February 20, 2024
San Diego is a famous city for renters. The beach, the sun, the heat, and the palm trees.  The first thing to consider is whether you have a car or how soon you will have one. If you have moved here and are still planning to learn how to drive, there is not much to…

San Diego is a famous city for renters. The beach, the sun, the heat, and the palm trees. 

The first thing to consider is whether you have a car or how soon you will have one. If you have moved here and are still planning to learn how to drive, there is not much to choose from. So instead, look for neighborhoods with the best public transportation and shopping within walking distance.

The best neighborhoods to live in San Diego are

Downtown (aka Downtown)

Pros: public transportation, walking distance to shopping-bars-entertainment. There are some lovely high-rise buildings.

Cons: A lot of homeless people. There are also significant shelters and free diners. 


Pros: a cozy neighborhood with well-developed infrastructure, close to Balboa Park, lots of tasty cafés and bars.

Cons: There are bums (less than Downtown).

Little Italy

The pros and cons are generally the same as the previous neighborhoods. The critical thing to understand here is that anything near Downtown is a city. People walk, and life goes on. If you support a more measured and secluded lifestyle, these options are not for you.

Nuances in choosing to house

Downtown San Diego is an airport, and planes land over apartment buildings. So the maximum noise is precisely in a straight line from the runway if you look at a map. 

Also, noise from fighter jets can disturb your peace of mind in posh La Jolla. Nearby is the Miramar military base. On Coronado Island, you can see helicopters and other fighter drills – there’s a base there, too. 

There is an unspoken rule: the closer you get to the border with Mexico, the sadder it gets. There will be a slightly higher crime rate and everything associated with it. But even in the conventionally “bad” places, there are beautiful houses and beautiful beaches.


Rents in San Diego are among the most expensive in the country. But, because of all these great features, it’s a costly place to live. 

San Diego Property Management says one-bedroom apartments rent for an average of $1,500 a month. Two-bedroom units range in price from $2,000-$2,200. Neighborhoods like Del Mar, Downtown, and La Jolla have higher prices.

Notable neighborhoods in San Diego 

One of the most popular neighborhoods in the city is La Jolla

Quiet, green, slightly Spanish-style. It is conventionally divided into La Jolla and UTC. Next to the ocean is La Jolla, a luxe La Jolla with multi-million dollar homes. A little higher from the water (literally, 5 kilometers) is UTC. Rumor has it that rents here are expensive. We’re willing to bet.

La Jolla has one of the best beaches on the coast. There’s also a sealed place and highly ranked schools. But then again, the kids of people I know go to school, not on a conditional passport. Parents pay $500 a year for a yellow school bus, and the child gets an education where the parents have chosen.

Del Mar and Solana Beach

Del Mar and Solana Beach resemble small luxury resort villages. The atmosphere is as vacation-like as possible — incredible beaches, schools, and just plain soulful.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is young, bustling, beachy. Like in the TV series about California, where the girls in bikinis skate along the beach. They were soaked in the spirit of California and the holiday.


Carlsbad is the local Silicon Valley. The heart of San Diego’s IT sphere. It’s excellent and gorgeous there if you don’t have to commute Downtown for work, great option.

Carlsbad is a very family-friendly neighborhood. And not very budget-friendly. But then again, San Diego, in general, is not a very budget-friendly city.


The first thing to think about is where your job is located, for the coronavirus lull on the highways will one day end, and the world will return to normal. And, oh, I doubt you’ll be burning with the desire to stand in hour-long traffic jams. The second is the climate. The closer your home is to the ocean, the milder it is. The closer to the desert, the more stovepiped it is. Choosing the exact La Mesa, you shouldn’t be surprised when the air warms up to 43 Celsius.

If you’ve got the climate and work figured out, the next thing is the kids. If you need to live near a school with a rating of 10, go to Zillow and put such a filter. 

Tips to help you rent safely

Realtors have given potential tenants a few tips to help make a safe deal:

  • Don’t chase the lowest price. There is no such thing as a cheap place to live, and if you find an amicable landlord who for some reason rents out a great apartment with excellent renovations for cheap, then you are cheated. 
  • Don’t rush with the deposit. Do not rush to advance money on an apartment you like at the viewing. First of all, you are not sure that you communicate precisely with the owner. And secondly, you will see other options, which may be more convenient for you.
  • Check the documents. It is not uncommon when several tenants rent the apartment simultaneously with fake documents.
  • Make an inventory of the property. First, examine the appearance and condition of the apartment, furniture, and appliances. After that, you need to make an inventory of the property. If something is not working, it should also be recorded during the list.
  • Conclude a contract. 
  • Work with a realtor. Work with an agent to find and rent an apartment. This will allow you to avoid fraudulent schemes, loss of time from calling non-existent announcements, coordinating the meeting time, and preparing documents. In addition, with an agent, you will rent an apartment faster and sometimes cheaper.


The most excellent option is to drive around the city and assess the situation with your own eyes. We’re all different, and our needs are different, too. If you read the forums carefully, everyone who writes about their neighborhood praises it. And do not forget that often the prices on websites and in reality – different. There are discounts for the first year of residency, so feel free to talk to landlords and learn about new offers.