Moving to San Diego? Follow Our Guide to Finding a Place to Rent.

With more than 1.4 million residents, it’s no secret that people love living in San Diego. The population grows by the year, with more and more people joining the ranks. People appreciate the diversity and the countless job opportunities in San Diego, as well as the fun activities and attractions. Plus, the foodie scene is full of delicious offerings.

  • Thursday, February 13, 2020

  Matt Angerer

  California   Community   Roommate Finder   

With more than 1.4 million residents, it’s no secret that people love living in San Diego. The population grows by the year, with more and more people joining the ranks. People appreciate the diversity and the countless job opportunities in San Diego, as well as the fun activities and attractions. Plus, the foodie scene is full of delicious offerings. You’re feeling the pull to San Diego, but you still don’t know where to live. The city has more than 30 communities to choose from, and picking just one can seem impossible. After you learn about the top neighborhoods for renters, it will be easy to make your decision, though. 

North Park

If you walk the streets of North Park, you’ll enjoy a nice mixture of students, hipsters, and young professionals. Along with the people, you’ll pass locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops that are always happy to serve the community. Even though this neighborhood is an eclectic mix of people and businesses, it maintains a sense of community. Each week, you’ll find people hanging out at the farmers’ market or enjoying breakfast at a local hot spot. The community also comes together for the annual festivals. 

Where to Live in North Park

North Park is full of places to live, so you can easily find something in your budget with the amenities you love. Speaking of incredible amenities, consider Vida North Park when relocating to this popular neighborhood. The rooftop terrace and pool deck are both popular with residents, and it has the best fitness equipment you’ll find at a rental complex. Plus, you can play games in the indoor and outdoor clubhouse, which is also the perfect spot to meet your neighbors. You also have lots of options regarding housing, with more than 30-floor plans available. Also, you can get up to a full free month when you sign a new lease. It’s worth checking it out. 


If you want something a bit more affordable, consider Asana at North Park. The complex has both remodeled and original units. You can save money by choosing a unit that hasn’t been renovated, or you can spend a bit more to enjoy the new features. Even if you don’t select a remodeled apartment, you’ll enjoy access to lots of amenities on the grounds, such as the swimming pool and the top-notch fitness center. Then there’s the laundry facility. There’s a facility on each floor, so you won’t have to haul your laundry up and down the stairs when you live here. That certainly makes life easier. 


Best Restaurants in North Park

North Park is a top spot for foodies. The San Diego Union-Tribune stated that North Park’s Adams Avenue is home to the best food in the entire county

So, where should you begin your culinary tour? Start with the best by going to Et Voila! French Bistro. The French eatery opened in 2016 and has been going strong since. It has a French bistro look-and-feel, and the food is divine. The bread is made in France and sent to San Diego, where the staff bakes it. Get some fresh bread with your coq au vin, duck confit, or another entrée. Pair it with one of the wines off of the extensive list, and you’ll go right to culinary heaven.


Tajima Ramen should be next on your list. It’s located next door, and it has a cult following thanks to its artistic take on noodles. The spicy tuna poke bowl might be the best item on the menu, but it’s hardly the only tasty dish you’ll find here. You’ll realize why so many people love this place as soon as you take your first bite. 


After you try these places, continue your stroll down Adams Avenue and pop in other restaurants. Each location has something unique to offer diners. 

Most Popular Nightlife in North Park

The nightlife vibe in North Park is quite a bit different from other neighborhoods. While some communities take an “in your face” approach to nightlife, North Park is more unassuming. People don’t tend to travel down the streets in huge groups, but when you enter your location, you’ll realize the party has already started, and it’s time to have some fun. 

West Coast Tavern is one of the most popular hangout spots in North Park. With “tavern” in the name, you wouldn’t expect it to have a dance floor, but that’s just what you’ll find here. Stop by, enjoy some drinks, and try out your favorite dance moves with other North Park locals. 


U-31 is another top spot. It’s a bar during the day, and then a hybrid bar and dance club at night. North Park residents fill up the small dance floor while the DJ spins tunes. The venue also has events throughout the week, including beer pong and live reggae music. 


After you spend some time in North Park, you will find your favorite haunts. Many of the places attract the same crowds week after week, so you’ll also meet some friends during your nights out in your new neighborhood. 


With its proximity to Balboa Park and downtown, Hillcrest is attractive to renters. You don’t have to head to Balboa Park or downtown to have fun when you live here, though. The walkable neighborhood has one of the hottest nightlife in the city, and it’s also home to fantastic shopping and delicious food. It also has a hip but welcoming feel and a strong sense of community. Once you relocate to Hillcrest, you’ll have a hard time living anywhere else. 

Where to Live in Hillcrest

This hip neighborhood has some of the best apartment communities in San Diego, and Hillcrest Place Apartments is the cream of the crop. The gated building has intercoms, so you’ll feel safe when you live here. The complex boasts large two-bedroom apartments, one-bedroom units with spacious open floor plans, and studios with large alcoves. Plus, the rent for each unit is affordable by San Diego standards. The grounds are also gorgeous. The management team puts a lot of effort into the landscaping, and you’ll feel at peace when you walk to public transportation or take off to your favorite restaurant or bar. 


If you want a more luxurious experience, you can rent a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment at Park View Hillcrest. The rent is a bit higher, but it’s easy to understand why when you enjoy features like white quartz countertops and spacious closets that can be hard to find in the city. You’ll also have access to a swimming pool complete with a poolside barbeque and a resident lounge. 


Best Restaurants in Hillcrest

You’ll love your apartment in Hillcrest, but when you get hungry, you’ll be ready to venture out and grab some food. You have lots of tasty options in Hillcrest.

Bronx Pizza might be the most popular restaurant in Hillcrest. This pizzeria serves thin-crust New York-style pizza, and you’ll fall in love at first bite. One thing to keep in mind when you pick up your pie, the restaurant only accepts cash, so stop by the ATM before you arrive. 


When you’re in the mood for comfort food, make a trip to Hash House A Go Go. It has all your comfort food staples, such as pancakes and meatloaf, but the dishes have a twist. For instance, the meatloaf is stuffed, and the pancakes come in unique flavors such as mango coconut and Snickers. 


These are just two of the many places you can eat in Hillcrest. You’ll find lots of places for a quick bite or a sit-down meal when you live here. 

Most Popular Nightlife in Hillcrest 

The nightlife is fantastic in Hillcrest, and it’s open to everyone. The neighborhood is LGBTQ friendly, and you’ll find people of all ages and nationalities, so you’re sure to feel at home.

Urban Mo’s should be your first stop during your evening in town. You might think this is just a burger bar, but it has a happening dance floor and theme nights that get the party started. Theme nights include dance beats, top 40 music, and even country line dancing. The staff will also teach you how to country line dance if you attend this theme night. 


Do you prefer a classic dive bar? If so, check out Alibi. It has pool tables, a punching bag, and TVs, along with some of the coldest beer in the area. Plus, the patrons are lively and ready to talk. Bring cash with you or use the bar’s ATM since you can’t pay with a card here.


You’ll also find a nice mix of dive bars when you’re in Hillcrest. You can easily find the right spot to unwind and have some fun. 

Gaslamp Quarter

If you want to live in the top party location in San Diego, pack your bags and move to the Gaslamp Quarter. The entire city converges on the quarter when the sun goes down, and the bars and clubs hit full swing. This is an excellent spot if you want to be in the middle of the action. Just remember that the streets get crowded at night, so only move here if you like being around lots of people. If you do, you’ll feel right at home here. 

Where to Live in the Gaslamp Quarter

Do you want to live in this trendy neighborhood? The right apartment will give you access to everything the Gaslamp Quarter has to offer. 

Lots of residents live in the Pioneer Warehouse Lofts. With concrete flooring, large windows, exposed columns, and an open floor plan, the lofts fit in perfectly with this neighborhood. The residents have created a community here, and it’s normal to see lots of neighbors hanging out together on the rooftop deck or barbecuing. They also tend to bond over the cold beer and cheeseburgers available at the complex. There’s one thing to keep in mind if you want to relocate here. The units go quickly, and people tend to stick around. If you find an opening, apply before it’s too late so that you won’t miss your chance.


The Steele Lofts also fit right into this neighborhood. If you live here, you’ll enjoy spacious open floor plans and high ceilings, plus easy access to public transportation. The coolest part is the raw space. You can genuinely dress the loft up to reflect your personality. 


Best Restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is packed with restaurants. Some cater to tourists, while others are popular with locals. If you move here, you’ll want to eat where the locals eat.

Biga is one such spot, and it’s proof that you don’t have to move to Little Italy to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine. The owner buys local produce so that you can expect fresh dishes here. If you aren’t sure what to order, you can’t go wrong with the homemade pasta. It’s perfectly made and will keep you coming back over and over.


If you are in the mood for fine dining, check out Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse. This eatery arrived on the scene in 2019, and it already has quite the local following. The glass meat locker is filled with impressive, perfectly aged cuts of meat, and it’s no surprise to see people salivating as they look inside. While the meat looks great in the locker, it’s even better on the plate. Combine a delicious steak with a glass of wine from the considerable wine list for a meal to remember.


This is just a snapshot of the food you can eat when you live in the Gaslamp District. It has a nice assortment of casual and fine-dining locations. 

Most Popular Nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter shines when the sun goes down. It probably has the best nightlife in San Diego, thanks in part to Trailer Park After Dark. The restaurant-bar is set up like a trailer park, and it’s the only place in town that you can get a 40-ounce beer in a paper bag. Plus, it has fun theme nights such as karaoke, decades’ parties, and human foosball. You’ve never experienced anything like this place. Stop by and hang out for a few hours to get your evening started on the right foot. 


Then there’s The Shout! House. The cocktails are always on point and go great with the dual piano performances. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line to get a chance to watch the pianists fight it out. While the line might be a bit long, it shouldn’t keep you away. It’s well worth the wait when you finally get a spot here. 


You can also head to a tavern for a quiet beer, hit a dance floor at a club, and so much more. If you aren’t sure where to go, just follow the crowds. Lots of people converge on the Gaslamp Quarter at night, so it’s easy to see what’s hot each night. 

Little Italy

Have you always wanted to enjoy the Italian lifestyle, but you don’t have the budget to take an international vacation? You can submerge yourself in Italian culture by relocating to Little Italy. You’ll feel like you’ve left San Diego and headed to Tuscany when you live here. The delicious Italian restaurants feature authentic cuisine, and the outdoor patio cafes represent the same places you’d find in Italy. Plus, Little Italy hosts the Little Italy FESTA! each year. You can walk over to enjoy a day loaded with Italian culture and delicious food. 

Where to Live in Little Italy

If you want to live in Little Italy, you’re in luck. This quaint neighborhood has tons of apartments just waiting for you to move in. Take Camden Tuscany, for instance. The one, two, and three-bedroom apartments are across the bay and provide easy access to all the best activities and attractions. The high ceilings and dual pane windows create a spacious feel, and the updated appliances add a dash of elegance. You can also unwind on the balcony at the end of a long day. Plus, the walk-in closets are a huge selling point. 


You can also move to Broadstone Little Italy. The complex boasts gorgeous views of the bay, designer units, and stylish amenities. When you live here, you’ll have access to billiards, virtual golf, a huge fitness center, a spacious swimming pool, and gorgeous outdoor spaces. The units themselves are also beautiful and include designer countertops, upgraded fixtures, and high ceilings. The building has various floor plans and price points available, so be sure to check it out. 


Best Restaurants in Little Italy

The food is one of the reasons people move to Little Italy. You will find one delicious dish after the next here. If you’re in the mood for Italian, head to Mona Lisa Italian Foods. This is a San Diego institution, thanks in large part to its marinara sauce. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better sauce in the state. Also, since the restaurant shares space with a grocery store, you can stock up on provisions when you eat here. 


Do you prefer something besides Italian? Little Italy is also full of non-Italian eateries, including Juniper and Ivy. The chef-driven menu changes regularly, but you can always expect fresh ingredients. The restaurant also has a lively yet refined atmosphere that makes it perfect for date nights and celebrations.


When you live in Little Italy, you can find a little bit of everything to tempt your taste buds. Venture out and try all the restaurants. You’ll be sure to add a few favorites to your list.  

Most Popular Nightlife in Little Italy

Many people are surprised by the nightlife offerings in Little Italy. While the neighborhood is mostly considered a foodie paradise, it also offers ample options to unwind at the end of the week.

False Idol is the newest (and hottest) addition to Little Italy’s nightlife scene. The cool tiki bar is hidden inside of Craft and Commerce and is decorated with Polynesian décor. If you want to go here, you’ll need to go to the left of Craft and Commerce’s main bar and open the stainless-steel door. Then you’ll pass through a walk-in cooler and move through a second door, where you’ll finally find False Idol. Once inside, you’ll feel like you’re sitting on an island instead of enjoying a drink in Little Italy.


Music Box is also popular with Little Italy residents. This live music venue features local and national artists, and with three floors, the space is plentiful. You can also spend time in a lounge area or on the patio outside. If you like live music, add a trip to Music Box to your list.  


These two spots will get you started, but you’ll find lots of other options in Little Italy as well. It’s easy to make a night of it when you live here. 

Share Rent in San Diego by Getting a Roommate

You’re starry-eyed, thinking about your new rental in San Diego. You know where you want to move, and you are so excited. 

There are a couple of problems, though, and both are too big to ignore. 

First, you aren’t sure you can afford the rent and utilities. Second, you’re afraid you’ll get lonely in your new space by yourself.

Getting a roommate is an easy way to solve both problems. You’ll have someone to split the bills with, and you’ll get to enjoy the person’s company.

That brings another problem to the surface, though. You’ve heard some roommate horror stories, and you don’t want to be a victim. Fortunately, there’s also an easy solution to this problem.

Use VerticalRent’s Roommate Finder to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect roommate. The free tool lets you search through roommate profiles using the criteria you choose. Once you find a financially responsible renter, send a message and see if you’re a good fit. If the two of you decide to live together, you can execute the agreement with the tool. 

The tool is a cinch to use, so get started on your search for the perfect roommate. Then it won’t be long before the two of you are living together in your dream apartment.


About the author

Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America. 

Read more articles from Matt Angerer

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