12 Worst Neighborhoods in San Diego

What if you finally get your chance to move to San Diego but end up choosing a horrible neighborhood that you absolutely dislike. All of that time & energy spent to make it to your dream location and find out where you chose to lay down roots isn’t a good idea. We get it. Finding the best place to live in San Diego can feel overwhelming, so we’re diving into which are the WORST neighborhoods to live in San Diego… so that you don’t accidentally end up living there.

Wait, San Diego isn’t perfect??

San Diego has a reputation for being one of the best places to live in all of the United States. There is plenty to do, beaches, and a strong economy (among many other things). But we’re all aware that a place can’t be all rainbows and butterflies, and there are quite a few not-so-great places to live in sunny San Diego.

Now San Diego’s worst neighborhoods are nothing compared to many other major cities, like our neighbor city of Los Angeles; where you often have large areas of crime and run-down housing.

How we determined the worst San Diego Neighborhoods

In order to determine what the worst neighborhoods in San Diego are we took into account a few different metrics to evaluate these areas. Things such as:

  • High Crime
  • Lack of things to do
  • Unemployment Rates
  • And low home values

San Diego’s Worst Neighborhoods to live in


1. San Ysidro

San Ysidro is an area of San Diego county that is nestled right on top of the US/Mexico border. This neighborhood of San Diego is not listed here because of its proximity to Mexico, in fact, we see that as a great perk, however its distance to things to do and low home values are what make it a not very sought after area to move to in San Diego. Data for San Ysidro.



2. Barrio Logan/Logan Heights

While home to the ever impressive murals of Chicano Park, Logan Heights isn’t a coveted area of San Diego to live in. The area is actually one of the oldest neighborhoods of San Diego. However with the build up of downtown and areas north of downtown, the Logan Heights neighborhood feels like it has fallen behind the times.

Happily thought, the area is on the up and up and we’re excited to see how it transforms over the next few years.

Barrio Logan aerial, Worst neighborhoods in San Diego feature img, abraham-barrera-8Nn49K7Snow-unsplash

3. Mt Hope

The neighborhood of Mt Hope lies east of Logan Heights, in between the 15 and the 805 highways. The average home value here is quite low and while a cheaper home price may sound enticing, just know that this area is named after the municipal cemetery that makes up a very large portion of the local business in the neighborhood. Data for Mt Hope.



4. Oak Park

Oak Park is another San Diego neighborhood located in the southern area of the county. You may have started to notice a pattern here, many of these ‘worst neighborhoods in San Diego’ are located in South County. It’s not a coincidence that much of this southern area is less than ideal. The focus of growth within San Diego was focused on central SD where the majority of tourists frequent.

The Oak Park neighborhood is only a few miles from San Diego State University and a bit of Navy housing too. This had led to home values in Oak Park being lower than average, most likely due to student housing. Data on Oak Park.



5. Lemon Grove

We’re starting to move up on our list of worst neighborhoods in San Diego with Lemon Grove. While this area isn’t as bad as the previous neighborhoods listed, there are still things to be aware of. The neighborhoods and parks have been improving in the past few years, but the downtown area of Lemon Grove is not a place we’d recommend anyone to frequent, especially in the evening. Which means if you prefer to be able to walk to your local watering hole or eatery, while you may be able to do that in Lemon Grove, it most likely won’t be the caliber or safety of living that you may find comfort in. But hey, everyone has their own unique preferences, so if this area is your vibe, then great!

6. College Area

The name of this neighborhood should be deterrent enough for anyone who has moved past their college days and prefers quiet home life, and one that doesn’t involve keg parties. The neighborhood of College Area makes our list of worst neighborhoods due to it being home to many of the students from SDSU. Many newer establishments don’t succeed very well in this area, much as they may try. But with college students looking to party, it often leads to less than ideal conditions for nicer bars, restaurants and other businesses.

Look, we get it, college kids need to live somewhere, and we’ve definitely been in their shoes, but as someone who is looking to invest in a long term home for their family, this area may not be the best fit. Data on College Area.

SDSU facade, Worst neighborhoods in San Diego feature img

7. Kearny Mesa

While Kearny Mesa resides in a great central area of San Diego, it doesn’t make for a great place to purchase a residential home. Majority of the area is focused on industrial and commercial properties, with car dealerships as far as you can drive. There are a few residential communities popping up in Kearny Mesa, but the increase of crime rates in the area has definitely deterred many home buyers, and for good reason. Data on Kearny Mesa.



8. East Village

The East Village neighborhood lies right next to the Gaslamp district and it’s a part of downtown San Diego. The neighborhood is quite unique and many are starting to flock here, due to lower rent costs. But with lower rents, come sacrifices in other areas.

We have high hopes for East Village in San Diego; with new apartment buildings being completed and new, unique eateries and bars filling in the empty spaces, the potential for the neighborhood is quite exciting. However, the crime rate continues to be a problem for many. T This is also a prolific area for the homeless community. Many of San Diego’s resources for the homeless are in the East Village area, which means you’ll see plenty of homeless people in the area. Data on East Village.

9. Midtown District

The Midtown District of San Diego is an odd neighborhood on our list of worst neighborhoods here. While parts of it are loved by many San Diegans; such as Liberty Station and Point Loma, other parts are not areas we would not recommend you choose to settle down in. It’s an unfortunate 180 flip between the areas of Midtown District. On one street you’ll have adorable bungalow homes nestled in the hills of Point Loma, and off of the main street you’ll be close to strip clubs and vacated lots where many crimes are committed.

We would say this area is a take or leave it situation and will depend on where your home will be located. Data on Midtown District.



10. Mountain View

Mountain View is south of another not-so-great neighborhood we’ve listed here, Mt Hope. The area is called Mountain View because it is located on a plateau and has an unobstructed view of San Miguel Mountain to the east. But don’t let the mountain views distract you from the important aspects of this neighborhood. There is a fairly high crime rate and touch of instability in this neighborhood. And while the city has worked on creating a more community like structure here, we wouldn’t recommend buying a home here at the moment. Data on Mountain View.

11. Cortez Hill

Cortez Hill is the northeast corner of downtown San Diego. It’s home to the famous Cortez Hotel and is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in all of San Diego. Cortez Hills blends into Little Italy which makes it a not-so terrible neighborhood of San Diego. However, there is some crime in the area and the cost of living in the area is high when compared to the safety concerns. Data on Cortez Hill.



12. Bird Land

The neighborhood of Birdland is nestled in between a corner of where the 163 and 805 meet. Meaning many homes are very close to the highways here. While much of the area is residential, single family homes, the proximity to highways is a major deterrent to many. Especially for those looking to settle into a home that oozes that Southern California vibe they’re craving. Data on Bird Land.

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Looking to move to San Diego?

Well, there you have it, the worst neighborhoods to live in San Diego. While this list may adjust throughout the years, it’s a great starting point when you’re beginning your search for where to live in San Diego. We want to make sure that you aren’t just looking at lower cost homes and sacrificing a great neighborhood. If you have questions about where you should start your home search, let us know! You can give us a call or email us, and we’ll help you get started with ease.