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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 beautiful year-round weather, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine, making it one of the best places to live on the West Coast. Here are the five best places to buy a home in San Diego!

Carmel Valley

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

Home to Carmel Mountain Preserve, endless hiking trails, and plenty of Mediterranean and Southwestern Contemporary houses, Carmel Valley is one of the best places for anyone to buy a home in San Diego. This carefully developed San Diego neighborhood offers residents suburban living, beautiful canyon views, and bustling shopping areas like One Paseo and Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Carmel Valley also has some of the best schools in San Diego, including Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley Middle School, and Torrey Pines High School, making it one of the best neighborhoods for families. And with close proximity to Del Mar Heights’ booming biotech industry as well as easy access to major highways, Carmel Valley is also a great place for young professionals looking to grow in their careers!

Things to Do in Carmel Valley

Improve your golf game, relax by the pool, or play a match of tennis or pickleball when you become a member at The Grand Golf Club. Grab your skateboard to practice ollies, kickflips, and boardslides at Carmel Valley Skate Park. Hike or bike the trails, spot native wildlife, and marvel at the waterfall at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Play basketball, volleyball, and badminton, or enroll your children in art and dance classes at Ocean Air Recreation Center. Start your weekends with brunch items like the French Toast Waffle, Pork Belly Hash, and Meat Lovers Burrito at Pacific Social. Try traditional Italian dishes like the Bruschetta Positano, Linguine Alle Vongole, and Eggplant Parmigiana at Amalfi Cucina Italiana – Carmel Valley. Order shareables like the Fire Roasted Elote and Crispy Calamari while sipping a Chocolate Bliss Martini, Tamarind Painkiller, or other craft cocktails at Craft House Sky Deck. Or make reservations at one of the best restaurants in San Diego to experience a ten-course tasting menu that evolves with the seasons at three-star Michelin restaurant ADDISON.


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  • Home Price: $462,358 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 12% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you’re looking for an affordable neighborhood in San Diego that is full of charm, entertainment, arts, and culture, while also being a welcoming and inclusive space for the LGBTQ community, check out Hillcrest! Residents can experience popular community events like Taste of Hillcrest and the famous San Diego Pride Parade & Festival. And with an array of shops, eclectic restaurants, and vibrant nightlife, it’s no surprise that Hillcrest is one of best San Diego neighborhoods for singles and young professionals! In terms of housing options, there are plenty of condos, townhomes, and single-family homes available for purchase. It’s also easy to get around this San Diego neighborhood, thanks to its extremely walkable streets and convenient access to Downtown San Diego via the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

Things to Do in Hillcrest

Get an up-close look at the cheetahs as they run and play, take a discovery cart tour, or explore from the skies on the Skyfari aerial tram at the San Diego Zoo. Attend improv comedy shows and musicals, or take improv classes yourself at Finest City Improv. Play fetch in one of the three dog parks, go for a morning jog, or head to one of the museums at Balboa Park. Enjoy international food and live music performances, or shop for produce, gifts, clothing, and more at the weekly Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pick up fresh pastries like the Chocolate Strawberry Torte, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, or Cinnamon Rolls at Starry Lane Bakery. Try the Orange Marmalade French Toast, Sunrise Salmon Omelette, and Chicken & Waffles at Crest Cafe. Order New York-style thin crust pizza like the Bronx Deluxe, Porko, and Artichoke Case at Bronx Pizza. Or make reservations to try upscale Italian dishes like the Veal Chop Parmigiana, Saffron & Corn Ravioli, and Filet Mignon Carpaccio at Cardellino Italian Chophouse.

La Jolla

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  • Home Price: $1,326,057 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 66% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Families, retirees

Want to live near the beach? Look no further than La Jolla! Located along the California coastline, La Jolla is one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego due to its close proximity to popular beaches like Torrey Pines State Beach, La Jolla Cove, and La Jolla Shores. Residents are surrounded by plenty of luxury shopping, excellent restaurants, and activities like golfing at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Those looking to purchase a home in La Jolla can choose from housing styles ranging from Mid-Century Modern to Spanish-style homes. Plus, this San Diego neighborhood is perfect for families, as it’s home to some of the best schools in the area, including Torrey Pines Elementary and La Jolla High School. And those wanting to pursue higher education can enroll at nearby University of California San Diego!

Things to Do in La Jolla

Attend award-winning plays and musicals like The Colored Museum, Redwood, Babbitt, and more at La Jolla Playhouse. Discover amazing abstract and minimalist art dating back to the 1950s at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD). Attend weekly Docent-Led Hikes and Mindfulness Walks featuring stunning ocean views at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Or watch the sunset and make sea life discoveries with the kids at the La Jolla Tide Pools. Start your morning with the Horchata Iced Latte, Mint Infused Iced Coffee, or Cinnamon Cream Cold Brew at Better Buzz Coffee. Enjoy ocean views and fresh seafood dishes like the Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche, Linguini & Clams, and Seared Rare Local Yellowtail at George’s at The Cove. Order the Lamb Chops or White Sea Bass, and finish with Coffee & Cream Panna Cotta for dessert at Marisi. Or try Woody’s Hawaiian Burger with one of the local rotating craft beers like the Serpentine “Apple Cider” and Russian River “Pliny the Elder” Imperial IPA at Public House.

North Park

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  • Home Price: $440,667 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 41% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

North Park is a trendy San Diego neighborhood that’s ideal for anyone who wants a cozy bungalow, historic Craftsman, or modern condo close to the excitement of Downtown San Diego! This area is one of the best places to live in San Diego due to its close proximity to the Ray Street Arts District, local breweries, endless foodie hot-spots, and more. Residents can explore this charming San Diego neighborhood’s green spaces and outdoor recreation at nearby areas like Juniper Canyon Open Space and Switzer Canyon Open Space. Plus, with convenient access to I-805, residents can easily commute for work or recreation.

Things to Do in North Park

Catch a live music performance from artists such as The Paper Kites, Behemoth, and Freddie Gibbs at The Observatory North Park. Relax by the swimming pool, play a doubles match of tennis, or give disc golf a try at Morley Field Sports Complex. Browse handmade jewelry, arts, crafts, and more at Mexican-inspired gift shop Artelexia. Buy, sell, or trade your favorite books inside San Diego’s largest independent bookstore, or attend events like North Park Book Fair, Poetry Without Borders, or Books in the Park til Dark at Verbatim Books. Taste vegan Mexican dishes like the Mushroom Asada Tacos, Cali Burrito, and Birria Platter at Tacotarian. Dig into comfort food dishes like the Country Fried Steak, Chicken & Waffles, and Our World Famous Chicken Pie Dinner at San Diego Chicken Pie Shop. Try the Baja Ceviche, Mushroom & Wild Arugula Flatbread, and Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos at One Door North. Or catch up with friends inside the large taproom, enjoying craft beers like the Party Cup Mosaic Lager, Kiwi to Bogey NZ Style Pilsner, and Art is Hard DDH Hazy IPA at North Park Beer Company.

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Rancho Bernardo

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

Looking to live a quieter suburban lifestyle away from Downtown San Diego? Rancho Bernardo sits on the northern edge of the city between rolling hills and canyons, offering residents plenty of outdoor recreation in spaces like Hodges Lake & Reservoir and Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. This area is also one of the most safe and affordable neighborhoods in San Diego—offering residents a tight-knit community with events like the Rancho Bernardo Farmer’s Market and Rancho BEERnardo Festival. The neighborhood is home to top-rated schools in the Poway Unified School District like Westwood Elementary School and Rancho Bernardo High School. Rancho Bernardo residents can relax in one of the many well-maintained parks or get active by utilizing the recreational facilities scattered throughout the neighborhood. And if you’re looking to purchase a piece of San Diego real estate, there are plenty of spacious condos and Spanish-style ranch homes to choose from.

Things to Do in Rancho Bernardo

Get active and go mountain-biking or hiking on one of the many trails in Rancho Bernardo, like the San Dieguito River Park Trails or Piedras Pintadas Interpretive Trail. Hit the green and practice your golf swing with 27 holes at Oaks North Golf Course. Tour the historical wine-making facility and order a flight of specialty wines at Bernardo Winery. Take a dip in the pool, play a game of pickleball or tennis, or sign up for Taekwondo classes when you become a member at the Rancho Bernardo Swim & Tennis Club. Get your caffeine fix with a Coconut Caramel Macchiato, Tuxedo Mocha, or Cafe Viennese at Elmisa Cafe. Craving BBQ in SD? Order The Philibuster Burger, Beef Rib Dinner, or BBQ Broham Sandwich at Phil’s BBQ. Try comfort food like the Loaded Mac & Cheese, Super Garlic Noodle, and Fish Tacos at The Cork and Craft. Or enjoy the Brisket Dip with a side of Electric Fries and a pint of Blueberry Pineapple Cider on the patio at Urge American Gastropub.


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Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes.