A Guide to San Diego Neighborhoods

San Diego is one of California's most in-demand cities, with its attractive coastline, temperate climate, outdoorsy lifestyle, and exciting nightlife options.
Home to 1.5 million residents, the second-most populous city in California, has a hot real estate market that has been defined by rising prices and constrained inventory over the past year. If you’re considering buying a house in the area, read this guide on some of the region’s most attractive residential neighborhoods, and reach out to an expert agent for the most up-to-date information on the San Diego real estate market.

Downtown San Diego Neighborhoods

Downtown San Diego is the vibrant center of the city’s entertainment, business, and arts communities. Renovations and upgrades have transformed the area into an in-demand place to live and work over the past few decades. According to stats from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, prices in Downtown San Diego have seen a big jump in the past year.
The median price of condos and townhouses — which account for most of the housing stock Downtown — increased 18% compared to the same period last year, rising to $765,000. In addition, the number of new listings on the market fell 23%, indicating that supply is not keeping pace with demand.
City officials are pushing to increase downtown’s population, and the area is home to various ambitious developments. Here are the top neighborhoods to consider in Downtown San Diego.

Little Italy

Little Italy is one of the buzziest neighborhoods in San Diego. The close-knit community teems with restaurants, cultural events, and year-round street festivals. Little Italy, which began in the late 19th century, boasts patio cafés, pubs, art galleries, shops, hotels, and Amici Park. Spanning 48 blocks, the area is the largest Little Italy in the United States. Several blocks in the neighborhood are shut down each Saturday for the weekly Little Italy Mercato—the largest farmers market in San Diego, where locals shop for fresh produce and gourmet goods, flowers, and crafts.
The neighborhood has a European feel, with cobblestone streets surrounding the central gathering point, Piazza Della Famiglia, a 10,000-square-foot plaza featuring a beautiful tiled fountain.

East Village

East Village is downtown’s largest neighborhood, spanning 130 blocks. The community is home to the San Diego Padres, who play at Petco Park, a stadium that opened in 2004 and is credited with helping to transform the East Village. Real estate development since then has been steady in the neighborhood and has been transformed into a vibrant cultural and residential center. Most of the residential stock in the area consists of a mix of rental apartments and condos.
Present-day developments in the area include a 22-story, 241-apartment building with a Target store. Real estate experts say projects are slated to break ground, bringing more than 2,000 residential units to the East Village.


Hillcrest has long been the center of San Diego’s LGBTQ community, a vibrant area buzzing with restaurants, boutiques, and bars. The site is undergoing a transformative development effort that will result in hundreds of new housing units and upgrades to area streets, such as new bike lanes.

Coastal Neighborhoods in San Diego

With its long coastline, San Diego offers many attractive beachside residential options, from Pacific Beach to La Jolla. These are among the best San Diego coastal neighborhoods.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is considered a quintessential SoCal beach town. Located just north of Point Loma, OB is dotted with surf shops, outdoor cafes, and yoga studios. The pedestrian-friendly area has an array of shopping boutiques, bistros, and casual eateries where you can grab fish tacos or a burger.

Ocean Beach home prices have been shooting up over the past year. The median sales price for a single-family house rose 24% year-over-year, to $1.75 million, while the median sales price of townhouses and condos was up 18%, to $730,000.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is one of the liveliest places in San Diego, offering a mixture of suburban, urban, and waterfront living., You will find trendy hotels lining Pacific Beach’s boardwalk, while Mission Boulevard and its surrounding streets offer boutiques, fitness studios, and popular bars. Kate Sessions Park has panoramic views of the city and San Diego Bay.
As with other sections of San Diego, prices in Pacific Beach have been rising, with the median sales price of a single-family house up 16% year-over-year, to $1.8 million, and the median sales price of townhouses and condos up an incredible 43%, to $1 million.

La Jolla

La Jolla is another incredibly in-demand stretch of the Pacific coastline in San Diego. The community has top-rated schools, a vibrant cultural and dining scene, and well-manicured streets, many set on high cliffs with sweeping views of the ocean below. In addition to museums, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, La Jolla is home to the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the natural beauty of Scripps Park.
Home prices in La Jolla have risen rapidly over the past year, with the median price for a single-family house up 48%, to $4.2 million and the median price of townhouses and condos up 64% to $1.3 million.


Coronado Island is a multi-million dollar residential area connected to the city by the San Diego-Coronado bridge. It features multi-million dollar homes that circle the historic Hotel del Coronado resort and boasts many Mexican and seafood eateries.
The neighborhood offers various recreational options, including biking on the Silver Strand, paddle boarding in calm Glorietta Bay, and jogging along the Coronado beach.
Home prices have also increased in Coronado in the past year, with the median single-family price up 60%, to $3.4 million and the median townhouse and condo price up 59% to $1.9 million.

North County Neighborhoods in San Diego

North County offers residents a laid-back vibe free from the hustle and bustle of the city. The region is well-known as a surfing hotspot that boasts miles of golf courses, shopping centers, eclectic dining options, and attractions like Legoland. Read on for details on the many sought-after neighborhoods in the area.


Encinitas holds a special spot in American culture as the place that inspired the Beach Boys’ “Surfin USA.” Encinitas is home to more than 60,000 residents and features various cultures, eclectic cafes and coffeehouses, top-rated schools, and other amenities.
Encinitas beaches are a hotspot for daredevil surfers and adrenaline seekers. The city is located half an hour from San Diego, with a median single-family home price of $2.4 million and a median townhouse and condo price of $1.2 million, according to the most recent statistics.
One of Encinitas' most vibrant areas is the rural beach community of Leucadia, known for its surfing culture, quaint art, multicultural dining, and walkable streets. Leucadia has invested a lot in tourism, and its secluded beaches and lovely sunsets keep vacationers coming all year round.


Carlsbad is 35 miles north of downtown San Diego and features a close-knit community, attractive beaches, and a growing food and cultural scene. The setting is ideal for families, with walkable streets and excellent schools.
The median sales price in Carlsbad for single-family homes is $1.6 million, while the median price for condos and townhouses is $945,000.
San Diego offers diverse housing options in dozens of its neighborhoods. Values on residential properties have risen dramatically over the past year, and homes continue to be in high demand. Talk with expert real estate agent Michael W. Robertson today to begin your journey of owning a home in San Diego.

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Michael exhibits extensive knowledge, skill and resourcefulness when advising his clients on all real estate matters. He excels at educating and creating value for his clients and offers a more complete perspective of the current real estate market.
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