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The culture, the food, the art, the energy—and did we mention the food? San Diego is known for being America’s Finest City, and with so many impressive attributes, this city doesn't disappoint. A perfect year-round climate and unique juxtaposition of bustling city life and calm suburbs draws state natives and tourists down south—and San Diego gives them a reason to stay. While downtown San Diego receives all the hype, its suburbs are a topic of conversation as well. With so many neighborhoods to choose from, we rounded up the best places to live in San Diego.
Enjoy a scenic drive through San Diego and make your way to the oceanside city of Carlsbad. While tourists flock to Carlsbad to experience Legoland, locals are moving to this thriving, vibrant community. The city boasts 115,000 residents sprawled across seven miles of pristine coastline, making it a beautiful, yet dense, urban neighborhood.
Carlsbad is a prominent tourist destination often referred to as “The Village by the Sea.” Carlsbad offers its fair share of California’s biking trails, but it's also a hot spot for surfing, camping, boating, diving, and fishing. Rent a boat from California WaterSports and dock it at the Agua Hacienda Lagoon. For a change of pace, tour the Gemological Institute of America and admire the sparkly jewels. Then stop by Carlsbad Village to check out the local shopping scene; stroll along the quaint streets as you window shop and you may never want to leave. Feel as though you've shopped 'till you dropped? Dine at Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse for a taste of fine Italian cuisine.
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With a population of approximately 13,000 residents, Solana Beach is a secluded coastal suburb and one of San Diego's best neighborhoods to live in. The weather is beautiful, the beaches are flawless, and the attractions are aplenty. The shopping centers in Solana draw you in for all-day extravaganzas. The Cedros Design District is one of the most prominent San Diego shopping areas, where you'll find fantastic boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and European style eateries. Stop by Cedros on Sunday afternoons to pick up fresh local produce and flowers at the farmers market. For a quick java pick-me-up, stop by the cozy Claire’s on Cedros for American style brews, sandwiches, and baked goods.
Dive deep into the waters and enjoy the laid-back California vibe of Del Mar. With a population of only 4,300, Del Mar has a quaint village charm, but comes with all the amenities of a city. The town was built with only one neighborhood, so you definitely won't need a car to get around. The Del Mar Highlands Town Center is a mecca for shopping lovers—you can easily spend a day exploring the two levels of retail stores, cinemas, and restaurants. As if the beaches and small-town feel weren’t enough, Del Mar will take serious horseracing enthusiasts to seventh heaven. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is one of the largest in the U.S. The venue also hosts concerts on Friday nights during racing season. For those looking for an aerial perspective, take a hot air balloon ride at dusk with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and admire the place you call home.
San Diego County's resort town is an undeniable oasis from Coronado Beach to the Hotel Del Coronado, to Ferry Landing. Coronado, means the crowned one in Spanish and is a fitting title for this majestic paradise. The island boasts excellent ocean views, exciting outdoor activities, quick access to San Diego's downtown area, and a family-friendly community. A popular destination for tourists, Coronado residents get to enjoy the best of both worlds with tourist amenities and cultural must-haves. Beaches are a given here, and what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than by surfing the rad Pacific Coast waves?
Get inspired by the Navy Seals training on South Beach ("the only easy day was yesterday") before meandering over to North Beach where the waves are intense and the surfers are skilled. Take your furry little friends on a walk through Coronado Dog Beach where they can romp off-leash year-round. For a taste of Coronado's history, take the family to the Coronado Museum of History and Art.
With a population of approximately 62,000 residents, Encinitas offers an exciting combination of laid-back coastal vibes and bustling city energy. San Diego’s surfing destinations lure locals and tourists alike, making this oceanside city is a surfers paradise. Stop by Encinitas Surfboards to gear up for the Pacific’s rad waves and make memories you'll never forget.
The town boasts many coastal communities, including Old Encinitas, which is located along the beach. Other neighborhoods, such as Leucadia, offer residential amenities with a few local businesses and galleries scattered throughout the area. The city’s downtown boasts historic architecture, thanks to the community's involvement and appreciation of local businesses. Encinitas is home to the San Diego Botanical Garden, which is home to 5,000 varieties of plants. Trek through the 37 acres of natural landscape; you'll leave in awe after admiring lush gardens, bamboo groves, desert flowers, and rainforest species.
The rich history of Poway and its lovely community makes it one of the best areas to live in San Diego for families. This city is all about preserving open spaces and natural landscapes, dedicating 39 square miles to the great outdoors. Poway is also home to many growing communities and neighborhoods. Silver Saddle Ranch is a family-oriented neighborhood with ranch-style estates. Luxurious, gated communities include Glen Circle, where residents can enjoy seclusion while being in close proximity to the city.
Poway—known for its love of all things au naturel—is definitely the place to keep the kids occupied. With plenty of hiking and biking trails, locals are given the chance to bond with one another and become one with nature. For the fishers out there, Poway doesn't dissappoint. Stock up on fishing necessities at the Lake Poway Concession Stand and head out to Lake Poway for a bonding experience with your kids. Community highlights such as the Poway Library and Poway Community Park help integrate events and activities into residents' daily lives. The community park is home to the annual Winter Festival, where guests can experience the magical charm of winter like never before. Whether it's roasting marshmallows by the campfire, sledding, or ice skating, the festival is perfect for the whole family.
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