Where to Explore When you Move to San Diego

Laid-back, hip, and perpetually sunny, San Diego is a slice of beachy paradise—and a hotbed of wonderful culture, worldly cuisine, shopping, and nightlife. Apart from well-known attractions like the famed San Diego Zoo and the iconic Balboa Park, there are numerous art galleries, quirky-cool museums, and high-end eateries to discover. If you’ve just taken a leap and moved to the area, check out these top places to explore in San Diego!

Arts & Culture

San Diego is a city in which the arts, in all their forms, are widely beloved. From well-established museums to small-scale galleries, these are the top arts & culture experiences to have when you visit San Diego:

Visit world-class art museums.

San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Museum of Art

Though Balboa Park is touristy, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art are must-see destinations for serious art lovers. The former attraction houses masterworks by Rembrandt and Jacques-Louis David, and the latter has works by dozens of popular American painters, from Georgia O’Keefe to Stuart Davis. Fight the crowds or go on a weekday; both museums are well worth it. Either way, you’ll avoid San Diego traffic, as Balboa Park is a highly walkable area. Park your car in a convenient lot and leave it for the day!

See Chicano murals.

In the neighborhood of Barrio Logan, you’ll find Chicano Park, which features the biggest collection of Chicano murals in the world (there are over 80 paintings on seven acres), as well as several art galleries and shops. Head here in the daytime to be able to appreciate the true vibrancy and beauty of the murals.

Stroll around an artsy neighborhood.

In North Park, art loving-travelers can experience an abundance of cool street art, in addition to galleries and studios, performance art spaces, and under-the-radar concert venues.

Dining & Drinks

Historically influenced by Mexican cuisine, the food scene in San Diego is thriving and growing all the time. The city is now home to a variety of farm-to-table restaurants, top French and Italian eateries, and some of the best fresh seafood in the country. And the drinking scene is diverse, as well. Take your pick from upscale oceanfront cocktail bars, neighborhood watering holes, and over 150 craft breweries.

Little Italy in San Diego

Little Italy in San Diego
Little Italy in San Diego

The best place to get an all-around feel for the local food & drink scene is the lively, cool Little Italy neighborhood, where you’ll find a plethora of awesome eateries, cool coffee shops, wine bars, craft brew pubs, and more. Stroll through the buzzing Mercato Farmers’ Market on a Saturday to sample fresh-baked bread, locally-made jams, farm-fresh produce, and other artisanal foods from over 175 farmers and vendors. This is the city’s biggest downtown market, and it’s definitely a local fave spot.

Also in Little Italy, James Coffee Co. is the perfect spot to enjoy handcrafted roasted coffee blends, Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room has excellent local brews, and Craft & Commerce has tasty small plates (think grilled oysters, charred eggplant dip, and marinated olives) and craft cocktails. Even a drive down the main drag, India Street, is a great way to explore the area.

Here are three other can’t-miss San Diego food & drink experiences:

Check out a hip food market

At Liberty Public Market, a 25,000-square-foot public market in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, visitors can peruse a dazzling array of food and goods from 30 local chefs and artisans—there’s also live music every week, and a dog-friendly market patio every Sunday.

Sample the best tacos in the city. 

Best Tacos in San Diego
Best Tacos in San Diego

Craving tacos? Look no further than El Paisa Mexican Grill, easily one of the most beloved taquerias in the city—they make their own tortillas here, and you can pretty much get any type of taco you want.

Dine at a five-star French hotspot.

And for those who want to splurge on a decadent five-star meal during their trip? Make a reservation for Addison, a critically acclaimed Grand Del Mar resort with incredible dishes like langoustines with caviar and parsley and mussels with green curry, as well as a killer wine list.

The Outdoors

It’s near-impossible to go to San Diego and not spend some time at the beach—not only is the weather here perma-beautiful, but the city boasts over 70 miles of scenic coastline punctuated by pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, and gorgeous blue-green bays. Take a drive out to one of the many beaches. Although you can’t really go wrong with any of the beaches here, there are a few standout spots to check out:

La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is the place to be if you want to try your hand at snorkeling or scuba diving—this tiny gem of a beach has crystal-clear waters and exciting marine life, like the bright orange Garibaldi fish.

Ocean Beach feels like 70s-era hippie California, with its barefoot surfers, funky beach communities, and collection of novelty and vintage shops. Head here if you’re into bohemian vibes, oceanfront live music, and boho-chic boutiques.

At Mission Beach, you’ll find over two miles of oceanfront boardwalk, tons of surf shops, and an old-school amusement park right on the water. In other words, it’s pretty much impossible to get bored at this bustling, action-packed beach.

Finally, although Coronado Beach is a bit touristy, it’s well worth a visit—with the postcard-perfect Hotel del Coronado, sparkling white sand, and the city skyline in the background, it’s the quintessential San Diego beach.

All in all, San Diego is chock-full of exciting culture, cuisine, and nightlife—and, not to mention, some of the most stunning beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking for the ideal romantic getaway, a great place to spend the weekend with friends, or the perfect family-friendly destination, San Diego has a little something for everyone.

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Urban San Diego Condos

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For many, an urban lifestyle is very appealing. In a city like San Diego, you can live  Quick access to the trendiest restaurants and bars, shorter commute to work, and the overwhelming excitement that an urban city has to offer. Here’s what to look for if purchasing a condo is in your future!

Amenities:

A  perk of owning a condo  is that the community often offers amenities that may be out of reach for most people. Look for a condo that offers residents a pool or fitness center to get the most out of your purchase!

Maintenance

While living in a condo, other people handle the maintenance for you. This is great news for anyone who works, travels, or just doesn’t feel like dealing with the work.

Homeowners Association Fees:

HOA fees vary widely depending on location and the quality of your condo. These fees cover the costs of amenities such as a gym, pool, and maintenance, as well as upkeep of the property.

Privacy:

A big benefit of owning a home is the privacy it gives you to do what you please. Some condominiums lack privacy due to the fact that walls, parking, and other common areas are shared with your neighbors. Consider factors such as noise and the number of residents in your building  to ensure peace and quiet around you.

Parking:

Most condo complexes offer residents at least 1 or 2 parking spaces, but it is important to consider your social life. Explore the area surrounding your complex so you can get a good idea if your friends and family will have easy access to on-street or off-street parking.

Commuting:

Living in an urban city can be a huge time saver on your commute to work. If you work downtown, there is the option of walking, or taking public transit. If you work in the suburbs, the odds are high that you will reach your destination quickly due to “reverse commute.”

 

 

 

Urban vs. Rural Living

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Trying to decide on what kind of environment you want to live in?  Both have their perks, however there are a few important factors to consider before making the decision.

Cost of Living

Generally speaking, city life will be a bit more pricey because your proximity to business establishments.  A 3 bedroom rural house might cost the same as a 1 bedroom urban apartment, not to mention HOA fees can be a lot higher in the city.

Amenities

The city-life has loads more to offer in the sense of clubs, restaurants, general entertainment and great for people who like to party, eat and shop outside.  However, if you are more interested in a more quiet lifestyle, then a house out in town is okay as well.

Family

Whether you have a family or thinking about starting one, being in the right kind of location is important.  Depending on your financial status, you can buy a home in the urban area if you don’t mind your kids growing up in a city.  However, if you are operating on a limited budget, you might want to opt for the rural living.

 

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Also known as UTC and the Golden Triangle, University City lies nestled between the intersections of I-5, I-805, and CA-52. It is a hidden jewel of single-stories at affordable prices.

Divided into North and South by the popular Rose Canyon, South University City is much more residential, while North University City is home to the Westfield UTC mall and a vast assortment of apartments, townhomes, and condos, populated by young families, UCSD students, and college grads.

Map of University City

Buildings and Institutions:

University City is home to several public schools, included University City High, Marie Curie Elementary,  Doyle Elementary, Spreckles Elementary, and Standley Middle. There are also several private schools in the area.

Most notably, University City is home to the iconic, white-steepled San Diego California Temple, an LDS church. Several other churches operate in the area, including another LDS church on the south side of University City, a Catholic Church, and and Episcopalian church, among others.

The newly renovated UTC mall is a major hub for activity, featuring many stories, restaurants, and even a new movie theater, the Arclight.

There are several office parks and hotels on the North Side of University City.

Two libraries serve the area, one on the north side and one on the south.

Recreation:

The largest point of recreation in the area is the wide swath of open space that makes up Rose Canyon, effectively separating North and South University City. The walking trails in Rose Canyon are wide, sandy, and fairly flat. Entrances from Genessee and the northern side of Regents Road provide the most accessibility. For the more adventurous walker of jogger, there is an entrance located at the base of Regents Road on the south side, which is rather more hilly and difficult. Additional points of entry can be found in the scattered neighborhoods on this Western-most tip of University City.

University City is home to many parks, including several dog parks.

Well-maintained sidewalks and neighborhood areas provide plenty of safe, recreational walking space.

University City High houses a full track that is open to recreational use when not in use by the school.

Numerous gyms are available in the area, along with a couple community recreation centers.

Rose Canyon

Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants:

North:

Sushi Ki

La Jolla Strip Club

Seasons 52 (UTC mall)

Eureka! Burger (UTC mall)

Aloha Sushi (UTC mall parking lot)

Star Anise Thai

Fleming’s Steakhouse

Donovan’s Steakhouse

Apollonia Greek

Truluck’s

South:

Mitsugawa Sushi

Bite of Boston

Lorna’s Italian Kitchen

If you would like more information on University City or any other neighborhood, please contact us!