Moving to San Diego, CA
Are you planning on making a move to the picturesque city of San Diego, California? If your move is taking you to the area to start a new job, or if you are looking for a fun city with excellent schools to relocate your family, you can find what you are looking for in the city of San Diego. The city is known for its abundant sunshine, amazing job opportunities, and an active nightlife.
San Diego Weather
\The San Diego area is known for its beautiful weather and consistent temperatures year round. The area sees an average high temperature of 72 degrees throughout most of the year. The temperature does drop a little at night, but it usually only drops to a comfortable 60 degrees, which can be refreshing after the day's heat. You can enjoy the beach from spring through fall and will only see a significant amount of precipitation during the winter months.
San Diego Demographics
The coastal city of San Diego is considered part of the San Diego-Tijuana international metropolitan area, and its location along the border makes it an extremely diverse city. It is the second largest city in California and one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Recently, the population was estimated to be just over 1.4 million with a population density of 4,003 people per square mile. The Greater San Diego Metropolitan Area is the third largest in the state with a population in excess of 3 million.
The racial makeup of the city includes a large population of Caucasian and Hispanic residents as well as a large Asian, African-American, and mixed-race population.
History of the City
The San Diego area was first inhabited by the San Dieguito, Kumeyaay, and La Jolla people. Its first European settlers came from Spain and named the area San Miguel. In the early 1600s, the first religious ceremonies were held to celebrate the feast day of San Diego. The area was known throughout the 1700s as the most abundant native population in the area. After the war for Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, the city became part of the Mexican state of Alta California.
During the secularization of Mexico, the land in the area was sold to wealthy settlers, and the population dropped significantly from 1400 to a little over 100.
It was after the United States won the war against Mexico in 1847 that San Diego became incorporated as a city. During World War II, the city saw significant growth when it was used as a major military base and defense hub, reaching a population of over 300,000. Following the war, the military continued to play a significant role in the area's economy. However, San Diego eventually began to branch off into other areas. Today, tourism, research, and science are the primary economic drivers.
Living in San Diego
To truly live in San Diego, you have to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and abundant sunshine throughout the year. Most residents enjoy some sort of outdoor recreational activity, whether it is golf, water sports, or other beach activities. Not only is the population diverse in San Diego, but so are its neighborhoods. The city contains resort-like beach living areas, urban downtown settings, and suburban areas. The area is not only home to an abundance of outdoor activities but also to museums, art galleries, and concert venues.
The city also boasts multiple professional sports teams, world-class dining options, and a number of entertainment venues. Within this vast metropolitan area, you'll find a network of distinctive neighborhoods filled with camaraderie and community spirit. Those looking to meet new people can attend plenty of area festivals and events or check out the city's popular nightclubs, restaurants, and bars.
While living in San Diego is ideal no matter what your personality type, it is not affordable for everyone. Homes tend to be more expensive than the national median price, and many of the home areas downtown require payment of homeowner's association fees to maintain the property. Residents often refer to the high cost of living in San Diego as "the sunshine tax," and they consider it a small price to pay for year-round sunshine.
Hottest Neighborhoods in San Diego
There are many great neighborhoods to choose from in the city of San Diego. Whether you are looking for a quiet area to raise your family or a hip neighborhood reminiscent of a big city, you can find what you are looking for in San Diego. The following are some of the most sought after neighborhoods in and around the city:
- Hillcrest: A local area favorite, especially among the LGBT community, is the Hillcrest area, located just a short distance from the downtown area. The neighborhood is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets and an active nightlife. It is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city.
- Little Italy: The once hardworking fishing community known as Little Italy is now a quaint neighborhood known for its many outdoor cafes, Italian restaurants, and Mercato Farmers' Market. The neighborhood also has many festivals and events throughout the year to celebrate its unique and vibrant heritage.
- Gaslamp Quarter: If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind nightlife, no neighborhood knows how to party like the Gaslamp Quarter. The area is dotted with clubs, dive bars, sports bars, and lounges. This neighborhood is also home to amazing entertainment, such as dueling piano shows at The Shout!
- Ocean Beach: If you love to surf and live the beach life, then the Ocean Beach area is the neighborhood to call home. This community is nestled along the Pacific Beaches and provides the full-on SoCal vibe. You will find lots of old bungalows, a walkable main street, and surf shops as well as local street performers, craft vendors, and artists. It is the perfect area for those looking for a more laid-back vibe.
- La Jolla: If you want a break from city living, the college town of La Jolla may be the perfect neighborhood for you. This beachside neighborhood is filled with shopping, restaurants, hiking trails, and the La Jolla Underwater Park. The park offers more than 6,000 acres for snorkeling, kayaking, and diving.
- Normal Heights: For those looking for the most suburban feel, Normal Heights is calling your name. The residential neighborhood is quiet and features a number of coffee shops, antique shops, and gastropubs along the main drag. It is the perfect area for those looking for a safe community with a friendly feel to raise their children.
Best Schools in San Diego
The San Diego area has many highly rated schools. With hundreds of schools to choose from, you can find the perfect one to meet your child's needs in one of the many popular areas in San Diego. The following schools have been awarded some of the highest ratings for schools in the city and surrounding suburban areas:
- Canyon Crest Academy: Canyon Crest Academy is one of the top-rated schools in the area, though it is a large one with over 2,400 students on average. The students test high in both math and language skills, and the 9-12 teacher ratios of 26:1 is good when you consider the large size of the student body.
- Torrey Pines High School: Another large public high school in the area with a teacher-student ratio of 25:1 is Torrey Pines High School. The school also scores well in extracurricular activities, clubs, and student diversity.
- Westview High School: Students at Westview are also known for their high test scores, and the student body is very diverse. The school received high marks in safety as well as college readiness.
San Diego Job Forecast
If you're moving for your career, you'll be happy to learn that San Diego has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire nation, and it has been continuing to decline each year. In fact, it was down to 3.3% this past year. Residents also boast higher-than-average median household income of around $76,662, with the national average being $60,336. Though the average salary is significantly higher, it is offset by the higher cost to live in the area.
Some of the biggest industries in and around the city of San Diego include technology, military, research, health care, and tourism. The Marine Corps and the United States Navy are two of the largest employers in town. Other job opportunities related to the military include multiple national defense contractors such as BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman. There is also a wide range of job opportunities for engineers and manufacturers through companies like General Dynamics NASSCO.
The University of California, San Diego, provides job opportunities for those in the field of education, and large health care companies Sharp and Kaiser Permanente also employ many of the area residents.
Public Transportation in San Diego
If you live in the downtown area, there are plenty of pedestrian-friendly streets that allow you to access many of the area shops, dining establishments, and museums. If you live a little farther away, the city also has numerous modes of public transportation to take advantage of.
There are plenty of bus lines and routes that can take you through the entire San Diego County area. To find routes and schedules, you can go online or visit the Metropolitan Transit System or Breeze for routes traveling through the North San Diego County area.
If you are looking for transportation during the summer season, the Waterfront Shuttle runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and makes eight stops along the San Diego area bayfront. The route extends from Harbor Island to South Embarcadero. For a mere $3, you can ride the shuttle off and on all day. Shuttles come every 15 to 20 minutes along the route.
Looking to give your feet a rest? Or maybe you want to enjoy one of the downtown waterfront and Gaslamp Quarter's most popular modes of transportation? If so, you have to try a pedicab at least once. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy all of the sights of the area.
San Diego Trolley
Another easy way to get around the downtown area of San Diego is the iconic red trolley that travels around the city. The bright red trolley provides service to and from some of the key downtown area locations, such as the San Diego Convention Center, Santa Fe Depot, Old Town, and Mission Valley.
If you are traveling between San Diego and cities close to the area, such as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, you can avoid traffic and relax during a train ride along the Pacific Coast.
Festivals and Fun
The San Diego area hosts plenty of festivals and entertainment events to keep you occupied no matter the season. Whether you are a fan of food, art, or music, there is something for everyone to enjoy in San Diego throughout the year.
If you love the visual arts, then head on down to Little Italy for the San Diego ArtWalk Festival, which showcases local artists, or the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair. During the fair, leading contemporary galleries from around the area come together to showcase their art.
The San Diego area is known for its many unique restaurants and diverse cuisine, boutique wineries, and world-renowned breweries. You can sample some of the culinary delights from the best restaurants in the area for a reasonable price during the bi-annual San Diego Restaurant Week. If your palate extends more to libations than food, you can taste some of the most popular craft beer options in and around the city.
If you are a movie buff, then you can find a film festival for any of your favorite genres in the city throughout the year. Smaller local festivals include Asian, Jewish, and Latin film festivals as well as the annual top film festival event, the San Diego Film Festival.
Almost every season and holiday event is celebrated in the city of San Diego. In the Gaslamp Quarter, you can find hosted block parties for Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, and even Halloween. If you enjoy the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, then head on down to Old Town during the beginning of May.
The summer season brings with it the San Diego County Fair, and the winter months bring the San Diego Parade of Lights hosted on the Big Bay. The Christmas celebration includes the most extensive community festival in the county, during which Balboa Park is transformed into a winter wonderland.
If music is your passion, you can enjoy some amazing street festivals throughout the year. While there are too many music festivals in the area to list, some of the most popular events include the following:
- The Cajun Music Festival.
- San Diego Summer Pops.
- KAABOO Del Mar's three-day rock festival.
- CRSSD's EDM-heavy music festival.
There are also a number of weekend-long outdoor festival events where you can enjoy music, art, food, and entertainment.
Even theater lovers can enjoy many events throughout the year. The Old Globe Theatre, located in Balboa Park, is home to the annual Shakespeare festival, which includes three different productions on rotating nights. These plays come alive in the beautiful outdoor theater, located among breathtaking eucalyptus groves.
With the fall season comes San Diego's Fleet Week which includes a parade of ships, entertainment, food, and other events that pay tribute to the United States military. The end of the week includes the grand finale of the MCAS Miramar Air Show.
San Diego Cuisine
San Diego has a wide mix of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which shines through in its fantastic variety of cuisines. You can find Italian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mexican, French, Greek, German, Latin, Filipino, Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern cuisines throughout the city. The area is also well-known for its many steakhouses and seafood restaurants. If you are looking to sample some of the area's most iconic dishes, you must try the regional border fare, which includes authentic Mexican dishes with unique modern twists. Another popular favorite for locals and tourists is picking up an authentic wood-fired California-style pizza.
The location of the city allows many of the area restaurants to provide visitors with the best in fresh fruits and vegetables, local California wines, and freshly caught tuna and other seafood. It's also worth noting that some of the most popular chain restaurants in the area got their start in the city of San Diego, such as Pat & Oscar's, Rubio's, Alberto's, and Anthony's Fish Grotto.
San Diego is known not only for its amazing food offerings but also for its vibrant craft brewing industry. The city is often referred to as "America' s craft beer capital" and has been listed as one of the top five beer towns by Men's Journal. Three of the most popular craft breweries in the city stay consistently in the list of top ten breweries in the world: AleSmith Brewing Company, Pizza Port/Port Brewing Company, and Stone Brewing Company.
Fun Facts You Might Not Know About San Diego
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about the city of San Diego, below are a few fun facts that just might surprise you:
- The Coronado Bridge was first traversed by Ronald Regan in 1969.
- You can celebrate the Christmas spirit until the first of February; after that, you may face a fine.
- The city is home to the largest oceanographic museum, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.
- San Diego is home of the only roller coaster in the United States to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster can be found at Belmont Park.
- San Diego is the biggest producer of avocados in the United States.
- The city of San Diego has the most farms in the United States, with over 7,000 total.
- You can find the largest collection of Dr. Seuss manuscripts at San Diego's Geisel Library at the University of California in La Jolla.
- San Diego is home to two of the world's most famous skateboarders: Tony Hawk and Shaun White.
- Swimming in the city lakes is illegal. It is best to stick to the miles of beaches.
- The first drive-in restaurant in the U.S. was constructed in San Diego by the man who would become the founder of Jack in the Box.
- For 40 years, the city of San Diego was known as the tuna capital of the world.
- The world's oldest sailing ship, The Star of India, claims San Diego as its home port.
- The Hotel de Coronado is the oldest wooden structure still standing in the U.S as well as the first place to have an electric Christmas tree, in 1904.
Things to See and Do in the City of San Diego
No matter what your passion is or whether you are looking to enjoy the perfect date night or an outing with your family, you can find something for everyone in and around the city of San Diego.
The 1,200-acre urban park set in the heart of the city is home to a world-class zoo, live shows, museums, and beautiful natural areas to rest and unwind. The park features a wide selection of gardens with more than 350 different plant species that were carefully selected by well-known botanist Kate Sessions. The area is also home to the Botanical House, which houses more than 2,000 plants surrounding a pond that has annual displays of both lilies and lotuses.
San Diego Old Town
If you are a history buff, you must pay a visit to the first European settlement in the city, San Diego Old Town. The area is filled with historic adobe buildings that date back to the early 1800s. The area also includes Presidio Park, which is the 40-acre property where the San Diego Mission and San Diego Presidio were founded in the mid-1700s. You can visit the area to attend one of the many festivals, to check out some of the unique specialty shops, or to taste some truly authentic Mexican food.
San Diego Zoo
One of the most popular stops in the area for locals and tourists alike is the San Diego Zoo, which was founded back in 1915 by physician Harry Wegeforth and is one of the top-rated zoos in the world. The zoo is home to more than 650 species and was one of the first zoos to have cageless exhibits. If you want a break from the heat, you can hop on the guided tour bus, which will take you through three-quarters of the park.
The zoo is also known for its amazing natural habitats, such as the Arctic woodland and tundra for its polar bears, an African rainforest, and the world's largest free-flight aviaries. It is also one of only four zoos in the U.S. to have giant pandas.
USS Midway Museum
The longest-serving aircraft carrier in the world has made its final home in San Diego's Embarcadero. The ship was commissioned in 1945 and served in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm before being retired and becoming the largest museum dedicated solely to aircraft carriers and naval aviation. While taking the tour, you will see eight propeller planes, eight helicopters, and 30 restored aircraft as well as the engine room, galley, and sleeping quarters of those who served bravely on the ship.
One of the most popular draws to the San Diego area is the Birch Aquarium located on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The aquarium reveals the spectrum of marine life in the Pacific Ocean and includes a wide array of habitats, a 260,000-liter kelp forest tank, coral reefs, and even a loggerhead turtle. Kids will love the hall of fishes, and the Tide-Pool Plaza where they can get up close and personal with many of the creatures that inhabit the tide pools in the Southern California area, such as lobsters, hermit crabs, starfish, and sea cucumbers.
Located right in the heart of downtown San Diego is Petco Park, which is home to the San Diego Padres and is considered one of Major League Baseball's best stadiums. From the stands, you will see the most beautiful views of the San Diego skyline and San Diego Bay.
The building itself is beautiful to look at, with steel and sandstone features, water walls, and a palm court. You can enjoy cheering the Padres to victory while keeping the kids entertained in the kid zone, where they can learn about the history of the Padres.
What's also great about the park is you can get anything you're craving, including BBQ, oysters, gourmet hot dogs, and Roman-style pizza.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is definitely a sight to see. The museum chronicles the evolution of human flight using a combination of both artifacts and models.
The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian and touches on the interwar Golden Age of Flight. In this exhibit, you will see aircraft like the Aeronca C-3 Collegian, a Ryan STA, and a Consolidated PT-1 Trusty. These are the types of planes that some of the most famous pilots, such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, took into the skies.
The museum also takes a look at planes dating back to the beginning of aviation with reproductions of the gliders used by the Wright Brothers as well as modern planes like the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk and a Boeing GPS-12 Satellite. A special feature is the canopy of a North American X-15 rocket plane that changed the face of aviation. You can also take advantage of hands-on exhibits such as a flight simulator and 3D/4D theater.
Moving to San Diego
When preparing your move to the city of San Diego, there are a few things you will want to know to make the transition more comfortable.
All Roads Will Take You to the Beach
San Diego is known for its 17 miles of picturesque coastline and multiple lifeguard stations. Its beaches are the perfect place to enjoy water sports, try your hand at fishing, go hang gliding, or even enjoy a nice stroll with your dog. The beach is always just a quick drive away. Some of the most popular beaches in the area include Mission Beach, Blacks Beach, and Ocean Beach.
Be Ready for Daily Commuting
San Diego is known as a commuter city, which means you need to keep your car running smoothly and be able to handle traversing over six lanes of traffic. The good news is that San Diego traffic is a lot more friendly than the traffic in neighboring cities, like LA, but you will definitely need a car to get the most out of the area.
You Should Find a Neighborhood That Fits Your Personality
When moving to the area, you can choose from neighborhoods that are trendy, quirky, or more upscale. Whether you are looking for a SoCal laid-back vibe, a boho-chic atmosphere, or a suburban haven, you will need to find the right neighborhood that vibes with your personality.
Sometimes Renting Can Be the Best Option
Housing in San Diego can be extremely expensive, with the average home prices running around $555,000. When making that considerable of an investment, it may be wise to take the opportunity to find the perfect neighborhood and perfect house before jumping into a purchase. Homes in the area are all unique, and there are plenty of styles to choose from, including Craftsman, Mid-Century Modern, and Victorian.
Most San Diegans Don't Hail From Here
If you are worried about standing out as a transplant to the area, don't. Even though San Diegans quickly build ties to their communities and become a part of their neighborhoods, most of them were once transplants like yourself. At any given event, you are likely to find more San Diegans who moved there than ones who were born there.
California Droughts Are Taken Seriously
You have likely heard about it on the news at one time or another, but when you live in San Diego, drought is a serious concern. You need always to follow the rules of water usage and stay mindful whenever possible.
Whether you are moving to the city of San Diego to work or to find a great place to raise your family, the city provides you with everything you need and more.