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Where is best to live in San Diego....

Where is best to live in San Diego....

Old Jun 23rd 2013, 3:41 pm
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Default Where is best to live in San Diego....

Hi, I'm in my early thirties (female) and just about to move from the UK to San Diego for work. I'm just looking for some advice on nice, safe areas to live for someone in their 30's. I am coming across on my own, so would be good to be able to socialise, however I'm not looking to be in the thick of a big/ noisy party scene.

If you're from San Diego, what's good about where you live?

PS I will be working not far from Sorrento Mesa.

Thanks everyone.
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Old Jun 23rd 2013, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

There's plenty accommodation near the Sorrento Mesa area, especially East on Mira Mesa Blvd. Decent shops, supermarkets etc. The further you are from work you'll have to face traffic.
It all depends on your budget and whether you're looking for a flat or house.
Of course you could consider the beach communities but then $$$.

What kind of work are you doing and what visa are you on? Folks just get curious

(You mentioned on another post you'll be working in Irvine, a fair bit. That's a fair distance away how much time will you be there? I used to live in Dana Point which is gorgeous and intend to move back.)

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Old Jun 23rd 2013, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Hi,

Thanks for replying! I'm pretty flexible on flat or house. It's only for me so whatever comes up within my price range, so long as it's in a safe enough area. I'm looking at $1000 - $1500 per month (rental) but not yet sure how realistic that is or what kind of size I'd be looking at for that. Of course a beach community would be lovely (like the sound of Solana Beach and up that way), however I'll be at work all day so as long as I can travel there fairly easily/ quickly, it's not absolutely essential to live by the beach. Ideally don't want to be too far from work from a commuting perspective, but somewhere where I can meet people.

My current commute in the UK is 1hr 15 each way, which is a bit long, so anything less than that is a bonus. I'll be on an L1 visa and I'm in HR. I'll probably be up in Irvine maybe once a week, once every two weeks, not sure yet. Any idea what the duration would be from San Diego to Irvine in traffic?

All very exciting but so much still to plan and think about and running out of time fast. I will be in temp housing for the first few weeks so hopefully can get a good feel for the place before I have to commit to where I am living, which is nice

Also, I rock climb and I've seen there a couple of indoor rock climbing centres not far from work which is a bonus

Thanks for the advice!

Last edited by Leah326; Jun 23rd 2013 at 5:23 pm. Reason: Added renting
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Old Jun 23rd 2013, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

S.D. to Irvine...depending on traffic. Around one hour twenty minutes...maybe a couple of hours rush hour.
@ 1500 per month should get you somewhere decent in a complex with a pool. When I lived a mile from the sea @ 1900 per month 8 years ago.
But yes the Mira Mesa Blvd district is a pretty nice area and if interested you could even cycle or take the bus to work it's so close.

If your salary is decent you may like to consider buying. Prices are down and will rise. Are you here for the foreseeable future?

(If you could find something in the Solana Beach/Del Mar area go for it...you'll love being so close to the beaches and there's a great hiking area in La Jolla.)


Has your company agreed on the process to get you a Green Card? If so stay on top of that and get into the process as soon as you are able. Otherwise, if you lost your job there's a high probability that you'd be required to leave the U.S. within a matter of weeks and that's no fun if you feel settled.

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Old Jun 23rd 2013, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Originally Posted by hotscot View Post
S.D. to Irvine...depending on traffic. Around one hour twenty minutes...maybe a couple of hours rush hour.
@ 1500 per month should get you somewhere decent in a complex with a pool. When I lived a mile from the sea @ 1900 per month 8 years ago.
But yes the Mira Mesa Blvd district is a pretty nice area and if interested you could even cycle or take the bus to work it's so close.

If your salary is decent you may like to consider buying. Prices are down and will rise. Are you here for the foreseeable future?

(If you could find something in the Solana Beach/Del Mar area go for it...you'll love being so close to the beaches and there's a great hiking area in La Jolla.)


Has your company agreed on the process to get you a Green Card? If so stay on top of that and get into the process as soon as you are able. Otherwise, if you lost your job there's a high probability that you'd be required to leave the U.S. within a matter of weeks and that's no fun if you feel settled.
The prices in San Diego, LA, and the San Francisco bay area have gone crazy over the past 1 1/2 years and have risen significantly. Although prices in those areas dropped about 30% during the recession, much of that has been erased and housing is again very expensive.
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 6:01 am
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Thanks both. I'm leaving behind a house in the UK so renting for now and we'll see what happens, but yep, over for the foreseeable future as its a permanent transfer, linked to working for my employer of course.

So how long would it take roughly to get from Mira Mesa area to Downtown or even from the coast to Downtown? I've been advised public transport is not brilliant in San Diego so just wondered, if I did venture out for a night out, how easy it would be to get back from?

Also my new boss mentioned Pacific Beach as an area to look at, but is this mostly ideal for people in their twenties? What's the nightlife like on the coast up from La Jolla/ Torrey Pines? And what would traffic be like coming in from that way in the morning do you think? I.e how long a commute?

I guess ultimately I don't mind where I end up, but opportunities don't come up like this all that often and I should make the most of the huge life change and live somewhere as nice as I can afford. I'm sure there are loads of things I've not factored in yet that I need to think about for general living costs and I know it's impossible to try to compare to costs in the UK.

One month to go!!
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 6:10 am
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Ps Daft question but what time would you consider rush hour to be in San Diego, AM and PM. I'll be starting pretty early to link in with our offices on the East Coast and UK so just wondered if I'll get stuck in rush hour traffic and what time people generally start work over there.

I am going to have to learn to become a morning person ...ugh
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 7:58 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Traffic is not too bad in the morning.
For example this morning I drove from Solano Beach to University of San Diego, near the Old Town, at 7.30 am...just took about twenty minutes. No sweat

The traffic issue is much worse if you're driving between cities or counties but all the areas you've mentioned that are actually in San Diego....traffic wouldn't be a major issue.
The area North of Torrey Pines, eg. Solano Beach, Del Mar....gorgeous but very expensive.
Certainly if you can find something affordable near the beach, walking or cycling distance...I'd go for it but quite honestly, Mira Mesa/Sorrento Misa areas are pretty close and just a short drive.
Downtown....a little further away but @ 15/20 mins in good traffic. Maybe 40 mins when heavy.
Personally I wouldn't live near downtown unless you just had to have the night life buzz.....
The Mira areas are a good choice.
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Hey I'd avoid Pacific Beach, it is very studenty and more suited to someone in their 20's. I work in the Sorrento Valley area so not too far from where you will be - I'd suggest you look at Solana Beach, Mira Mesa, Del Mar Heights or North Torrey Pines. UTC University Town Center is where a lot of people end up but when we lived there we found it to be very bland. The other areas have a bit more personality.

Also if you are interested in meeting up (I'm female in my early 30's too) when you get here let me know.
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 8:43 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Have you checked out city-date.com ? That's another good site for info on a town...
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 1:15 am
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Ha, for once a topic I know something about. I work in the Sorrento Mesa area, and decided to live in Hillcrest after looking around a bit. My thoughts on the options:

Mira Mesa would be close but boring, and some bits aren't super-nice. If you happen to work at / close to the Big Q there's even Wateridge which is walking distance but there's absolutely no life in the area. Even Karl Strauss is dead by 9:30 on Fridays and not even open on Saturdays. :/ There's a little more in Mira Mesa proper but I'd avoid it myself. The commute would be pretty good though.

University City / UTC is close, and has a little more life to it. Still very much condo complexes, malls and wide roads without a real neighborhood feel.

Pacific Beach as others wrote can feel like a 24/7 college party town. Northern PB towards La Jolla might be good, at least a couple of colleagues live there (families and all) and seem to be happy.

La Jolla I don't really know; I feel I'm at least 20-25 too young for it (mid-30s FWIW)...

The beach cities further up the coast look nice but quiet. A lot of my colleagues with children live there, but the keyword seems to be children and schools.

Ocean Beach (a.k.a. Republic of OB) has lot of the old hippie feel left to it, and doesn't seem like a bad place if you like that. A friend lives there happily, and we were just down at the street fair last weekend. Traffic and parking can be difficult especially for visitors though. Make sure you have off-street parking!

Personally I like all the uptown neighborhoods from Mission Hills through Hillcrest, University Heights and North Park. Actual life within walking distance but not a constant party city, houses that actually look different from each other, good restaurants, cafes, pubs, etcetc. Your budget should get you a decent one-bedroom apartment depending on the exact location - Mission Hills tends to be more expensive, University Heights cheaper, Hillcrest and North Park in between. Just keep in mind Hillcrest is San Diego's gay central, so don't get surprised with all the rainbow flags or when the whole place goes crazy for Pride weekend.

Traffic-wise you're looking at 20ish minutes in good conditions, 30 in less great ones, but the real pain is getting out of Mira Mesa in the afternoon. Any time from 4pm to 6:30 or so it can take you 25 minutes to get from Mira Mesa Boulevard to the 805 Southbound, and the I-5 isn't necessarily much better. If you're at the east end of MM the 15 should be less painful.

Public transit isn't great. The Coaster train to Sorrento Valley is fine (if infrequent) but then you still need to get to the office... There are shuttle buses but they can get stuck in traffic. My solution is to ride my bike twice a week - it's a bit of a ride (~17 miles for me) but not a bad route by SD standards. You can also get a bike on the Coaster.

That's probably enough of a braindump. Happy to answer any questions or point people to good beer (lot of breweries in Mira Mesa BTW).
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 3:39 am
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Originally Posted by FinnDiego View Post
Ha, for once a topic I know something about. I work in the Sorrento Mesa area, and decided to live in Hillcrest after looking around a bit. My thoughts on the options:

Mira Mesa would be close but boring, and some bits aren't super-nice. If you happen to work at / close to the Big Q there's even Wateridge which is walking distance but there's absolutely no life in the area. Even Karl Strauss is dead by 9:30 on Fridays and not even open on Saturdays. :/ There's a little more in Mira Mesa proper but I'd avoid it myself. The commute would be pretty good though.

University City / UTC is close, and has a little more life to it. Still very much condo complexes, malls and wide roads without a real neighborhood feel.

Pacific Beach as others wrote can feel like a 24/7 college party town. Northern PB towards La Jolla might be good, at least a couple of colleagues live there (families and all) and seem to be happy.

La Jolla I don't really know; I feel I'm at least 20-25 too young for it (mid-30s FWIW)...

The beach cities further up the coast look nice but quiet. A lot of my colleagues with children live there, but the keyword seems to be children and schools.

Ocean Beach (a.k.a. Republic of OB) has lot of the old hippie feel left to it, and doesn't seem like a bad place if you like that. A friend lives there happily, and we were just down at the street fair last weekend. Traffic and parking can be difficult especially for visitors though. Make sure you have off-street parking!

Personally I like all the uptown neighborhoods from Mission Hills through Hillcrest, University Heights and North Park. Actual life within walking distance but not a constant party city, houses that actually look different from each other, good restaurants, cafes, pubs, etcetc. Your budget should get you a decent one-bedroom apartment depending on the exact location - Mission Hills tends to be more expensive, University Heights cheaper, Hillcrest and North Park in between. Just keep in mind Hillcrest is San Diego's gay central, so don't get surprised with all the rainbow flags or when the whole place goes crazy for Pride weekend.

Traffic-wise you're looking at 20ish minutes in good conditions, 30 in less great ones, but the real pain is getting out of Mira Mesa in the afternoon. Any time from 4pm to 6:30 or so it can take you 25 minutes to get from Mira Mesa Boulevard to the 805 Southbound, and the I-5 isn't necessarily much better. If you're at the east end of MM the 15 should be less painful.

Public transit isn't great. The Coaster train to Sorrento Valley is fine (if infrequent) but then you still need to get to the office... There are shuttle buses but they can get stuck in traffic. My solution is to ride my bike twice a week - it's a bit of a ride (~17 miles for me) but not a bad route by SD standards. You can also get a bike on the Coaster.

That's probably enough of a braindump. Happy to answer any questions or point people to good beer (lot of breweries in Mira Mesa BTW).
I just want to say I agree with everything here. I hadn't really thought of North Park/Hillcrest but they are def areas to consider.

I assume you will be getting a car?
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Originally Posted by Gillymonkey View Post
Hey I'd avoid Pacific Beach, it is very studenty and more suited to someone in their 20's. I work in the Sorrento Valley area so not too far from where you will be - I'd suggest you look at Solana Beach, Mira Mesa, Del Mar Heights or North Torrey Pines. UTC University Town Center is where a lot of people end up but when we lived there we found it to be very bland. The other areas have a bit more personality.

Also if you are interested in meeting up (I'm female in my early 30's too) when you get here let me know.

Hi, thank you, that would be great actually! How long have you been over there?

Yes I was thinking I didn't fancy PB, unless it was more to the North. I'm not so down with the kids these days so I don't think I could hack it in the midst of a big party. I've added the other areas to the suggestion list though now, thank you.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Originally Posted by FinnDiego View Post
Ha, for once a topic I know something about. I work in the Sorrento Mesa area, and decided to live in Hillcrest after looking around a bit. My thoughts on the options:

Mira Mesa would be close but boring, and some bits aren't super-nice. If you happen to work at / close to the Big Q there's even Wateridge which is walking distance but there's absolutely no life in the area. Even Karl Strauss is dead by 9:30 on Fridays and not even open on Saturdays. :/ There's a little more in Mira Mesa proper but I'd avoid it myself. The commute would be pretty good though.

University City / UTC is close, and has a little more life to it. Still very much condo complexes, malls and wide roads without a real neighborhood feel.

Pacific Beach as others wrote can feel like a 24/7 college party town. Northern PB towards La Jolla might be good, at least a couple of colleagues live there (families and all) and seem to be happy.

La Jolla I don't really know; I feel I'm at least 20-25 too young for it (mid-30s FWIW)...

The beach cities further up the coast look nice but quiet. A lot of my colleagues with children live there, but the keyword seems to be children and schools.

Ocean Beach (a.k.a. Republic of OB) has lot of the old hippie feel left to it, and doesn't seem like a bad place if you like that. A friend lives there happily, and we were just down at the street fair last weekend. Traffic and parking can be difficult especially for visitors though. Make sure you have off-street parking!

Personally I like all the uptown neighborhoods from Mission Hills through Hillcrest, University Heights and North Park. Actual life within walking distance but not a constant party city, houses that actually look different from each other, good restaurants, cafes, pubs, etcetc. Your budget should get you a decent one-bedroom apartment depending on the exact location - Mission Hills tends to be more expensive, University Heights cheaper, Hillcrest and North Park in between. Just keep in mind Hillcrest is San Diego's gay central, so don't get surprised with all the rainbow flags or when the whole place goes crazy for Pride weekend.

Traffic-wise you're looking at 20ish minutes in good conditions, 30 in less great ones, but the real pain is getting out of Mira Mesa in the afternoon. Any time from 4pm to 6:30 or so it can take you 25 minutes to get from Mira Mesa Boulevard to the 805 Southbound, and the I-5 isn't necessarily much better. If you're at the east end of MM the 15 should be less painful.

Public transit isn't great. The Coaster train to Sorrento Valley is fine (if infrequent) but then you still need to get to the office... There are shuttle buses but they can get stuck in traffic. My solution is to ride my bike twice a week - it's a bit of a ride (~17 miles for me) but not a bad route by SD standards. You can also get a bike on the Coaster.

That's probably enough of a braindump. Happy to answer any questions or point people to good beer (lot of breweries in Mira Mesa BTW).


Thanks for the helpful info, that's great! I've added these areas to my list. Where abouts are you working in Sorrento Mesa? I'm sure we'll be pretty close by then on a day to day basis when I am over.

I will have a car so, once I am used to the driving on the other side of the road thing, it should be easier to get around. What is parking like in the uptown areas if in an apartment?

What's the Big Q? Qualcomm? (looked on a map for something beginning with Q!). I'm not going to be working there, but not far away actually.

I live in a quiet village at the moment in the UK and although it's not far from the city centre, I rarely find the need to go in. I kind of like the quiet life, but I'm thinking I can't opt for too quiet out there or I will never make any friends. I have a few suggestions to go with now though so thank you for those.

I'll keep you all posted with how it's going over the next four weeks count down. Have booked my flights today Still got a whole heap of things to do though and I'm off on holiday for a week on Friday ...eeek! Nothing like a bit of pressure eh?

Thanks again.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Where is best to live in San Diego....

Originally Posted by Leah326 View Post
Thanks for the helpful info, that's great! I've added these areas to my list. Where abouts are you working in Sorrento Mesa? I'm sure we'll be pretty close by then on a day to day basis when I am over.

I will have a car so, once I am used to the driving on the other side of the road thing, it should be easier to get around. What is parking like in the uptown areas if in an apartment?
I work just around Mira Mesa / Pacific Heights Blvd.

Central Hillcrest and North Park around 30th street can be tricky for street parking, further out the uptown areas aren't too bad. Most houses and apartments do come with off-street parking of some sort though - might be a garage, carport, driveway or whatever.

I know a couple of people here who don't have a car, but it does make your life pretty difficult so I'd definitely recommend planning for one. Driving isn't too bad - not quite as polite as some parts in the UK, but not as hectic as in the east in my experience. As long as you don't expect people to look where they're going or know what they're doing you'll be fine.
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