10 Things You Must Know Before You Move to San Diego

Choosing where to live is a momentous decision. There are some people who just go with a feeling — why overthink things? — while others make life-changing decisions as if they were insurance analysts; for them, it’s all about the numbers. So for all you over-analyzers and up-and-coming gurus, here are 10 things to think about as you plan a move to San Diego.

1. All roads lead to the beach

San Diego boasts over 17 miles of coastline and nine permanent lifeguard stations, so although all roads don’t really lead to the beach, a good majority of them do. From Blacks Beach in the north to Ocean Beach in the south, there are endless opportunities for water sports, fishing, dog walking and even hang gliding. Check out sandiego.gov to find a list of all the public beaches, along with their amenities and regulations.

2. It’s a city with a nickname

Seriously, didn’t you always want a cool nickname? Your city should have one too. Back in 1982, San Diego mayor Pete Wilson came up with the slogan, “America’s Finest City,” and the city has lived up to its name ever since. San Diego makes the top 10 list in some national publications as well. Forbes ranked it as one of the “coolest” cities, and Travel and Leisure recognized it as one of the best cities for foodies.

3. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The San Diego Zoo is recognized worldwide for its animal care and conservation science. Enjoy a behind-the-scene safari trip, or learn a new skill during animal photography classes. In addition to the zoo, San Diego has a thriving parks system. Residents enjoy a variety of available activities such as community sports, picnicking, playgrounds and walking trails.

4. Sun, sun and more sun

San Diego cost of living

The sun sets on surfers at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego California.

Selected as one of the top 10 best weather cities by Farmer’s Almanac, San Diego has comfortable temperatures year-round, with average highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s to 50s. Residents get plenty of Vitamin D thanks to countless hours of sunshine per year. The famed Santa Ana winds bring hot, dry air from the desert into the Pacific coast region during the winter months.

5. Prepare for that daily commute

San Diego is a commuter city. Make sure your car has been smog tested, and be ready to roll on all six lanes. If you choose to forgo owning a vehicle, you can get around quite well thanks to San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System. The SDMTS supplies route maps to riders, and its on-the-go app provides immediate arrival and pickup times. Trolley lines connect downtown areas to the east and south communities.

6. Experience a lifetime of learning

San Diego has several school districts within its borders. Options for education include local neighborhood schools, application school choice programs, private schools and homeschooling. Public and private universities dot the city, creating an environment that thrives on culture and information. Science camps, museum lectures, and musical community centers provide extracurricular learning.

7. Neighborhoods are quirky, trendy, upscale…

best neighborhoods in san diego

Skyscrapers next to a water in San Diego

San Diego’s neighborhoods are each unique in their own way. Experience the relaxed boho-vibe of Encinitas, enjoy quick access to downtown from Banker’s Hill, soak in the true SoCal atmosphere that is Ocean Beach, or settle down with your family in Carmel Valley. Sandiegomagazine.com has tips on the best neighborhoods in San Diego, along with food and things to do.

8. Renting may be the logical choice for housing when moving to San Diego

Trulia.com lists average San Diego home prices at $555,000 and San Diego apartment rentals at $2,775. San Diego’s price-to-rent ratio may encourage residents to rent instead of buy, and home listing prices have risen over the last several years. The architecture of San Diego gives each home its own unique appeal. Throughout the city, you will find examples of Craftsman, Victorian and Mid-Century Modern. Many homes and buildings have the distinct terracotta roofs and tiles that show their Spanish roots.

9. The San Diego cost of living is higher than many similar-sized cities

Average salaries in the San Diego area are $60,800, according to payscale.com. Unfortunately, high personal income tax rates for the state of California and a state-county-city combined sales tax of 7.75 percent take a toll on expendable income. The cost of living is higher than in most cities of this size, with housing consuming the largest portion of the pie.

10. The city is home to its own professional sports team

Spend summer evenings watching the San Diego Padres. Tickets are priced so families can enjoy a day at the park without breaking the bank, and Petco Park provides stunning views of both the local beaches and downtown. Taco Tuesdays, promotional giveaways and special theme games add extra fun between innings.

So if you have been wondering, “Should I move to San Diego?” add these items to that spreadsheet of yours or get out on the beach for some deep meditation. Once the decision is made, you can start a new list. Top 10 places to buy a bathing suit in San Diego, where to find the best craft beer in each of San Diego’s neighborhoods, 1,001 things to do in the summer sun … well, you get the picture.

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