Moving to San Diego

Welcome to the allure of palm-lined boulevards, high-tech companies and endless sunny days! Moving to San Diego could indeed be your best decision yet. This sun-soaked Californian paradise boasts a combination of unbeatable weather, mouth-watering cuisines, thriving job market and idyllic ocean views. Our comprehensive relocation guide is armed to provide practical insights into the nuances of living in 'America's Finest City', making your transition smoother and more enjoyable. Buckle up for an exciting exploration of diverse neighborhoods, infectious city culture, and inspiring lifestyle opportunities that make San Diego a living dream!

Moving to San Diego, CA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to San Diego

1. Year-Round Sunshine Galore

If you're dreaming of escaping bone-chilling winters or humidity-ridden summers, pack your bags for San Diego! Renowned for having one of the most desirable climates in the country, San Diego experiences sunshine 266 days per year on average. You won't just be catching rays, either - the average temperature is a comfortable 64degF. So if you're a sun worshipper, outdoor enthusiast, or simply weather-averse, you're in for a true treat.

2. A Unique Blend of Cultures

San Diego is a cultural melting pot that beautifully intertwines both American and Mexican influences due to its proximity to the border. It's a city renowned for its vibrant culture, historical landmarks, and colorful festivals, so there's plenty to feed your curiosity. Don't miss out on the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, where the city comes to life with traditional music, food, and ornate altars.

3. Wildlife Access Like Nowhere Else

If you're a wildlife aficionado, you'll be thrilled by the plethora of opportunities for wildlife spotting. San Diego is home to the famous San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld. Here's a little secret: every November and December, grey whales pass by the coastline as part of their annual migration - so grab your binoculars and witness this natural spectacle!

4. Avocado Lovers, Unite!

San Diego County is often referred to as the Avocado Capital of the U.S. If you have an insatiable affection for this creamy fruit, gear up for an avocado adventure. The annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival is an absolute must, pairing local culinary talents with our favorite green delicacy. Who knows, you might even get to try some unique dishes like avocado beer, avocado ice cream, and yes, even avocado chocolate!

5. The Thrill of Comic-Con

If you've ever attended a comic book convention, you'd likely know that San Diego Comic-Con is the granddaddy of them all, attracting legions of fans from around the globe. Whether you're a fan of blockbuster movies, independent comics, or cosplay, this event is a must-visit. But here's what people forget to tell you: it's not just downtown that transforms into a fantasy world during the convention. The whole city gets in on the action, with themed restaurants, bars, and galleries. So, even if you can't grab a ticket for the main event, there are still plenty of shenanigans to enjoy!

6. The Unexpected Wine Haven

California is no stranger to wineries, with Napa and Sonoma stealing the spotlight. But did you know that San Diego County is home to over 100 wineries? Whether you're a casual wine sipper or an oenophile, you're bound to find a wine tour that piques your interest. Enjoy a glass with a panoramic view of vineyards, or immerse yourself in a barrel tasting experience.

Overall, San Diego's captivating blend of sunshine, culture, and fantastic cuisine make it an alluring destination for those looking to relocate. It's a city that keeps on giving, no matter how much you think you've discovered. So go ahead, start your San Diego chapter, and remember to send a postcard!

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Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego

Pros of Living in San Diego

Excellent Weather

The weather in San Diego has been described as some of the best in the world. It maintains a near constant, comfortable temperature with clear skies most days of the year. This allows for a wide range of outdoor activities - from surfing in the beaches to hiking in the nearby mountains.

Great Beaches

San Diego is renowned for its miles of stunning coastline. The city's beaches offer something for everyone, whether you're into surfing, sunbathing, fishing or just enjoying a quiet picnic. The beaches also offer amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

Diverse Culinary Scene

Foodies would enjoy living in San Diego because of its diverse culinary scene. The city is especially known for its fantastic Mexican food, due to its proximity to Mexico. Additionally, many local chefs and restaurants have received national recognition for their innovation and quality of dishes.

Strong Focus on Health and Fitness

San Diego residents place a high priority on health and fitness. The city has numerous parks, yoga studios, and gyms, as well as plenty of outdoor activities and fitness events. The city's emphasis on health also extends to its food scene, featuring many restaurants offering fresh, local, organic options.

Rich Cultural Attractions

San Diego is home to a number of cultural attractions and events. The city has a vibrant arts scene, with many local galleries, theaters, and museums to explore. Additionally, the city plays host to numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year, offering residents and visitors ever-changing entertainment options.

Cons of Living in San Diego

High Cost of Living

As with many major Californian cities, the cost of living in San Diego is significantly higher than the national average. This is primarily down to housing prices, though the costs of amenities, services and groceries are also above the country's average. It requires thoughtful planning and budgeting to live comfortably in the city.


San Diego, like many other populous cities, suffers from heavy traffic during rush hour. While public transportation options are available, many San Diegans rely on their cars to get around, leading to congestion. If your job requires commuting, this could be a notable drawback.

Water Shortage

Due to its location, San Diego often experiences drought conditions and water shortages. As a result, water conservation measures and restrictions are typically in place which can affect every aspect from gardening to taking longer showers. This can be a challenging lifestyle adjustment for new residents.

Bugs and Pests

San Diego's warm climate and abundant outdoor spaces mean that bugs and pests can occasionally be an issue. Dealing with everything from ants and mosquitoes to larger creatures like coyotes or raccoons can become a part of San Diego living.


Another downside to living in San Diego is the lack of available parking in many parts of the city. This is particularly true in the downtown area and in popular beach neighborhoods. Some residents may find they have to park considerable distances from their homes, or pay for a parking permit just to park near their residence.

Modern day picture of San Diego, CA highlighting pros and cons of living in San Diego, CA

Is San Diego a Good Place to Live?

San Diego, CA is a great place to live because of its gorgeous beaches, veritable climate, and its vast number of outdoor activities. The city is adorned with beautiful parks, a vibrant craft beer scene, and intriguing historical sites. With its cosmopolitan dining and shopping, along with a great educational system, San Diego has something for everyone to enjoy.

What Is San Diego Famous For?

The San Diego Zoo

One of the most visited zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo is a city icon that is home to more than 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. Its commitment to conservation and its vast array of animals, including some that are rarely seen in other zoos, makes it a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists. You can learn more about the animals and their conservation work on their official website.

Beaches and Surfing Spots

San Diego is best known for its stunning beaches where you can soak up the sun, surf the waves, or enjoy a leisurely walk along the shore. From the family-friendly waters of La Jolla Cove to the surf-mecca of Black's Beach, there's a coastline spot for everyone's taste in this city! You can check out more information about all of the best beaches in San Diego on the official tourism website.

Balboa Park

As one of the most popular urban parks in the United States, Balboa Park encompasses a whopping 1,200 acres of museums, gardens, theatres, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. It's a cultural hub where you can immerse yourself in the city's art scene, explore science centers, or simply enjoy a tranquil picnic surrounded by exquisite landscapes. To learn more about the park and its numerous attractions, visit their official website. Moreover, if you're interested in the art and culture scene of the city, San Diego's official tourism website holds a wealth of information.

Comic-Con International

Every summer, San Diego transforms into the ultimate playground for fans of comics, movies, video games, and pop culture during Comic-Con International. It's one of the world's largest and most exciting conventions of its kind, drawing countless celebrities and enthusiasts from all over the globe to celebrate their fandoms. If you're planning a visit to coincide with the event, make sure to read the 'Information for Attendees' on the official Comic-Con website.

Capital building of San Diego, CA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In San Diego, CA, the average property tax rate is around 0.76% as of 2023. This is relatively lower than the national average, which is approximately 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The sales tax in San Diego, CA stands at 7.75% as of 2023. This is slightly higher than the U.S. median sales tax of 7.3%, making San Diego among the cities with a higher sales tax rate.

Income Tax

San Diego, CA, being part of California, has a variable income tax rate ranging from 1% to 13.3% as of 2023, depending on income levels. This is considerably higher than the national average, as California has one of the highest state income tax rates in the U.S.

Housing Market

San Diego, CA boasts a rich real estate market with its median home value at $645,300, considerably higher than the U.S. average of $277,700. The city's pricey market reflects its high desirability driven by year-round sunny weather, robust economy, and unparalleled lifestyle. The average rent hovers around $2,237, compared to the national average of $1,470. Potential buyers and renters need to consider these factors when exploring possibilities in this vibrant city. While costs are high, benefits such as quality of life and opportunities can make the investment worthwhile.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in San Diego, CA is considerably higher than the U.S. average and many other cities. The city's proximity to the ocean, its thriving job market, and desirable weather, among other factors, contribute to this cost. Housing tends to be the most expensive aspect, with prices significantly higher than in other cities. Despite these costs, many find the benefits of living in San Diego to be worth the additional expense.

Weather & Natural Disasters

San Diego, CA enjoys a mild climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This makes it a year-round destination due to the predictability and pleasantness of its weather, with average temperatures ranging from 65 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit. San Diego's weather is described as a Mediterranean climate, with less than 12 inches of rain each year, mainly falling in the December to March period. Natural disasters in San Diego usually stem from its environmental and geographical placement. Wildfires are the most common, often occurring in the hot, dry summer and fall months due to the region's arid conditions and the Santa Ana winds. Earthquakes, although less frequent, do occur due to San Diego's location within the active California seismic zone. Overall, despite these environmental factors, San Diego's climate and weather make it one of the most enjoyable regions in California.

Typical weather in San Diego, CA

Economy & Job Market

* Healthcare and Biotechnology

* Defense and Military

* Tourism

* International Trade and Manufacturing

* Research and Development

San Diego, CA, often nicknamed "America's Finest City", isn't just a hub for surfers and artsy intellectuals. It's also a bustling and innovative powerhouse when it comes to its economy. Historically, San Diego's economic landscape has been largely dominated by military and defense-related activities, with the U.S. Navy being a major employer. However, in recent years, other industries such as healthcare and biotechnology, tourism, international trade and manufacturing, and research and development have taken a significant leap forward. The city continues to pulsate with economic vitality and innovations, particularly in the life sciences, high technologies, clean technologies, and telecommunication sectors, making it an exciting city to work and thrive in.

If you're pulling up stakes and heading to San Diego in search of new opportunities, you're in for a treat. With a lower unemployment rate than the national average, San Diego offers a job market that's as vibrant and diverse as its landscape. Expect sunny skies and competitive salaries in industries mentioned above. Sectors that are particularly thriving include Healthcare and Biotechnology - so if you're science-savvy, you might just be in luck! Moreover, if you are looking for technology-driven jobs, the SoHo district (South of Horton) is famously known as San Diego's tech corridor. Tourism jobs are spread all over the city, but you'll find a heavy concentration downtown. Just remember to pack your sunscreen along with your resume. Let's catch the wave to success together in San Diego, CA!

Traffic and Transportation

Hey there, San Diego-goers! Does the thought of charming suburbia meets chill beach town rev up your engines? Great! But let's peel back the pavement a little and talk about getting around in America's Finest City. With average commute times hovering around 25 minutes, San Diego traffic can be challenging - though it's still less of a crawl than LA! But don't fret, there's always public transportation. Hop aboard the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, gracefully gliding on their buses or trolleys, which span across 53 miles of track. Still on a roll? Get airborne! San Diego International Airport (look for the tail-bobbing pandas) is a traveler's dream, offering nonstop flights to diverse destinations. Come jet set or tread rubber, San Diego's transportation scene is as diverse and delightful as a SoCal sunset!

What is the traffic like in San Diego, CA?

Best Neighborhoods in San Diego

1. La Jolla

The jewel of San Diego, La Jolla, is a neighborhood known for its picturesque views, elegant shopping, fine dining, and waters rich in marine life. It's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts as you can explore the underwater park while snorkeling or paddleboarding. Nature lovers can't miss the famous seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove. Conveniently located near the University of California San Diego, La Jolla is also an intellectual hub that's home to the Salk Institute and several other research centers.

2. North Park

Known for its eclectic mix of vintage shops, artesian breweries, trendy art galleries, and vibrant food scene, North Park is a paradise for creative and foodie souls. It's an urban neighborhood with a hipster vibe that's popular with both professionals and families. The walkable streets of North Park are teeming with murals and public art, adding to its charm. Don't forget to explore the thriving nightlife here with live music, craft cocktail bars, and more.

3. Gaslamp Quarter

Hands down one of the liveliest neighborhoods in San Diego, The Gaslamp Quarter is a bustling area known for its vibrant nightlife, historic Victorian-era buildings, and fabulous dining and shopping options. It's easy to have an exciting night out in this neighborhood, start with dinner at one of the trendy restaurants, followed by a Broadway-style performance at San Diego Theatre and finish off with some dancing at a rooftop club.

4. Coronado

This resort city on a peninsula in San Diego Bay is famous for its iconic red-roofed Hotel Del Coronado and the stellar views of San Diego skyline. Coronado is a dream place for beach lovers with wide sandy beaches, calm surf, and a charming small-town feel. If you're into history and love long walks, the scenic boardwalk won't disappoint you. The neighborhood is friendly, safe, and offers fine dining, shopping, golfing, and boating activities.

5. Little Italy

If you love Italian food or culture, Little Italy is a must-visit. Known for its trendy patio dining, this is the place to indulge in some of the best Italian cuisines in the state. You can walk down the pedestrian-friendly streets dotted with boutiques, art galleries, and patio cafes. The heart of the neighborhood lies in Piazza della Famiglia, a European-style piazza perfect for people-watching with a gelato in hand. Once a year, the neighborhood hosts a Sicilian Festival with traditional music, dance, food, and a parade that draws crowds from all over San Diego.

In conclusion, San Diego is home to a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and vibe. From beach life in La Jolla and Coronado to the unique cultural fabric of Little Italy, the lively eats and beats of North Park, and the electrifying nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter, there's a San Diego neighborhood that's sure to be your perfect fit. So pack your bags and get ready to explore these gems!

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Things to Do

Welcome to San Diego, or as locals lovingly refer to it, America's finest city! With 70 miles of stunning coastline, picture-perfect weather year-round, world-renowned attractions, and a cool, laid-back vibe, there's no shortage of fun things to do in San Diego for newcomers. Here's an exciting blend of the immensely popular and uniquely local activities that should make your San Diego bucket list. Check out this Things to do List for a more comprehensive guide.

1. Soak up the San Diego Sun at its Stunning Beaches

Beaches are the heart and soul of San Diego, and each one has its own distinct charm. Head to Coronado Beach for a family-friendly atmosphere, La Jolla Shores for snorkeling, or Black's Beach if you fancy a bit of surfing. No matter what your vibe is, there's a beach for you in San Diego!

2. Enjoy Wildlife at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld

No visit to San Diego would be complete without exploring its world-class wildlife parks. San Diego Zoo, one of the best in the world, offers a chance to see over 3,700 animals. In SeaWorld, you can experience awe-inspiring shows, thrilling rides, and unforgettable close encounters with creatures of the deep!

3. Discover San Diego's Cultural Heart at Balboa Park

This 1,200-acre cultural park is home to 17 museums, stunning gardens, historic architecture, and the aforementioned San Diego Zoo. From the Museum of Art to the Natural History Museum and everything in between, you could spend weeks exploring and still not see it all!

4. Dive into History at Cabrillo National Monument

This monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on what is now the U.S. West Coast. You can enjoy panoramic views of San Diego's skyline, hike the trails, and explore the tidepools teeming with marine life at Cabrillo National Monument.

5. Sip Craft Beers in the Capital of Craft

With over 150 local breweries, San Diego has earned its title as the 'Capital of Craft.' Breweries like Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and Green Flash offer tours and tastings. This thriving beer scene is a must-visit for any beer connoisseur or those just wanting a pint of quality brew!

6. Haunt Whaley House Museum

This may not be on every tourist's list, but for those seeking a spooky thrill, the Whaley House Museum is a must. Wall Street Journal named this place the 'most haunted house in America.' Take a ghost tour, learn about San Diego's history, you might even have some otherworldly encounters!

7. Twirl your way through Ray at Night

In the heart of North Park lies a lesser-known event called 'Ray at Night.' For an authentic local experience, join the city's longest-running monthly art walk. This second Saturday soiree of each month features pop-up galleries, live music, food, and fun for all art lovers. Check out the Ray at Night website for schedule and details.

Experience the vibrant, sun-kissed charm of San Diego through these activities. Whether you are sun-bathing along the pristine coastline, walking the trails of Balboa Park, immersing yourself in the unique local culture, or even chasing ghosts, San Diego never runs out of exciting things to offer. So pack your bags, your new adventure in the Pacific paradise is just getting started!

Things to do in San Diego, CA?

Find Movers for Your San Diego Relocation

As you begin your well-deserved life in inviting San Diego, let Great Guys Moving smooth out your relocation process. Our mission is simple - connect you with licensed, insured, and highly reputable moving companies that can flexibly meet your specifications and budget. With just a few mouse clicks, you'll receive competitively priced quotes, letting you compare and choose the most fitting moving service for you. So why wait? Start your new adventure today by requesting your free moving quote through Great Guys Moving and make your journey to San Diego a breeze.

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