San Diego is the land of surf and sun and its laidback attitude. The multitude of hiking trails, gorgeous beaches, and booming culinary and beer scene, inspire people from all over the United States—and even the world—to pack up their belongings and head west. Here are the top 10 reasons to live in San Diego and why you might want to make a similar journey (or already have).
(Nearly) Perfect Weather
This is a big one! San Diego has the most temperate weather in the United States. Even nearby Los Angeles (LA) can’t boast the same as it doesn’t get as much of the coastal breeze that keeps San Diego from getting too hot. With most days hovering right around 70 degrees, it’s never too cold or too hot. And when it does sometimes creep into the 80s and 90s in August and September, everyone heads to the beach for a refreshing dip in the ocean.
Live by the Sand and Salt
Ah, the beaches. San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the United States. The city’s wide, soft, sandy beaches are packed in the summer months when the tourists flock to San Diego. In winter, however, the beaches are often refreshingly uncluttered of people and residents can go for peaceful walks along the shoreline or surf some waves without worrying about running into a rogue boogie boarder or swimmer. The Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego also provides excellent waves for surfing and calm areas ideal for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding and other ocean activities.
Craft Beer Scene
The craft beer scene in San Diego is one of the best in the world. From the elite Stone Brewing Company and its bountiful beer gardens to tasting-room-in-a-garage breweries like Lost Abbey and Stumblefoot Brewing Company. Plus find just about every type of brewery you can imagine in between. You’re bound to find a new favorite beer, especially one of the hoppy IPAs San Diego is known for.
Suggest going to dinner to a chain restaurant like Applebee’s or TGI Fridays to a San Diegan and don’t be surprised if they wrinkle their nose in disgust and give you a “what’s wrong with you?” look. With so many excellent independent restaurants in San Diego, most residents make it a favorite pastime to continue to try new ones every weekend. But while still making sure to visit their favorites (Mamma Mia, The Patio, Alexander’s on 30th and the list goes on). San Diego is also home to the world’s best fish tacos.
Nature and Hiking
San Diego is home to a plethora of scenic hiking trails. For ocean views, head to Torrey Pines in Del Mar, while those who like to challenge themselves can head up to Potato Chip Rock in Poway and take in the high, panoramic views. San Elijo Hills also has several hiking trails, including a trail up to Double Peak, which is the highest point in San Diego County.
The houses are small in San Diego (unless you have lots and lots of money), but no one is too bothered by it. Why do you need square footage when you want to be outside enjoying the incredible weather, anyway? Patios become living rooms in San Diego, and grilling is a favorite American pastime that can be enjoyed year-round thanks to the weather.
Vibrant and Laidback Nightlife
Whether you want dive bars or clubs, you can find it in San Diego. Even the most high-end establishments are refreshingly unpretentious, and most carry local beers on tap. The Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego is where you want to head for Vegas-style clubs and dancing. Laidback Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are known for their beachy dive bars and young crowd. Ritzy La Jolla and Del Mar are two communities to head to when you’re looking for a more sophisticated night out with a glass of wine or old-fashioned cocktail in mind.
Fun Day Trips and Weekend Getaways
San Diego is in close proximity to some great getaways. Head two hours northeast to Big Bear Mountain for some snowboarding or skiing in the winter. In the fall, drive an hour east to Julian for some excellent apple pie and cider. During the summer, try out some new beaches in LA or head up the coast a bit farther north to do some wine tasting in the prestigious Santa Ynez Valley. Twenty-five miles to the south, there is Mexico, full of a wide range of activities, whether you want to brave Tijuana or hop on a quick flight to Cabo.
Museums and That Famous Zoo
San Diego has a host of museums to keep you busy and cultured. From museum-heavy Balboa Park to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, you can find art, history, science, and more. When you want to study wildlife, head to the famous San Diego Zoo. Many San Diegans with families get year-round passes to the zoo; the pass is surprisingly affordable and provides kids with a day of entertainment. San Diego Zoo is also one of the prettiest zoos in the world to walk around thanks to a plethora of vegetation and smart landscaping.
Flip-Flops and T-Shirt Lifestyle
It sounds reminiscent of a Katy Perry song, but flip-flops and tank tops are the go-to attire in San Diego. Casual comfort is key when assembling your wardrobe. Except for a few clubs in the Gaslamp and a couple of top restaurants in La Jolla, you can get away with wearing flip-flops pretty much anywhere, and no one will raise an eyebrow. Yoga pants and sweatshirts (albeit surf-inspired ones) are also completely acceptable for wearing around town while running errands.