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18 Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego, Where Paradise Meets Reality

Ah, San Diego. It’s a picturesque city on the Pacific coast known for its gorgeous beaches and enjoyable climate. A San Diego resident wannabe asked locals about the pros and cons of living there beyond the usual “good weather, bad traffic.” Here’s what they had to say. 

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

1: Fear of Missing Out 

Hand holding the sun.
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Beautiful weather all year may not sound like a “con,” but one resident says her husband misses how things slowed down in the winter in colder states. “He says he feels bad sometimes when it’s so nice out, but he doesn’t want to do anything.” Fair enough. 

2: Keeping It Fresh 

Person holding beets.
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The San Diego resident wannabe mentioned “food” being a praised aspect of San Diego they didn’t need to hear more about. “I suspect you were talking about the restaurant scene,” one person responded. “However, I didn’t appreciate our access to fresh, cheap produce year-round until I went to college.”

3: Listen to the Music 

Loud music.
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A concert-goer says San Diego’s music scene is lacking outside of a few mainstream genres. Several music lovers agreed, “I’d give San Diego a C- as far as music goes if I were generous. Wonderful city, just not rich with offerings for a music lover.” 

4: Green Thumbs Up 

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As a gardener and avid bird watcher, a nature-savvy San Diego resident praised the city’s long growing season and abundance of unique avian species (500+) in San Diego County, including rarities. 

5: Bank-Draining News 

Eye with money sign.
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According to one local, a con of living in San Diego is that it’s home to the country’s highest electric/utility bills. 

6: Nature Lovers Unite 

Sea lions swimming by a rocky shore.
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After moving to San Diego from central North Carolina, one transplant is in awe of the scenery everywhere they drive. “The ocean, the hills, the valleys, the different fauna, how quickly the landscape changes. It’s amazing. And it’s all in San Diego County. I hope I never lose that sense of wonder.” 

7: Blame the Government 

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Somebody commented that the “corrupt and incompetent city government” is a significant con of living in San Diego. They didn’t expand on that thought any further, though. 

8: Home Insurance 

San Diego skyline.
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One San Diego local had several uplifting things to say about the city, especially for homeowners. “Other than termites, there’s not much to worry about that could damage a house (generalizing and comparing to other places with harsh climates). No mold, flooding, corrosion, hurricanes, snow, etc.” 

9: Lack of the Arts 

Goth man.
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“The biggest con for me could loosely be grouped under culture,” one San Diegan said. “There are tons of amazing local artists, but you have to dig for them. It doesn’t have the music/art/museum scene that a city of its size should naturally foster, and many acts don’t even bother stopping by on tour.” 

10: Bright Lights, Big City 

Palm trees in Los Angeles.
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One resident said they love how close their city is to Los Angeles. “I love being able to get off of work at 5 PM and make it to a weekday show at 8 PM or taking a day trip up there.” 

11: Brisk Weather 

Woman holding hot cup of tea.
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Coming from Toronto, one California transplant said they underestimated how “cold” it gets in the winter. “Specifically in the morning and evenings. But it’s not even that bad. I’m just being picky.” 

12: Bug Off 

Many folks love how there are little to no insect issues in San Diego. “Of course, mosquitoes live here, but our summer is relatively insect-less compared to some east coast and southern locations.” 

13: Get Smart 

Face books old.
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One smarty pants commenter was left unimpressed with San Diego, saying, “It’s not a vibrantly intellectual crowd in the city unless you’re over 40 and move to North County after a major career. “There is not that 20-30-year-old vibrant driving smart crowd.” They also had another qualm: “Not enough Korean food outside of Kearny Mesa.”

14: Go Green 

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“Plant game is so strong here,” one botanical fan said. It’s easy to come together with fellow plant lovers, too. “There are a lot of plant societies I am a member of. These societies wouldn’t have existed so close to each other without San Diego.” 

15: No Vacancy 

Woman with regret.
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One con of living in San Diego? “Y’all keep moving here!” one resident joked. “Let’s not be those types of people,” a compassionate Californian responded. “California is for everyone, not just the native-born Californians.” 

16: Tech on Top 

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“San Diego is the biotech capital of not just the state but the whole country,” one techie said. “So many labs with good jobs.” There is a con to this scene, though. “Property in the vicinity of the labs is really expensive, so you have to live further from where you work.”

17: Stuck Like Glue 

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A unique “con” that one resident recognized is that staying in San Diego tends to make people stagnant. “I find a lot of them tend to stay in San Diego and are unwilling to leave for any extended period. This limits options for moving up in life, whether it be a better job market or more affordable housing. Just my observation.” 

18: Cheers 

People holding up beers.
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Love beer? You’ll thrive with the options in San Diego. “Local brewers continuously win national awards, and there are great pockets of breweries around the city from Vista to Chula Vista,” one brew-lover said. 

Source: Reddit.

Is Living in California Worth It?

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Beautiful beaches, the Hollywood hills, and a laid-back lifestyle are just a few of the reasons people pack up and move to sunny California. But according to these unhappy residents, the reality doesn’t quite measure up to the fantasy. 

Is Living in California Worth It? Not According to These Residents

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Couple sitting on a beach.
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Thinking about calling The Golden State your home? Here are the places worth checking out before making your move with insights from financial experts.

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Is San Diego Safe?

A woman smiling at a beach.
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Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, a solo female traveler with lots of experience visiting San Diego gives a detailed analysis of San Diego’s safety using a combination of statistics and personal experience.

Is San Diego Safe? A Solo Female Perspective

San Diego’s Sea Lions 

Two sea lions sleeping.
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Seeing San Diego’s sea lions and seals is at the top of many tourists’ itineraries. But it’s easy to spend your entire vacation without spotting them if you don’t know where to look.

14 Tips for Seeing Sea Lions and Seals in San Diego

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A view of the Torrey Pines hiking trails.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve covers 1,500 acres of protected land with miles of trails, offering amazing hiking opportunities. Plan out your trip in advance using a map and these tips.

13 Torrey Pines Hiking Trail Hacks

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