San Diego

San Diego

San Diego Facts

  • San Diego was the first European settlement on the West Coast. This makes it the birthplace of California and a significant part of the state’s history.
  • The San Diego Zoo is a world-renowned attraction and one of the top zoos in the world. It covers 100 acres and features more than 3,700 animals from over 650 species, including many endangered species.
  • The US Navy’s largest naval base on the West Coast is located in San Diego.
  • San Diego’s craft beer industry generates over $1 billion in economic impact each year and has helped put San Diego on the map as a top beer destination.
  • Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park that features 17 museums, beautiful gardens and several performing arts venues. The park attracts millions of visitors each year and is one of San Diego’s most popular attractions.

Why do people move to San Diego? For two main reasons. First, it has what many people describe as “perfect” weather. Second, its proximity to the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. San Diego is also home to Camp Pendleton, making the U.S. Navy the top employer in the city. If you love marine life (and you kind of have to when you live so close to the ocean!), you’ll love that San Diego has the largest oceanographic museum in the country. And while downtown living means the hustle and bustle of a big city, you’ll find that people who live in this city love and appreciate nature. You’ll have access to a variety of farms, nature reserves, lagoons and canyons to explore. 

Are you ready to take the plunge and find a new apartment in San Diego? Not sure which neighborhood to choose? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most popular rental neighborhoods in the area.

North Park

North Park is a revitalized neighborhood in San Diego. Within its boundaries are numerous 1920s Craftsman-style homes. It’s a neighborhood that thrives off community and creativity. Trulia calls the neighborhood a hipster’s paradise. However, there are several highly rated public and private schools in the areas, so families can thrive here as well. The Farmer’s Market is ideal for foodies, as are the craft breweries, restaurants and coffee shops. The highway is easily accessible for car owners but there’s plenty of public transportation options available, too.

Ocean Beach

Most residents here give Ocean Beach an excellent rating for livability. The walkability rating is high and it’s a great place for people who want to walk for exercise or who want to take a stroll at night with their pets. Being so close to the beach is a definite perk but residents do say that you definitely pay for the privilege when it comes to the cost of rent. However, for most residents, the cost is worth it to be able to access the beach and the Pacific Ocean on a regular basis.


One nice thing about living in Downtown San Diego is that you have easy access to just about anything you could possibly need – work, restaurants, entertainment and more. A potential downside is the number of people in the area. If you’re an extrovert and thrive off the buzz of people all around, Downtown might be the perfect place. Those who want to live in a more quiet, peaceful atmosphere might want to consider another neighborhood.

Mission Valley

Most residents in this neighborhood rent their homes/apartments. This area has an urban feel, which is great since you’ll have access to everything you need within a matter of minutes. Mission Valley was one of the first major shopping centers in Southern California and currently has three major shopping malls, as well as multiple boutiques and retail stores. The neighborhood is close to major transit sites and there’s easy highway access. The area is also ideal for families with many of the schools earning above average scores from Great Schools.

City Heights

City Heights is a cultural melting pot with people from Mexico, Vietnam and Middle Eastern countries. You’ll find culturally diverse markets and restaurants. More traditional malls are found in other San Diego neighborhoods, so if you want to frequent those types of facilities, you’ll either need to make a day trip or consider living in a neighborhood that’s in closer proximity to a major shopping mall. Besides the diversity, residents say the safety of the neighborhood is one of its perks, too.

Little Italy

Located just north of Downtown is the historic neighborhood of Little Italy. It started out as an Italian fishing area but has evolved into a neighborhood with incredible restaurants, import shops, galleries and more. Within the 48-square block radius are condos, single family homes, apartments and townhouses. Amici Park is a nice outdoor space in the neighborhood that has a dog park and amphitheater. The walkability score is high for this neighborhood with few people needing vehicles. However, there is easy access to public transport as well.


Another neighborhood where residents don’t need to be reliant on vehicles is Hillcrest. Both the walkability and bike scores are high, making it easy to do your shopping, run errands and get around with relative ease. Accessibility is definitely one of the blessings of living in this San Diego neighborhood. The area is also ideal for families due to its multiple parks and playgrounds. The daycare centers and preschools are also highly rated.

Mira Mesa

Mira Mesa was originally an area for the army and navy, used as an auxiliary landing area and for tests during World War II. These days, Mira Mesa – one of the oldest San Diego neighborhoods – is an affordable neighborhood for families and boasts great schools. The area is ethnically diverse, being home to residents of Vietnamese, Filipino and Mexican cultures just to name a few. Mira Mesa has a great community park, plenty of businesses and quite a few rental complexes.

Balboa Park

If you love history, beauty and culture, you need to check out Balboa Park. The area is home to 16 museums and a plethora of artistic and entertainment venues. You’ll also have access to gorgeous gardens and trails where you can walk, run or hike – whatever type of outdoor exercise you prefer. The transit score for the area is about average, while the walkability and bike scores are lower, so you’ll need to have access to a vehicle to get around.

East Village

If entertainment and nightlife are important to you, you should check out our San Diego city guide for East Village apartments to rent. East Village has live music, bars, galleries, pubs, shops, boutiques and cafes. Residents say there’s a decent mix of age groups living in the area – from singles in their 20s to retired couples. Many people who live here are outgoing and friendly and they love to socialize with friends and neighbors.

Linda Vista

Looking for something that has a bit more of a suburban feel to it without being too detached from city life? Check out Linda Vista, a suburban/urban neighborhood. It boasts great nightlife and highly-ranked schools. Residents love that there’s plenty to do here, such as visiting indie art studios and dining at great restaurants.

Mission Bay Park

According to a, Mission Bay Park was ranked #1 by readers for livability. Not only do residents get amazing views of Mission Bay, but they also have easy access to freeways, several shopping venues, world-class microbreweries and great restaurants. Even better – there are fewer crowds here than in other Southern California cities and neighborhoods. It’s an ideal place to engage in outdoor activities, like paddleboarding, sailing and jet skiing.

South Park

Do you love the look of Craftsman and Spanish Colonial-style homes? That’s exactly what you’ll get in this quaint, quiet neighborhood. Residents here say it’s a great spot for planting roots and growing a family. The neighborhood has a high walkability score and is pet friendly. Popular neighborhood events include the Old House Fair and the South Park Walkabout where you can get to know your neighbors and enjoy historic home tours.


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