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San Diego, CA

housing cost of living things to do transportation USC

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#41 stilesg57

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:48 AM

I've lived three places in SD:

1) Ocean Beach: COOL neighborhood and right on the beach but a little crazy and it eventually got annoying. Fast access to the freeways - I could be downtown or in La Jolla in 20 minutes during rush hour. Parking is a nightmare come summer. Really it was OK until the summer months, then all the tourists ruined it. Still, very workable and parts of Pacific Beach may be an improvement.

2) La Jolla Colony: Right at the foot of the huge Mormon temple on I-5. You can't miss it. Also right across the freeway from UCSD. Miserable though - just a weird suburban-type lifestyle. Strip malls full of chains. The students who live near campus are often the stranger and less sociable ones. I would avoid this area, nothing really fun or interesting about it. And it's the most expensive area I've lived.

3) University Heights/Hillcrest/North Park: Where I was staying (and am still paying rent - boo) most recently in SD. Great place to live. 25 minutes to UCSD in rush hour. 10 minutes to the beach, 15 minutes to Mission Trails for hiking. Fun, interesting, dynamic, walkable neighborhoods. Reasonable rent for the right parts of the neighborhood, there's a few shady sections but not many (stay west of the 805, period). The free shuttle to UCSD from Hillcrest makes this a great deal.

I'm jealous of everyone who gets to move to or stay in SD. I've lived in many parts of the country and SD has a special place in me heart. Even though I knew UCSD's IR/PS wasn't the best school for me I still applied just so I could hold out hope of staying in my favorite big US city. Instead I'm off to the cold for a couple years. Hopefully I'll be back :)

If anybody has any more questions about living in SD let me know and I'll be happy to talk with you.
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#42 curiousgeorge

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:13 AM

What's the best bar in the Hillcrest/North Park area? I have no specific criteria; just tell me where you like(d) to go.
Best coffee shop to sit around in for a while?
Will I kill myself riding a bike down University Ave. to get to the UCSD Medical Center shuttle?
Can one realistically expect to see any pedestrian traffic in either neighborhood?
Where in Balboa Park can one just kinda camp out and read/nap for a while on a nice day? Frisbee? Any free tennis courts?

How much police activity in the area? How sensitive are the residents (and how old)? Likely that I'd be noticed/chastised for taking a piss on the street at 3 AM? Will the neighbors call the cops if friends and I are loud while walking down the street at this hour? It may look like I'm straining to seem "crazy," but answers to these questions will honestly help me determine if it's worth shelling out the extra money to live there.
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#43 stilesg57

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 08:17 AM

Best bar? Yikes, there's lot of good ones. Depends what you're looking for. I tend to like pubs, dives, and music venues. The Ould Sod is a great Irish pub right next to the Normal Heights neighborhood sign on Adams and about 34th St. There's a bunch of bars on that strip of Adams. Northpark is up and coming for sure, getting nicer all the time. U-33 (or something like that) near 30th and University is a decent place for dancing. The Red Fox on El Cajon near Texas is a weird little gem even if you're the youngest person in there by 20 years - worth visiting for the experience alone. I didn't spend much time in bars in Hillcrest since it was far enough away to be a drive and if I was getting in a car I was going to OB or PB (Winston's in OB is the best underground-ish music joint in SD - I love it) :) Hillcrest is home to more upscale bars, more expensive bars, and gay bars.

Best coffee shop to hang out at? There's lots, but Pete's in Hillcrest on University was may favorite.

Biking on University? Not the worst call in the world, but definitely not the best. I'd use side streets as much as possible - luckily, just one block off University/Washington/El Cajon and there is no traffic.

Yes, particularly Hillcrest. A lot there, actually. Substantially less in Northpark, but not absent by any means. My car was broken down a lot and I was unemployed a lot while I lived in the area, so I would walk all over just because it's always so nice outside. It was never weird or dangerous or anything.

Don't know about tennis courts being free (there are a bunch near the dog park, but I was always walking a dog and never looked at them), but just about all of the western part and the north eastern part of Balboa is great for hanging around and throwing a frisbee. Beach is great for that too. I love to hike and there are several great hikes within 15, 25, and 50 minutes of Hillcrest/Northpark.

As for police, there is a "hole" in the middle of the area from Park blvd to Texas and El Cajon to Balboa Park that's a bit rougher and has a stronger police presence than the rest of it. However, it's SoCal and there are cops everywhere - I've never seen so many just driving around. Very annoying. In the nightlife areas (most of Hillcrest, Park St. in University Heights, Adams St. in Normal Heights, and near University and 30th in Northpark) you won't have any problem being loud at night. Don't live east of the 805. Honestly, if you want to go nuts OB is THE place to live. It's insane. Really fun, but after six months I honestly got a little tired of being accosted by people wandering around on hallucinogens four nights of the week. I lived most recently on Adams near Texas overlooking Mission Valley and have liked that location best for price, neighborhood character, etc. Good luck and if you have an addresses you're looking at that you don't know are sketch or not message me and I'll let you know. Enjoy SD - I'm jealous!
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#44 s0larb3ar

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 03:38 AM

I noticed that all of you are talking about UCSD, what about a little SDSU love? lol.

My question is: "when is a good time to start looking?" SDSU begins Sept. 2, and I don't want to look for an apartment too soon and risk paying 2 months for an empty apartment, and I don't want to wait until there isn't anything else except the most expensive units. I'm currently thinking University Heights, Normal Heights, Hillcrest...

any ideas? :D
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#45 s0larb3ar

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:08 PM

Anybody?
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#46 ewurgler

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:33 PM

I noticed that all of you are talking about UCSD, what about a little SDSU love? lol.

My question is: "when is a good time to start looking?" SDSU begins Sept. 2, and I don't want to look for an apartment too soon and risk paying 2 months for an empty apartment, and I don't want to wait until there isn't anything else except the most expensive units. I'm currently thinking University Heights, Normal Heights, Hillcrest...

any ideas? :D


Start looking in july. I live in the area(s) you are looking at, and they rarely put up places more than a month in advance of the move-in date. I didn't attend sdsu, but I'm going to recommended you keep to the neighborhoods you listed (adding maybe northpark, southpark, and kensington), and not get too close to campus. Way too loud for a grad student. Browse craigslist and see when the move-in dates are for ones up now. Get an idea.
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#47 curiousgeorge

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 07:43 AM

Stiles-- this is all great. Thanks so much!
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#48 zoombits

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 05:42 AM

Its pretty fresh over here. kinda hot sometimes. we usually have some over cast but its beautiful here. its not humid at all!
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#49 Michelley262003

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:58 AM

1700 a month... is do-able with a roommate in Pacific beach or the University city area. If you're looking for a social scene then Pac Beach is the answer. If your looking for quite suburban life (think highlight is Surf soccer cup or the UC 4th of July celebration) then go with UC.

Bike paths are everywhere... although if you live in PB you better get a car. UC on the other hand is walking distance to the University. There's a Henry's Market Place, Bristol Farms (think super expensive health food store), plenty of fast food joints.

I did not go to UCSD, but I am from San Diego and grew up in the UC area. It's not the most exciting place if you are a broke grad student. Im sorry to say, but a lot of the fun of san diego requires money (money I do not have either...Im not trying to rain on your parade or anything). Sure there's the beach...yes it's free...and the bay....but to get there you must have gas and a high tolerance for traffic and people who can not drive to save their life. But other than that the main attractions are pretty expensive: Sea World, Zoo, Wild Animal Park, really good restaurants, comedy shows, casinos, even movie theaters..... and I do not imagine that you will have a whole lot of time to delve into a lot of this, with school and all..

good luck with everything
if you ever need any pointers about the city or anything at all just let me know.

Also: just a word of warning. The housing market right now in SD is really bad. Many homes are in foreclosure. There has been a lot of shady stuff going on with people renting out houses they do not own and pocketing the rent money. It's a huge scam. So if the rent appears to good to be true...it probably is.
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#50 asharkfish

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:37 PM

where's a good place to stay in the area? i'm originally from sacramento and am looking for a place that's not uncomfortably small, in a good area, and within my budget (aprox. $1600/ mo). anyone have any ideas?

--robby =]
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#51 kahlan_amnell

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

You didn't specify which area you meant. Perhaps you meant to post this as a reply rather than a new thread?
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#52 asharkfish

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 08:03 PM

that's just it, i don't know which would be a good area to live in. by "area," i really mean the san diego area. i don't want to limit myself to, say, the mission valley area, for example. i'm going from general to specific, area to "exotic pets welcome." this way i'm not limiting myself, and when i come down to check things out, i can make the most efficient use of my time.
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#53 kahlan_amnell

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 11:49 PM

that's just it, i don't know which would be a good area to live in. by "area," i really mean the san diego area. i don't want to limit myself to, say, the mission valley area, for example. i'm going from general to specific, area to "exotic pets welcome." this way i'm not limiting myself, and when i come down to check things out, i can make the most efficient use of my time.


See, the way you posted it, you could have meant anywhere in the world...
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#54 asharkfish

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 12:09 PM

i see your point. i apologize for being vague.
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#55 Michelley262003

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:46 AM

Hey I'm from San Diego/ lived here my entire life. I think you can live in a very nice place for way less than 1600.

Clairemont is very reasonable- A little to suburban for my taste, but definitely on the lower end for rent. If you look you could probably find a really nice place for 1100 a month.
Pacific Beach- if you're social, like the bar scene, the beach etc. then PB is the way to go. Look for a place that is not directly on the beach. Try Lamont street, Hornblend st, Noyes. These are all do-able places for your budget. Downside is- crime is higher, rowdier area...etc.
University City is a nice area, and the area I live in now. It is right by UCSD and within close proximity to a lot of SD. It's super quiet. NOTHING goes on in UC. So if you are looking for a party UC is not the place to go.
Linda Vista- the area around USD is very reasonable, although not as nice, a little more crowded. But if you look here you can definitely find something that is 1) nice 2) affordable 3) a socially place to live.

Areas I would avoid: La Jolla - way too pricey, difficult to get in and out of, somewhat pretentious crowd, Rancho Santa Fe- unless you're related to a Senator or a Kenedy you are not living here. Coronado: beautiful place to live, just so so isolated from everything, Chula Vista- high crime, dirty (nick name: Chulujana) Logan Heights- highest crime rate in the city, Downtown- now this depends on your tolerance for traffic. Downtown SD is beautiful and fun. Really classy place with lots to do and see. But the traffic... yuck.

Hope this helps
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#56 asharkfish

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:15 AM

thanks for the help, michelle! i am leaning toward clairemont for sure, though i have seen some places in la jolla that seem alright. granted, i do like going out every now and again, but i'm definitely not a bar fly. i enjoy peace and quiet, i don't want to live somewhere where that i think my car's gonna get broken into, and i'd rather not have to battle my to and from school through traffic every day (though if ucsd is like any other campus that i've seen, the traffic i will have to accept). i just took another look at my budget, and it looks like i can spend up to about $2000 on a place, so that will help out, too. i can't wait to head down to the san diego area to check out the housing prospects, the community, and the school!
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#57 Michelley262003

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 06:27 AM

Awesome! Best of luck with everything.

Also some really helpful resources:

The Reader- It's a magazine (free) that comes out every week on Wed. You can find them at any 7-11, Circle K or convenient store. It is really helpful with getting to know the area, tons of ads and cupons for local restaurants and attractions/ events (concerts, music, bars, local fests. etc). Also has excellent classifieds for apartments.

Signonsandiego.com- really great resource
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#58 cosmike10

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 09:56 AM

good neighborhoods for price and location for ucsd: university city (suburb with affordable rooms and apartments and very close to ucsd), clairemont (some weird teenagers though, close to pacific beach if that's your thing), university heights (indieish area, next to hillcrest, clean, cultural), hillcrest (gay neighborhood, cultural, lots of bars and restaurants, very central, safe), mira mesa (suburb, more inland, cheap, close to ucsd)
you need a car to get to ucsd unless you take the bus or shuttle. biking is doable only for very short commutes within neighborhoods or along the beach.
craigslist is the way to go. everybody uses it and posters are pretty up front with what they are looking for.
if you like to eat out go to sushi ota in pacific beach, the freshest sushi in san diego. a real hole in the wall. sushi on the rock in la jolla is good but trendy and pricey. good mexican is everywhere. for taco tuesday you can't beat south beach bar and grill in ocean beach. awesome fish, lobster, shrimp, calamari tacos. bronx pizza in hillcrest has good NY style pizza (if you're a new yorker don't lecture me about how it doesn't come close, i know, but it is good), so does regents pizzeria close to ucsd. board 'n' brew in del mar makes great sandwiches. there's a decent pho at ob noodle house. lightning jack's in clairemont has good bbq (bbq lovers see what i said about ny style pizza). downtown la jolla has some of the best reviewed restaurants in the nation. if you are from out of CA, NV, or AZ then you're stoked you get to go to in-n-out for a few years.
one last thing, take advantage of mexico's proximity. not tijuana or rosarito, go to tecate. 40 minute car ride inland takes you to the border town of tecate where the brewery is. you can go on a tour of the brewery, they give you some free beer. then you can eat amazing mexican food in the plaza. i went once with 10 people, we all drank a bunch, ate a bunch of authentic mexican food, and paid eight bucks each.
oh, and don't leave san diego without going to my favorite beach in the world, blacks beach. you'd be missing out.
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#59 Luke

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:55 PM

I'm going to be visiting UCSD in April and was just wondering if anyone had any hotel recommendations. Not looking for anything too fancy, but something relatively close would be preferable. Also, any dining or bar recommendations would be great.
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#60 ROM

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 09:02 PM

Any more up-to-date 2010 SD info? It's between SD (SDSU) or Seattle (UW) for me. I grew up in Cardiff but haven't been back since I was 8, so I don't really know what it's like to live there as an adult! I'd appreciate any more opinions on housing near / commuting to SDSU.
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