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Bungalow-style home in San Diego with a palm plant in the front yard.

Best Places to Buy a Home in San Diego

Thinking about living in San Diego? America’s Finest City is known for its amazing weather, stunning beaches, and hot spots for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re a growing family looking for the perfect home, a young professional wanting a quick work commute, or a retiree looking for a laid-back neighborhood, this SoCal city has it all. Here are the five best places to buy a home in San Diego!

  • Carmel Valley
  • La Jolla
  • North Clairemont
  • Rancho Bernardo
  • South Park

Carmel Valley

Home with Spanish Style Influences in Carmel Valley, San Diego. Photo by Instagram User @janickeswanson

Photo via @janickeswanson

  • Home Price: $800,133 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 92% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Carmel Valley is a great place to buy a home in San Diego, and it’s one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, making it ideal for all kinds of households. If you’re a family with kids, there are top-rated schools in the area like Canyon Crest Academy, Pacific Trails Middle School, and Torrey Pines High School. You also have easy access to I-5, so it’ll only take you about 20 minutes to head to Downtown San Diego—and a day trip to Los Angeles is only a 45-minute drive. As far as your housing options go, you’ll have no trouble finding Mediterranean-style homes and Southwestern Contemporary houses in this neighborhood!

Things to Do in Carmel Valley

Hike the many trails or relax on the beach at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Go on a nice walk with amazing views at Carmel Mountain Preserve Loop. Play basketball, pickleball, and badminton or cool off in the swimming pool at Carmel Valley Recreation Center. Bring your furry friend to Torrey Hills Dog Park for some outdoor fun. Get brunch from Pacific Social and try the Spicy Chicken & Waffles with a Smoked Paloma. Have fresh Mediterranean food like Falafel and Beef Shish Kabob Plates at Kabob Lounge. Try Black Garlic Ramen, Dan Dan Noodles, and Tokyo Tots at Wokou Ramen & Yakitori. Or eat New York-style pizza like the Stephanie or the Arden at Crust Pizzeria.

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La Jolla

  • Home Price: $1,326,057 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 65% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Families, retirees

Want to live close to the beach? Buy a home in La Jolla! Not only is this one of the most well-known neighborhoods in San Diego, but it’s also a perfect place if you want to be near the water and also within 20 minutes of Downtown San Diego. While home prices here are higher, La Jolla might be worth the investment, especially if you’re looking for your luxury dream home! In addition, this San Diego neighborhood is home to some of the best schools in the area, including Torrey Pines Elementary, La Jolla High School, and University of California San Diego.

Things to Do in La Jolla

Go snorkeling, swimming, diving, or relax in the sand at La Jolla Cove. Take the kids to Kellogg Park and run through the open space or play on the playground. Spend an afternoon in the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and see marine life exhibits like Shark Shores, Seadragons & Seahorses, and the Giant Kelp Forest. Discover amazing abstract and minimalist art dating back to 1950 at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Grab a Brioche Breakfast Grilled Cheese or Salted Caramel Waffle for breakfast from Shorehouse Kitchen—and don’t forget to get a Brunch Bark Bowl for your pup! Sip on the Best Drink Ever, Mint Infused Iced Coffee, or a Rose Water Latte at Better Buzz Coffee. Head to Galaxy Cantina & Grill for Baja Fried Fish Tacos, Enchilada Fries, and Death Star Margaritas. Or order the Surf & Turf Burger with one of the local rotating craft beers at Public House, which is well-known for its burgers and ales.

North Clairemont

Renovated ranch-style home in North Clairemont, San Diego. Photo by Instagram User @gehovan_guzman

Photo via @gehovan_guzman

  • Home Price: $472,486 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 64% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Check out North Clairemont if you’re looking for a more affordable neighborhood in San Diego with newly renovated houses! This area is about 15 minutes from La Jolla and Pacific Beach, so you can still live by the ocean without breaking your budget on a home. North Clairemont is good for families, too, because there are great schools in the neighborhood like Hawthorne Elementary, Innovation Middle, and Madison Senior High. Nature lovers have plenty of outdoor recreation and hiking trails to enjoy here as well, and for those who commute for work, Downtown San Diego is only a 15-minute drive via I-805 and CA-52.

Things to Do in North Clairemont

Spend an afternoon at San Clemente Canyon hiking, biking, or enjoying a picnic in Marian Bear Memorial Park. Walk along the nearby Tecolote Canyon Trail to see some more amazing views. Play on the playgrounds, take tennis lessons, or join a basketball league at North Clairemont Recreation Center. Take a group fitness class or have a private training session at Being Fit Clairemont. Bring home French pastries like a Raspberry Turnover or Almond Tart from Arely French Bakery Cafe. Get drinks like Brown Sugar Boba Latte or Taro Black Bean Ice Blend and Vietnamese bites like the Banh Mi Baguette or Crispy Eggrolls from Tealightful Cafe. Try Korean dishes like a Kimchi Pancake, Bul Go Gi Box, or Spicy Braised Baby Back Ribs at Buga Korean BBQ. Or treat your tastebuds to the Carne Asada Burrito, Crispy Quesadilla, or Adobada Nachos at Carmen’s Mexican Food.

Rancho Bernardo

  • Home Price: $553,456 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 94% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Craving a quieter lifestyle away from San Diego’s bustling downtown and beaches? Rancho Bernardo sits on the northern edge of San Diego and can give you just that! This safe, affordable San Diego neighborhood is nestled between rolling hills and canyons with plenty of surrounding outdoor recreation like Hodges Lake & Reservoir and Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. And if you do want to make a trip into the city, you’re only about 30 minutes from downtown via I-15. Families will also appreciate having top schools nearby in the award-winning Poway Unified School District like Westwood Elementary School and Rancho Bernardo High School. Whether you want a spacious condo or custom-built home, Ranch Bernardo has it all!

Things to Do in Rancho Bernardo

Hike one of the many trails in Rancho Bernardo like San Dieguito River Park Trail, Fletcher Point, or Bernardo Bay Trail. Become a member at the The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo and perfect your golf game or enjoy dinner and drinks at the clubhouse. See the antique winemaking facility and order a wine flight of specialty wines at Bernardo Winery. Get your caffeine fix in with a Banana Cream Mocha, Nitro Cold Brew, or Cafe Viennese at Elmisa Cafe. Enjoy a meal on the patio at Urge American Gastropub and try the Peanut Butter Crunch Burger or The Apocalypse Tacos. Try Chinese food favorites like Peking Duck, Sweet & Sour Shrimp, or Mongolian Beef at Pearl Chinese Cuisine. Or have flavorful steakhouse dishes like the Whiskey Peppercorn New York Strip or Basil Mustard Salmon at Carvers Steaks & Chops.

South Park

  • Home Price: $513,357 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 84% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

South Park is a trendy neighborhood in the heart of San Diego that’s ideal for anyone who wants a cozy bungalow or modern condo close to the excitement of downtown! There are over 70 small businesses here, and there are fantastic schools nearby like Albert Einstein Charter Elementary, Golden Hill K-8 Dual Language Immersion School, and St. Augustine High School. Another huge perk of South Park is that it sits on the eastern border of Balboa Park, which is home to many popular San Diego attractions like the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Museum of Art, as well as some of the city’s best shopping and dining spots!

Things to Do in South Park

Take your pup out for some exercise at Grape Street Dog Park. Spend an afternoon at Golden Hill Park walking through the many paths or relaxing in the green space. Take in the amazing views while hiking Switzer Canyon and Juniper Canyon. Find a new vintage record at Vinyl Junkies! Record Shack. Fill up on a hearty breakfast like the BK Frittata or Whoopie’s Breakfast at Big Kitchen Cafe. Have date night at Buona Forchetta and order the Regina Margherita Pizza with a bottle of red wine. Drink unique cocktails like the Dream Reaper or Witching Hour with some vegan eats like Memphis BBQ Jackfruit at KINDRED. Or go for some playful Indian fare like Curry Mac & Cheese and Chicken Tikka Poutine at Curryosity.

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