Where should I live in San Diego?
January 20, 2014 1:52 PM   Subscribe

In a few weeks time, I'll be moving to San Diego. What are some neighbourhoods I should be looking at? Top priorities are a reasonable commute to UCSD (no more than about twenty minutes drive, or even better shuttle access) and cheap rent (ideally not more than ~$1300/month).

I'd prefer to live alone, not with a roommate (though this isn't a very firm requirement) - and cool/hip neighbourhoods with younger (more hipster-y?) demographics would be great.

(Related question: other than Craigslist, what are locally popular sites for rental listings?)
posted by kickingtheground to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try Hillcrest! Very walkable, lots of coffee shops, bars, etc, and shuttle access to UCSD.
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2014

seconding Hillcrest! I shuttled from the Hillcrest medical center to UCSD for my last year of undergrad, and it was super easy. it's the heart of the gayborhood, super diverse and lively, near Balboa Park, and convenient to freeways and downtown.

anywhere uptown would be great, but you'd either need to drive, bike or bus to the Hillcrest shuttle. (or drive 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic.) a few other fantastic uptown neighborhoods, all diverse, liberal & pretty hisptery:

Mission Hills - next to Hillcrest, walkable to the UCSD shuttle in many areas, pricier
University Heights - where I live! also walkable to Hillcrest & the shuttle in some parts. kind of a branch of Hillcrest; cuter & smaller, plenty to do
North Park - young, ultra-hipster, urban lite, tons to do; cheaper rent than Hillcrest, but you'd need to bus/drive to the shuttle
Normal Heights - even cheaper, up & coming, walking distance to UH and NP but not so much Hillcrest

the only other neighborhoods I'd consider living in would be Golden Hill, South Park or maybe Ocean Beach, but they're more inconvenient for a UCSD commute. the neighborhoods closer to the beach, La Jolla & UCSD are either swanky, family-centric suburban, or cater more to the rambunctious frat boy/surfer crowd. you wanna be in uptown. feel free to memail me for more specific tips any time.
posted by changeling at 3:45 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thirding Hillcrest.
posted by birdherder at 4:46 PM on January 20, 2014

I used to live just off Washington (i.e. shuttle access) in a fairly large complex that doesn't advertise on craigslist, but almost always seems to have units available. Here's a google street view with the number on the banner. The complex is actually something like 3 different complexes combined into one, so how it goes sort of depends on which part you live in. The part in the picture was built in the 60s or 70s. A part adjacent to the east is more 40s/50s, and a part north of that is probably 70s/80s, but comes with pool access. My wife and I really liked living in a 2 bedroom in the 40s/50s portion, but moved to the part in the picture after the financial crisis. Back in '08, our 2BR went for just under $1200. The 1BR we moved to was $950 or so, and would have been great except that it shared a wall with the laundry room. Mick and Pauline are the managers. The complex has a mix of studios, and obviously one and two bedroom units.

Aside from driving around and looking for signs, or knowing some property management companies and checking their websites, craigslist is really the only game in town.

Lucky for you I also know some property management companies.
posted by LionIndex at 10:49 PM on January 20, 2014

If you want to be near the Trolley line, Little Italy is a cool spot...lots of little shops, good bars, great farmers market, new Ballast Point just opened up and GREAT Italian food (props Mona Lisa's!) Golden Hill is an older neighborhood just south of the park (Balboa Park) with cheapish rent and great proximity to everything. Kensington is a hidden gem but more homes than rentals...although I looked at an awesome granny flat there. Bankers Hill, Cortez Hill, and Park West are other places to try. Be wary of cheap places advertised between Laurel st. and say, Hawthorn (in Midtown) - they are under the flight path.

Basically any neighborhood on the perimeter of the Park is a good bet in terms of reasonable rent, proximity to UCSD and safety. And hipster saturation. North Park has reached maximum mustache density and is due to implode IMHO.

A tip...when searching on CL in addition to "apartments" you might try "granny flat", "casita", and "bungalow"...these are usually detached from a main house but meant for one person.
posted by Z if for Zillah at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I guess I'll be the lone person suggesting you look at North County.

The towns of Encinitas and Leucadia are along beautiful coastlines, and very easy drives south to UCSD (about 15-20 minutes). Both of them have a quieter, counter-cultural vibe, with shops like Ducky Waddles, restaurants and coffeehouses like Ki's and Pannikin. I loved living in North County.

For instance, this listing looks like it's up your valley: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/apa/4297581400.html and this one in Leucadia: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/apa/4297800606.html
posted by mitschlag at 1:02 PM on January 21, 2014

« Older Movie suggestions please.   |   Can I easily configure a domain name that works... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.