San Diego is one of the most populated cities in America, and has enjoyed years of steady growth as people move there to enjoy the spectacular weather, healthy economy, and high quality of life.
As of 2016, residents of San Diego enjoyed a higher-than-average per capita income, a lower unemployment rate, and the prospects of greater job growth than the rest of America. Known for its moderate climate, with warm sunny weather all year long, proximity to famous destinations and activities like Tijuana, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, gorgeous beaches, and the San Diego Comic Con, it has broad appeal to residents and visitors alike.
Cost of Living in San Diego
If you’re considering moving to San Diego, here is some basic information about the average cost of living, to help you compare.
- Rent prices: the average cost to rent a 1 bedroom apartment is $1,690, and a 2 bedroom is $2,210. These rates have remained relatively steady, year over year, with only a moderate increase.
- Utilities: the average cost of utilities for a 915 square foot apartment is $116, and internet services range from $40 – $88.
- Transportation: Monthly transit passes range from $72 – $165 for adults, depending on distance traveled.
- Food costs: residents of San Diego spend roughly 11.4% of their household budget on food, slightly below the national average. Of this food budget, 53.9% is spent on meals at home, and 46.1% is spent on dining out. This is slightly above the national average, showing that San Diegans take advantage of their dynamic restaurant scene.
San Diego Neighborhoods
Of course, every cost of living calculation has to take into account the neighborhood. As with every city, San Diego has a number of different neighborhoods, which influence the atmosphere and local vibe, as well as rent and transportation costs.
- La Jolla. If you’re looking to live in a ritzy beach town filled to the brim with exciting shopping and restaurants, La Jolla is the place for you. You’ll find higher-end luxury apartments around here, as well as pretty fancy beaches. If you’ve got the budget, this adorable little area is a great spot for both living and socializing.
- Del Mar. The renowned home of the San Diego County Fair and the Del Mar Races, Del Mar contains classy homes, attractive beaches, and tons of activities. A pretty popular tourist spot, you’ll live among luxury hotels and beach resorts, as well as quite a few celebrity tourists. Hit up the Saturday farmer’s market for all of your produce, seafood, and floral needs, or spend the day on some of the cleanest beaches around.
- Little Italy. Little Italy is a great spot for urban families, as the neighborhood association sponsors year-long family-friendly activities, like trick-or-treating on India street, and holiday tree lighting. Dog parks, playgrounds, pedestrian areas, and splash fountains at Waterfront Park make this neighborhood a great place to live with a family. Great brew pubs, designer shopping, and a fantastic farmer’s market add to the community spirit and make Little Italy appeal to guests as well as locals.
- Pacific Beach. Surfer vibes combine with exciting nightlife to make up the neighborhood of Pacific Beach. Particularly popular among younger people, this is the place to be if you find yourself doing a different water sport every day and love a good burger right off the beach.
- Downtown. Mostly known for the “Gaslamp Quarter,” Downtown San Diego is chock full of dining options and nightlife. You’ll also find a young, upbeat community and housing on the pricier side.
- East Village. Sports fanatics, this one’s for you. East Village is an up and coming San Diego hood with lots of new luxury lofts and apartments for rent. It’s also home to PETCO Park and the San Diego Padres (MLB), tons of galleries, bars, and live music venues.
- South Park. South Park is a small, tight-knit community with an eccentric array of local shops and restaurants, that values community preservation and supporting each other.
- North Park. North Park is the craft-brew center of San Diego, and foodies love the diverse restaurants and unusual flavor experiences of this neighborhood.
- El Cerrito. El Cerrito is the next up-and-coming neighborhood in San Diego, with historic homes and walkable streets close to freeways and transport. Cute bistros and traditional ethnic restaurants increase the appeal of this neighborhood.
While it wouldn’t be California without constant complaints about traffic, average commute times in San Diego are only about 26 minutes, with more and more commuters traveling by highway rather than locally. San Diego also offers a robust public transit system, ranging from the quaint downtown trolley to the Rapid bus that connects suburbs. Average public transit commute times are 70 minutes round trip, with an average 16 minute wait time.
Tips for Moving to San Diego
- Do: move in the wintertime. Summer vacationers drive up occupancy rates and make it harder to find a place.
- Don’t: rent based an online ad without seeing the apartment in person. There are a lot of rental scams online, and you need to protect yourself.
- Do: check out the local parking situation if you plan on owning and driving a car. Parking in some neighborhoods can be a challenge.
- Don’t: be wasteful. California has laws mandating recycling and water conservation. Know what is expected of you.
- Do: get a Compass Card even if you don’t plan to use public transportation regularly. That way you’ll have it if and when you need it.
- Don’t: forget about Comic-Con. Even if you don’t plan on attending it, the influx of visitors from around the world will impact your commute, your recreation, and any travel or hospitality. Mark it on your calendar.
San Diego is a rich, diverse, incredible place to live. Following these tips for moving to San Diego will ease the process and make moving easier.
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