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Moving from Chicago to San Diego

When it comes to living in a city that has picturesque views and a laid-back lifestyle, San Diego in California certainly seems like the perfect fit. And why not? The city has everything anyone could ever want. Pristine beaches, sunny weather, and charming neighborhoods are all things that make San Diego one of the best cities in Southern California.

If you’ve been living in Chicago and are bored of its snowy weather and concrete jungle, then mesmerizing ocean views and gorgeous weather await you at San Diego. But wait, don’t get carried away by the beauty of San Diego. Here’s a guide on everything you need to know about moving from Chicago to San Diego. Keep reading to know what you can expect with your move.


Factors To Consider Before Moving From Chicago To San Diego

Weather Conditions

One of the biggest perks of moving from Chicago to San Diego is sunny skies and incredible weather in the latter city. Living in Chicago means bearing with harsh and cold winters. But in San Diego, you can bid goodbye to shovel blades and say hello to flip flops and sunglasses! Throughout the year, the average temperature is around 70°F in San Diego.

Summers in Chicago are warm and humid with frequent heatwaves on certain days. On the other hand, San Diego has arid and warm summers that last for a short period of time. The temperature can get really hot in San Diego during summers, particularly because of its marine climate that’s greatly influenced by the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s the difference in temperature that you can expect during peak summers:

  • Chicago in July - Average daily temperature ranges from 70°F to 82°F.
  • San Diego in July - Average daily temperature ranges from 67°F to 75°F.

Chicago is known for its cold winters. However, the city doesn’t experience heavy snowfall like Pennsylvania or New York. In San Diego, you’ll experience mild temperatures in winters wherein the average temperature stays around 57°F. Winters in San Diego are mostly pleasant and are a good time to enjoy a number of activities in the city.

Here’s the difference in temperature that you can expect during peak winters:

  • Chicago in January - Average daily temperature ranges from 22°F to 33°F.
  • San Diego in January - Average daily temperature ranges from 51°F to 65°F. 

Few Things To Bear In Mind About San Diego’s Weather:

  • During summers, the city experiences occasional summer fog and thick clouds, especially towards the coastal areas.
  • San Diego is known to experience almost 350 hours of sunlight in the month of July. Surely Albert Hammond wasn’t kidding when he sang ‘It never rains in Southern California’!
  • The weather in winters, especially in the month of February is considered to be excellent for beach activities like surfing. So, if you’re planning to move to San Diego, you better carry a thick wetsuit along with you.

Cost Of Living

It’s time you grab your moving budget in hand as we take you through one of the most important factors to consider before moving to a new state - the cost of living. If you don’t want a huge hole in your pocket, it’s important that you know what all things you’ll be spending on when you move from Chicago to San Diego. Don’t worry, we’ve listed out your basic living costs in both cities to help you understand your overall expenses.

Buying A House

If you’re considering a move from Chicago to San Diego, get ready to spend a few extra bucks on your housing costs. It’s no secret that the real estate market is more expensive in San Diego than in Chicago. But for many, it’s worth it because, in San Diego, you’ll find many Victorian, Mediterranean, and American Craftsman-style homes.

Here’s a comparison of the housing costs in both the cities:

  • Median Home Value in Chicago - $309,268 (as per Zillow)
  • Median Home Value in San Diego - $944,228 (as per Zillow)

Renting A House

If you’re planning to rent a house in San Diego, you need to know that the prices can differ for different neighborhoods. For example, if you choose to live in expensive neighborhoods like Rancho Santa, Carmel Valley, or La Jolla, you’ll be paying higher rent prices.

Here’s an insight into your median rent in both cities:

  • Monthly Median Rent in Chicago - $2,091
  • Monthly Median Rent in San Diego - $2,610


When it comes to utilities like grocery, energy and gas bills, Chicago is relatively cheaper than San Diego. According to Payscale, the cost of living in Chicago is almost 23% more than the national average. But when you’re moving from Chicago to San Diego, brace yourselves for almost double expenses as San Diego turns out to be 44% costlier than the national average. Although both cities seem expensive in terms of utilities, San Diego surely comes out as an expensive city to live in.

To help you gauge your utility bills in San Diego, let’s take a look at the data shared by Payscale. For electricity, your monthly bill will come up to $192.64 whereas your monthly phone bill will cost you around $205.35. If you’re going to use your own private vehicle in the city, you’ll have to pay around $3.36 for a gallon of gas.

Your morning breakfast items like a carton of eggs will cost you around $2.04 and a gallon of milk will cost around $2.19. If you like having toast sandwich with your morning cup of coffee, you’ll have to pay $3.76 for a loaf of bread. If you choose to feast upon a hamburger in the city, you’ll have to pay around $4.79.


Job Market

Chicago’s overall economy comes from its finance, aerospace, manufacturing, and retail sectors. Speaking about the economy, San Diego’s economy largely depends on tourism because of the numerous beaches and historical sites in the city. Apart from that, defense and military, trade, and healthcare are other sectors that dominate here. Chicago is among the cities to have a high unemployment rate of 9.0%. In comparison, San Diego has a lower unemployment rate of 6.6%. Sadly, the unemployment rate is higher in both cities than the national average of 6.0% as per the data shared by BestPlaces.

Before we take you through the other things, here’s a quick overview of your annual income in both cities:

  • Median Household Income in Chicago - $47,831
  • Median Household Income in San Diego - $65,753

It’s clear that San Diego has a better annual income and standard of living than Chicago. Although the city is known for its burgeoning housing market, the residents earn a good enough income to make up for it.

Here are some of the top-notch industries in San Diego:

  • San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Csl
  • Kratos Defense and Security Solutions
  • Arena Pharmaceuticals
  • Qualcomm
  • Sempra Energy
  • General Atomics
  • Express Identification Products


Apart from its jaw-dropping architecture and deep-dish pizza, Chicago is known to have one of the best transportation systems in the U.S. The Chicago Transit Authority and Metra Commuter Rail provide transportation services to the residents of Chicago. When it comes to transportation in San Diego, the city is among the few places in America that don’t have a metro system. But that doesn’t mean getting around in the city won’t be easy because San Diego has a light rail system throughout the city.

One of the perks of using the light rail in San Diego is that you won’t have to worry about getting late to work as traffic can easily be avoided. And guess what, the trolleys in the city operate every 15 minutes during peak hours. Now doesn’t that seem like a cherry on a cake?

Here are some of the commute options that you can avail of for getting in and around San Diego:

  • San Diego Trolley
  • SDMTS bus system
  • Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
  • Sprinter rail service
  • Metrolink
  • Rapid Bus Transit

San Diego’s Strong Points

  • Blissful weather throughout the year for activities like hiking and biking
  • Thriving job market with tourism as a dominating sector
  • Tons of recreational activities
  • Easy access to a lot of beaches
  • Diverse food scene
  • Several breweries throughout the city
  • Lots of beautiful art galleries and gardens to explore
  • Laidback and relaxed lifestyle


Top Neighborhoods To Move To In San Diego

La Jolla

This seaside neighborhood resides along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. The place stands true to its name, meaning, it’s a true gem in San Diego. That’s because La Jolla is surrounded by beaches and local streets full of art and music. La Jolla is considered to be one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in, in San Diego. Right from celebrity-chef restaurants to hiking trails, the place has tons of modern amenities for its residents. This is a great place for millennials as it’s home to some of the best institutions like the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Scripps Research Institute, and many more.

Median Home Value: $1,326,057

Monthly Median Rent: $3,020

Solana Beach

It’ll just take you 30 minutes from downtown San Diego to reach Solana Beach. The neighborhood is known to have a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. Solana Beach is considered to be one of the best places to live in San Diego for families. That’s because it’s home to some of the best schools like Canyon Crest Academy, San Dieguito Academy, Torrey Pines High School, and many more. The place is known to have friendly communities of which young professionals and retirees make up the majority. There are tons of things to do and places to explore here like art galleries, antique shops, cafes, etc.

Median Home Value: $2,066,213

Monthly Median Rent: $2,245


Coronado or ‘The Crown City’ is another popular neighborhood in San Diego. As the name suggests, the place is known for its architectural style homes. Right from Victorian, Dutch Colonials, Tudor to Spanish style, this neighborhood has jaw-dropping real estate. One of the things that makes Coronado a perfect place to live in is its easy access to downtown San Diego, as you can reach either destination in just 20 minutes. Coronado is considered to be a resort town and so it shouldn’t surprise you that tourism is an essential part of its economy.

Median Home Value: $2,566,668

Monthly Median Rent: $2,984

Del Mar

Del Mar in San Diego is surrounded by wonderful cliff sides and beaches that make it one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. All you have to do is just head a few miles north from La Jolla and you’ll reach this beautiful neighborhood. Right from horse racing events to the San Diego County Fair, the place has tons of activities and events for its residents. What’s more exciting is that all those residents wanting to go downtown of San Diego will have to take a drive of only 25 minutes. When it comes to real estate, Del Mar has many modern-style, Californian bungalows that you can choose from.

Median Home Value: $3,446,689

Monthly Median Rent: $2,970

San Marcos

When talking about the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego, San Marcos definitely can’t be forgotten. After all, this part of the city has tons of parks, trails, and open spaces for its residents. That’s also probably why they call it ‘Valley of Discovery’. San Marcos has beautiful historic houses and is also known for its breweries. The city is also known to have some of the best institutions in California. To name a few, San Marcos is home to San Marcos High School, Palomar College, and the California State University.

Median Home Value: $879,673

Monthly Median Rent: $2,330


Things To Take Care Of When Moving From Chicago To San Diego

  • The distance from Chicago to San Diego is almost 2,076 miles. Since this is a long distance move, it’s best if you hire a moving company in advance. Of course, there’s also the option of planning a DIY move if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Before hiring a moving company, there are many things you need to consider. First of all, make a budget so that you can decide upon the kind of services you want and what you can afford.
  • When planning a move, one of the many things you should be doing is making a home inventory. That way you’ll get an idea of what all belongings you want to take along with you. Let’s not forget that a home inventory will also help you get value protection for your valuable and important items.
  • If you want to save a few bucks on your moving costs, we suggest you plan a move during the off-season. Also, don’t forget to consider other things like the weather conditions and traffic conditions for the route your movers will take to reach your destination.

Chicago To San Diego Moving Costs

Let’s not forget that your move from Chicago to San Diego will be a long distance one. So, realistically considering, you’ll need movers to help you with packing, loading, and transporting your belongings to your new destination. On average, your move from Chicago to San Diego will fall in the price range of $3,000 to $6,000. Keep in mind that your overall moving costs will depend on a lot of factors like the kind of services you ask for and your exact location.

There are still many ways through which you can save a lot of money on your moving costs. For example, one of the best ways is to sell stuff you don’t need. For that, you can organize a yard sale or a garage sale. Otherwise, you can plan a hybrid move or book brokers to help you only with certain services like loading, transportation, and unloading of your items.


Summing Up

Both Chicago and San Diego are great places to live in. But, when it comes to scenic beauty, low crime rate, fabulous cuisine, and a good standard of living, San Diego certainly seems to have the upper hand. However, as beautiful as the city is, the cost of living expenses in San Diego are much higher than that in Chicago and most other states in the U.S. If you think San Diego is the right place for you, we’re here to help you find the right movers to help plan your move.

See also: Best Moving Companies in Chicago

FAQs On Moving From Chicago To San Diego

Is It A Good Idea To Move To San Diego?

San Diego is known for its pristine beaches and relaxed vibe that has earned the place the tag of being ‘America’s Finest City’. Right from exotic cuisine, beautiful beaches, employment opportunities, and good institutions, the city has many things to offer its residents. However, the housing costs tend to be on the higher end. It’s a good place to live in if you can afford your living expenses in the city.

How Much Does It Cost To Live In San Diego?

If you’re planning to live in San Diego, the median house cost will be around $944,228 and the monthly median rent will be around $2,610. These are just your housing costs. According to Payscale, the cost of living in San Diego is almost 44% higher than the national average making it an expensive city to live in.

What Are The Cons Of Living In San Diego?

Here are some of the cons of living in San Diego:

  • The cost of living is high in the city
  • High income tax
  • Traffic problems to get around in the city
  • You’re likely to encounter a stingray at the beaches here
  • Not enough space for vehicle parking in the city

Also See: Moving from Seattle to San Diego | Moving from Chicago to Dallas