Best Places to Rent a Home in San Diego in 2024

Looking for rentals in San Diego? With beautiful year-round weather, access to fun outdoor recreation, and budget-friendly rental options, this Southern California city is a great place to call home. Here are the five best places to rent a home in San Diego!

East Village

  • Home Price: $1,364 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 0% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Renter-Occupied Homes: 82%
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

Located within Downtown San Diego, East Village is one of San Diego’s largest neighborhoods and offers beautiful views of the San Diego Bay, along with access to many local shops, vibrant restaurants, and rooftop bars. Not only is East Village considered to be a bustling business district, but San Diego City College, making East Village an excellent renter-friendly neighborhood for students and young professionals. The community also comes together to enjoy fun events hosted by the East Village Association—including Taste of East Village, East Village Oktoberfest, and more. As for housing options in the area, renters will find high-rise apartments, modern condos, and Victorian-style homes. Residents who frequently commute can bike along J Street and 6th Avenue or ride with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. Plus, East Village is conveniently located just off the San Diego Fwy, offering easy access to the rest of the city!

Things to Do in East Village

Head to state-of-the-art Petco Park, where neighbors gather to watch the San Diego Padres (MLB) play. Stroll through the succulent garden, host a picnic, or admire the public art sphere, “The Fault Whisper,” at Fault Line Park. Browse through the art gallery, pick up books, or attend daily events at the San Diego Central Library. Listen to live bands, check out the craft beer garden, and explore rotating art installations at Quartyard. Grab tickets to exciting documentaries or international films at nonprofit movie theater Digital Gym Cinema. Begin your day with brunch favorites like Huevos Rancheros, a Breakfast Burrito, or Carnitas & Pancakes at La Puerta. Satisfy your cravings with Smoked Carnitas, Chipotle Rice, or Steak Tacos at Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails. Grab Creole and Cajun favorites like Seafood Bisque, Louisiana Chicken Pasta, or a Pulled Pork Po Boy Sandwich for dinner at Bud & Rob’s New Orleans Bistro. Or enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine like Shrimp Tacos, a Mahi Mahi Quesadilla, or Mexican Steak at Pokez.

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Hillcrest

  • Home Price: $1,384 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 12% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Renter-Occupied Homes: 65%
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you’re looking for walkable streets, quick access to Downtown San Diego’s amenities, and a diverse community, check out Hillcrest! Not only is Hillcrest one of the best places to buy a home in San Diego, but it’s also a popular choice for renters. San Diego renters can choose from a variety of affordable apartments, as well as Craftsman and Spanish-inspired properties relocating to Hillcrest. This San Diego neighborhood is known for its inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly vibes—in fact, it’s the location of the famous annual San Diego Pride Parade! Residents of Hillcrest are also considered lucky for having the popular 1,200-acre Balboa Park right in their backyard—which features museums, unique architecture, gardens, community events, concerts, walking trails, and more. Not to mention, there are a variety of restaurants, street fairs, and shopping spots to be found as you explore University Avenue and “Restaurant Row“.

Things to Do in Hillcrest

Check out over 50 life-sized sculpted trees, depicting everything from animals to pyramids, while strolling through the picturesque Harper’s Topiary Garden. Take a ride on the Skyfari or get up close with animals like bonobos, giraffes, rattlesnakes, and more at the San Diego Zoo. Grab locally-grown produce, gifts, and arts and crafts from 175+ vendors while enjoying live entertainment on Sundays at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. Find a variety of shops, restaurants, and a movie theater along Fifth Ave at Village Hillcrest. Claim a table on the patio and order an Almond Chocolate Croissant, Cranberry Orange Muffin, or a Chicken Cobb Sandwich at Bread & Cie. Indulge in brunch bites like a Mexican Scramble, Ham Omelet, or Brioche French Toast at country-chic Farmer’s Bottega. Try a Little Italy Pizza, Arugula Salad, or Spicy Hilly Cheesesteak for lunch at HillCrust Pizza. Pick up dishes like the Crest Pasta, Veggie Chili, or Tuna Melt at the late-night, neon-lit diner, Crest Cafe. Or get your fix of upscale cuisine like the Beef Wellington or Lamb Shank with a glass of Pinot Noir on the side at The Red Door.

Little Italy

  • Home Price: $1,370 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 0% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Renter-Occupied Homes: 77%
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

Little Italy, which is known for its Italian influence, is a great place for young adults and families to settle down in San Diego! This bustling San Diego neighborhood is filled with a variety of eclectic art galleries, bars, and shops—all within walking distance. Little Italy is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city, many of which can be found at the spacious Piazza della Famiglia in the Little Italy Food Hall. Popular events in the area include the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday, along with the Mission Fed ArtWalk—a major two-day art festival on the West Coast that features live performances, artwork for sale, interactive art exhibitions, and more! And with a wide-variety of San Diego rental properties, including townhomes, luxury condos, and modern apartments, there’s plenty of places to lay your head after a day of fun and food.

Things to Do in Little Italy

Cool off by the spray fountains, have an afternoon picnic, or let the kids play on the playground at Waterfront Park. Take in beautiful views of downtown and the San Diego Bay, go for a run with a friend, or watch the sunset at Bravo Dock at Harborview. Check out restored vintage ships, public events like floating concerts, or guided tours along the waterfront while visiting the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Examine antique fire engines, sliding poles, and more at San Diego’s oldest firehouse, the San Diego Firehouse Museum. Grab a seat on the rooftop patio and chow down on Steak Tartare, Roasted Chicken, or Lamb Loin at the high-end steakhouse, Born & Raised. Dine on dishes like the Alaskan Halibut, Oysters, or Parisian Gnocchi for dinner at Wolfie’s Carousel Bar. Order Italian favorites like Pasta Al Forno, Raviolo Al Gamberi, and Branzino at Civico 1845. Or sip rotating craft beers like a Grapefruit Sculpin, Legion Lager, or Fathom IPA at the contemporary Ballast Point Brewing.

Mission Valley

  • Home Price: $1,925 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 8% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Renter-Occupied Homes: 70%
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

Originally named after California’s first Spanish mission, Mission Valley is the perfect spot to rent a home in San Diego! Known for its urban environment, convenient amenities, and prime location near world-class beaches, Mission Valley is an ideal San Diego neighborhood for families, students, and young professionals. Rental options in Mission Valley range from high-rise condos to spacious single-family homes near a variety of golf courses, parks, and hiking trails. Of course, outdoor recreation isn’t the only thing to do in Mission Valley! This San Diego neighborhood is located near the University of San Diego and Snapdragon Stadium, so you can further your education, watch the San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA D-1) play, or attend local events and concerts right in the neighborhood.

Things to Do in Mission Valley

Spend a day hiking along the trails, take a bike ride, or stroll through historical sites like Fort Stockton and the Junipero Serra Museum at Presidio Park. Schedule tee time at the 18-hole, resort-style course at Riverwalk Golf Club. Satisfy all of your shopping needs at popular retailers like Ann Taylor and Anthropologie or hit up the movie theater at the Fashion Valley mall. Enroll in a summer camp, challenge yourself on the obstacle courses, or splash down the waterslides at Inflatable World. Begin your day with an Acai Bowl, Kahlua French Toast, or a Breakfast Burger for brunch at Bully’s East Prime Bistro Sports Bar. Enjoy a Chicken Pesto Panini, Vegetarian Wrap, or a Black Bean Burger for lunch at Jane’s Cafe. Grab Mexican plates like Fish Tacos, Chicken Tortilla Soup, or the Polanco Burger at the modern Polanco Kitchen & Bar. Or fill up with a Philly Steak Sandwich, Chicken Wings, or Fish Tacos at Bunz Burger Joint—and be sure to treat yourself to ice cream for dessert!

Pacific Beach

  • Home Price: $1,816 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 17% of San Diego neighborhoods
  • Renter-Occupied Homes: 73%
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

Nestled between Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Beach is known for its coastal community and sandy beaches. With convenient access to outdoor recreation and affordable housing options, Pacific Beach is not only a popular choice for families, but it’s also one of the best places to live in San Diego for singles and young professionals. This San Diego neighborhood offers a great nightlife scene, with cool bars and restaurants located along Garnet Avenue. Plus, Mission Boulevard is filled with yoga studios, shops, and bars for young adults to visit right along the water. Meanwhile, families appreciate being able to send their children to highly-rated schools within the area, like Pacific Beach Elementary School, Sessions Elementary School, and Pacific Beach Middle School. And residents of all ages can enjoy catching some waves, going fishing, watching the sunset on the pier, and other waterfront activities at the neighborhood’s namesake, Pacific Beach!

Things to Do in Pacific Beach

Go surfing, sunbathe on the shore, or watch kiteboarders in the water while visiting Tourmaline Surf Park Beach. Embark on a jog along the waterfront or attend a free yoga class on the weekends at Law Street Beach. Take advantage of the trails with your furry friend, play soccer on the green space, or enjoy the views of Mission Bay at the 79-acre Kate Sessions Park. Plan an outdoor BBQ, play a game of volleyball with friends, or watch the kids on the playground at Fanuel Street Park. Order Avocado Toast, a California Burrito, or Huevos Rancheros for breakfast at the popular beach bar, PB Shore Club. Dig in to a Sunrise Sandwich, Hawaiian Acai Bowl, or Nutella Croissant at Ocean Cafe, which is known for its classic recipes and healthy ingredients. Stop for dishes like Chicken Teriyaki, a Seaweed Salad, or Agedashi Tofu at the casual sushi bar, PB Sushi. Or chow down seafood favorites like Clam Chowder, Fried Calamari, or Coconut Shrimp at Pacific Beach Fish Shop.

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Moving to San Diego? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facilities throughout the area that can help with your transition. Find a storage facility near you!

Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes.

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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