Best Places to Live in San Diego

Esquire’s Picks: Top Neighborhoods to Settle in San Diego.

Unveiling San Diego’s Top Residential Neighborhoods: A Guide to the City’s Best Living Spots

When it comes to living on the West Coast everyone jumps to living in California. You will find most people research places to live in Los Angeles because of the stories they’ve heard or maybe even how common it is. San Diego just happens to not only be better than Los Angeles but all around the best place to live in the entire country. San Diego is known for its great climate, affordable homes, beaches and just an overall safe place to stay whether you have a family or you’re single. It also is known for great cuisine and their mark on cultural events, San Diego is the calmest place to reside whether you’re young or older. Veterans often stay in San Diego because of the laid back atmosphere it seems to have and the different events that you’re able to attend if you decide to take a night out into the town. Here you will find neighborhoods that will be close to great schools for families, also daycares or any afterschool service that are needed as well. You will also find neighborhoods close to the beach where single households can find comfort in being outside and listening to the ocean waves. San Diego isn’t just known for the calmness of the city but it is known to be California’s Beach City. With 31 beaches in the entire city San Diego by far has some of the nicest beaches to visit. So you’re not only able to find your family or yourself a beautiful and affordable place to stay but you’re also giving yourself a place to vacation without even leaving!

For families, Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley, Loma Portal, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos are great neighborhoods to stay in. Each of these neighborhoods have great school systems, playgrounds, parks, they are also near beaches and have wonderful options to dine when you aren’t up to cooking!

The best places to live in San Diego for families

Best Places to Live in San Diego for Families

Del Mar Heights

When staying in Del Mar Heights, families can expect great reviews down to the low crime rating in the area. Del Mar Heights has a great school system, where the high school graduation rate is 16% higher than any school across the US. It has approximately 50 schools in the area where children can attend. Besides the amazing schools, Del Mar Heights is surrounded by walkable landmarks where you can dine at some of their amazing restaurants, get a little shopping done or just simply take a stroll. It is one of the safest areas to walk no matter what time. For many families, being in this area is somewhat of a stress-free environment. They are able to roam free without looking over their shoulder as much, it is up to date with the suburban architecture as well. It almost feels as though you’re on some kind of resort, which makes Del Mar Heights feel extremely homey. Being in California Beach City, of course they have a beach that is just minutes away from the neighborhood! You would be getting the best of both worlds, being able to stay in an area where climate is amazing while also being near a beach where you could take the kids during a school break or for a weekend without ever having to go too far. With as much space to shop and dine the unemployment rate in the area is low as well. They aren’t just low in the area but in the rest of the state as well with a 1% rating. If you are looking for a luxurious place to stay then Del Mar Heights is your perfect choice. It is such a wonderful area with many benefits for families to enjoy.

Pros of Del Mar Heights

  • Great school systems
  • Minutes from the beach
  • Walkable to attractions
  • Crime rate low
  • Luxurious place

Cons of Del Mar Heights

  • Parking limited due to tourists
  • Can become a little pricey
  • mall houses
  • Traffic
  • Not too many things to do at night

Carmel Valley

Like many neighborhoods in San Diego, Carmel Valley is another area that is a wonderful place to raise your family. With houses that were built for families, 77% of the homes are family owned, which makes Carmel Valley one of the nicest areas to live in. Carmel Valley was rated number four in the best neighborhoods to raise a family. It is also neighbors to Del Mar, who also has great reviews when looking for a family home. Besides it being made for families, the area has the best residents as well. When looking for a home we always want to know how it would be if we were to live there, the type of families that are around and how it feels at night and during the day. Finding the perfect home for your family isn’t an easy task but when you visit Carmel Valley, it will feel as though the decision was made for you. There are officers who are in the area often which makes the area feel so much safer when traveling around town on your own. The school system is also great as well, being right next to Del Mar and their district as well. Children also have many amenities that they can attend to as well, such as playgrounds that are nearby, parks, swimming pools and of course beaches. Besides the great school systems and beautiful homes, Carmel Valley also has many trails you can walk alongside to be engulfed in beautiful scenery. It is near two known landmarks, Torrey Pines State National Reserve and Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserves. These two both have amazing trails that can give you exactly what you need when you want to just take a deep breath. With so many great features, Carmel Valley’s housing is exceptional. The market in this area is amazing! Investing in a property will not only benefit you but whoever owns the home after you. But you have to be fast when it comes to choosing the right home for your family, in this area the houses come and go if you aren’t quick enough. Most of the homes in Carmel Valley are less than 30 years old which makes owning a home in this area a much better option. Carmel Valley is a beautiful place to live with so many benefits as well, any family would be lucky to be in a place such as Carmel Valley.

Pros of Carmel Valley

  • Great homes
  • Excellent school system
  • Nearby beaches
  • Friendly residents
  • Police in area
  • Wonderful attractions

Cons of Carmel Valley

  • Expensive
  • Need to be quick when looking at homes
  • Greater risk for wildfire (rural area than urban)
  • Higher gas price

Loma Portal

Loma Portal would probably be the cheapest amongst the other neighborhoods you will run across in San Diego. With housing prices close to about 500,000, you’re able to find your family a very affordable home. This neighborhood can be found close to the San Diego airport and downtown where you’re able to either leave the state or take a trip downtown without it being long. Loma Portal is where most families reside because of how accessible it is to different parks and attractions. The school system is like most of the schools in the San Diego area, they are great with amazing ratings. Being a part of the Loma Portal neighborhood means that you are able to find adventures in San Diego by exploring the San Diego Zoo, parks, cultural events and so much more! Loma Portal is also about 38% safer than most neighborhoods in San Diego which is another reason why this is an amazing area for families.

Pros of the Loma Portal

  • Affordable homes
  • Close proximity to airport
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Great school zones
  • Family homes

Cons of the Loma Portal

  • Noisy
  • Lots of traffic to get to your destination

Rancho Bernardo

This suburban home is the safest neighborhood in all of San Diego with the crime rate at 94%. Rancho Bernardo is a great area to build a family if you’re looking for a home that will give you the comfort you need to call it home. When you are looking to settle down into your perfect family home Rancho Bernardo should be top on your list of homes. Most of the homes in the Rancho Bernardo suburb were built in the 1970s- 1990s which gives the area a more family style. Many of the people that live in this area are white collar employees or they are self-employed making it a quiet area for the most part. Many of the families that have lived here for years have been exceptionally pleased by the friendliness of newer neighbors coming along, whether they meet at the winery that is close to the neighborhood or they pass each other on the street, the people are extremely friendly. Not only is Rancho Bernardo a wonderful place to live, they also have wonderful opportunities for people to obtain great careers. Rancho Bernardo is the corporate headquarters for Sony electronics and also the office for Sony interactive entertainment. There are so many opportunities for you to work right outside of your home. It is also known to have acres for their business park as well, where up to 50,000 people work currently. Looking for a family home isn’t just about where you live or who your neighbors are but it is also about where you work. Most people look for areas where there are a lot of things you can do but also jobs that you’re able to move up from and careers that will make you happy. Rancho Bernardo has everything a family would need, if not more. During the day in Rancho Bernardo, it can be a little quiet due to everyone being at work, kids off to school but when it comes to the nightlife, it seems as though the city just comes to life. There isn’t a place that is better. There are many bars, winery spots and places where you can just let your hair down and take a load off. While the kids are with the neighbors, the parents can have a special date night out on the town. Speaking of children, the public school in this area is amazing. Rancho Bernardo public schools were ranked A+ by Niche. So, you have beautiful affordable homes, friendly neighbors, different events for not just the kids but for you as well. Rancho Bernardo is the perfect area for families.

Pros of Rancho Bernardo

  • Great school system
  • Affordable homes
  • Nightlife is amazing
  • Get career options
  • Near attractions you can walk to

Cons of Rancho Bernardo

  • Not much transportation
  • Old fashion homes
  • A little busy going to work in the morning
  • Not too many things for children to do

Rancho Penasquitos

Like many of the neighborhoods in San Diego, Rancho Penasquitos is another wonderful neighborhood for families. It is a part of the wonderful school district, Poway Unified School District, it not only provides school for children but also has adult school as well. Although most of the neighborhoods in San Diego have great job opportunities, Rancho Penasquitos doesn't have as many opportunities as Poway which is the neighbor to Rancho Penasquitos. The neighborhood is still under development but it is close to being complete, it has some of the most fascinating scenery. On its hills and ridges, Rancho Penasquitos is the perfect place to be when you want to enjoy nature and the beautiful scenery it has to offer. Although there isn’t much to do in the area, the community has different events that they host that allow you to meet new people and mingle with the old ones. It may not have everything you would want when searching for things to do for your children but the area is built for families who want a lower profile.

Pros of Rancho Penasquitos

  • Quiet area
  • Amazing school district
  • Community events
  • Outside events
  • Great atmosphere

Cons of Rancho Penasquitos

  • Limited entertainment
  • Developing neighborhood
  • Limited job opportunities
  • Must commute to other communities for shopping, events, etc.
The best places to live in San Diego for singles

Best Neighborhoods in San Diego for Singles & Young Professionals

Again, San Diego isn’t just a safe haven for families but also for single households as well. The best neighborhoods for young adults are Gaslamp Quarter, Hillcrest, North Park, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. North Park is the most common neighborhood for young professionals.

Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter was known as New Town is definitely a neighborhood that every young professional would want to be. It has a wonderful nightlife and is located right in the heart of downtown. Gaslamp makes it hard for anyone to stay home due to all of their events that take place. The history of the neighborhood is something you would definitely want to learn about, you may be shocked to find out that it was known for its brothels and bars everywhere! This area is mixed with very well-educated people, with approximately 42,423 residents living here. This area is more so for adults because there are few children that live in Gaslamp Quarter. Almost 80% of the people that live here have a college education and about one-third have a baccalaureate degree. Being in Gaslamp Quarter it already feels like home when you see people walking on the sidewalks freely. Here you will be able to enjoy the town with different events that are hosted such as the Artisan Market that is here every weekend. They have lots of food, crafts and different hubs you can attend, it is not a place you would find anywhere else. Also, being in the Gaslamp Area you can attend the baseball games in Petco Park with it being right across the street. Gaslamp is an amazing area and highly recommended for young adults who want the full experience of life. The housing isn’t as steep either, with the prices roughly being $562,500. Plus, they were built in the 21st century so they are definitely in style to what you would expect today!

Pros of Gaslamp Quarter

  • Great nightlife
  • Few children in the area
  • Many events to attend
  • Walkable
  • Reasonable housing pricesLive and work combo spaces

Cons of Gaslamp Quarter

  • Noisy
  • Busy streets
  • Lines for diners could be long
  • Housing market goes quick


Hillcrest may be the oldest neighborhood in San Diego but even then there are still plenty of events that you are able to attend. It is in the heart of the city where you will not only find residents walking around but tourists too. Being in the Hillcrest location you will find yourself feeling a little more free and feeling as though you can breathe a little better. That may be that this area is full of LGBT+ history! You can find yourself being educated on all of the things related to the community, plus so much more. Hillcrest is also just minutes away from the beach, downtown and the waterfront where you can have a moment to just relax. Hillcrest has a very artistic and cultured atmosphere.

Pros of Hillcrest

  • Heart of the city
  • Feels like home
  • Quiet
  • Minutes from the beach/downtown

Cons of Hillcrest

  • A lot of tourists are here
  • Not much to do
  • Nightlife is rare
  • Older homes

North Park

North Park is the most common neighborhood for Millennials. It is the go to in a sense because of their lively features and the events that take place in North Park. It is at the Intersection of 30th street and University which makes the highway extremely accessible when you are commuting to work. They also have bus lines that run as well to make things a little easier getting from point A to point B but they can get a little busy. North Park was rebuilt so that it can become an energetic community with so many different events and festivals that you are able to attend. Like most of the neighborhoods in San Diego, North Park has a lot of history where you can discover it at the North Park Historical Society. The housing value is at $496,080 and will likely increase before then as well. Last year, the housing market rose to 11.8%! The only downfall about being in the North Park area is that homeowners need to be aware the properties normally stay on the market for up to 39 days. Overall, North Park is definitely the hot spot for most millennials and living here you will feel right at home.

Pros of North Park

  • Lots of things to do
  • Millennial area
  • Accessible to the highway
  • A up to date neighborhood
  • Urban

Cons of North Park

  • Traffic
  • Bus lines are busy
  • Noisy
  • Housing value can rise

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is exactly what you think, it looks over the Pacific Ocean! Ocean Beach is such a beautiful area with lots to do. Due to the neighborhood being next door neighbors with the ocean you will see many people surfing, taking walks alongside the beach and just enjoying the outdoors. There is also a wonderful Farmers Market that is walking distance as well so you can always get those fresh ingredients. Ocean Beach surprisingly doesn’t have as many tourists visiting as most of the surrounding neighborhoods which is great for the residents that live here because it keeps it pretty quiet. Ocean Beach still isn’t far from the downtown area either, in fact it is just minutes away. If you want a place that you can relax in then Ocean Beach is just for you!

Pros of Ocean Beach

  • Close to the beach/downtown
  • Few Tourists
  • Overlooks the Pacific Ocean
  • Lots of places to eat/do
  • Walkable

Cons of Ocean Beach

  • A bit busy
  • Housing a little pricey

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach, like Ocean Beach is exactly what the name means, it lies on the Beach which makes the value of housing a little bit pricey. The housing value for Pacific Beach is about $930,700 and plans to increase as well. In the last year, the housing value increased by 6.7%! It is also known to be another area for Millennials to feel at home, this neighborhood mostly holds the younger crowd. Although it can become a little pricey, Pacific Beach is a great area to relax and mingle with your neighbors, it is also a pretty walkable area so that you can discover different events to attend.

Pros of Pacific Beach

  • On the beach
  • Millennial area
  • Different events/things to do
  • Walkable

Cons of Pacific Beach

  • Extremely pricey housing
  • A little further from downtown
  • Noisy

San Diego has the best neighborhoods whether you are wanting to move your family or simply move yourself somewhere different. Esquire Moving Company helps you to move wherever you are to your new location without the hassle of figuring out where you are putting your things or how you are moving everything with you. Allow Esquire to handle all the stress while you focus on enjoying your time in your new place and find the fun in your area!

Contact our manager for an individual discount for moving on specific dates!CALL US NOW!
+ +