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Overview of National City

Just south of San Diego and only minutes from the Mexico border, National City is a historic community blessed with the great weather and many cultural amenities of California’s southernmost region.

With access to great shopping, dining and regional landmarks, people looking for apartments for rent in National City will find many reasons to enjoy this coastal city.

Living in National City, CA

Noted for its history, the land that would become National City was first purchased by Frank, Warren and Levi Kimball in 1868. Today, much of this heritage is preserved in the city’s many Victorian homes and buildings. National City continues to be a transportation hub, with a marine terminal that forms part of the United Port of San Diego. Directly adjacent to San Diego, National City also is marked by its access to the naval base and its role as a shopping destination for San Diego residents.

Residents of National City apartments can take advantage of the urban environment’s many attractions while living in a smaller community of around 60,000 people. They can also enjoy local recreation, dining and history.

National City Work and Study

National City students can head to Southwestern College, which offers a range of associate degree and certificate options. The San Diego area is also home to a number of acclaimed universities, including San Diego State, which are just minutes away and accessible by public transportation.

Home to the National City Marine Terminal, one of the most sophisticated vehicle import facilities on the West Coast, as well as one of the nation’s oldest auto malls, National City’s economy is largely driven by automobiles, and it also serves as a shopping hub for the San Diego area. Many residents work for one of the local car dealerships or retailers, while the city schools and locally based property management firm NMS Management are also major employers. The San Diego Naval Station and Paradise Valley Hospital help anchor the local job base as well, while many residents commute to San Diego.

Rentals in National City, CA and Cost of Living

With a large, affordable stock of rentals in the city, it’s not hard to find a place at a great price in National City. Approximately two thirds of residents choose to rent, and the cost of living is low relative to much of the San Diego area.

U.S. Census Bureau data showed the median gross rent from 2008 to 2010 was $903. Additional research found one bedroom apartments renting for between $775 and $1,675 per month.

National City Attractions and Special Events

A regional shopping destination, National City caters to every interest with its retail offerings, particularly at the Westfield Plaza Bonita Mall, where hundreds of stores, restaurants and a major movie theater serve the entire San Diego area. A wide range of local restaurants serve numerous cuisines in a variety of environments.

As one of the region’s oldest communities, National City is known for its historic landmarks and buildings with distinctive Victorian architecture. Sites such as the Granger Music Hall, St. Matthews Episcopal Church and Brick Row on Heritage Square offer a reminder of the city’s rich past, while the rail museum at the Santa Fe Rail Depot provides visitors with a way to experience history firsthand. The depot is the only original transcontinental railroad terminus in the country that is still standing.

The renowned South Bay climate is one of National City’s biggest draws, and numerous outdoor recreation opportunities, including a public golf course, a skate park and more than 87 acres of parkland, attract residents year round. With downtown San Diego and the Mexico border both just minutes away, the range of area entertainment options is extensive.

To find your next rental apartment or house in National City, take a look at our listings on®.

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