Best San Diego Suburbs | Move Central

The Best San Diego Suburbs to Live in for 2023

San Diego is amazing. Between the sun, the surf and the plethora of things to do, life on the coast is pretty close to paradise. But not everyone wants to live in the heart of downtown, and many families and professionals need somewhere to escape to at the end of the day. Plus, with San Diego’s sky-high cost of living, settling a bit outside the city can make living in the area more affordable, while still allowing you easy access to San Diego’s job opportunities and entertainment options.

Enter the best suburbs of San Diego. These neighborhoods give you all the perks of living in San Diego, along with bigger houses, less traffic, and a lower average cost of living. Ready to find out which San Diego suburb is right for you? Then keep reading!

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Poway is one of the most popular cities around San Diego. It’s commonly called the “City in the Country” due to its rural vibes and location further inland. This affluent suburb is characterized by its upper-class citizens and high-end neighborhoods, complete with stunning homes. And at just 30 minutes outside of the city, this suburb offers a reasonable commute to many of the San Diego’s top employers.

Poway is also one of the best places to live in San Diego for families. Students living in the neighborhood attend schools in the Poway Unified School District, which is ranked in the top ten school districts in the state. The area is also known for its low crime rates, making it a safer alternative than living in Downtown San Diego.

If you want to know more about what it’s like to live in Poway, check out our complete guide to moving to Poway.

La Mesa

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Wondering if moving to La Mesa is right for you? This gorgeous neighborhood is one of the largest among San Diego’s surrounding cities, home to more than 60,000 people and growing every year. Despite being one of the top San Diego suburbs, this city has maintained a reasonable cost of living, lower than San Diego itself, and the state of California.

One thing people love about La Mesa is the neighborhood’s sheer beauty. This city benefits from quiet suburban streets, complete with gorgeous houses across bungalow, craftsman and modern styles. At the same time, La Mesa’s downtown center has all the amenities you need without having to travel into San Diego, including grocery stores, coffee shops and plenty of delicious restaurants.

La Mesa is one of the best places to live near San Diego if you want to get a small town community feels without a long commute. You can get to most parts of San Diego in under 15 minutes, and professionals living here also have to access the work opportunities in nearby Lemon Grove and El Cajon.

For more information on the “Jewel of the Hills,” check out our guide on moving to and living in La Mesa.


If you’re looking at small towns near San Diego that are right along the coast, Carlsbad should be at the top of your list. Located about 40 minutes north of San Diego, Carlsbad is primarily known for its great beaches, tight-knit communities, and family-friendly atmosphere.

With its desirable housing within walking distance of the beach, it’s no wonder that moving to Carlsbad is fairly expensive, compared with other San Diego suburbs. Larger homes in this community can cost well over $1 million, making this one of the most affluent cities on the West Coast, with a higher cost of living than even Los Angeles.

For professionals in the tech industry, there are even more reasons to move to Carlsbad. In 2018, Google named the city the “Digital Capital of California.” Top employers here include the communications company ViaStat, Inc., and biotech corporations like Thermo Fisher Scientific and OptumRx. Even companies in the community who aren’t in the tech space are using the internet to find customers and make connections, making the area highly appealing to techies and marketing professionals.

Want more details on life in Carlsbad? Our complete city guide to living in Carlsbad has you covered.

San Marcos

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San Marcos may be little further from the center of San Diego County, but that hasn’t stopped this city from becoming one of the most popular destinations in the area. In all, the city is home to more than 96,000 people and is one of the fastest growing cities around San Diego.

One fantastic aspect of moving to San Marcos is the city’s academic reputation. In addition to being the home of CSU San Marcos and Palomar College, San Marcos high school is highly ranked, showing that this community offers top-tier education at every level. The area’s economy is also growing quickly, and the top industries here are healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

This district also benefits from a huge diversity of subdivisions and neighborhood communities. Many of the master-planned communities in San Marcos include award-winning real estate, along with large plots of land and incredible views. As the city continues to grow, more and more families are choosing to relocate here, making it the perfect place to raise your kids near the coast!

For more details, be sure to read our post on moving to and living in San Marcos.


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Another one of the best cities in the San Diego area, Encinitas has plenty to offer both professionals and families. This community is known for its passionate, ambitions and active residents, especially the cyclists you’ll often have to share the road with!

While still a sizeable city, Encinitas has a smaller population than other suburbs of San Diego, with about 62,000 residents. Locals here are highly educated, and the community continues to be committed to education, with 63 schools available to families in the area. Despite being considered a San Diego suburb, Encinitas also has its own thriving downtown area, with plenty of jobs, boutique shops, and amazing restaurants.

Of course, one of the main reasons for settling in Encinitas is the seaside locale. One of the most popular neighborhoods in the city is Cardiff-by-the-Sea, where you can live just steps from perfect sandy beaches, and watch the sunset over the ocean every night. If you’re looking for stunning views, gorgeous homes and a welcoming community, it doesn’t get better than Encinitas.

Interested in learning more about Encinitas? Click to read our guide on relocating to and living in Encinitas.

Choosing the Right San Diego Suburb for You

For families and professionals who want to be close to San Diego, but enjoy a more tranquil lifestyle on the coast, moving to a San Diego suburb can be an ideal option. Plus, with so many amazing cities around San Diego, you have plenty of incredible suburbs to choose from! No matter where you end up moving, you’ll get to enjoy the coast’s beautiful natural surroundings, warm, mild climate, and some of the most beautiful homes in the state.

Need help moving to any of these San Diego suburbs? Move Central is the San Diego moving company you can trust for a stress-free transition. Give us a call today at (858) 230-8281 to get started with a free quote.

Author: Stan Caramalac

Stan Caramalac started his moving company because he truly believed that moving could be simple as long as it was done efficiently. He wanted to help people make their moves smoother and less stressful. Stan and his team proudly serve San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. If you are looking for professional commercial or residential movers then Move Central is the perfect company for you.

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