Should you live in Downtown San Diego? I can tell you that some people love it, other not so much. In this blog post, I’m going to start off by giving you 5 things you should know about living in Downtown San Diego.
Downtown San Diego is a Small City
The first thing to know about living in Downtown San Diego is going to be it’s a very small city. Especially compared to other major cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, you get the idea. If you have lived in other major cities, it’s most likely going to feel tiny. That’s one of things I love about it. Let’s say I’m in Little Italy and I want to shoot over to east Village to catch a San Diego Padres game. Little Italy is basically about as far as you can get from one end to East Village (which is the other end of the city). It’s a trip across the entire city. You are going to have several options. You can walk. A walk from Little Italy to East Village will take you about 30 minutes or so. If you would prefer an Uber or Lyft, you are looking at probably 7 or 8 minutes. Same thing for hoping on an electric scooter (which are available everywhere in the city), about 7-8 minutes. It’s a super easy city to travel and get around in.
Downtown San Diego has Seven Neighborhoods
The second thing to know is there are 7 distinct neighborhoods that make up Downtown San Diego. The Columbia District, Cortez Hill, Little Italy, East Village, Bankers Hill, Core, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the Marina District. You can live in all of them except Core. I’m going to give you a brief breakdown for each one:
The Columbia District
The Columbia District is going to be the iconic high rises across the west side skyline. Most, but not all, will be on or close to coast highway. They are the most exclusive buildings and for the most part, the most expensive condos in the entire city. You not only have amazing views from many of the condos, you are also in located right next to Little Italy and right on the Bay for easy access to the Bay Walk and all the other fun things to do along San Diego Bay. Great place to live but comes with a hefty price tag.
The Marina District
The Marina District is going to be a super popular area right between the Gaslamp Quarter and the Columbia District. It has some very expensive condo options similar to the Columbia District but also has more affordable options. If I had to pick one of the areas in the city as being the most family friendly, it would be the Marina District. There are parks, you have the Ralph’s grocery store right there as well. It’s much quieter than the Gaslamp Quarter but you can easily walk in and enjoy the high energy if you want to. It’s right next to the San Diego Convention Center and very close to Seaport Village and the Headquarters for shopping and restaurants if you want an alternative to the Gaslamp.
Little Italy is the place to be. I’m probably a little biased but it is extremely popular right now and continues to grow. It has the best collection of great restaurants right now (sorry Gaslamp), maybe in the entire San Diego. It’s up there at least. The outdoor set ups (from the virus) right now are all still in place. Your choices for great Italian food, steak, seafood, other combinations, are incredible. The main drag is going to be India Street. Head to India and West Date Street if you want to walk around and check it out. There will be condos to live in that are affordable (at least by Downtown San Diego standards) and many apartments for rent. You don’t get the high rises you do in other parts of the city because Little Italy is so close to the airport and a High Rise could potentially interfere with the landing or take offs of the airplanes.
The thing to know about East Village is it is a huge place. It is the largest of the neighborhoods in Downtown San Diego by far. When people talk about the homeless and East Village being gross, they are usually talking about the part of East Village to the East and closest to the 5 freeway. The reason you tend to get a concentration of homeless there is that is where a lot of the city homeless facilities and city services are located. I’m talking 15th, 16th, and 17th near island and imperial. The most desirable part to live in is near Petco Park near 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, around island and J. You will find a mix of high rise and mid-rise condos. The price points range from luxury to the regular price range. There are also a ton of new apartments for rent that have opened recently. Many rental options from individual owners or big apartment companies.
Cortez Hill is located up on Cortez Hill. It’s a smaller area. It would be my pick for the second most family friendly neighborhood in Downtown San Diego (behind the Marina District). It’s made up of apartments and condos. Most of the price points are average for Downtown San Diego, some on the lower side for sale and for rents. There is a super friendly family park with a playground up there called Tweet Street Linear Park. Just keep in mind, when living in or moving to Cortez Hill, take notice of where there 5 freeway is relative to your windows. Freeway noise can be loud up there because it sits right on the Freeway. Also, it’s walkable to all the parts of Downtown San Diego but keep in mind the name. Cortez Hill. You will walk down hill to everything but coming home will always be uphill. Some parts are extremely steep.
Next on the list if Bankers Hill. The is an interesting part to Downtown San Diego because it is actually cut off by the 5 freeway and located to the North of the city. It really does not feel like you are in the city at all when you spend time or live in Bankers hill. Prices are average for condos, homes, and for apartments to rent. Some of the homes have amazing views of the bay and ocean and the incredible city lights. Something to watch out for up here is going to be noise from the Airplanes landing at the airport. You are right in the path of all the airplanes and air traffic in some of the homes and condos. It can be extremely noisy. If you are sensitive to noise, this is not the place for you. The area is going to be walkable. You will not only have the city options for shops and restaurants, you will also Hillcrest and Mission Hills that are within walking distance.
For the final neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, lets talk about Core. Unless you are going to work, maybe court, the concourse possibly, the only reason you would be in the Columbia District is you are driving or walking through. The are almost no options to live here.
That was a lot but until you know the neighborhoods, you don’t know Downtown San Diego. Let’s get back to it and hop into thing to know number three.
Downtown San Diego is a Clean City
Downtown San Diego is a clean city, especially compared to other major cities. Most of the city sidewalks are cleaned and power washed at least once a month. The Gaslamp Quarter gets power washed once a week. When you hear people complaining about smells and that kind of stuff, it probably means it getting close to the power wash. Clean and safe San Diego does the cleaning. They also clear up graffiti, assist with the homeless, service the trash pickup, they do a great job in keeping the city clean. The Little Italy Association of San Diego is in charge of keeping Little Italy clean.
Downtown San Diego has Transportation Options
Number four is going to be you have options as far as transportation. Your number one option is going to be walking. You can walk anywhere in Downtown San Diego. You have the electric scooter option also. I use these all the time in addition to my electric skateboard. There seems to be an endless supply and selection of electric scooter options. Just be safe, they are not toys. Don ‘ride against the flow of traffic, don’t ride two people to a scooter, and most importantly don’t ride let kids hitch a ride with you or under age riders ride. You also have the trolley as an option which can take you throughout San Diego and you have the train station and Amtrak Santa Fe Depot. Not to mention you are 5 minutes from the international airport.
Downtown San Diego is a Fun Place to Live
And thing to know number 5 is going to be it’s a super fun place to live. You have a wide range of ages as far as residents. There are great restaurants, shops, museums, galleries, cafes, bars, nigh clubs, options for boating on the water, Coronado is a short ferry trip away. It’s also a tourist destination so you have all those tourist type activities you can enjoy as well. The San Diego Zoo is within walking distance but a short Uber ride would be more realistic. So many amazing things to do. Living here never gets old.
Looking for help buying, selling, or investing in San Diego real estate? Complete the form below to get started: