Pros & Cons of Living in San Diego, California

There are many pros and cons to living in San Diego, but if we’re being honest, besides the cost of living, the pros of living in San Diego far outweigh the cons. A coastal lifestyle, with laid back vibes, in between the Mexican border and the bustling city of Los Angeles, San Diego has so much to offer.

Pro – Mild Weather year round

San Diego’s weather is an obvious benefit to living in this city. In fact, it’s the reason we moved here ourselves. The weather in San Diego is mild and temperate year round. We’re talking mid-70’s, clear skies and light breezes. It is absolute perfection for anyone who is moving from absurdly hot areas (looking at your Phoenix!) or wild east coast winters.

Con – Lack of seasons & Greenery

With year round mild weather, means there are no change of seasons and even less greenery. While palm trees run rampant in San Diego, much of the land you see will more often than not be brown. This is due to our years-long drought in California. And even when the state is not in a drought the city is (thankfully) cautious when it comes to water usage.

So, if you crave those fall foliage colors or snow capped trees during the holidays, then you’ll be disappointed. However, you will get to say you’ve celebrated Christmas on the beach!

sunset in Ocean Beac SD, pros and cons of living in San Diego

Pro – Great destinations Nearby

San Diego is ideally located close to many exciting destinations. Which means if you’re itching for an adventure you are only a short drive away from exciting times. Here are just a few of the places you can visit that are close to San Diego:

-Los Angeles

-Laguna Beach

-Catalina Islands

-Palm Spring

-Big Bear Mountain & Lake

-Baja Mexico

From cityscapes to beach getaways, island excursions ro desert landscapes, and even the opportunity to check out Mexico’s tropical Baja area, there are plenty of beautiful destinations for you to explore with friends and family.



Con – Public Transportation is lacking

While there are many places you can check out around the Southern California area, the city unfortunately doesn’t offer too great of public transportation. While there are public buses and trolleys, they aren’t as convenient as you would hope. And the cost of trains from San Diego to Los Angeles end up outweighing the cost of just driving yourself.

Laguna beach, pros and cons of living in San Diego

Pro – big city living, with small town vibe

San Diego exudes a small town vibe while actually being a fairly large city. It’s actually the 29th largest city in the United States. If you prefer living in a city based apartment, then downtown San Diego is your best bet. But if you prefer to have a yard and sweetly charming neighborhood to walk around, then there are plenty of areas you can move to.

This small town vibe in a big city makes San Diego feel like home to many who move here. Its approachable, yet still big enough that you’ll never be bored.


Con – Big city costs//Not an affordable city

Even though San Diego isn’t one of the top ten largest cities in the US, the cost to live here reflects like it is. According to Business Insider, San Diego is the 13th most expensive city with a cost of living that is 16% higher than the national average. (In fact, many California cities are at the top of the chart when it comes to cost of living – something we like to call the Sunshine Tax)

Pro – There’s always something to do in San Diego

Life in San Diego is rarely boring. There is always something to do in this city. If you thrive in large groups, there are weekly festivals, food events, and music performances. Many are free, and many offer lots of local beer samples. If you’re more of an outdoor person than you will find plenty of fun hanging at San Diego’s beaches, bays, hikes and parks. There is also no shortage of delicious coffee shops, breweries and all over activities you can take part in.


Con – Lack of major professional sports

Unlike many major US cities, San Diego no longer has any major sports teams. We used to be home to the San Diego Chargers, but they have since moved to Los Angeles. There are sports teams in San Diego, such as the San Diego Sockers soccer team, the San Diego Seals lacrosse team and the San Diego Gulls hockey team, all of which are located in the Pechanga Sports Arena located in the Midway neighborhood of San Diego.

Pro – Downtown and neighborhoods are very walkable

Unlike many other cities, San Diego’s downtown area is very safe, clean and walkable – something that we absolutely love about San Diego. The same goes for the restaurant filled neighborhoods of Pacific Beach, North Park and Ocean Beach (among many others). The city prides itself on providing safe walking areas, and the restaurant and bar owners equally agree as many patrons walk from one to the other easily.



Con – Homelessness in San Diego

While the city is quite walkable in many neighborhoods, you will come across one of the biggest concerns of moving to San Diego, which is witnessing homelessness. It’s an unfortunate part of living in any major city. With San Diego’s mild weather and high cost of living there is quite a bit of homelessness. But be assured that the majority of the homeless population you will see if harmless and just down on hard times.

Pro – San Diego Beaches

What many move to San Diego for is our beautiful coastline covered in public beaches! The city of San Diego does a great job making sure that the beaches are well cared for and respected. If you’re used to a Jersey Shore beach experience, you will be happily surprised by how calm and less crowded the beaches are in San Diego. It is definitely a major selling point for anyone looking to move here.



Con – Summer Tourists on the beaches

With warm summers bring plenty of out of town tourists. San Diego thrives on tourism, so we fully support it. The con of this is that the beaches in the summers become more crowded than usual (although still nowhere near the level of capacity as east coast beaches).

Pro – San Diego Traffic

Compared to San Diego’s counterpart, Los Angeles, the traffic here is fairly manageable.


Con – San Diego Traffic

San Diego has traffic, and come rush hour it is frustratingly slow. There aren’t many back roads to take, so you are restricted to dense highway lanes delaying your arrival home. Even with five to seven lanes of highway, there always seems to be a lot of people on the roads.

Pro – Excellent Food Scene

As we stated earlier, San Diego thrives on tourism and one way the city continues to make those tourists happy is by having the most incredible restaurants and bars. Our food scene here is impeccable. Living in San Diego means you have easy access to incredibly delicious and unique restaurants that also deliver on ambiance.


Con – Expensive meals out

At many San Diego restaurants you will not be disappointed by both the experience and the quality of food, but you will notice the cost on your credit card. Life in San Diego can feel a bit pricey, but the quality you receive while out is nothing short of excellent. And it reflects in the cost.

Pro – The People! Diversity & Community

We love that San Diego is welcoming to people of all backgrounds. The city is quite diverse, and has an excellent community feeling to it. This community feeling is within neighborhoods, groups and with individuals. If you ask anyone here about their experience moving to San Diego, you will most likely hear how they quickly felt at home and a story about how a neighbor or a local helped them in some shape or form.


Con – California Time

While the people in San Diego are quite kind, they also run on what call ‘California Time’, meaning being on time does not exist. Friends show up fashionably late or not at all, and after you live here for a bit, you’ll start to understand why. The pace of life in San Diego is much slower and calmer than you may be used to, but trust us, you will end up loving it.

Pro – Variety of neighborhoods to choose from

There are so many great neighborhoods in San Diego. We won’t go into too much detail here, but no matter your preferences, San Diego can deliver. There is a downtown, beach towns, neighborhoods with family homes and smaller homes located within walking distance to great restaurants. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes finding a great neighborhood that aligns with your lifestyle.


Con – Expensive anywhere near the coast

While there are plenty of great neighborhoods for you to choose from, if you’re hoping for a coastal home be prepared for the cost to reflect the location. Friends will often joke that a pitched tent next to the beach will run for a few grand per week. But hey, if living on the coast of San Diego has been a dream of yours, we can definitely help you make that happen.

 Pro – Family Friendly city

If you’re thinking of moving to San Diego with your children, or plan to start your family here then you will have plenty to do with them. San Diego is home to the famous San Diego Zoo & Safari Park, SeaWorld (although we don’t support SeaWorld), Legoland and so many well maintained playgrounds. Plus there is the bay and beaches that kids go nuts over enjoying playing in the waters.

Con – Cost of Childcare (expensive)

As like many things in San Diego, the cost of childcare can run up a high bill. Depending on the area of San Diego you plan to move to and work in, and the type of childcare you prefer you may want to start looking up your options now. Childcare costs in San Diego can range from $200 to $250 per week. Compared to Los Angeles, San Diego childcare is much more affordable.

Pro – Low Crime Rate

San Diego’s crime rate is quite low and the city overall is very safe. As local San Diegans we have rarely, if ever, felt unsafe. This is another perk of living in a bit city that has that small town vibe.

Con – Petty Theft

With the city’s crime rate being low, there is unfortunately quite a bit of petty theft, such as bike theft and cars broken into. But this can be defended by not leaving anything expensive in your car, and ensuring you lock your garage doors. Really just basic locked door protection is all that you need, but this is something we want to make sure you’re aware of.

Pro – Plenty of Quality jobs

The job market in San Diego is quite lucrative and growing, with industry and tech companies moving here. They’re offering more and more positions, and are moving to San Diego from Los Angeles and Silicon Valley due to the cheaper costs of doing business here.

There are also plenty of restaurant industry jobs in San Diego too. With so many restaurants and bars, if you want to move to San Diego and work in the industry you can easily make a quality standard of living (our minimum wage is $13 plus tips!).

Con – Competition for jobs

With more companies moving to San Diego and bartenders rushing to enjoy this coastal lifestyle, the competition for jobs in San Diego can be fierce. But like any good thing in life, it takes time and once you find your ideal job here you will be happy you can enjoy the endless sunny days and palm tree lined streets.

What do you think? Do San Diego’s pros outweigh the cons? We certainly think so, and we’re happy to continue proving it to you. If you’re considering moving to San Diego or need assistance with selling or buying a home here we can help.