San Diego is rated one of America’s best cities, standing at the eighth-largest city in the country and home to 1.4 million people with 85 distinctive neighborhoods that offer something for everyone. In order to live in some of San Diego’s best neighborhoods, one should expect to have an average income of at least $69,684/year. The top ten neighborhoods list below is determined based on educated neighbors, affordable housing, convenience, amenities, and most of all, different lifestyle priorities.
Del Mar Mesa
If you’re looking to raise a family, Del Mar Mesa is rated one of the best neighborhoods to do so due to its safe community, open space with many parks, high-rated schools, low crime rates, and plenty of scenic views thanks to the nature reserve. It has over 900 acres of preserved wildlife habitats, over 10 miles of bikeways, walkways, and hiking trails, making it a great place for traveling the neighborhood without a car. Despite its rural feel, most of Del Mar Mesa’s properties were built in the early 2000s, giving it a more modern community vibe. The median home value is at around $975,544.
If top-notch schools are a requirement for your kids, then Torrey Pines is the best neighborhood for you because the public and private schools here are highly rated. Torrey Pines is a smaller suburb of San Diego with a population of 13,080 and a suburban feel. The median home value is at $1,190,290. Torrey Pines is also home to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, where there is a world-famous golf course and eight miles of hiking trails for the outdoor enthusiasts. Other similar neighborhoods like Torrey Pines include Carmel Mountain Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, Carmel Valley, Torrey Highlands, and Solana Beach.
If you are looking for incredible coastal views of the city and harbor, Point Loma is the neighborhood to be in. Point Loma is known for its Old Point Loma lighthouse, an icon representing the entire city of San Diego. This coastal neighborhood is home to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, Cabrillo Tide Pools, Liberty Station, Sail Ho Golf Course, and the popular Liberty Public Market. From gorgeous beaches to world-class restaurants to creative communities of dance companies and galleries, design studios, Point Loma has it all. There is a mix of older condos, smaller apartment complexes, and in-home units around this area, with the median home value estimated at $749,000.
If you desire to live in luxury apartments near the beach life with upscale restaurants and high-end boutique shops, then La Jolla should be on the top of your list. The median home value is at $1,326,057. La Jolla has a thriving economy with an affluent community with multiple businesses ranging from finance, software, real estate to medicine, and scientific research. The La Jolla Village offers shopping, restaurants while the La Jolla Underwater Park attracts water activity enthusiasts to enjoy nearly 6,000 acres of open water.
Located north of Balboa Park, North Park is known for being an incredibly culturally diverse hipster neighborhood. It is popular among young professionals, hipsters, and students where the rent is reasonable and easy access to endless choices of foodie-approved eateries, trendy bars with handcrafted cocktails, microbreweries, coffee shops, and boutique shops. If you love craft breweries and art galleries, you will love North Park. It is also close to other neighborhoods like Hillcrest and Normal Heights, with plenty of entertainment and nightlife. The average price of homes in North Park are around $675,000.
Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, East Village
If you like the urban downtown lifestyle filled with great bars and nightlife, then Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and East Village are three neighborhoods in downtown that each offers a unique personality worth checking out. Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s historical downtown with plenty of hotels and tourists. Little Italy has the best food scene in the city with a famous farmer’s market and a beautiful waterfront park. East Village is a cultural hub that is less touristy and can be crowded with baseball fans going to Petco Park on game days.
If you’re an architecture lover and want to live in a walkable neighborhood, then look no further than Mission Hills. It is one of San Diego’s oldest, most desirable, upscale, affluent family-friendly neighborhoods. The community is situated on hills in a prime location with views of Old Town, downtown, and San Diego Bay. The unique homes in this area date back to the early 20th century and are preserved as some of the most beautiful properties in the city. The area is mainly residential with interesting shops, pubs, and cafes that make this neighborhood filled with old town charm. The average housing prices in Mission Hills are around $1,200,000.
Mission Valley is known for being home to three of the biggest San Diego’s shopping malls – Fashion Valley Mall, Hazard Center Mall, and Westfield Mission Valley. One of the best reasons to live in this neighborhood is that it is in the center of everything, conveniently located close to public transportation and highways. Its central location makes it easy to take a quick Lyft to downtown, short commute for work, and fifteen-minute drives to the nearby beaches. If convenience is a priority for you, then Mission Valley is a prime area to consider. The median home value is at $725,000.
If you are looking for a vibrant and diverse neighborhood that is relatively more affordable, Normal Heights makes a great choice. The median home value is currently $421,200, and the average listing price stands at $376,543. It is ranked as one of the top places for Millennials looking for urban living experience with plenty of hip coffee shops and gastropubs. The Normal Heights Community Association also offers residents a range of activities to develop a close-knit community through neighborhood cleanups, movies in the park, block parties, and many more.
Kearny Mesa is a place for those who want to escape the city life and live in a more quiet and relaxed environment, ideal for young professionals and older residents. This neighborhood in the central part of San Diego has an inflow of new, high-end apartments that are affordably priced compared to the rest of the city. The majority of the Kearny Mesa area is commercial and industrial. It is also home to a range of Asian grocery stores and restaurants around Convoy Street, from Korean BBQ joints to Sichuan spots to Thai eateries.