What You Need To Know Before Moving To San Diego

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San Diego might be the next best thing to paradise, but there are still some things you should know before heading here. Whether you’re looking to permanently relocate or just want to come for a visit, having some inside intel will improve your experience

Not that there’s much to improve, plenty of people plan on coming here for a visit and find themselves going local. No shame to it if that’s you!

Tech Economy

Tech Economy

San Diego has a booming economy that attracts a lot of successful tech graduates. The city’s average age is only 32, but it has a higher economic growth rate than the national average. If you have an idea for how to make the world better or think that you could improve an existing industry, this is the place to be.

Cost of Living

Cost of Living

While the economy might be booming, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses. San Diego might not be as expensive as San Francisco or New York, but the cost of living is still higher than the national average. It’s pretty normal to spend more than a thousand dollars on a single room apartment, so unless you’re already wealthy, you may want to line up work before moving out.

Utilities and food can also be more expensive here, so plan on slightly larger bills unless you’re coming from an even more expensive city. Even visitors should be prepared for higher restaurant bills and hotel costs, since San Diego is a popular tourist destination and that higher cost of living gets passed on to our guests.

Free Wifi

Free Wifi

Asa major tech city, San Diego has invested a lot in public infrastructure that supports the growing industry and will make the city an even more important tech hub in the future.

The city sports an impressive 250 acres of free, publicly available, wifi. A lot of the funding for all that wifi and the supporting infrastructure comes from the tech business community.



San Diego is known for some of the mildest climate and best weather in the country. It’s sunny most of the time, and, if you’re moving here, you can go ahead and leave that winter gear behind. Unless you want to head up into the nearby mountains of course.

Summer clothing and occasionally some light layering will make sure you’re comfortable year-round. Whether you spend most of your time indoors or out, light breathable clothing is a must.

Beware the June-gloom though. When you’re used to practically constant sun, the cloudy weather in May and June can get a little frustrating. Visitors should know that those months can be a little darker than the San Diego norm. So, if you’re coming for the good weather, you may want to choose a different month.

About the Drought

About the Drought

Of course, there is one big downside to being a perpetually sunny city, the California drought is no joke. Being water-wise is incredibly important, whether you’re a full-time resident or only visiting. Unlike other cities, water conservation is the norm for everyone, not just environmentalists and hippies.

It’s important to take reasonable steps to limit your water consumption. Xeric-scaping, or creating low-water consumption landscapes, is as important for your yard as it is for public parks and gardens. Everyone limits shower length and re-usable water bottles are the green options and the norm.

Drought-shaming is a real thing here, especially in years with more severe drought conditions. Take some time to do a little research if you want to avoid your new friends and coworkers pointing out excessive water use.

Traffic and Public Transit

Traffic and Public Transit

Pretty much everyone in San Diego owns a car, which can make traffic a bit of a challenge. If you’re visiting or moving from a smaller area, you should probably plan on staying in the slow lane for a while. Also, plan on extra transit time. We’re not as traffic-heavy as some cities, but the congestion can be a real slow down during rush hour.

There is plenty of public transit, from the trolley system to light rail and busses. But, you’ll quickly discover that San Diego might be a very walkable city, but it’s public transit still needs some improvement.

You’ll be able to get from place to place, but plan some extra time, no matter what transportation you use.

Speaking of Pedestrians

Speaking of Pedestrians

San Diego is built on a grid network with clearly named and numbered streets. That makes it an easy city to navigate, whether you’re behind the wheel of a car or walking. But if you’re walking, there are some rules you should follow.

After all, in a city as crowded as this one, a little obstruction on the sidewalks can leave to a big pedestrian traffic jam.

Keep to the right, just as if you were driving. Keep moving, and try not to crowd the sidewalk with big groups walking side-by-side.

If you do need to stop moving on the sidewalks, step off to the side. People are not shy about telling you that you’re blocking their way, even if they don’t have the New York accent. I’m walking here!

Pandas and Seals!


The San Diego Zoo is a fantastic destination no matter your age. The Zoo is famous for its animals and beautiful layout. But it’s also one of the best places in the United States if you’re a panda lover. Taking a visit to the zoo, and the surrounding Balboa Park is a fantastic way to get out of the house for a few hours.

Pandas not your thing? Don’t worry, San Diego has more wildlife to offer than just the zoo. La Jolla Cove is home to seals as well. Just make sure you follow all the rules and posted warnings if you decide to visit there.

No photo, visit, or walk is worth disturbing the seals, especially since lots of human disturbance can affect their health and might even make the seal population seek a new home.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets

Want fresh food like you live in the country, or just looking to lower your food bills a little? San Diego is full of large and varied farmers’ markets. All the markets are a fantastic opportunity to buy some of the freshest produce anywhere. The finest ingredients can take your home-cooking to the next level.

Plus, the affordable prices can save a serious chunk of change, especially if you replace some of your restaurant dining with home-cooked meals.

Not to mention that the farmers’ markets sell a lot more than just fresh produce. Depending on the market, you can also get fresh cut flowers, artisan goods, and delicious snacks while shopping the different stalls. Every week is a little different, and it’s worth trying to make it out to several different farmers’ markets through the year.

Delicious Mexican Cuisine

Delicious Mexican Cuisine

With the border so close by, it’s no surprise that delicious, authentic Mexican food can be found around every corner. Of course, San Diego has its fair share of Americanized Mexican cuisine as well, but the authentic food is so plentiful you could hardly want it.

Tacos. Seriously. There are tacos for every occasion, and they are mouthwateringly delicious. You might get sick of how popular and common tacos are here. Well, it is possible. Theoretically. You want a taco?

Craft Beer

Craft Beer

Speaking of delicious things in San Diego, have we mentioned the craft beer. Some people call San Diego the Craft Beer Capital of the World, and there are good reasons for the designation. San Diego has a lot of craft beer breweries and you can generally get a selection of them wherever you go out.

You might even see some of the local craft beer labels recommended as great companion drinks for than authentic Mexican cuisine we were talking about earlier.

Even if you aren’t a beer person, there are a few varieties, especially the more unique and different types, that you should make a point of trying. Anyone who loves craft beer in the city can point you in the right direction.

Mexican Day Trips

Mexican Day Trips

There is another huge advantage that comes with living this close to the Southern border, of course. Mexico is a comfortable drive away, and you can easily day-trip to our southern neighbor whenever you feel like it.

Tijuana isn’t as frightening as everyone says, we promise. It can be a fantastic location to go spend some time away from San Diego. Or, spend some time touring the local Mexican wine country, or any number of other interesting attractions.

Our closeness to the border also means that San Diego is a melting pot of different cultures, but heavily influenced by the local Mexican community and culture. That’s part of what keeps the Mexican food so delicious and adds a lot of character to the city and its celebrations.

Earthquakes, Skin Care, and Beach Signs


The last thing you need to know about living in San Diego is that there are some things you’ll need to get used to. Earthquakes are just a part of life here. Most of them aren’t that damaging, but you still need to protect yourself from falling items and debris.

You’ll also need to get used to taking special care of your skin unless you want to age prematurely. Adopt a moisturizing routine, learn to put on sunscreen before every outing, and make space for your new and growing hat collection. These precautions will hold off some of the premature wrinkles, age spots, and other problems that come with living in the intense year-round sun.

Of course, you’ll want to spend some time on San Diego’s gorgeous beaches. But you need to pay attention to the signs on the beach, any posted warnings, and the advice of your lifeguards.

Unless you want a bad encounter with the surfers or want to take your chances with the sometimes dangerous ocean current, you’ll learn to check and listen to all signs and reports on San Diego’s fantastic beaches.

Of course, once you’ve learned about all the warnings and precautions for a safe trip to the beach, you’ll be able to have a fantastic time. You might even pick up surfing or snorkeling yourself!

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