Whether you are a newcomer to San Diego or have lived here for a lifetime, it can be difficult to know all of the different neighborhoods within San Diego County. When looking for the right neighborhood for you, it is vital that you research all of the variables within that community, including schools, home prices, walkability, social offerings, and average crime statistics. Each neighborhood within San Diego has its own unique environment that it offers to its residents.
If you are looking for the most popular San Diego neighborhoods, we have put together a list of popular areas to help you make the right decision for your next step.
Carlsbad is known for its small-town, beachy feel despite being packed with various amenities and activities. Carlsbad boasts great schools that have made it one of the more popular neighborhoods in San Diego for families. Carlsbad offers a short distance to the beach, making it ideal for individuals who thrive on the salt of the sea and an ocean breeze.
Surfers and outdoor enthusiasts are typical residents that inhabit this coastal neighborhood. In addition to the appeal of the beautiful ocean scenery along the shore, Carlsbad also offers a surprisingly diverse social scene with a multitude of restaurants and breweries located throughout the downtown village area. Accommodating sidewalks and bike lanes throughout the small village of Carlsbad make this neighborhood ideal for those who love a long walk or a daily bike commute to work.
Pacific Beach is a neighborhood within San Diego that is located between La Jolla and Mission Beach. Pacific Beach is primarily frequented by young residents due to its closeness to the beach, a plethora of bars and eateries, and its proximity to nearby colleges. Pacific Beach possesses a relaxed, laid-back environment that invites diversity, but for some this neighborhood may be a bit too boisterous.
La Jolla is an upscale neighborhood off the coast of San Diego that is fourteen miles north of downtown. La Jolla offers breathtaking ocean views, trendy boutiques, plenty of different dining options, and good schools for families with children.
La Jolla’s natural scenery is hard to beat, with top-notch beaches and popular hiking destinations. For those who love a beautiful hike, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offers panoramic ocean views. La Jolla also possesses two of San Diego’s best-known beaches, Windansea Beach and La Jolla Shores. La Jolla is packed with activities and natural beauty drawing residents from all over, making it a popular San Diego neighborhood. Contact a La Jolla REALTOR® for available listings.
Little Italy offers a dose of history in addition to an urban environment, striking a unique balance that attracts urban residents. Little Italy is an ideal neighborhood for those who are looking for a walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.
Situated by the bay in San Diego, Little Italy offers an urban oasis adjacent to the natural beauty of the water. Little Italy is a destination for food lovers because of its diverse restaurant offerings. This neighborhood also hosts a farmers market every Sunday great for picking up local food, artisan crafted goods, and fresh produce.
Carmel Valley is a planned community that was established in the mid-1980’s and is comprised of tract houses. Carmel Valley is pricey, but still considered one of the more affordable neighborhoods in San Diego when compared to nearby neighbors in Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe.
Families are often attracted to Carmel Valley because of its great public schools and relatively short commutes to employers located in downtown San Diego, Sorrento Valley, and Torrey Pines Mesa. Carmel Valley possesses a wide array of different eateries and retail establishments, allowing residents a one-stop neighborhood to meet their family’s needs.
Del Mar often conjures images of the racetrack and prize horses, but this area offers much more to residents than just the racetrack. Del Mar is one of the safest neighborhoods in San Diego with its low crime rates. Del Mar’s great schools also make it a great neighborhood for families with school-age children. This affluent community is located just off the coast, offering stunning views of the ocean.
Ocean Beach is located north of Point Loma and is known by locals by its loving moniker of “OB.” Ocean Beach is a Southern California beach town that allows residents to experience the beauty of the beach in a variety of different activities.
For dog lovers, Ocean Beach has a dog beach where your furry family members can run and play in the sand and ocean waves. For surfers, Ocean Beach has a plethora of surf shops and surf spots to take advantage of. This area is the perfect neighborhood for those who enjoy an active lifestyle centered around the coast with a relaxed vibe, hip eateries, and yoga studios.
Old Town is an ideal neighborhood for individuals that adore historic buildings, parks, and museums. This area offers Old Town State Historic Park, which is a great place to explore with friends and family and soak in the history of San Diego. Old Town also has a number of wonderful restaurants for residents to enjoy.
Mission Hills is packed with high-priced Craftsman homes, but many people love Mission Hills for the diverse offerings it has for its residents. Mission Hills possesses beautiful views of the bay and downtown, as well as an impressive array of restaurants.
This area offers not only local restaurants and bistros but also sophisticated, high-end eateries. Mission Hills has something for everyone, which is part of its appeal. If you are looking for greenery, Pioneer Park is a great spot to take your kids to play at the local playground.
The Gaslamp Quarter is known as San Diego’s go-to nightlife spot. Full of clubs, restaurants, lounges, dive bars, and sports bars, this is the prime location for a partygoer. It is located in the City of San Diego’s downtown district, in close proximity to the San Diego Convention Center, host of the world’s famous San Diego Comic Con.
From specialty cocktail bars to dueling piano clubs, the Gaslamp Quarter has it all. This downtown neighborhood can bring in a huge nightlife crowd, so if you’re looking for a lively, fun, and energetic spot to live, then this is your neighborhood.
Hillcrest is often known for being the heart of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ) community in San Diego. In addition to its inclusive and accepting landscape, Hillcrest offers close proximity to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, two popular San Diego landmarks.
Hillcrest offers a diverse set of restaurants and ethnic cuisines, in addition to trendy bars and eateries. Many residents enjoy the Hillcrest farmers market as an opportunity to support local, small businesses and get fresh produce. In the area surrounding Hillcrest, the streets are lined with attractive Craftsman and Spanish-style homes.
Kensington has the feel of a small town while still being a part of the larger San Diego landscape. Kensington has dozens of restaurants, a park with a playground for children to enjoy, a library, an organic grocery store, and many other establishments for local residents to use. The heart of Kensington lies in the business district. Kensington is known for having friendly neighbors that make it feel like a community.
University Heights and Adams Avenue serve as the main route through Normal Heights. Normal Heights is a relatively small neighborhood filled with trendy eateries, bars, and quaint coffee shops. Throughout the year, Normal Heights plays host to a variety of different festivals.
Serra Mesa offers residents a diverse community, great public school programs, and a quiet atmosphere. Serra Mesa is a perfect location for families and possesses an inviting, welcoming vibe. This neighborhood is a quick twenty-minute drive from downtown while still being outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
The neighborhood of Golden Hill is located just south of Balboa Park in San Diego. Golden Hill is a low-key neighborhood that has artisan coffee, craft cocktails, and a varied dining scene. This area is a community-oriented neighborhood that features events throughout the year.
North Park is located close to San Diego State University and has a young, hip vibe that has driven an influx of trendy shops, eateries, and bars. Walking down the street in North Park, you can choose from any number of different activities to engage in.
For beer lovers, the craft beer selection is a local favorite. Foodies will rejoice in the number of authentic, diverse eateries in North Park ranging anywhere from sushi, taquerias, and ramen to brunch spots and pizzerias. The musically inclined will love seeing shows at the North Park Observatory where local artists and big names alike come from all over to perform. Additionally, North Park offers a weekly farmers market on Thursdays that attracts an array of local companies and small businesses.
Talmadge is a quaint neighborhood nestled in the mid-city region of San Diego. The Talmadge community was established in 1925 by real estate developers Roy and Guy Lichty but was named after the Talmadge sisters (Norma, Natalie, and Constance) who were silent movie stars in the 20s. Norma Talmadge’s husband funded the development of the historic neighborhood. Talmadge is full of eclectic architecture, art galleries, local shops and eateries, and a strong community. Residents of Talmadge enjoy the tight-knit feeling and togetherness of their community.
The neighborhood of Rolando is considered a small part of La Mesa, San Diego. It is located in the mid-city region, bordering San Diego State University and El Cajon Boulevard. Rolando is a hustle and bustle type neighborhood housing individuals that benefit from its central location. The affordable housing, centralization of the location, and close proximity to restaurants and shopping establishments is definitely what draws residents into this up and coming neighborhood.
The Eastern part of Chula Vista is home to a relatively new community named Eastlake. Rapidly growing from the mid-80s, Eastlake was designed to have anything and everything its residents might need without ever having to leave their neighborhood. Lots of shopping centers, restaurants, schools, parks, lakes, and hiking trails make up the South County neighborhood. Residents of Eastlake enjoy the serene, safe, and semi-secluded feel of the neighborhood. Family oriented and conveniently located, Eastlake is a great place to live.
Named after the famous El Cortez Hotel, Cortez Hill is a bustling downtown neighborhood rich with history. Cortez Hill offers a small community feel within the large area of Downtown San Diego. Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Diego, Cortez Hill definitely hasn’t lost its historic character. Cortez Hill also boasts gorgeous views of Balboa Park, San Diego Bay, and the rest of Downtown San Diego.