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Best Neighborhoods in San Diego For Recent College Grads

Have you recently graduated from college and now wish to make a home in San Diego? Great choice. This area is perfect for young people looking to start out in life. From the exceptional weather and cultural attractions to the hot nightlife scene and thriving downtown areas, San Diego is a great place to settle after enjoying the pomp and circumstance of graduation. It’s also a hub for business. In fact, Forbes says San Diego is the best place to launch a startup.

If you’re moving here from another state or area of California, you may not know which neighborhoods are the best for young people like yourself. We are here to help with our guide on the best neighborhoods in San Diego for recent college grads. Here’s a look at each one. We can help you move to any one of them, as well as surrounding areas.

1.    Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter

Known affectionately as the heart of San Diego, the downtown area and Gaslamp Quarter attracts young professionals and students with its upbeat and trendy, yet pricey, digs. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, clubs, bars and pubs here, so if you like to party and have fun in between job hunting, this is certainly the place.

From dueling piano bars to chic night clubs, you can’t go wrong any night of the week when you head out to the Downtown or Gaslamp Quarter area. If your new job is located downtown, so much the better. You can clock out and head pretty much anywhere for happy hour.

2.    Pacific Beach

If you’re more of a laid-back, beachy person, Pacific Beach Drive and the Crystal Pier is best for you. Featuring a classic Southern California vibe, Pacific Beach (“PB” to the locals) is the place to be if you like to surf or bar hop. You’ll also find quite a few tourists here, though, so if that isn’t your scene, look elsewhere.

3.    Mission Beach/Mission Bay

Stretching over two miles of oceanfront, Mission Beach was built on a sandbar right smack between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. Here, you’ll find plenty of excellent restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, with relatively affordable rentals on either side of Mission Boulevard which is what divides Mission Beach from Mission Bay. If you’re an outdoorsy type person, you will love hanging out in Mission Bay Park, which is the largest waterpark like it in the nation, spanning 4,200 acres with 27 miles of shoreline. From swimming and sailing to jet skiing and sun bathing, there’s nothing you can’t do here.

Spend some time at the boardwalk and amusement park right on the beach, with Belmont Park featuring an old rickety wooden roller coaster called the Giant Dipper (est. 1925). Hop on the carousel, earn tickets in the arcade, eat fattening carnival food, and take in a round of miniature golf.

4.    Normal Heights

A great commuter neighborhood, Normal Heights is perfect if you take the highway to your job, as it’s located right near Interstates 805, 8, and 15. Despite its name, it’s anything but normal. It’s just as diverse and trendy as the rest of San Diego, with its claim to fame being Adams Avenue, also known as “Antiques Row.”

Browse bookstores, drink coffee in cafes, and peruse vintage shops. The live music and festival scene is hopping, where you’ll find Southern California’s biggest free music festival, The Adams Avenue Street Fair (annual event in September), Adams Avenue Unplugged, and Art Around Adams.

On the other side of the coin, Normal Heights also has plenty of dive bars if you just want to have a beer with friends and watch the game. From tacos to ethnic and vegetarian, your dining options are staggering.

5.    Ocean Beach

A surfer’s paradise, Ocean Beach is a laid-back, ocean-side neighborhood with bohemian vibes. Known for its wide, gorgeous, sandy beach, you’ll find this area on the south side of the mouth of the San Diego River. Home styles here are mostly comprised of older bungalows, but the walkability score here is high. From surf shops to boutiques, this area is a pleasant, quaint and relaxing neighborhood.

You’ll love swimming, sunbathing, and surfing here. Plus, there’s a pier you can fish off of. Got a dog? It’s perfect for them too, since the beach features a designated off-leash area.

6.    LaJolla

Ready to live your best bougie beach life? This hilly seaside area is wealthy and glamorous, so it’s not for the budget-tight college grad. But if you have the money to spend, by all means, make LaJolla your home. Still, if you look hard enough, there are some affordable places to rent here, if you don’t mind a small apartment, loft or studio with a couple of roommates.

Sure, there are lots of upscale shops and restaurants here, but if you’re more into fitness and outdoor living, check out the majestic seaside cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Here, you will find lots of hiking trails, amazing views, and even the La Jolla Underwater Park for kayakers, scuba divers, and snorkelers over 6,000 acres.

7.    Hillcrest

This LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood can be accessed from Downtown and Balboa Park in a matter of minutes. With safe, walkable streets, Hillcrest is abundant in restaurants, shops, and energetic nightlife. If you commute to downtown for work, this is an ideal location for you.

8. North Park

This is the place to be if you’re on a budget and need a reasonable rent, love craft brews within walking distance, and enjoy visiting eclectic art galleries. Popular among young professionals and students, North Park attracts a predominantly hipster crowd.

Contact Best Fit Movers

Because we’re based right here in San Diego, you can rest assured we know everything there is to know about this area. We know the streets, shortcuts, neighborhoods and climate to give you the best possible moving experience any day of the year. To get started, contact us for a free quote on your upcoming move. And congratulations on your graduation!


Author: Patrick Caramalac

Patrick Caramalac founded Best Fit Movers in 2017 when he saw a need in his community for professional local movers. The company operates from locations in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County, and specialize in residential and commercial moves, both local and long distance. With thousands of positive customer reviews, Best Fit Movers is one of the highest rated moving companies in California.





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