal/children’s beach or take a kayak tour of the sea caves. Then get some ice cream in town.

11. It’s a Great Place to Get Schooled

Source: Flickr user fortherock

With three large universities and many more community colleges, SD is perfect for students looking for a combination of serious studies and some fun in the sun.

12. We Always Keep It Casual

While the entire Bay Area is running errands in their gym clothes, SD tries to make it a little more casual with their combination of flip flops, maxi dresses, and big glasses. No one’s pretending they’re going to the gym here because it’s pretty obvious they are, which brings me to number 13…

13. Hot People. Everywhere.

Source: Flickr user Nathan Rupert

What do you get when you combine the military, three colleges, and beach tourism? Gorgeous, in shape eye candy running around in next to nothing for 9 months of the year.

14. It’s a Burger Boomtown

Source: Flickr user Bonnie Dean

The only place I’ve had better was in South Carolina and this is pretty damn close. Hodad’s, an Ocean Beach institution since 1969, has a line down the block for a reason. Neighborhood in the East Village is packed any night of the week. And Burger Lounge offers a green burger in Hillcrest and the Gaslamp.

15. Bookstores Don’t Get Better than The Upstart Crow


It’s a bookstore and coffee shop at the ultra tourist-y Seaport Village but it’s still one of my favorite bookstores ever. There’s something to be said for spending hours combing over their shelves in the cozy two-story space and then getting a mocha to sit and read on the patio.

16. The Padres Might Not Be So Great, But the Games Are

Source: Flickr user Ewen Roberts

They may not be the best team, but who cares when you’re catching a game one summer’s evening in mild weather while sitting on the grassy hill in Petco Park?

17. Balboa Park Is Huge, Green, and Magical

Source: Flickr user Bill Kuffrey

One of the largest urban green spaces in the country, Balboa Park is home to the San Diego Zoo as well as a number of museums, gardens, and the Rueben H. Fleet Space Center, where they do stargazing with experts the first Wednesday of every month. Don’t forget to check out the outdoor organ show, Japanese Friendship Garden, and the global village.

18. It’s a Great Place to Be a Kid

Source: Flickr user peasap

If you’re a parent, it’d be hard to beat San Diego for entertaining the kids. Between all the museums, the zoo, the parks, the beach, Sea World, and Legoland, you’re all set.

19. Coronado Island Offers a Different Kind of SEAL Watching

Source: Flickr user SD Dirk

Coronado and San Diego go together like Oakland and Alameda. Like Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s great to stroll through the town checking out all the houses and, of course, historical Hotel Del Coronado. But the real draw here is the wide stretch of pristine beach, where you might see a Navy SEAL or two popping out of the water.

20. Hookah Bars Are Neighborhood Fixtures

Source: Area 51 on Facebook

They’re everywhere! Seems like every neighborhood has their own, but Excalibur in Hillcrest is particularly fun for the fruit hookahs, and Fumari in the Gas Lamp is a great way to end a night of partying.

21. There Are a Million Ways to Get Healthy

Source: Flickr user Zach Zupancic

Do you like yoga? Muay Thai boxing? Kendo? Running? Surfing? Rock Climbing? If you can think of it, they’ve got it here and everyone has a workout routine.

22. Del Mar Is Race-y

Source: Wikipedia

Home to the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar is perfect for kicking off summer or catching a horse race near the ocean.

23. Carlsbad Flower Fields Explode with Color

Source: Flickr user Ewen Roberts

From early spring through May, you can see the fields at Carlsbad Ranch covered in glorious runiculas. I mean really, this is some impressive stuff. Like Monet’s garden kind of impressive.

24. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Is Beautiful

Source: Flickr user CK Golf Solutions

Between La Jolla and Del Mar, just 20 minutes north of San Diego, is this glorious nature reserve. Enter near the beach and climb your way to the top for a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean.

25. December Nights Come Alive

Source: Flickr user John Parker

Every December, Balboa Park puts on a fantastic holiday lights display and all the museums open their doors to the public for two awesome days of holiday goodness. It’s the largest event in the city after Comic-Con, so be sure to carpool or take public transportation to avoid the parking mess.

26. Old Town Is Old Fashioned But Still Great

Source: Wikipedia

It’s a little hokey as most tourist attractions are, but for some amazing Mexican food and some Californian history it’s a great place to start. Check it out on Cinco de Mayo, when the whole park turns into a big party.

27. Farmers’ Markets Are Everywhere

Source: Flickr user Aaron Fulkerson

From Tuesday to Sunday, you can find a farmers’ market in any neighborhood and each have their own flavor. Little Italy Mercato has plenty of meats to choose from while you sip your espresso on Saturday while North Park and Hillcrest, the hip towns, have a selection of tasty food trucks on Thursday and Sunday. The place to be though is Ocean Beach on Wednesdays where the vendors share space with live bands and llama rides.

28. North Park’s Hipster Scene Has to Be Seen

Source: Flickr user Allan Ferguson

Yes, we have a hipster neighborhood too. Probably the most ethnically diverse neighborhood, North Park is where you go for your indie coffee shops, cute houses, and art galleries. Also, check out the North Park Music Thing in the fall on El Cajon Boulevard.

29. Tijuana Is The Happiest Place on Earth

Source: Wikipedia

We’re just a stone’s throw from Mexico, and specifically Tijuana. You can take a shuttle across the border for a day of shopping and strolling along the Avenida Revolucion. Plus, I hear the nightlife there is something else. Hear.

30. The Mexican Food Will Change Your Life

Source: Flickr user Quite Peculiar

That proximity to the border also means that San Diego is home to some absolutely killer Mexican food. Like, the best anywhere. I personally like Lucy’s Taco Shop, but Lucha Libre and La Puerta are also to die for.

If we missed anything let us know in the comments

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posted on: September 6, 2013
[views], 28 comments


  1. Jessica

    Sunset Cliffs!!

  2. Pam

    This is so perfect its like I wrote it myself!!!!! Best thing I’ve seen on the web in 10 years. Thank you.

  3. Martin

    Sport fishing on one of the biggest charter fleets in the Pacific Ocean. Locally and long range, can’t be beat.

  4. Rob

    Good stuff…but the best thing about the weather is DOING stuff outside. Hike, bike, camp, off-roading in the desert, ride your motorcycle from the beach to the mountains to the desert in the same day. Field & Stream rated San Diego the #2 fishing city in the nation. For most outdoor activities, there is no “off season.”
    Alpine skiing or deer hunting? Okay, so we don’t have the best of EVERYthing.

  5. Marisa

    Mt. Woodson: “Potato Chip Rock”!! Best photo op in SD!

  6. Victoria

    Pokez taco shop! Lestat’s Coffee House that’s open 24 hours a day and where the people watching is almost as satisfying as all their great drinks and food. The underground music scene playing at places like the Che and other venues. The San Diego and Tijuana border has had more people travel through it than any other place in WORLD HISTORY

  7. Ryot

    How about home of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other places that are at the forefront of green, enivironment-saving technology? We’re not just hot, we’ve got the brains to back it up 😉

  8. JT

    Really glad the author didn’t include any of the really good burger joints or taco shops in the city! Keep ’em under the radar, so they don’t get absurd lines like the bizarrely overhyped Hodad’s. A couple great SD things the author left off include the weed (scary good) and the tolerance (full acceptance of LGBT communities, which is rare in a conservative city like SD).

    • D Fontaine in response to JT

      My son works at Hodads and what impressed me is that the staff does try hard to make the locals or tourist happy, that’s the great thing about San Diego, I live in Ocean Beach (Sunset Cliffs) area and we have a mail man , doctor, student and lawyers living on the same block, different people with different social economic backgrounds. What makes San Diego special is the people. I’ve lived in New York and Seattle, the latter being the most overrated city, depressed people, lousy weather and way too many ex-Californians.
      Well that’s my 2 pesos

  9. Michael Olson

    Forbes had better get its act together. San Diego #3 on the Beer Cities list behind Portland and San Francisco? With 71 craft brewers in the area and all the medals our brewers have won over the years we are America’s Finest Craft Brew City.

  10. Arcelia Whitaker

    Torrey Pines Golf Course.

  11. Jackie Tennant

    Thanks I might really move to San Diego!!!!!!!

  12. Michael b. Turner

    Okay. I’m sold, SD here I come.

  13. CeJae

    I’m in the process of moving to SD and I am trying to find a new job there. I have a job where I live, but I don’t want to take it with me! If you are in SD, find me on facebook, I am looking to make new friends who are already in SD 🙂 CeJaeSweetie on fb

  14. Char

    I was on vacation in SD for a week in November 2013 and this was my first time in that section of California and it was so awesome. The weather was perfect, the sites were beautiful and the food was delicious. I have fallen in love with the city and I plan to move there in the near future. In my travels there are only two places that have instantly felt like it was to be future home…Italy and California are the places.

    • YaYa in response to Char

      Char, California and Italy are my two places too! What part of Italy? I plan to make my rounds in Italy this year to see how I feel. Thx

  15. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wonderful info on SD CA!

  16. Tammy

    Just came back from SD after visiting my soon to be sister in law who also just moved there! Relocating soon…the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!!! Amazing food, great people, breathtaking scenery…seriously it is what living life is all about! =)

  17. Jon Florence

    This is great! Thank you for putting this excellent list together. Make me want to move there all the more! Cheers!

  18. Nir

    Great list! And another reason is that quality short term/sublet rentals & month-to-month rentals in San Diego abound on

  19. Realist

    I have lived in San Diego for over 13 years. I’m getting ready to move out. The nice weather benefit is overrated. I make over 100k but that’s still not enough.
    It’s funny how Midwesterers think all San Diegans live by the beach, in nice houses with avocado trees in the backyard, and go to the beach every weekend. Ask a local. Most of us live in ugly areas that resemble neighborhoods in 3rd world countries, have non existent landscaping because of high water costs, and rarely go to the beach because for one, we don’t have much time off, and second, there’s never any parking.
    Every year we get loads of Midwesterers in the summer months only to lose them before their next apartment lease ends. Why? Most jobs pay very little and most housing is very expensive. Young people end up living like sardines with people they don’t know in a rental in PB, earning peanuts until it dawns on them that is no way to live a dignified existence.
    Come visit but if you want to stay, contact me and I’ll show you the real SD.

  20. CassyMarie

    I Love SD, but amen to you

  21. John Mark

    SD is a great place but we are also moving out. The west is the best, but I really dont want to work till I am 80 just to pay the bills. It has the appeal of all the great things noted, but the traffic and air quality is so bad that being healthy is debatable. The people are beautiful and the weather is unbeatable. But it get oppressing when you have to battle traffic conditions all the time, and everywhere is just so crowded. The problem with southern california, is…..everyone wants to live here.

  22. surfside

    Bring lots of money because it’s not cheap here. It’s No. 2 on the list of the least affordable cities for the middle class. San Franciso is number one. Oh! did I mention how over crowded it is here.

  23. caligirl

    this article reads like a starry-eyed teenager wrote it. as others have mentioned, san diego is one of the LEAST affordable places in the country currently to live. how did that factoid manage to escape this list? there are no real jobs unless you are in the military industry, healthcare professional, or hotelier. the gentrification that has occurred in north park has been a bone of contention with the locals –many of whom have been displaced– for many years, and now the “hipsters” are also finding that they can no longer afford north park rentals as rents have SKYROCKETED. the beaches and halfway decent weather is by no means worth sacrificing quality of life. and btw, san diego is socked in with grey clouds for a good chunk of the year. just like any other city near a bay…

  24. SD lawyer

    “…giving you a chance to get the big city experience for less than $2,000 a month.”

    Hahahahahaha haha haha ha.

    Good luck finding an apt downtown for less than $3000 that’s not a tenement or a run down residential hotel. Decent apts in other parts of the city start at $1200 for a 1 bedroom with no laundry, parking, or A/C. I wouldn’t live anywhere else, but if you’re planning to move here, bring lots of money.

  25. Karthik


  26. Quora

    What makes San Diego a nice place to live?

    San Diego is a major city in California, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico. To know more about San Diego read this article:…


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