California dreamin' (or specifically, San Diego)
April 19, 2021 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Seeking tips and advice about relocating to the greater San Diego area.

You're a mid-20's single dude who lives in the greater San Diego area and is able to make a decent living in some aspect of music production (sound engineer/recording studio type of work). You may have a second job/side hustle, or maybe perform a bit- something else to make ends meet.

I'm just like you but I live in the boring Midwest. Can I make the move, and make it work?

Is there work to be had in that industry? Or is the job and housing landscape out there too difficult for a newcomer to navigate?

What are rents like for a decent 1 BR apartment? What neighborhoods/suburbs are best bets (or should be avoided)? Are there resources for this sort of transition that can be leveraged? All advice welcome.
posted by I_Love_Bananas to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Check Craigslist for rents. You're looking at around $1400 minimum for a 1BR, and you won't be anyplace cool. How much are you expecting to pay? Your neighborhood recommendations will really depend on that.
posted by LionIndex at 5:40 PM on April 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When we were moving from the Chicago area to California, I found the city-data forums to be both helpful and, well, a bit frightening (in the way that many forums full of strongly opinionated people can be). Still, I recommend at least giving them a skim.
posted by sm1tten at 5:50 PM on April 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm going to recommend my neighborhood: Linda Vista. It's an older, multi-ethnic neighborhood with apartments and houses that are on the less-expensive side. Best thing, in my opinion, is that you'll mostly avoid rush hour traffic regardless of where you work. (LV is just above Mission Valley, so you are either a short commute to most places, like the valley or downtown, or going the opposite direction of the rush hour traffic mornings and evenings.) Easy access to I-8, I-163, I-15 and I-5, so you really aren't that far from anywhere. Also, I live on the edge of a canyon, so it's pretty quiet and there's even wildlife.
posted by SPrintF at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Do a Google Maps (...or equivalent) search for Balboa Park. All of the neighborhoods surrounding the park are where a 20-something would want to live. Restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, bike shops, night life, etc. On the North and West of the Park, the neighborhoods are gentrifying into single family homes, as the aging cool kids start to have kids of their own.

As you get farther from the park, rents get a little bit cheaper, until you hit the suburbs. There are still some great deals to be had, though.

Also, don't forget to look into geography. San Diego has terrible public transit, and is quite spread out, but is very bike-friendly. Except! Most of the city proper is built on Mesas with deep canyons between them.

Mission Valley - as mentioned by SPrintF - is a great neighborhood, but is at the bottom of a steep hill. When they say Linda Vista is "above" Mission Valley, this isn't a N/S cardinal direction thing. It means that it's a steep climb of 350 vertical feet of elevation.
posted by Anoplura at 11:08 PM on April 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

For neighborhoods add Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach (a.k.a. OB and PB) to your list if you want the beach living experience. I'll also put in a plug for my old neighborhood City Heights, which is part of the area I lovingly refer to as Greater Snorthpark Heightscrest (Hillcrest, Mission Hills, University Heights, Normal Heights, North Park, South Park, Normal Heights, City Heights) but has a more mixed population and somewhat lower housing prices because it's not considered as trendy.

Craigslist remains the best source of information about the rental market.

I never worked in or near your industry when I lived in San Diego, but I'll give the same hard-earned advice I give to anyone considering a move there: if you arrive without a job offer in hand, aim to have at least six months of conservatively calculated living expenses saved up as it's a competitive market and cost of living is high relative to salaries due to the "sunshine tax".
posted by 4rtemis at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

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