Top Questions about living in San Diego

What is it like living in San Diego? You might have seen pictures of sun drenched blondes cruising on surfboards, or couples in oversized sweaters walking hand in hand on the beach, clutching a bottle of Merlot. But what is life really like in this beachside oasis? Let’s take if from the mouth of the locals and answer some of the top questions asked about living in San Diego!

Tourmaline beach at sunset, top questions about living in San Diego

Top Frequently Asked Questions about living in San Diego

How much money do you need to make before moving to San Diego?

Let’s say, for example, you are a single person without a lot of debt, looking to live a comfortable but not lavish lifestyle in San Diego. You would need to earn around $50K a year as the bare minimum to make before moving to San Diego. Living further from the city will make the housing more affordable, and if you aren’t consistently engaging in expenses such as going out to eat or drinking at the bars, this budget is very doable. Of course, if you have a family of four, with children, and more needs when it comes to housing, you’ll need to budget much higher.

Do you need a car while living in San Diego?

San Diego is many things, but public transit friendly is not one of them. While there are plans in place to drastically improve public transportation in San Diego, it’s not nearly where it should be to make it convenient for locals. Unless you live and work in an area like downtown San Diego, which is highly walkable, you will probably need a car.

Much of the city is connected via freeways, and if you plan to travel outside the city at all, it won’t be very easy to find a way around. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an expensive car. With San Diego’s year-round mild weather, you won’t need to invest in a vehicle with four wheel drive.

downtown San Diego from the highway, top questions about living in San Diego

How is the traffic in San Diego?

If we assume everyone in San Diego has a car; as we just mentioned, we can also assume that’s a lot of cars on the road. Traffic in San Diego can get pretty bad. Rush hour, mornings and after work, Friday afternoons, and Sunday evenings can all be pretty congested with traffic. This is due, in part, to the fact that the majority of public roads in San Diego are major freeways. This limits drivers ability to steer clear of traffic, because there isn’t really another alternative.

Even so, traffic in San Diego still pales in comparison to SoCal’s other largest city, Los Angeles, where the traffic is horrible almost all day, every day. 

Luckily, the traffic in San Diego is predictable, and if you can avoid the freeways during those peak hours, you should be just fine.



Does San Diego have a lot of healthy food options?

Along with the healthy active lifestyle embraced by San Diego residents, the food in the area is perfect for fueling adventure and keeping you healthy! San Diego has a plethora of healthy choices when it comes to food, with plenty of organic food stores, and farmers markets. For the foodie on the run, there are so many options for vegetarians and vegans, gluten free diets, and more.

You never have to compromise your diet by choosing greasy fast food, there is almost always a healthy option. A few San Diego healthy food staples you can find almost anywhere are eclectic acai bowls, green smoothies, ahi tuna, fish tacos (which yes! They can be healthy), and avocado toast. Especially for those who might be living with dietary restrictions, San Diego is the place to be to find plenty of tasty food!

inside of Holy Matcha cafe in San Diego by Bluescapes Photography, top questions about living in San Diego

Are the people in San Diego Friendly?

Yes! Southern California is known for its laid back, healthy, beach loving lifestyle, and San Diego cultivates this persona perhaps the best of all. The people in San Diego embrace healthy living, and it’s very common to run into people out and about being physically active (and let’s be honest, all of that exercise is giving everyone wildly high endorphins. We’re smiling here all of the time).

Whether you are enjoying the beach, surfing, or even just shopping at the grocery store, San Diego residents are very friendly, and offer a hello and how are you.  Like any other city, there will be some people who just aren’t interested in saying hello, and that’s ok too.




Do you need Air conditioning if you live in San Diego?

Believe it or not, it’s actually extremely popular for homes in Southern California to NOT have air conditioning. San Diego is in a coastal desert biome, meaning it remains relatively cold for a coastal climate. The nights cool off significantly, and even in the summer you might want to bring a sweatshirt if you’ll be out and about after dark.

Plenty of homes do have AC, but you won’t need to utilize it most of the year. August and September are the hottest months in Southern California, so if you have a couple of fans to help limp through those few extremely hot days, you probably won’t need central air conditioning.



Oceanside vs. San Marcos?

Oceanside and San Marcos are neighborhoods in northern San Diego. Oceanside resides, like it’s name states, by the ocean. Whereas San Marcos is Oceansides neighbor to the east. Oceanside is perhaps the most affordable neighborhood in San Diego, making it an excellent choice for young people. San Marcos is equally as affordable, and tends to be more family oriented, with a lot of outdoor activities, family friendly entertainment, and excellent schools. If a place to raise a family is what you are looking for, San Marcos is one of the more affordable upscale neighborhoods in San Diego.

aerial view of Oceanside pier, top questions about living in San Diego

Can you live by the beach in San Diego on a budget?

Beach living is typically the most expensive way to live in San Diego when it comes to housing and cost of living. It’s of course possible to live by the beach and be on a budget, but you will have to make some sacrifices. This might mean living with a roommate, and sharing a small living space. It could also mean that while you live close to many delicious and fun eateries, you should instead cook at home to save money. But we’re all about enjoying life in San Diego, and if you want to save money by not eating out, you have plenty of beautiful places nearby to enjoy a home cooked meal outdoors; a picnic on the beach or at Kate Sessions park at sunset is free!

Areas like Oceanside and Pacific Beach, as well as Ocean Beach are some of the most affordable beach areas in San Diego, and the further from the actual beach that you live, the more economically stable it will be on your wallet. Keep in mind, most of these affordable beach areas are highly inhabited by a younger demographic (those living on the just out of college budget.) This doesn’t mean you can’t live wherever you want at any age, just know it might get a little rowdy.

aerial view from the ocean of La Jolla, top questions about living in San Diego

What are the bugs like in San Diego?

Unlike the Gulf Coast and East Coast, the southern West Coast really doesn’t have many bugs pestering its residents! The lack of rainfall helps mitigate water dwellers like mosquitoes, and the lack of humidity helps to keep most other little buzzers at bay, meaning there really aren’t many bugs to be concerned with in San Diego. Your home is probably still residence to a few harmless spiders here and there, but you needn’t worry about truly scary insects like the Midwestern brown recluse spider, or getting Lyme’s Disease from a tick. So open the windows, and enjoy the fresh California air without the fear of flying friends entering!

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Thinking of moving to San Diego?

We hope these questions about living in San Diego answered any concerns you may have about moving here. If you are still unsure or have further questions, let us know! We are happy to help you make the jump to moving to San Diego and investing in a property here.