San Diego is known, among other things, as a city of neighborhoods. The city is linked through freeways, trolley lines, bus lines, and roads but each neighborhood is distinct. North Park is “hipster and edgy.” The East Village is up and coming. Hillcrest is great for the up-and-coming professionals. Barrio Logan is a small flavor of Tijuana. Mission Valley and Fashion Valley are suburban-condo centric. Little Italy is “European.” Pacific Beach is laid-back with a strong student presence while Ocean Beach is a more relaxed surf town and down to earth. These are just a small flavor of the neighborhoods in tight-knit San Diego. If you branch out to El Cajon, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach and the outer neighborhoods you get an entirely different “feel.”
The biggest thing that you need consider are the amenities you need, the types of homes you want available to you, the culture of the neighborhood (i.e. family-friendly, pet-friendly, access to public transportation, proximity to retirement hot spots), the nightlife, the food scene, and more. This post will spotlight a few neighborhoods to illustrate what you may want to consider.
South Park vs. North Park
South Park and North Park are defined by their geographic location relative to Balboa Park. North Park is north west of Balboa Park while South Park borders it in the south west. North Park, as stated above, has more of a trendy, hipster vibe. North Park is known for its plentiful restaurants, varied cuisine, unique bar scene (you can drink beer and play arcade games at the Coin-Op Game Room or drink beer and play N-64 at The Safehouse), catching at show at The Observatory. It's overall a great fit for young professionals, and those who enjoy kicking back with a beer and some friends after a long day of work.
Conversely, South Park is much more suburban and family-friendly. South Park is a gem in San Diego because you can get the suburban lifestyle (house, yard, backyard, dog, and garage) while still being in the middle of a city and about ten minutes from Downtown. South Park also has its own set of restaurants and bars but, while North Park is lively at night, South Park is calmer and more sophisticated (but don’t let that fool you, eating out in North Park and South Park is equally expensive, the atmosphere is merely different). South Park, unlike Bankers Hill, is still accessible for middle-income families.
North Park and South Park are centrally located in San Diego. However, if you prefer a larger home, more open space, then simply take a 15-minute drive North on state route 163 or North on the I-15 and you will hit Kearny Mesa. Kearny Mesa is a small neighborhood in the northern portions of San Diego and is a much more suburban area with larger houses, strip malls, and other amenities associated with suburbia. Kearny Mesa is a great place for a family to start building a life in San Diego. Moreover, if you want nightlife, look no further than Convoy. Convoy is a collection of restaurants including noodle houses, sushi, Thai, Chinese, ramen, and more. While South Park has a traditional Italian heritage in its cuisine, Kearny Mesa embraces a melting pot of various East Asian cultures and cuisine.
Finally, to round out the neighborhoods, East Village. Nothing defines change more than the East Village neighborhood in Downtown San Diego. A mere 15 years ago, the East Village was crime-ridden and dangerous. Since then, East Village has transformed to some of the most exclusive and choicest places to live in San Diego. Numerous residential towers in the East Village overlook Petco Park, the baseball stadium that is home to the San Diego Padres. However, this location comes at a steep cost and is populated primarily by single, dating, and married professionals (without children) but with plenty of pets.
Hopefully, these neighborhood spotlights illustrate that you need to experiment when you come to San Diego. Each neighborhood is distinct and attracts a variety of different residents. Take your time to consider what you want and what is important to you and your family. Steele San Diego Homes can help you find the perfect neighborhood! If you'd like to chat about your different options, reach out! They're local San Diego real estate agents who can help you find what you deem, the best San Diego neighborhood.