Underrated Neighborhoods in San Diego, CA

As a city, San Diego is extremely diverse with a wide variety of people, places, and professions. There are so many pros to living here. At last count, there are 33 distinct neighborhoods in San Diego and 18 incorporated cities, all of whom share in the delight of its amazing weather, miles of white sandy beaches and abundance of attractions. From Hillcrest to Normal Heights, La Jolla, and Ocean Beach, many of San Diego’s neighborhoods are quite famous and popular.

There are others that are not so famous but a bit more approachable, and still enjoy the amazing amenities that San Diego has to offer. Today we’re going to look at some of those neighborhoods, underrated as they are, and give them their due. If you’re moving to lovely San Diego, you would do well to take a look at the neighborhoods on our list before you make your final choice on where to live. You might just find an unpolished gem!

the absolute best neighborhoods in san diego

By the way, if you’re going to need storage space once you arrive, or you already live here and your San Diego home needs space, CA Storage has secure, affordable and convenient self storage locations all over the city. Now on to those underrated neighborhoods!


Warmly referred to as “The City in the Country”, Poway sits almost perfectly in the center of San Diego County. It’s a short trip away from Los Angeles, Riverside and Tijuana. It offers a thriving business park and one of the best school districts in the state. Not to mention it has a whopping 76 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and enjoying the southern California climate. Oh and get this; more than half of the city is a dedicated open space! That’s almost 20 square miles of natural green space to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities or just soak up the San Diego sun! About 80% of the properties in Poway are single-family dwellings and there are 10 senior and family-oriented housing complexes. If you see something you like, don’t wait as only 5% of the houses in this neighborhood in San Deigo are vacant. (People love it here!)

Chula Vista

If beautiful views in an affordable neighborhood are what you’re seeking, Chula Vista is a great choice. The average price for a home in this part of San Diego is about $100,000 less than the majority of surrounding neighborhoods. Even better, the surfing in this part San Diego is so amazing that it draws surfers from all over the city and the world, and it’s right in your backyard! There are also hiking and biking trails galore here, especially in gorgeous Otay Valley Regional Park. And if live music is your thing, the North Island Credit Union Amphitheater is here in Chula Vista also. All around, it’s one of the nicest places to live in the entire San Diego metro area.

Aerial view suburban neighborhood with big villas next to each other in Black Mountain, San Diego, California, USA. Aerial view of residential modern subdivision luxury house.

Mira Mesa

One of the reasons that many people skip looking at Mira Mesa it’s because it’s known as a “military town”. Yes, it’s true that the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is here. During World War II,  Mira Mesa was a US Army testing area. Now, Mira Mesa is a very nice residential neighborhood in San Diego that’s also quite affordable. And talk about outdoor activities in the San Diego sunshine, Mira Mesa has them in spades!. And talk about outdoor activities in the San Diego sunshine, Mira Mesa has them in spades! There are 8 community parks, a teen center, a senior center, an ice arena, a recreation center, and an aquatic complex! Mira Mesa is a very young-trending community with young families, military members, and students, but there are a few retirees that live here also because the place is just so lovely.

Gaslamp Quarter

If Victorian-era homes and architecture float your boat, Gaslamp Quarter is worth a good look. This neighborhood in San Diego is overflowing with old-world charm and, in fact, gets its name from the Victorian-era gaslamps that still line many of its streets. You could spend the better part of a day enjoying the architecture. When you’re done, you’ll have access to some of the best restaurants in the city. Gaslamp Quarter is a foodie’s delight! There is a truly delicious range of dining delicacies from both north and south of the border. After you’ve filled your belly you can head to the Gaslamp Museum and USS Midway Museum and get your fill of history too.

San Diego, California cityscape at the Gaslamp Quarter

El Cajon

If you’re planning to rent before you buy in San Diego, El Cajon is a great choice. The median rent here for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment is $2100 whereas it’s $2750 in the rest of the city. El Cajon is one of the most affordable communities in the entire city! The cost of living and home prices are great. It’s also charming, safe and offers more than its fair share of attractions and activities. One of the best is the Water Conservation Garden, a 6-acre space that promotes water conservation and provides various themed gardens to show it off. It’s both stunningly beautiful and extremely interesting at the same time.

Ocean Beach

Last on our list today is Ocean Beach. While this area is a bit removed from the city, it has the laid-back surfing vibe of San Diego. Ocean Beach is truly a walkable neighborhood with surf shops and old-school bungalows everywhere you look. The famous Pacific Ocean Pier is here too and, of course, surfers. Lots and lots of surfers. While it might not be the most affordable neighborhood in San Diego, if living life on your own terms and taking things day by day is what you’re all about, Ocean Beach would be a fantastic choice.

Sunset at San Diego Waterfront Public Park, Marina and the San Diego Skyline. California, United States

Where To Go When You Need More Storage Space

No matter where you decide to live in lovely San Diego, if you need extra space, a self-storage unit from CA Storage is a perfect choice. For example, if you just bought new furniture but want to hang onto your old furniture and give it to your children when they move out (someday!), one of our climate-controlled storage units would work well. Also, if you’re renovating your San Diego home, putting your furniture into a self-storage unit while the construction is underway will keep them from getting covered in grit, dust, and grime. 

Many folks have quads and dirt bikes here in this part of California and if you do as well, a self-storage unit is a convenient place to store them (and keeps you from filling up your garage). Our facilities are safe, secure, and monitored by video 24/7. We also have a friendly manager on duty 5 days a week. You have access to your storage unit 7 days a week via a large, keypad-controlled front gate. You can even store your car, truck, or RV here (although call ahead because these spaces do rent quickly). By the way, you can chat with one of our friendly managers online right now if you like! Or, when you’re ready, simply fill out our easy online application and reserve your rental unit today!

San Degio Neighborhoods

Welcome To San Diego!

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of our underrated neighborhoods here in San Diego. They might not be the most popular, it’s true. But they are beautiful places to live, raise a family, and enjoy the best of everything that southern California offers.

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