San Diego

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Budget will be a primary factor in your location.  Beyond that there is a lot of personal choices that go into such a decission.  

If you like the urban culture then maybe downtown

If you like young party scenes then maybe PB and MB

If you like upper class then Rancho Santa Fey, La Jolla, Coronado

If you like liberal (think Berkeley) then OB, Hillcrest, north park   

If you like rural city in county feel with great community think Poway or Bonita

If you like casual upper class but not super upper class beach then Encinitas, Carlsbad, del Mar

I live in Poway and love it but I may retire to Encinitas by Moonlight Bay.

In summary you are the only one that can determine best area for you.  Fortunately San Diego has an area appropriate for virtually everyone; paying for it may be a different story.  Prices in most of these areas will be close to or in excess of $1m for average (compared to other part of the country) type homes (significantly higher for areas I listed as upper class).

Good luck

Hi Vernalene - 

I was born and raised in La Jolla (Bird Rock), and live here now. Let me know if you have any specific questions about the area - schools, traffic, commuting, etc.

Greg

I agree with @Dan Heuschele , even do I didn't grow up in San Diego my family had a vacation home in Rancho Santa Fe, and its very upper class, clean but rural. ideal for large family or animal lovers.

I studied in UCSD so La Jolla, is a amazing place also it could be troubling getting in and out at rush hour, when it came down for me to choose a place to settle down I moved to Carlsbad, its clean, friendly great schools, and by the beach.

@Account Closed made me realize that I did not cover schools.  Most school districts have some good schools but some school districts are strong across the board.  Top 5 school districts are 1) Poway (there is no school district in the state that is bigger than Poway school district that ranks as high as Poway) 2) San Dieguito Union High, 3) Coronado, 4) San Marcos (I found this surprising), and 5) Carlsbad (as Paul indicated it has good schools).

Before I looked it up I had not realized San Marcos school district ranked so high.  It is a lower demographic (cheaper houses) than the other top 5 choices.   So it is likely the best school district with respect to the price of the home in San Diego.

As indicated earlier I live in Poway.  The elementary schools have more parent volunteers than they can typically use.  Middle school and high schools have strong booster organizations (including foundation)  that do various fund raising and strong PTAs.

@Dan Heuschele San Marcos has such great schools because of the San Elijo area I think, even some kids from east Carlsbad, attended San Marcos High and San Elijo middle, San Elijo is by far I think if you have little kids want a new home and your budget is mid high like 600-700k you can get a great house, in utopia like area. best value for your buck in overall, view, school, safe, new construction, terrible Monthly fees downside

I was born and raised in SD, lived almost everywhere. @Dan Heuschele is generally spot on. I would note that there was one big omission, as usually happens in conversations of where to live in San Diego. Most people focus on downtown and north. The South Bay has areas other than Bonita with gorgeous homes and neighborhoods! East Chula Vista for example still has (relatively) affordable large newer houses, yes actual houses with large yards. The area is quiet and safe, new shopping centers, restaurants etc. People rarely mention CV and the South Bay because of the higher population of hispanic community. It's a shame because it's a great place to consider if you're looking to buy a home and there's nothing wrong with the area. I lived there many years and never ever felt unsafe. I currently live in Point Loma (near, but not in, OB) and have to say this is certainly the sketchiest area in SD I've lived in so far. Lot's of homeless people and drug addicts. Almost mugged once (saved by a bystander), car was stolen, seen the local CVS running after shop lifters multiple times etc. The crime maps: https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/san-diego/crime

@Esmeralda Casas-Silva Right on about South county! My sister lives in an area called Eastlake in Chula Vista and she loves it. Great schools, really nice houses, good prices too. She chose to live there because of the schools, mostly, but she also could afford a gorgeous house there which wasn't happening in other areas. 

@Eric R. Dehner

This thread is over four years old. You might have better luck starting a new post. I will ask around to see if any of my crew works down in North Park. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

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