September 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am


San Diego’s most popular suburbs

Finding the right suburb to live in can be a challenging choice that will have a tremendous effect on your overall happiness and satisfaction with where you live. In San Diego, there are a number of different suburbs to choose from and selecting the right San Diego suburb can be a difficult task.

To help you decide on the perfect San Diego suburb for you and your lifestyle, we have put together a guide of the most popular suburbs in San Diego. These neighborhoods range from luxurious to more affordable, but all of these suburbs of San Diego offer their residents a unique living experience. Contact our REALTORS® in San Diego to find your dream home.

A guide to San Diego suburbs

Picking the right place to buy your home is a daunting task because of the volume of decisions you need to make and the reality that one neighborhood often does not possess every quality you are looking for. To help you find the right suburb for you, we have compiled a list of popular suburbs in San Diego.


Encinitas is one of the most popular suburbs in San Diego because of its laid-back, beachy vibe. Encinitas boasts more than just beautiful coastline and a surfing culture, it also possesses nearly thirty miles of trails that cyclists, bikers, and equestrians can utilize.

Encinitas is an eco-conscious suburb that is dedicated to enjoying and protecting the natural surroundings that make it beautiful. Residents of Encinitas can enjoy the nearby San Elijo Ecological Reserve which offers nearly one thousand acres that runs all the way from Solana Beach to Rancho Santa Fe.

Home prices in Encinitas reflect the many amenities it offers. In addition to the beautiful natural surrounding, Encinitas also highlights a bustling social scene that has everything from local businesses to craft breweries to unique boutiques. Encinitas is the quintessential beach town that individuals imagine raising their kids in.

This neighborhood also has great local public schools, low crime, and remarkable local beaches. If you want to see a beautiful sunset over the ocean, look no further than the relaxed, beach town of Encinitas.

Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe is known for being one of the most luxurious and exclusive suburbs in San Diego. Rancho Santa Fe is an affluent suburb that is a wonderful place for a family. This area also offers beautiful natural scenery, a historical town, and a safe place to raise children.

Rancho Santa Fe has great schools, but it has a much quieter social scene than some of the other suburbs on this list. This neighborhood is within close proximity of the beach and the racetrack, making it a short distance to find additional activities to partake in.

Del Mar

Del Mar is one of the most well-known suburbs in San Diego because of its racetrack. The Del Mar racetrack offers a host of different social activities including the Del Mar Fair, concerts, comedy shows, and much more. Del Mar is situated on the coast in an affluent community marked by quaint shops and trendy eateries.

This neighborhood is an expensive suburb that possesses many million-dollar homes within its boundaries. For individuals with children, one of the biggest appeals of Del Mar is its superb education options with great local schools.

In addition to having great schools, Del Mar is also a dog-friendly suburb with a dog beach for you and your furry friend to enjoy. Del Mar offers residents the feeling of vacation every day with its beautiful views, beach access, and a welcoming environment.

Solana Beach

If you are looking for a beachy suburb that is convenient and walkable, then Solana Beach may be the right choice for you. Solana Beach is located on the coast, has a plethora of trendy local eateries, and places a premium on enjoying your surroundings.

Music lovers can experience live music at the Belly Up Tavern that hosts concerts and events in the small, intimate venue. A short walk down the street will take you to the beach where you can find locals surfing, paddle boarding, and walking on the beach at sunset.

Solana Beach is a family-friendly suburb that possesses great public schools and a tight-knit community environment.


Carlsbad is a unique suburb of San Diego that is very community oriented. Carlsbad is right on the beach in North County San Diego and offers individuals much lower home prices than suburbs like Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar without sacrificing the beautiful view.

Carlsbad’s downtown village area has continued to evolve in recent years and now boasts a diverse array of different restaurants, breweries, boutiques, and small businesses. This area is a town built around being active and on any given day you can see residents running, biking, and surfing along the coastline.

Carlsbad possesses a distinct beachy feel that is laid-back and relaxed. In addition to the many different restaurants and bustling outlet mall, Carlsbad is also home to Legoland, flower fields, and miles of hiking trails to experience.

Carlsbad’s lively social scene does not mean it lacks a family-friendly environment. In fact, Carlsbad is extremely family friendly and has great schools for educating children from elementary school through high school.

For listings and more information about home for sale in the area, contact a Carlsbad REALTOR® .


Poway is known for being the “city in the country” and has a reputation for its beautiful local surroundings of trees, hills, parks, and trails. Poway is a family friendly neighborhood with great public schools, local restaurants, and a small community feel.

If you enjoy hiking, many locals will hike up to the nearby summit of Mount Woodson and take an iconic photo at “potato chip rock.” If you enjoy being out in nature, but also want to have quick access to amenities, Poway would be a wonderful suburb for you.


Also referred to as “Coronado Island,” this family-oriented suburb is located on a peninsula just off of downtown San Diego and places a high premium on safety. Houses within Coronado are known for being well-maintained and the community is welcoming and tight-knit.

Homes in the suburb of Coronado are pricey, but residents are willing to pay a premium to live in a unique community that has great schools, local activities, beautiful views, and an island vibe.

San Marcos

San Marcos has steadily risen in popularity in recent years as it has expanded to encompass the influx of new businesses and individuals that California State University San Marcos brought to the area. Not only does San Marcos have a great university within it, it also has an enviable elementary, middle, and public high school system.

For individuals with children, San Marcos provides a unique blend of solitude, access to amenities, and a productive educational environment. For nature lovers, San Marcos has a number of different public parks, hiking trails, and Lake San Marcos.

This area has a convenient location that is far enough away from San Diego that house prices are considerably more affordable, but the hustle and bustle of downtown can be reached quite quickly if desired.

San Marcos has a diverse community with a wide range of offerings, including local shopping, movie theaters, bowling, trendy restaurants, and beautiful natural scenery. San Marcos continues to grow as the university expands, making it a hot spot for families.

Chula Vista

Chula Vista is a more affordable suburb than some of the more luxurious suburbs listed, like Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar, but Chula Vista does not have a shortage of great benefits that it offers to its residents.

If you have children, Chula Vista is a great choice because of its innovative public school system. The Chula Vista Elementary School District was accepted into San Diego County’s Live Well San Diego initiative. This has led to an expansion in nutritional education, school gardens, disaster preparedness, and farm-to-cafeteria programs.

In addition to this remarkable attribute, Chula Vista also boasts a diverse range of eateries for local residents and beautiful, historical homes.


Oceanside is one suburb in San Diego that has been able to remain largely under the radar until recently. In the past few years, word has gotten out about this neighborhood and many more people are moving into Oceanside to take advantage of its variety of benefits.

Oceanside is a more affordable suburb compared to many other suburbs on this list and possesses a low-key, authentic vibe that locals love. Recently, there has been an influx of new restaurants and breweries to the downtown area of Oceanside which has been a driving factor in its revitalization.

Many Oceanside residents enjoy going down on the Oceanside pier to watch local surfers, the sunset, and the crashing of the waves. This neighborhood offers beautiful ocean views and easy access to a number of neighboring towns.

Oceanside does have slightly higher crime than some of the other suburbs listed, buts its style, charm, and unique environment have driven it to become one of the most popular suburbs in San Diego.


Escondido is one of the oldest suburbs on this list, having been around since the late 1800s. Escondido is located in North San Diego County, bordering San Marcos, Valley Center, and Rancho Bernardo. The suburb of Escondido is home to a diverse community mostly made up of families and some retirees. The word Escondido may mean “hidden” but it is no secret that the suburb has a lot to offer.

This area holds a great amount of San Diego history within its thriving urban environment. Made up of mostly small, family-owned businesses, Escondido offers residents a great way to boost their economy in a way they are very proud of.

At the heart of Escondido’s landscape is the California Center for the Arts, which attracts visitors from all over San Diego and beyond. The center is located in the charming downtown area, adjacent to historic Grape Day Park.

Residents enjoy a beautiful climate offering year-round golfing, biking, hiking, fishing, and wonderful community events. The gentle rolling hills and avocado and citrus groves of Escondido offer a wonderful place to live, providing a family-friendly community and business-friendly environment.

For listings and more information about Escondido homes for sale, contact one of our real estate agents.


The suburb of Santee is nestled in a valley of East County San Diego, where the 52 and 125 freeways meet. Santee is known for its sunny and warm climate, great schools, and small-town friendliness.

In recent years, the suburb of Santee has expanded to offer new single-family homes and apartments for new residents. As it continues to grow residentially, this city is growing economically as well. The quaint suburb is continuously adding more popular restaurants, shopping centers, and community hiking/walking trails.

The thriving community of Santee is a great place to raise a family and a charming place to live with that small-town feel.

La Mesa

The East County suburb of La Mesa was founded in 1869 and was originally used by Spanish missionaries. The suburb itself is bordered by Spring Valley and Lemon Grove on the South, El Cajon to the East, and just a quick 12 miles till you hit the Pacific Ocean.

La Mesa offers a suburb full of arts and culture with annual events like Oktoberfest and the Back to the 50s Car Show, and weekly events like the farmer’s market and concerts in the park during the summer. Residents love the diverse culture and liveliness of La Mesa.

The suburb of La Mesa is also very family-friendly, offering an array of different top-rated schools, multiple parks and community centers, and a variety of trails to bike or hike with terrific views of San Diego.

Contact one of our La Mesa REALTORS® for information about buying or selling a home.

Valley Center

Valley Center is home to one of the smallest communities on this list with a population of under 10,000. Located just North of Escondido, Valley Center is known for beautiful countryside landscapes and the town itself has been largely used for agricultural purposes.

Things to do in the suburb of Valley Center include touring multiple farms like the Keys Creek Lavender Farm and the ever-popular Bates Nut Farm, visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and socializing at local wineries and breweries like the Keys Creek Winery and Valley Center Brewing Company. Valley Center also offers beautiful horseback riding and hiking trails with breathtaking views of the San Diego countryside.

If you are looking to move to San Diego County, consider these suburbs listed above. For more information on housing in San Diego, sign up for our newsletter today or connect with one of our real estate agents.

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