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Best Neighborhoods In San Diego For Families

San Diego is located just south of Los Angeles and north of the US-Mexico border with the jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean on the west. Home to more than 1.4 million people, the Californian city is one of the top cities in the country to settle down for young families and those looking for work with great career opportunities available. Its stunning natural beauty also makes it a popular destination among retirees. The beach city has so much to offer to the people living here like the high quality of life, pleasant weather throughout the year, top-rated schools and universities, warm and friendly residents, restaurants, bars, festivals, and professional sports teams to cheer for.

If you’re hunting for a neighborhood in the new city, we’ve listed seven of the best neighborhoods in San Diego that are suited for families. Keep reading to know the right one for you!


Best Neighborhoods In San Diego For Families

  1. North Park
  2. Hillcrest
  3. Del Mar Heights
  4. Ocean Beach
  5. Little Italy
  6. Carmel Valley
  7. La Jolla

North Park

Located close to the Downtown area, North Park has a population of around 35,000 and is surrounded by Park Boulevard, University Heights, Florida Canyon, Hillcrest, Balboa Park, Switzer Canyon, South Park, City Heights, and Interstate 805. Spreading across three miles, North Park is where everything is accessible within a walking distance and hence, you won’t feel the need to take out your car every time. The entire neighborhood is pretty easy to navigate through and the people of the close-knit community are really friendly and helpful. As far as housing is concerned, there are various options such as traditional homes, stylish condos, apartment buildings, and single-family homes. One of the major employers in the area is Scripps Mercy Hospital.

In case you’re worried about the educational institutions in North Park, there are a plethora of schools like Jefferson Elementary, Garfield Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Alba Middle School, St Augustine High School, and The Charter School of San Diego. In addition, you’ll get to enjoy a variety of restaurants, breweries, bars, cafes, and shopping centers. The neighborhood organizes numerous events from time to time including the Festival of Arts, Ray at Night, and Farmers’ Market. Also, don’t forget to visit the North Park Recreation Center and the San Diego Indoor Soccer Center when you get there.

Median Home Value: $893.500

Monthly Rent: $2,188

Median Household Income: $76,072


Located a few miles north of Downtown San Diego, Hillcrest is among the oldest neighborhoods in the city. It has a population of around 15,250 and is bordered by Balboa Park, the Mission Valley neighborhood, and Park Boulevard. Known for its highly walkable streets, diversity, and culture, Hillcrest is the most friendly neighborhood in the city. A major plus point of this area is its strong support for the LGBTQ+ community which started settling down in Hillcrest in the 1970s. One of the biggest pride parades in the country takes place right here in this neighborhood every year and it’s called the San Diego Pride. Make sure to experience it if and when you move in.

Hillcrest boasts great public and private schools for your children’s education and growth. It is served by the San Diego Unified School District. A few of the best ones are Florence Elementary School, Roosevelt International Middle School, UC San Diego, and Point Loma High School. Although there are different farmers’ markets every now and then, the one held on Sundays is the best. Public attractions that you would love are Balboa Park, Marston House Museum, and San Diego Zoo. The restaurants in the area deserve a special mention, some of which are Bombay Exotic Cuisine of India, Celedon Royalty Thai, and Bronx Pizza.

Median Home Value: $697,500

Monthly Rent: $2,895

Median Household Income: $78,338


Del Mar Heights

With a population of more than 10,000, Del Mar Heights is a lavish neighborhood in San Diego. It’s surrounded by Solana Beach in the north, North City and Carmel Valley in the east, Del Mar Town in the west, and Torrey Pines in the south. Just minutes away from the beautiful beach, Del Mar Heights is preferred and loved by families due to the stunning scenic beauty it offers, the highly walkable streets, excellent schools, and safety. The crime rate in the area is around 55% lower than the national average. With a tight-knit community, the neighborhood has multiple options when it comes to housing, such as townhouses, apartment buildings, condos, single-family homes, and beautiful beach properties.

You don’t need to stress over the education of your children. The high school graduation rate in this neighborhood is 16% higher than that in the entire country. The Del Mar Union School District serves the area with the best schools being Del Mar Hills Elementary School, Del Mar Heights Elementary School, and Carmel Valley Middle School. There are numerous parks for kids as well like the Torrey-Pines State Reserve, Crest Canyon Open Space Park, and the Powerhouse Park. Additionally, a fest called The San Diego County Fair is organized in the area every year.

Median Home Value: $2,325,000

Monthly Rent: $2,080

Median Household Income: $162,305

Ocean Beach

As the name suggests, Ocean Beach is located on the shores of the stunning Pacific Ocean and is bordered by the San Diego River, Interstate 8, Mission Bay, and Point Loma. Around 7 miles away from the Downtown area, Ocean Beach is home to around 11,500 people. With an unbelievably relaxed environment and all the amenities and facilities available, you’ll get to experience the best of both worlds. The most attractive factor of Ocean Beach is its spellbinding beaches but it’s also a highly desirable area for families. If you’re wondering why families, it’s because of the presence of a number of high-quality schools and the fact that the crime rate is low in this neighborhood.

You’ll have a huge number of schools to choose from for your children’s education, for example, Silver Gate Elementary School, Sunset View Elementary School, Ocean Beach Elementary School, and Correia Middle School. The restaurants, hotels, and local retailers are the places where you can find amazing job opportunities. The housing options in the neighborhood are single-family homes of any size you are looking for along with condos, townhouses, and beautiful bungalows. Popular recreational activities include surfing, swimming, sun-bathing, shopping, dining, and enjoying the energetic nightlife. You could visit the Robb Field Skate Park and try skating if the last time you did it was in your childhood. The Ocean Beach Tide Pools Nature Preserve is also a must-visit with your family.

Median Home Value: $850,000

Monthly Rent: $2,756

Median Household Income: $84,190


Little Italy

With a population of close to 4,000, Little Italy is located in the northwestern part of the city near Embarcadero and the San Diego International Airport. The neighborhood is surrounded by some amazing areas like Middletown, Columbia, Bankers Hill, and Cortez Hill. Established in the 1920s, Little Italy is a scenic neighborhood that is full of zest today but till about a few decades ago, a large number of Italian families were dependent mainly on the tuna fishing industry. Hundreds of people, especially families and young professionals, move to this neighborhood every year as it offers them all the amenities that they look for, its rich culture in particular. As far as housing is concerned, you’ll get a few options to choose from like condos, single-family homes, townhouses, and mansions. The real estate prices are high and as a result, most people prefer to become renters in Little Italy.

Talking about the education options, the best schools and colleges in the area are Washington Elementary School, ICOHS College, and California International Business University. If you’re moving in to find work, you might want to consider the top employers like Solar Turbines and the San Diego County Clerk’s Office. The healthcare sector is among the best-performing sectors in the neighborhood. There are a huge number of fancy restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, art galleries, clubs, boutiques, and shopping centers for your enjoyment. You’ll find a farmers’ market called Mercato every Sunday. Plus, there are events like Mission Federal ArtWalk and the Stickball Tournament. You can definitely consider finding a home in Little Italy, especially if you’re moving to San Diego with your family.

Median Home Value: $683,000

Monthly Rent: $2,895

Median Household Income: $71,077

See Also: Leaving San Diego? 5 Best Places to Move from San Diego

Carmel Valley

Located close to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, Carmel Valley is home to around 56,740 people. The neighborhood is bordered by North City Future Urbanizing Area, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Del Mar Mesa, and Interstate 5. Established in 1975, Carmel Valley is considered one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego where people can live comfortably and raise a family. Although it’s an upscale neighborhood with high housing prices, according to its residents, the quality of life is worth it. Also, people in large numbers move here because of so many amazing job opportunities available. Some of the major employers are The Allen Group, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, US Bank, Scripps Health, Neurocrine Biosciences, and ICW Group Insurance Companies.

Carmel Valley takes education pretty seriously. Therefore, the area has a number of top-quality schools like Pacific Trails Middle School, Torrey Pines High School, Carmel Valley Middle School, San Dieguito High Academy, and Canyon Crest Academy. You’ll also find some great open spaces like Carmel Valley State Park, Ashley Falls Park, and Carmel Del Mar Park.

Median Home Value: $1,555,000

Monthly Rent: $2,283

Median Household Income: $154,916


La Jolla

It’s only reasonable to keep the best one for the last. Home to around 38,300 people, La Jolla is easily the most stunning neighborhood in San Diego. Just northwest of Downtown, La Jolla is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Beach, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and areas like Bird Rock, Windansea Beach, and Muirlands. The area is considered one of the top beach destinations in the entire world and therefore, it’s often referred to as the jewel of San Diego. A luxurious neighborhood, La Jolla is loved by families and retirees alike because of the low crime rate, scenic beauty, palm trees, sandstone canyons, top-rated schools, great places to eat and drink, etc.

There are plenty of educational institutions for every age group, for example, The University of California – San Diego,  La Jolla Country Day School, the San Diego French American School, and the Bishop’s School. You’ll get to enjoy a huge number of public attractions where families can spend an entire day. A few of the local spots are La Jolla Underwater Park, Shell Beach, Birch Aquarium, Torrey Pines Golf Course, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Median Home Value: $2,355,000

Monthly Rent: $3,137

Median Household Income: $113,676

Things To Look Out For Before Deciding To Move To San Diego

  • San Diego experiences an arid-subtropical climate with mild, rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. The city gets 266 sunny days a year and just around 12 inches of rainfall, but there’s no snowfall whatsoever.
  • Finding work in the city will not be tough. US Navy, Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics NASSCO are the biggest employers in the defense sector. Additionally, healthcare and education provide a huge number of opportunities with the major employers being The University of California San Diego, Sharp Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, etc.
  • Public transportation in San Diego is efficient enough for you to leave your vehicle at home. There are various bus and rail services available, so your commute to and from work will be convenient.
  • You’ll be overwhelmed by the countless options for recreational activities and entertainment. So as a family, you’ll always have things to enjoy over the weekends or on holidays.
  • Just like the entire state of California, San Diego is quite expensive to live in. So if you’re moving from places that have a lower cost of living, make sure to account for your increased expenses in your budget.
  • Sometimes, there will be the risk of natural calamities like earthquakes and droughts. Air quality is also not the best in the city.


Summing Up

San Diego’s weather might just be its biggest advantage. Or maybe the natural beauty all over the city. Or the educational institutions and job market. It’s a leader in every aspect. The high quality of life, green spaces, beaches, golf courses, and great entertainment options make San Diego one of the most desirable cities not just in California, but in the entire country. Not to forget, the city’s awesome nightlife. This is definitely your place to move to with your family and any of the neighborhoods mentioned in this article can easily be your next home.

FAQs On Best Neighborhoods In San Diego For Families

What Is The Cost Of Living In San Diego?

In the cost of living index, San Diego has a score of 160.1 which is well above the national average of 100. What this indicates is that all your expenses in San Diego like utilities, housing, transport, and healthcare will be way more expensive as compared to many other parts of the country. One of the biggest reasons for the high expenses is the soaring real estate prices in San Diego.

Is San Diego A Good Place To Live For Families?

San Diego is among the top cities where hundreds of families move every year and the main reasons are its stunning landscapes, a pleasant climate throughout the year, great schools and universities, plenty of career opportunities, open spaces, beaches, entertainment options, and most importantly, high quality of life. There are numerous wonderful things to do for both children as well as adults.

What Is San Diego Famous For?

The city is best known for its 70-mile-long coastline and the beautiful beaches that come along with it. San Diego also has a lot of educational and job opportunities, making it a good place to move to with the family. Some of the most amazing public attractions are The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, LEGOLAND California, and SeaWorld San Diego.

Which Are The Safest Neighborhoods in San Diego?

Some of the safest neighborhoods in San Diego are Gaslamp Quarter, Normal Heights, Rancho Bernardo, Scripps Ranch, and Rancho Penasquitos.

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