The Best Suburbs in San Diego

The Best Suburbs in San Diego

Today we’re diving into the best suburbs in San Diego. If you’re thinking of making a move to San Diego County like my recent clients, Amy and Mike, be sure to keep reading and watching for help deciding which suburb is right for you!


Known as “the city in the country” Poway offers something for everyone. Be sure to visit the charming Old Poway Park that has an old train you can ride, beautiful trees, museums, and shops that can make for a day of family fun. Poway is probably best known for the Poway Unified School District, which is an award-winning school district not just in San Diego, but in the State of California. Poway homes can range from small two-bedroom homes to huge estates, so there are a variety of real estate options in this area!

Rancho Peñasquitos/ Torrey Highlands

This is the suburb that I live in and we love this community because there is a ton to do outside! We have lots of hiking and biking trails all over the place, but in particular the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is great for exploring. Rancho Peñasquitos/Torrey Highlands is a really great place to raise kids if you want to keep them active year-round. Homes are also affordable by San Diego standards; you can find a single-family home starting in the $700,000 range. This community is also very centrally located; it is about a twenty-minute commute to Downtown San Diego and about fifteen minutes to the beach. If you’d like to learn more about this area, click here to watch my Rancho Peñasquitos Neighborhood Tour.

Scripps Ranch

Scripps Ranch has a similar feel to Rancho Peñasquitos. It’s a newer neighborhood with great schools, restaurants, and many families living in this area. If you are a military family making the move to San Diego, Scripps Ranch is also close to the Miramar Military Base. Miramar Lake is also close by, which is a fun area to explore with kids, too.

Chula Vista

Fun fact- Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County! Located just nine miles southeast of downtown, Chula Vista is a great place to live if you work in Downtown San Diego or Little Italy. Chula Vista is very family friendly with lots of attractions, like the North Island Credit Amphitheatre that hosts many concerts throughout the year and Aquatica Waterpark. This is probably one of the most affordable suburbs in San Diego – the median home price for a single-family home in Chula Vista is just $550,000.


Carlsbad is one of my favorite areas of San Diego. They have some awesome restaurants in the Carlsbad Village, beautiful beaches, and an outstanding school district. If you’re into the brewery scene, head just a little east of Carlsbad to Vista, which is home to some of San Diego’s best breweries like Mother Earth and Belching Beaver. Legoland California is also located in Carlsbad, which is a great place to check out with kids.


This is a suburb I haven’t mentioned often on Off the 56, but it’s another hidden gem in San Diego County. Santee is located just eighteen miles east of Downtown San Diego. It’s a very outdoorsy community due in part to the 190-acre Santee Lakes Park that has seven recycled water lakes stocked with fish year round! You can go camping, rent boats, and of course, fish. In addition, Santee also has some small farms and equestrian facilities, which makes it perfect for this who want to lead an active lifestyle. It has a small-town feel, with lots of locally-owned businesses and family-oriented activities. Like Chula Vista, it’s also one of the more affordable areas of San Diego. Santee’s median home price Is about $535,000 for a single-family home.

Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley is a suburb known for its great school districts and beautiful homes. Cathedral Catholic, Torrey Pines High School, and Canyon Crest Academy are always ranked in the top thirty best schools in California. Due to the great school district and the central location near the beach, the median home price is around $1,000,000. If you’d like to learn more about Carmel Valley, watch my Carmel Valley Neighborhood Tour here.

That concludes my list of the best suburbs in San Diego! Other areas to mention that I didn’t cover in this video are all the beach communities, San Marcos, La Mesa, Del Sur, 4S Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, and so many more! If you’re making a move to San Diego, contact me today! I would love to help you find the best neighborhood for you and your family.

Cost of Living in San Diego vs Los Angeles

Cost of Living in San Diego vs Los Angeles

Oh the great Southern California debate! No, we’re not talking about which taco shop is best, we’re talking about whether it’s better to live in San Diego or Los Angeles! Specifically, we’re talking about the differences in the cost of living in these two cities, which is an important consideration if you’re deciding which city to call home in Southern California.


Let’s start with some population stats. The City of San Diego is home to about 1.4 million people and the entire county of San Diego has around 3.38 million people. The City of Los Angeles has 3.9 million residents and the county of L.A. has 10 million people, making Los Angeles about three times as big as San Diego! (Keep this in mind as we go through each factor that differentiates these two cities!)

Cost of Living

Los Angeles is about 8.2% more expensive overall than San Diego. The median home price in Los Angeles is 6.8% higher than it is in San Diego. This may not sound like a huge difference, but it can certainly add up in the long run! If we take a look at housing rental prices, San Diego averages $2,393 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment vs. $2,820 for a comparable unit in Los Angeles. Sales tax is also a little higher In Los Angeles, especially in certain areas of the city, while property taxes are about the same.


The average cost for childcare in San Diego is slightly higher than its northern neighbor. The average cost in San Diego comes to $1,119 per month vs. $1,064 per month in Los Angeles. These prices can vary depending on the neighborhood and what kind of childcare option you choose.


Keep in mind that both cities are very car-centric, so gas prices are something to keep in mind while budgeting. Although gas prices change from week to week, the average gas price in San Diego is $3.53 a gallon and Los Angeles’ average price is $3.64 a gallon.

Internet Prices

We all need WiFi! The average internet price in San Diego is $58 a month, and L.A. is slightly higher at $63 a month.


If you’re a moviegoer like me, you’ll appreciate this stat! In San Diego County, movie tickets cost on average $14.12 per ticket and in Los Angeles County prices average $ 16.10 a ticket. Again, this can vary depending on what theatre you choose or the time of day. But you could save about $2 a movie in San Diego!

Job Market

The job market is another important topic to cover. The average salary in San Diego County is $83,000 a year and Los Angeles’ average salary is $70,000. Obviously a lot depends on your profession and industry, but living in San Diego means you could actually be taking home more money than if you lived in Los Angeles.

Generational Stats

This one came as a bit of a surprise to me! San Diego is ranked #3 in the United States for the size of its millennial population; that’s 27% of our overall population in San Diego County! Though Los Angeles is not far behind us, with 25% of their population being Millennials.

Entertainment Industry

If you’re looking to work in the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is the obvious winner! In fact, Los Angeles is ranked the #1 entertainment location in the United States. San Diego, not so much.

Commute Time

Traffic is a hot topic here in Southern California! The average commute time in San Diego County is 22 minutes while Los Angeles has an average commute time of 29 minutes. I thought this gap would be larger, but take it from me- Los Angeles definitely has the worst traffic by far!

Walk Score

Another surprise is that the walk score in Los Angeles is actually higher than in San Diego! San Diego scored a 53 and Los Angeles scored a 68. Walk scores are based out of 100. These numbers of course depend on the neighborhood you live in, but both cities are trying to improve their walkability and public transportation to cut down on those long traffic commute times!

Have you lived in both Los Angeles and San Diego like me? Leave me a comment below and let me know which city you prefer and if any of these stats surprised you!

Things to Know Before Moving to San Diego

Things to Know Before Moving to San Diego

If you’re thinking of moving to San Diego there are definitely a few things to know before taking the plunge. Today, we’re sharing some common misconceptions, facts, and maybe a few secrets about living in San Diego!

The Weather

Many people from other parts of the country believe that San Diego is sunny all the time – which is not true! In fact, we have two months that have special names just to prove it; May Grey and June Gloom. Thanks to our location on the coast, the marine layer brings a heavy layer of clouds during this part of the year, causing many days with gloomy weather and cooler temps. Surprisingly, the warmest time of the year is usually in the fall!

More Weather

San Diego has a reported 260 days of sunshine per year. Pretty awesome, right? But we recommend investing in some good sunglasses before you move here. In fact, investing in sun protection for your whole body is a great idea; think sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and lightweight long sleeve shirts. You should also be prepared to send your kids to school with sunblock as most schools in San Diego are outside and the kids get to play under the sun all year long.

One More Thing About the Weather!

It doesn’t rain a lot here, but when it does rain, people tend to forget how to drive. Even if it’s just a light drizzle, be prepared for extra traffic and a few accidents along the way. We recommend staying home on these rainy days if you can!

Laid Back San Diego

Life in San Diego moves a little slower. Generally, people are more laid back here and not in a rush like in Los Angeles or some of the major cities on the East Coast. This is something to keep in mind if you’re coming from one of those big cities! Service might be a little slower and people may conduct themselves in a more relaxed way than you’re used to. It’s best to just mentally prepare yourself and go with the flow.

Not a Sports Town

This may come as a surprise to some, but San Diego isn’t a big sports town. The San Diego Chargers recently left us for Los Angeles, but we do still have The Padres! However, you’ll quickly learn that most of the Padre’s fans are just going to enjoy Petco Park and have a beer!

Military Life

San Diego is a big military city! In fact, 7.6% of our population consists of military personnel. We are home to many military bases including Camp Pendleton, Coronado, and Miramar. This brings people from all over the country which gives San Diego an awesome mix of backgrounds and cultures.


We might not be on par with New York City, but we have some awesome food here in San Diego County. Our Mexican food in particular is really something special! But we’ve got more than just great Mexican food. Yelp ranked San Diego the #5 city in the US for foodies! And we have over hundred craft breweries in San Diego – Thrillist actually ranked us the #2 Beer City in the US.

San Diego is Spread Out

Before you visit San Diego, you might not realize how big and spread out San Diego County is. The city of San Diego is home to about 1 million people, but the county itself is home to about 3 million people! So before you move or visit, consider what things you want to be close to or what lifestyle you prefer. If you’re a beach person, you might want to be closer to the water. But if you love nature and hiking/biking, you might be happy living more inland.

We hope you enjoyed our Thing to Know Before Moving to San Diego video! Did you learn anything today? Let us know in the comments! And as always, if you’re thinking of making the move, reach out to us. We would love to help find the perfect home in San Diego for you!

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