The Ultimate Guide to Moving From San Francisco to San Diego - Move Central
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The Ultimate Guide to Moving From San Francisco to San Diego

To comfortably live as a single person in San Francisco, you need to make an average of $7,000 in pre-tax income per month. That’s what it takes to sustain a one-bedroom apartment and a middle-class lifestyle. 

For many people, the price tag alone is enough to flee San Francisco. However, many people are in love with California living—the coastline, the culture, and everything else. 

If you are ready to go from SF to SD, San Diego is a great option for moving in state. With a fantastic climate and laid-back hippie vibes, it’s a great place to live. 

Moving in California can be a long process, though. After all, California’s coastline alone is 840 miles long! It takes careful planning and a good support system. 

That’s why we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to moving from SF to SD. Let’s get started!

1. The Climate 

If you’ve been in San Francisco for any length of time, you are familiar with the bone-chilling fog. Native San Franciscans are used to making their plans around constant rain and gloom. 

While many people love the gloomy Pacific Northwest aesthetic, it can be wearying. In fact, many people suffer from seasonal depression due to a lack of sunlight and vitamin D. This, in addition to the inconvenience of constantly making plans around rain and fog, is enough to drive anyone from SF to SD.

By contrast, living in San Diego may feel like a dream at first. It’s the perfect compromise, with almost-constant sunshine and temperatures that tend to hover around 70 degrees.

In the summertime, temperatures will rarely exceed 80 degrees. In the wintertime, prepare to spend Christmas sipping a pina colada under a palm tree. 

If that sounds like the dream, start brushing up on potential new hobbies you can pursue in San Diego. Swimming, surfing, water skiing … the world is open to you!

Of course, there’s always the caveat that you won’t experience all four seasons in San Diego. After all, the city isn’t known for its nippy, New England style falls. 

2. The Atmosphere 

San Francisco is well known for being one of the most progressive, accepting cities in the United States. As the epicenter of LGBTQ+ and hippie movements, many people have found a home in San Francisco

San Diego offers this same atmosphere, which is welcome news for people who have fallen in love with the political and social climate in San Francisco. In fact, many people may prefer San Diego due to the additional bonus of a laid-back, surfer hippie vibe. 

There’s often no rush to get anywhere in San Diego. There’s always a warm summertime vibe, which is great if you’re looking to luxuriate in the sun during your time off work. 

3. The Job Market 

Many people moved to San Francisco initially (it is a city of transplants, after all) for the job market. Silicon Valley has made a name for San Francisco. With tech powerhouses dotting the San Francisco landscape, it’s a great place to be. 

If you’ve worked hard to earn a place in tech, leaving San Francisco may sound scary. After all, can any other place innovate as San Francisco does?

The job market in San Diego is nothing to be scared of, either. It’s in healthy shape no matter what industry you are in. However, San Diego does have its specialties. 

Due to the military bases in San Diego, working in military and defense is convenient if you move to this city. The military is big business in this city, thanks to the Navy, Marine Corps, and so forth. 

Working in the following industries also gives you a better chance at a lucrative job in San Diego:

  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation

Of course, it’s important to note that employees hold a lot of power in today’s job market nationwide. If you’re looking to make a jump to a new career, now is the time to do it. 

4. Take Time to Kick Back 

Each city has its own unique vibe. San Diego is no exception, which means that yoga and surfing are a big deal in this city!

With San Diego’s gorgeous coastlines and warm climate, many people surf year-round. It’s a city-wide pastime. In fact, many new San Diegans are surprised to find that their new friends and coworkers often take a dip in the ocean before work.

As your surfing game improves, you may find that you join the crowd! There’s nothing like surfing before your workday even starts. As a sharp contrast to many hustle-oriented cities, San Diego is a great place to take care of yourself and your career at the same time.

Yoga is also a big deal in San Diego. As we learn more about the human body, experts are lauding yoga as a great way to stay flexible and pain-free as we age. 

Of course, San Diego yoga aficionados have known this for a long time. Whether you prefer ocean yoga or chilling on the beach with classmates, this is a great way to enjoy the sunshine. 

5. Take in the Food Scene

If you’ve lived in San Francisco for any length of time, you’re accustomed to high-quality cuisine. Some of the world’s greatest chefs have resided in San Francisco. 

San Diego has a richer food scene than most people give it credit for. Many people are passionate about the city’s offerings when it comes to sushi, ramen, pho, and so forth. 

However, San Diego gets the most praise for its Mexican food. When it comes to fish tacos, you can’t beat San Diego. 

For many serious foodies, San Diego is the place to be. From award-winning restaurants to drool-worthy food trucks, there’s always something new waiting for you around the corner. 

6. Drink Some Craft Beer 

Places like Denver are known for their craft beer scene. However, San Diego is hardly lagging behind when it comes to breweries. 

There are over 150 breweries located in the city. Some of these breweries rank as the best in the world!

San Diego is often referred to as America’s Craft Beer Capital. Beer culture is a big part of San Diego. There’s always something new to try. 

If you prefer beer to San Francisco’s proximity to wine country, that’s just another reason to pack up your things and make the SF to SD move!

7. Enjoy the Recreational Opportunities

Moving to a new city comes with the opportunity to enjoy all sorts of new activities. Whether you prefer nightclubs or museums, San Diego has you covered. 

For starters, one of the world’s most famous zoos is located in this city. The San Diego Zoo hosts more than 3,000 animal species. Over 100 acres in size, it’s difficult to get bored when you’re touring this zoo. 

The zoo is also home to botanical gardens, aviaries, and different bioclimatic zones. Visiting the zoo isn’t just for little kids!

If you prefer nightlife, San Diego has you covered. This city has over 100 unique neighborhoods, which means that you can have a different experience every night of the week. With fantastic restaurants, world-class nightclubs, and classy bars, there’s always something to do. 

Of course, there’s always a place for outdoor enthusiasts in San Diego. There’s always the Pacific Ocean, which includes opportunities to swim, surf, snorkel, and sail. But there’s also Balboa Park, hiking opportunities through the city’s trails, and other gorgeous public parks.

8. Raising Kids 

When choosing a place to live, it’s important to consider what the environment is like for children. Living in San Francisco is rarely conducive to family living anymore. 

Of course, many families have raised children in San Francisco and have done so successfully. But the cost of living in San Francisco continues to skyrocket. Many people live in San Francisco when they’re young, single, and working lucrative tech jobs. 

Then, when it’s time to ‘settle down’ and support a family, they choose to live in another city. For many people, San Diego is that city. 

For starters, San Diego has one of the best public school systems in the world. Many people move here for that reason when they are looking to start a family. 

It’s also a great opportunity due to the number of educational opportunities. Field trips can take your children to world-class destinations that others travel across the country to see. 

9. Embrace a Sense of Community 

For many people, moving is scary because they don’t know anyone in their new city. After all, many people spend years building the type of connections that you need to feel secure in a new place. 

Consider a day in your current life. Does your barista know your coffee order? Do you exchange pleasantries with your mailman? What about chatting with your neighbors when you take the dog on a walk?

These are all examples of social ties that connect us to a place. And, of course, there are coworkers, friends, family members, and more. 

If you are active within your community, having a sense of place may be very important to you. Luckily, San Diego has you covered. 

Feeling like you belong is crucial to feeling at home in a new place. If that’s what you’re looking for, carefully consider what neighborhood you’re moving to. With over 100 unique neighborhoods, each one will offer a different experience. 

Normal Heights

Start by considering Normal Heights. If you grew up in a lovely small-town atmosphere, this could be the perfect neighborhood for you. Your neighbors will remember your name. 

Be prepared for friendly neighborhood greetings and chatter on your morning dog walks. You may get invited to a yoga class, or to a hangout in the park. If you’re looking to feel at home in San Diego, Normal Heights will do it for you. 

Ocean Beach

If you prefer a friendly vibe that skews a little younger, try Ocean Beach. Often abbreviated as OB, this is a great place to hang on the beach or walk your dog. 

There are lots of parks, which often equals great opportunities to meet people. In fact, many people use their pets as a means of facilitating an introduction or organizing a doggy playdate. 


Of course, you may prefer a community that is more reminiscent of the welcoming atmosphere of San Francisco. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider the Hillcrest neighborhood. 

It’s a large gay community and often prides itself on providing a warm welcome. The Gaslamp District is also a great place for this too. 

10. Choose the Right Neighborhood

When moving to a new city, the neighborhood can make or break the experience. Take the time to consider–what are you really looking for out of a move to San Diego?

Are you looking to reduce the time you spend commuting? You may want to spend time closer to family members. Or, you may want to be part of a neighborhood that reflects your passions and values. 

San Diego has something for everyone. All you have to do is take the time to research and check out the options that are available. 

North Park

Start by checking out North Park. For many San Diego first-timers, this is a great place to move to. As a hipster community, it’s located north of Balboa Park. 

If you’re looking for a creative, hippie-esque neighborhood, North Park is the place to be. There’s always an open mic night, painting in the park, or an opportunity to showcase your creative skills. 

Parking is notoriously difficult in North Park. That’s why many people prefer to embrace the walkable qualities of this neighborhood, whether they’re going to the pub or to the farmer’s market.

Sun, surf, and glorious year-round weather are within reach in San Diego neighborhoods. From pristine beaches to urban amenities, here are some of the best San Diego neighborhoods.

Little Italy

If you’re Italian or prefer a foodie’s paradise, then Little Italy is the place to be. With world-class restaurants and fantastic farmers’ markets, Little Italy is a great place to let your taste buds roam free. 

There are over 7,000 farms in San Diego. That’s why there are so many great opportunities in this neighborhood to snag fresh produce, chat with local growers, and whip up something delicious. 

Little Italy is rightfully considered the beating heart of San Diego’s food scene. This area is popular amongst both residents and tourists, which is a winning endorsement in anyone’s book. 

There’s a restaurant option for any type of palate here. Of course, all of these options come with a price tag. Out of all the neighborhoods in San Diego, Little Italy is one of the most expensive ones. 

However, if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then Little Italy is the place to hang up your hat.

Ocean Beach 

Depending on where you are located in San Diego, you may find yourself surrounded by swarms of college kids. If that’s what you’re looking to avoid, Ocean Beach may be the spot for you. 

There are lots of housing options in this neighborhood, at least when compared to the rest of San Diego. Whether you prefer to live in an apartment or a cottage by the ocean, this neighborhood has you covered. 

Residents of this community often prefer their peace and quiet. True to San Diego’s nature, the vibe is very laidback and easy-going. However, your neighbors may be more focused on careers than the latest hippie attraction in North Park. If that sounds like something for you, Ocean Beach is a great place to check out.

Pacific Beach

One of the greatest things about San Diego is the diverse population it attracts. Whether you’re young or old, there’s something in this city for everyone. 

That includes college kids and recent grads that are looking to kickstart their careers in one of the most exciting cities in the country. If you are looking to find a job, but don’t want to give up that college lifestyle just yet, Pacific Beach is a great place for you.

Whether you like bar-hopping or coffee shop cruising, Pacific Beach has options. This neighborhood is known for its beachy party vibes. 

If you’re looking to seamlessly transition from work to party at 5 PM on Friday evenings, then Pacific Beach is a great place to be. San Diego is a great place to start exploring when you kick off your adult life!

11. Transportation 

San Francisco is known for nightmare traffic. However, a top-notch public transportation system can sometimes compensate for this issue. 

That’s sadly not the case in San Diego. The city is huge, taking up over 40,000 acres. Because of how big it is, San Diego is known as a car-first city. 

Of course, it depends on the demands of your lifestyle. If you rarely need to venture outside of your neighborhood, you may be able to get by without a car. 

If you select a highly walkable neighborhood with all your basic needs within walking distance, it’s a great way to reduce your living expenses. But if you’re moving to this city and depending on public transportation to spare you, experts advise against it. 

Public transportation lines only cover a fraction of the city. You’ll spend a lot of time walking if you rely on a bus or light rail to get where you’re going. 

Of course, there’s hope on the horizon. The trolley is slowly expanding its route all the time. But if you’re waiting for the trolley system to comprehensively cover the entire city, you’ll be waiting for a long time. 

Owning a Car in San Diego

Many people suggest owning a car if you plan to live in San Diego. This is a major shift since many people often suggest ditching the car if you choose to live in dense San Francisco. 

It’s important to note that parking is often a nightmare in San Diego. This is especially true if you live in popular, dense neighborhoods. Parking tickets aren’t cheap in San Diego either. Some citizens report paying hundreds of dollars for parking in a spot that ‘wasn’t really a spot.’

Experts suggest that you allocate $5,000 per year for transportation if you are a single adult in the city. This should account for gas, upkeep, parking tickets, and so forth. 

You’ll need to work out your budget if you intend to rely on Uber or Lyft for your transportation needs. 

12. Sports Teams 

For many people, sports is the beating heart of city life. If that’s the case for you, then San Diego certainly won’t disappoint

If you’re invested in the NFL, it may sadden you to know that the Chargers moved to Los Angeles. But that doesn’t mean that San Diego doesn’t have other sports options!

The San Diego Padres have a passionate fanbase in this city. If you’re into major league baseball, this may be perfect for you. 

UCSD also has a surfing team. SDSU has a basketball and football team. There’s also a soccer team as well!

San Diego tends to have more collegiate sports options, as opposed to national league teams. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fun!

San Diego is known for offering adult leagues. This means that if you loved playing organized sports within academia, you can still do so even if you’re not in high school or college anymore. Often, surfing and volleyball are popular options for adult leagues to form around, which is great for people new to the city.

SF to SD Moving 

If you’re planning on moving from SF to SD, it’s important to plan ahead. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with 10 years of experience and a 97% customer referral rate. 

We offer moving, packing, and storage options across major cities in California. This means that we help ensure a professional, empathetic, low-stress moving experience. 

Our goal is to make your relocation as effortless as possible. It’s important to us that you feel excited about moving to your new city! Transporting your belonging from SF to SD should be the least of your worries. 

If you’re interested in no-hassle moving from a company that has a sterling reputation, contact us today. We’re excited to help you make your dreams come true!

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.

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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