These Are The 10 Best Neighborhoods In San Diego, CA For 2018


We used science and data to determine which neighborhoods in San Diego are the best of the best.

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Do you like your neighborhood? Is it friendly, and where everyone knows their neighbors? No matter if you live in the sticks or in an apartment building in downtown San Diego, you have a little pocket that you can call home. And each neighborhood is different.

Smaller neighborhoods usually have obvious benefits — less crime, a slower pace of life, and a lower cost of living. But not all San Diego neighborhoods are created equal. Some are better than others. But which ones?

Instead of relying on public opinion and speculation, we wanted to get the facts straight and find out which neighborhoods in San Diego are the best. If you’re in one of the places we’re about to highlight, odds are you know you’ve got it made.

Here are the best neighborhoods in San Diego for 2018:

  1. Pacific Beach (Homes)
  2. Carmel Mountain (Homes)
  3. Old Town (Homes)
  4. Sabre Springs (Homes)
  5. Loma Portal (Homes)
  6. Sorrento Valley (Homes)
  7. Ocean Beach (Homes)
  8. Kensington (Homes)
  9. Scripps Ranch (Homes)
  10. Little Italy (Homes)

Read on to see how we determined the places around San Diego that deserve a little bragging rights or maybe you’re interested in the worst neighborhoods in San Diego.

If you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in California check out:

How do you determine the top neighborhoods in San Diego for 2018?

In order to rank the best neighborhoods in San Diego, we had to determine what criteria defines a ‘best’.

Using crime, census, and extrapolated BLS data, we arrived at the following set of criteria:

  • High incomes
  • Low unemployment rates
  • Low crime
  • High home prices
  • High population densities (A proxy for things to do)

We limited the analysis to neighborhoods with over 1,000 people.

We then ranked each neighborhood with scores from 1 to 85 in each category, where 1 was the best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each neighborhood to create a best neighborhood index.

And finally, we crowned the neighborhood with the lowest best neighborhood index the ‘Best City Neighborhood In San Diego.’ We’re lookin’ at you, Pacific Beach.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best places San Diego has to offer. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the neighborhoods in the city from best to worst.

1. Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach San Diego, CA

Population: 28,891
Median Income: $77,693
Median Home Value: $568,121

Pacific Beach is a neighborhood in San Diego, bounded by La Jolla to the north, Mission Beach and Mission Bay to the south, Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. While formerly largely populated by young people, surfers, and college students, because of rising property and rental costs the population is gradually becoming older and more affluent. ‘P.B.,’ as it is known as by local residents, is home to one of San Diego’s more developed nightlife scenes, with a great variety of bars, eateries, and clothing stores located along Garnet Avenue and Mission Boulevard.
More on Pacific Beach: Real Estate | Data

2. Carmel Mountain

Carmel Mountain San Diego, CA

Population: 9,210
Median Income: $104,236
Median Home Value: $516,660

Carmel Mountain Ranch, sometimes shortened to simply Carmel Mountain, such as on maps, or abbreviated to CMR by local residents and organizations, is a community of San Diego, California, United States, in the northeastern part of the city. Despite its name, Carmel Mountain Ranch is actually in the shadow of Black Mountain. Carmel Mountain proper is about 10 miles west of the Carmel Mountain Ranch neighborhood.
More on Carmel Mountain: Real Estate | Data

3. Old Town

Old Town San Diego, CA

Population: 11,102
Median Income: $76,511
Median Home Value: $534,482

Old Town is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It contains 230 acres and is bounded by Interstate 8 on the north, Interstate 5 on the west, Mission Hills on the east and Bankers Hill on the south. It is the oldest settled area in San Diego and is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California. It contains Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
More on Old Town: Real Estate | Data

4. Sabre Springs

Sabre Springs San Diego, CA

Population: 14,605
Median Income: $114,320
Median Home Value: $517,100

Sabre Springs is an affluent community in San Diego, California, located in the northeastern part of the city. It is bounded by the city limits of Poway on the east, Ted Williams Parkway on the north, Interstate 15 on the west, and the community of Miramar Ranch North to the south. Sabre Springs is bisected north-south by Poway Road.
More on Sabre Springs: Real Estate | Data

5. Loma Portal

Population: 23,060
Median Income: $72,406
Median Home Value: $537,371

Loma Portal is a neighborhood in the community of Point Loma in San Diego, California. It is a hilly area northwest of Rosecrans Street and northeast of Nimitz Boulevard, overlooking San Diego Bay.
More on Loma Portal: Real Estate | Data

6. Sorrento Valley

Sorrento Valley San Diego, CA

Population: 9,186
Median Income: $93,176
Median Home Value: $509,688

Sorrento Valley is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It is located about 17 mi north of Downtown San Diego and its main airport, Lindbergh Field. It is roughly bounded by Interstate 5 and interstate 805, Camino Santa Fe to the east, the Los Peasquitos Canyon Preserve to the north and Miramar Road to the south, as shown on the San Diego Police Department’s neighborhood map.
More on Sorrento Valley: Real Estate | Data

7. Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach San Diego, CA

Population: 10,144
Median Income: $78,213
Median Home Value: $609,880

Ocean Beach is a beachfront neighborhood of San Diego, California.
More on Ocean Beach: Real Estate | Data

8. Kensington

Kensington San Diego, CA

Population: 5,804
Median Income: $82,378
Median Home Value: $533,543

Kensington is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. Its borders are defined by Interstate 15 to the west, Interstate 8 to the north, Fairmount Avenue to the east, and Monroe Street to the south. Its neighboring communities are Normal Heights to the west, and City Heights to the south.
More on Kensington: Real Estate | Data

9. Scripps Ranch

Scripps Ranch San Diego, CA

Population: 35,713
Median Income: $117,010
Median Home Value: $648,226

Scripps Ranch is an affluent community of San Diego, California in the northeastern part of that city. Its ZIP code is 92131. It is located east of Interstate 15, north of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and south of Poway.
More on Scripps Ranch: Real Estate | Data

10. Little Italy

Little Italy San Diego, CA

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,878
Median Income: $58,514
Median Home Value: $361,150

Little Italy is a somewhat hilly neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, California that was originally a predominately Italian fishing neighborhood. It has since been gentrified and now Little Italy is a scenic neighborhood composed mostly of Italian restaurants, Italian retail shops, home design stores, art galleries, and residential units.
More on Little Italy: Real Estate | Data

Putting A Bow On Our Analysis Of San Diego

If you’re measuring the neighborhoods in San Diego where crime is low and everyone wants to live, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious, here are the worst places in San Diego:

  1. Southcrest
  2. City Heights East
  3. Nestor

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Neighborhoods In San Diego

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Prices Crimes Per 100k Unemployment Rate
1 Pacific Beach 28,891 $568,121 1,254 5.0%
2 Carmel Mountain 9,210 $516,660 1,471 3.4%
3 Old Town 11,102 $534,482 1,251 2.6%
4 Sabre Springs 14,605 $517,100 1,526 3.7%
5 Loma Portal 23,060 $537,371 1,619 6.0%
6 Sorrento Valley 9,186 $509,688 1,842 2.8%
7 Ocean Beach 10,144 $609,880 1,285 6.0%
8 Kensington 5,804 $533,543 1,423 6.2%
9 Scripps Ranch 35,713 $648,226 995 3.2%
10 Little Italy 2,878 $361,150 1,656 3.1%
11 San Carlos 14,101 $503,544 1,406 4.8%
12 Rancho Penasquitos 61,808 $536,858 1,574 4.4%
13 Del Cerro 5,683 $527,186 1,392 4.9%
14 Rancho Bernadino 44,745 $507,963 1,602 3.7%
15 University City 47,710 $428,450 1,990 3.5%
16 Midtown 18,785 $475,689 1,491 4.1%
17 Miramar 2,209 $1,000,001 961 0.9%
18 Bay Park 15,818 $530,207 1,747 5.3%
19 Marina 4,653 $526,667 961 2.1%
20 Torrey Pines 3,273 $528,967 1,534 6.6%
21 La Jolla 28,561 $926,721 961 3.0%
22 Clairemont Mesa 37,903 $412,457 2,323 5.3%
23 Del Mar Heights 6,885 $902,141 961 3.1%
24 South Park 4,566 $471,057 2,016 3.6%
25 Lake Murray 20,485 $411,139 2,282 4.1%
26 West University Heights 9,247 $502,090 1,721 5.3%
27 Kearny Mesa 3,029 $315,600 2,370 4.0%
28 North Hills 41,687 $410,820 2,121 5.5%
29 Bay Ho 12,392 $502,550 1,893 6.2%
30 Gateway 2,994 $297,900 2,939 4.4%
31 Balboa Park 12,292 $432,976 1,995 4.3%
32 Carmel Valley 38,768 $736,158 961 4.1%
33 Tierrasanta 20,048 $399,744 2,073 4.5%
34 Wooded Area 7,752 $724,000 961 3.4%
35 La Jolla Village 6,202 $376,300 2,187 5.9%
36 Serra Mesa 28,167 $356,360 2,472 5.0%
37 North City 12,283 $919,786 961 3.5%
38 Talmadge 9,342 $364,989 2,474 6.4%
39 Roseville 6,451 $724,470 961 4.0%
40 Columbia 1,674 $404,233 961 1.1%
41 Bay Terrace 22,415 $274,647 3,132 5.7%
42 North Clairemont 14,399 $427,507 2,319 6.8%
43 Mission Bay 60,822 $368,211 2,470 6.6%
44 Mira Mesa 68,906 $393,867 2,407 5.7%
45 Bird Land 5,034 $342,240 2,648 5.3%
46 Linda Vista 24,028 $365,835 2,742 6.6%
47 College Area 20,534 $394,253 2,620 5.6%
48 Alta Vista 8,831 $293,186 3,022 8.9%
49 Allied Gardens 8,839 $286,609 2,605 4.2%
50 Core 3,527 $130,600 3,116 2.2%
51 Moreno Mission 9,036 $339,290 2,527 4.4%
52 Mission Valley 6,793 $269,360 2,384 4.8%
53 Darnall 9,119 $281,550 3,044 7.9%
54 Normal Heights 16,097 $328,816 2,646 6.5%
55 Cortez Hill 2,029 $217,475 2,723 1.5%
56 Midtown District 10,734 $314,400 2,763 3.2%
57 Paradise Hills 24,176 $223,127 3,370 7.5%
58 Park West 4,584 $474,733 1,796 5.7%
59 Rolando 7,452 $382,000 2,824 7.8%
60 El Cerritos 5,344 $293,925 2,985 8.6%
61 Palm City 7,257 $183,720 3,546 11.2%
62 East Village 13,144 $327,989 1,808 7.5%
63 Grantville 13,121 $271,077 2,807 5.8%
64 Webster 9,629 $276,543 3,194 6.1%
65 Sky Line 11,585 $264,929 3,285 8.9%
66 Jomacha-Lomita 8,501 $269,440 3,215 9.4%
67 Grant Hill 11,789 $269,200 3,320 7.2%
68 Gaslamp Quarter 1,154 $151,067 2,752 3.2%
69 Tijuana River Valley 2,803 $267,250 3,388 6.8%
70 Encanto 15,197 $287,870 3,159 9.6%
71 Chollas View 8,741 $220,940 3,584 7.5%
72 Valencia Park 6,494 $252,050 3,335 8.6%
73 Lincoln Park 5,673 $293,300 3,422 14.6%
74 Oak Park 10,194 $242,800 3,345 7.4%
75 Egger Highlands 10,099 $230,980 3,422 8.3%
76 San Ysidro 28,224 $199,794 3,685 10.1%
77 Mountain View 12,285 $251,850 3,605 12.2%
78 Bario Logan 10,057 $178,175 3,676 5.4%
79 Emerald Hills 7,038 $219,060 3,515 8.3%
80 Memorial 14,984 $238,364 3,640 11.9%
81 Mount Hope 9,024 $250,880 3,542 8.7%
82 City Heights West 31,511 $275,856 3,395 7.6%
83 Nestor 15,358 $181,867 3,598 9.1%
84 City Heights East 38,231 $204,865 3,683 8.5%
85 Southcrest 9,991 $248,317 3,561 9.9%

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