Best Neighborhoods to Live in San Diego

When it comes to finding the best neighborhood in San Diego for you to live in, you need to consider a lot of different lifestyle aspects. Do you want to be able to walk to your local cafe? Would you prefer a quiet neighborhood? Are you vying for a community pool & gym? And that’s just to start.


There are over 130 neighborhoods in San Diego for you to choose from. Talk about a lot of options. We’re going to help you sift through all of those 100+ SD neighborhoods, and showcase the best of the best.


Each of the neighborhoods discussed here are listed for at least one stand out reason. And be sure to tell us which neighborhood you prefer (if you know!).

San Diego’s best neighborhoods to live in

For this post, we’ve decided to section out these San Diego neighborhoods by three different categories: charm, cost of living & proximity to activities. Yes, there will be overlap for some, and this is not an exclusive list. Think of this as your preview to what San Diego can offer you when it comes to choosing where to live here.


Neighborhoods by Charm

The following San Diego communities are bursting with adorable, quaint charm that will send you over the moon with excitement.


Bird Rock

Nestled within the ritzy neighborhood of La Jolla, lies Bird Rock. A small, seaside town just north of Pacific Beach. Bird Rock is home to quaint (and local favorites) cafes and restaurants that you can easily walk to. The town part of Bird Rock is only four blocks large, and is surrounded by single family homes and apartment complexes. Owning a home in this neighborhood will mean you’ll have close proximity to the beach, and can easily find a view of the Pacific for sunset.



Solana Beach

Solana Beach is another seaside community, but with a great location, right in the middle of downtown San Diego and North County’s Oceanside neighborhood. This places you within easy driving distance of really anywhere in San Diego county. But why would you want to go anywhere else? Because Solana Beach has so much to offer.

Solana Beach is the more casual version of the upscale Del Mar area, with even more places to enjoy. From a small local music venue, Belly Up Tavern, to locally owned coffee shops, and epic beaches to enjoy – a bonus to the beaches here are that they aren’t as frequented as the southern beaches at Pacific beach and Ocean Beach.

You can find detached, single family homes here, as well as upscale condominium complexes and country club villas.

Solona beach, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (3)


Carlsbad is an affluent neighborhood in North County San Diego. Known for its cute downtown area and surf scene, Carlsbad is also close to many larger shopping centers just east of the I-5 highway. Living in the Carlsbad neighborhood of San Diego means you have plenty of options when it comes to the ‘where’ of your home search. From more low key areas like Bressi Ranch, to upscale, master-planned communities like Aviara, you could choose where you live based on your preferred lifestyle here.




A common phrase for living in Coronado is ‘just across the bridge, and a world away’. You’ve probably seen the images of a large arching bridge that leads away from downtown San Diego, and those images most likely showcase San Diego’s beautiful skyline. Those pictures are taken from Coronado!

Often mistaken as an island, Coronado is actually more like a peninsula, but it is true once you cross that bridge, you’ll feel miles away on an oasis. The quaint town of Coronado is highly coveted and can easily feel like it’s directly from ‘Pleasantville’. A quaint downtown area that even features a locally loved milkshake shop, Moo Time Creamery.

There is a military base located in Coronado, but as a resident you would hardly know it as it’s far removed from your day to day life. Coronado offers many detached, single family homes and a few condominium options. There is limited space as it’s only so large of an ‘island’, but trust us when we say that life on Coronado is blissful; beautiful beaches, delicious eateries, and views almost everywhere you walk.

Coronado bridge, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (1)

La Jolla

There is no shortage of charm in La Jolla, California. La Jolla is known as one of the more luxury neighborhoods in San Diego. This seaside community offers so much to its residents, most often noted are its spectacular views of the coastline. In fact, La Jolla is often referred to as ‘The Jewel of America’s Finest City’ (La Jolla translates to ‘jewel’ in spanish), and with any precious gem, comes a steep price tag. But believe us, life in La Jolla is worth the cost.

From countless outdoor activities right at your doorstep, to incredibly delicious restaurants, and seven miles of pristine beaches, you really can’t go wrong moving to La Jolla.



South Park

South Park is often a less talked about urban neighborhood in San Diego. Located just east of Balboa park and north of downtown, South Park is actually one of the older neighborhoods in San Diego. And it’s maintained its classic charm throughout the years. We love South Park for being a walkable neighborhood that is home to over 70 locally owned businesses!

Housing in South Park San Diego is primarily single family homes with a few duplexes and low rise apartment buildings. This allows the area to maintain a small town vibe that is just minutes from bustling downtown SD.

Neighborhoods by Cost of Living

The following neighborhoods are excellent choices when it comes to living in an affordable neighborhood for San Diego.


La Mesa

La Mesa is a popular suburb of San Diego. We’re seeing more & more millennials move to La Mesa and for good reason. The housing is affordable and there are more, locally owned businesses popping up for you to enjoy. It’s one of east county San Diego’s first neighborhoods to start transitioning to a more trendy lifestyle.

La Mesa is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the perks of San Diego’s standard lifestyle (close to beaches, lots to do, walkable) but also adds the benefit of being much more affordable than other closer to shore neighborhoods. Plus the neighborhoods are all great for walking and is home to many beautiful parks.



Clairemont & Bay Park

While some would consider Clairemont and Bay Park to be two separate neighborhoods, we feel they’re so close together to discuss them as one here. The area of both Clairemont and Bay Park are just east of Mission bay. It’s actually nestled between the I-5 and 805 highways with plenty of space in between. The location has you settled close to the more popular areas of San Diego; including Pacific Beach, La Jolla and downtown.

There are more and more local coffee shops and restaurants popping up in these areas. The area is also home to many hikes located within the Tecolote National Park. And according to Niche.com, Clairemont is one of the best places to live in all of California!

aerial of mission bay, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (4)

Linda Vista

Another top place to live in all of California, Linda Vista is perfect for those searching for affordability without having to sacrifice location. It’s located just south of the Clairemont and Bay Park neighborhoods, and is home to the University of San Diego. The area is up & coming, and homes values are growing each year as more people are moving to this area for its affordability.

Mission Valley

Mission Valley is a wide valley that has the San Diego river running through it. The area is home to many larger shopping centers so if you’re looking for convenience, this is your ideal location. Mission Valley is home to mostly condominium complexes, half that are set within the valley, the others are perched atop hillsides with great views.

Mission Valley, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (5)

Chula Vista

Chula Vista is a wonderfully affordable area for those looking to raise a family. Not only are the schools highly rated, but there are plenty of parks and shops to enjoy with young children (including a water park!)

Most of Chula Vista homes are detached, single family houses and the downtown area is a great mix of urban & suburban vibes. Just a short drive from downtown San Diego, this area of SD is adding more & more unique dining options and cute cafes to explore.

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Neighborhoods by Proximity to things to do

Living close to the best things to do in San Diego is what many people seek when moving here. These neighborhoods of San Diego are perfect for anyone looking to walk out their door and enjoy all that the area has to offer.




Living in downtown San Diego can be affordable, it’s all about what you prefer to have in your list of needs versus wants when it comes to your lifestyle choices. What’s great about living downtown is that there are various areas that you can search through for condominiums, as well as brand new construction that is continuing to come to life in this area. So, if you prefer a high rise with all of the amenities or would rather live in a historic walk up in the Gaslamp area, you can find it here.

Another benefit of living downtown is that you are within walking distance to all of your day to day needs, as well as the more exciting aspects of life in San Diego.

downtown San Diego skyline, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (2)

East Village

East Village is an area that is technically a part of downtown San Diego, but lies east to the traditional Gaslamp district of downtown. East Village is a budding gem of San Diego’s neighborhood choices. With new condominium developments, brand new restaurants and bars and even public spaces that hold local events for live music and yoga classes.

What we love about East Village is that while the community is continuing to grow, the current community is all about togetherness and supporting local businesses. It’s a truly unique vibe, and we feel it will continue to grow into something very special.



Pacific beach

While Pacific Beach may not be our favorite choice when it comes to setting down roots, we felt it needs to be included on this list. We say this because the overall feeling of Pacific Beach varies year over year. Five years ago Pacific Beach felt like it was on the up-and-up, and currently (2020) it feels a tad drab. That’s not to say that in a few years the area will be blooming once again with local pride.

We love Pacific Beach because it is so close to so much that San Diego has to offer. There are countless beach lined restaurants and bars, you are close to both the beach and Mission Bay, and there is no shortage of things to do and local businesses to support.

Many homes in the Pacific Beach are either detached, single family homes, duplexes, or condominiums reaching no higher than three or four stories.

aerial of Pacific Beach, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (6)

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is a small beach community just a few miles northwest of downtown. Many feel Ocean Beach (also referred to as O.B.) is a funky, creative neighborhood that embraces individuality. It’s a one of a kind neighborhood in San Diego that is absolutely perfect for some and not a great fit for others – in fact, we highly recommend spending time in the area before you move here. Whether you decide to purchase a home here or not, the Ocean Beach area is a ton of fun. From the dog beach, to the local coffee shops and eclectic shops, you’ll find there’s plenty of fun to be had here.

Most of the housing here are detached, single family ranch style homes.



Point Loma

Point Loma lies next to Ocean Beach and is a coveted area for home owners to settle down in. If you live in Point Loma, you are close to downtown, the airport, beaches, small ‘islands’ with boat docks and Liberty Station. The entire area is a hilly seaside community with many smaller neighborhoods and multiple retail areas to enjoy.

Almost all of the homes in Point Loma are detached, single family homes that have small yards great for growing families. Many homes have views of the San Diego harbor, but no matter where you are in Point Loma you’ll be close to many exciting places in San Diego. By far two of the best places in the area are the Cabrillo National Monument, which is also home to the Point Loma Lighthouse, and Liberty Station, which used to be Naval Training Center and is now home to some of the best restaurants in the city.

aerial of Point Loma neighborhood, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (7)

North Park

North Park is a great neighborhood to settle down in if you love small towns that value down to earth personality and uniqueness. North Park has been an evolving neighborhood over the past few years, but what remains year after year is the sense of local community and dedication to art. In fact, upon entering North Park you will immediately notice all of the gorgeous street art that’s been commissioned for the area. The nightlife scene has also grown over the years to become a home for local businesses serving up one of a kind beverages and classic SoCal dishes.

Most of North Park homes are detached Craftsman houses and bungalows, and small condominium complexes.

North Park sign, Best San Diego neighborhoods, Living San Diego (8)


Just north of Balboa Park, lies Hillcrest, a vibrant, bustling neighborhood of San Diego, which is home to SD’s LGBTQ. The area has plenty of fun restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as the very popular Hillcrest Farmers Market.

You can find almost any kind of home in the Hillcrest area- bungalow and Craftsman homes, small apartment complexes, single family homes and a few high rise condominium complexes too.

While the central part of the neighborhood is the most walk-friendly area, the neighborhood area with homes are all very walkable, making your nights out at the local brewery for weekly karaoke very easy to enjoy.

Thinking of moving to San Diego, California?

Remember, these are just a few of the areas you can move to in San Diego. If you have questions about other neighborhoods or are looking for help when buying your home here, we can help. Call or email us to schedule your zoom call so we can help get you started!