Is San Diego a Good Place to Live? – Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego

photography of boat in body of water

Are you thinking of living in San Diego, California? This is all the guidance you need! In this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of living in San Diego that can help you.

Let’s begin!

Living in “America’s Finest City”

San Diego is a city on California’s Pacific Coast. With a population of 3,295,000, it is the eighth-largest city in the United States. 

San Diego is a great tourist destination for everyone. As “America’s finest city”, San Diego is praised for its perfect climate, pristine beaches, and a truckload of attraction spots.

The city is dominated by two great towers of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. From the hotel’s 40th floor, you’ll have the most beautiful sunset view above the marina.

And this is just a tip of all there is in San Diego.

Tourists in San Diego take advantage of paragliding, helicopter flights, combat flights, harbor cruises, seal tours, and kayak trips. It’s a full-blown experience there.

If you’re considering visiting San Diego, California, you should check out these 18 top tourist attractions in San Diego.

If you’re thinking of living in San Diego, you’re up for a good ride!

Summary of Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego, CA

Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of living in San Diego:

Pros of Living in San Diego, CACons of Living in San Diego, CA
Awesome WeatherHigh Cost of Living 
San Diego is SafeLarge Homeless Population 
Great Food SceneBad Traffic Congestion 
Proximity to Many LocationsHigh Taxes
Truckload of Outdoor Activities to Take Part inSan Diego is Not Sports-Friendly

Advantages of Living in San Diego, California

1. Awesome Weather

The weather is just perfect in San Diego! You don’t need a calendar in San Diego because it has no seasons. It’s about 50°C at night and 70 – 75°C in the afternoon.

Rain falls sparingly. In fact, it could rain only 15 days a year. Other than the regular morning mists, most days in San Diego are sunny.

2. San Diego is Safe

San Diego is one of the largest and safest cities in the United States. No less than 35 million people visit San Diego yearly. They all attest to the safety they enjoy when they visit.

According to Neighborhood Scout, San Diego’s overall crime rate is 0.2357 (which is 23.57 percent in 1000 persons). For violent crimes, the chance of being a victim is 1 in 267 persons.

That’s very commendable in my opinion.

3. Truckload of Outdoor Activities to Take Part in

There’s no running out of things to do in San Diego! San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. You can start by visiting them one by one.

History and culture are also a big part of what makes San Diego special. Its maritime and military heritage has become one of the best attractions of San Diego.

If you sign up for a guided tour, you’ll be sure to enjoy visiting San Diego’s museums.

Some other activities are boat tours, skiing, and hiking, just to mention a few.

4. Great Food Scene

Food trucks are San Diego’s culinary backbone! San Diego is blessed with breathtaking cuisines that keep you coming back.

In recent years, top restaurants in San Diego have made the city stand tall. With mouthwatering steaks and tacos, tourists are thrilled by San Diego’s flavors.

Check out these top 8 meals to try out when in San Diego.

5. Proximity to Many Locations

San Diego enjoys the patronage of many visitors each year. Not surprisingly, the cost of living begins to rise as cities develop all the more.

But San Diego is close to many other cities you can explore. If you ever feel the need to escape for an affordable treat, here are some ideas:

These places are just a driving distance from San Diego.

Disadvantages of Living in San Diego, California 

1. High Cost of Living

In January 2022, inflation in San Diego was at 8.2%. This percentage is above the 7.5% national average. Living in San Diego is expensive compared to most states in the U.S.

$68,565 is the average salary you’ll earn in San Diego each year. That’s about $32.96 per hour. Compared to the $66,665 national average, it’s only higher by $1,900 each year.

The rate is poor since the cost of living is 44% higher in San Diego than the national average. Yet, paying for utilities, gas, and other expenses is still an issue. 

2. Large Homeless Population

Since there’s a housing shortage in San Diego, you’ll find homeless people on the streets.

According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, 10% of San Diego residents are homeless. It’s a spike from the percentage in 2020.

According to the CEO of one of the shelters in San Diego, the rising level of homelessness is proof that residents are in dire need of affordable homes.

If the cost of living continues to rise, then there’ll be even more homeless people on the streets.

3. Bad Traffic Congestion

San Diego ranks 19th in the nation for road congestion. But believe me, it’s nothing compared to Las Vegas, Hawaii, Washington DC, or the Philippines.

Traffic in San Diego can be traced to the population of people driving in the city, bad driving habits, and major road bottlenecks.

San Diego may not be able to control the rising number of people moving into the city. But the government can ensure the bus system is efficient enough to carry more people.

4. High Taxes

San Diego has one of the highest taxes in California. The combined sales tax rate for San Diego is 7.75%. It is a combination of county, state, and city sales tax.

Taxes in California are deemed high because sales taxes are paid on a proportional and regressive basis. This means that low-income earners are likely to pay greater sales tax than high-income earners.

5. San Diego is Not Sports-Friendly

If you’re big on sports, San Diego may not be the best place for you to live. Some say San Diego is not a top TV market, hence the inability to excel in sports.

Currently, San Diego has one major sports team — the San Diego Padres. This is a major disappointment for sports lovers.

In response to this, other residents say there are better activity options in San Diego to enjoy. 


Living in San Diego, CA just like any other place will come with some kind of discomfort. Whatever your decision would be, I hope this article gives you some clarity!

Feel free to check other regions we’ve discussed…

Frequently Asked Questions About Living in San Diego

Is San Diego or LA better to live in?

San Diego is a better option in my opinion. This is mainly because San Diego is safer than Los Angeles (the crime rate is 38.41 in San Diego and 55.6 in Los Angeles).

If you’re considering other factors like fun and scenery, your choice may differ (depending on your preferences).

Where are the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego?

– Torrey Pines
– Torrey Hills
– Del Ma Mesa
– Via de la Valle
– Carmel Valley
– La Jolla
– Miramar Ranch North
– University City

Note the dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego, CA to avoid.

When is the best time to move to San Diego?

Fall is the best time to move to San Diego. Here’s why:

Summer is a very busy season in San Diego
You may find more affordable housing deals in the Fall. There’ll be less rush then.
You can book moving companies at a cheaper rate (since they’re not busy in the fall).

Should I consider moving to San Diego without a job?

Well, it’s a slippery slope. Do you have some money at least? You can move to San Diego without a job, but with some credit.

If you have no money and no job, then it’s a bad idea. Nobody will rent you a house without a job. Except you have friends to stay with while you work and earn enough to pay your rent. 

You need at least $15,000 before you set out to live in San Diego. This will help cover your living expenses and other important needs. It’ll help you settle in and find a job.

What is the cost of living in San Diego?

The cost of living in San Diego is 160.1 which is way beyond the national average of 100. According to Numbeo, here’s a breakdown that can guide you:

Monthly expenses for a family of four – $3,835 (without rent)
Monthly expense for a single person – $1,071 (without rent)

For housing, here’s a list that can guide you:
One-bedroom apartment – $1,487
Two-bedroom apartment – $1,908
Three-bedroom apartment – $2,649
Four-bedroom apartment – $3,244