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View Full Version : Thinking about moving to the San Diego area? Need helpful tips...


Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 4:28 PM
Ok so I got the news that I may be out of a job by next year (or the job may be changing so bad that I will probably want to quit? I work for the state and its 3 billion in the hole and cutting like crazy. That being said, the wife and I are looking to move back to California. My California job would be with the Feds so no more furloughs and benefit cuts even though California has alot of drama itself.

Why California? Because we both have family up and down the state vs no family where we live now. Plus there is so much more to do and see in California than where we live now. Plus California has TREES!!! which we dont have in the desert!!! We thought desert life would grow on us but it hasnt. And the threat of layoffs and it just makes sense to go back Cali and be closer to family.

We have visited San Diego a few times and loved it. I was also stationed there 20 years ago for boot camp and A-school and FMF school at Camp Pendleton so I am slightly familiar with the area? But that was when I was young and single and lived on base.

What is life like now? I would be working in La Jolla if I get the job. Where are some decent places to live if you have a wife and 2 kids on a $50k starting income? My wife plans to go back to work once the youngest goes to kindergarten.

What are some cool family things to do down there? Where do you guys go shooting? Any BLM land out there?

Chester
07-20-2010, 4:40 PM
You're going to be relatively limited in where you can live if you're trying to work off of a $50k combined income with two kids. Definitely not impossible to do though. Take a look out in the east county or some places on the edge of downtown, preferably the northern edge.

You shouldn't have too hard a time finding a two bedroom apartment for between $900 and $1200 a month if you're not too picky. Take a look around El Cajon, La Mesa, North Park, and Hillcrest (lots of hippies there though...) Only problem is, unless you find an awesome deal close to La Jolla (they do exist, so keep an eye out for them), you're probably going to be living a good 15-20 miles from work.

As far as cool family things to do out here, there are 5 million of them.
There's:
Sea World, the zoo, Wild Animal Park, Legoland, and Disneyland is only 90 miles north.
Free stuff includes Balboa Park, which has free admission to selected museums every Tuesday, free organ concerts every Sunday around 1pm I believe. You can also take the family down to the harbor and check out the U.S.S. Midway museum and the Star of India. Plenty of hiking around the hills... you can take the 20 minute climb up the top of Cowles Mountain or spend a day hiking or mountain biking around Mission Gorge. Further east, there's Julian which makes a mean apple pie, Mt. Laguna which you can enjoy snow in the winter or the trees in the summer, and plenty of kick back camping around the Cuyamacas and Palomar.

I'm not too familiar with the BLM land around here (yet), but I'm pretty sure there's a LOT of it. There are more state parks than I can count once you head far enough east, which eventually turn into sand dunes if you go far enough.

You'll probably spend most of your time shooting at the 5 or so ranges the rest of us do though. I go to American Shooting Center a lot since it's close, but from what I hear, P2K is the place to be if you don't mind a longer drive and a couple more bucks on range time. Then there's Iron Sights, either of the two Discount Gun Marts, and an outdoor range down in Dulzura (I might have forgotten a few still though).

Anyway, consider this my "Welcome to San Diego" when you finally get here.

Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 4:48 PM
Yeah I figured a 15 - 20 mile commute is ok since I already do that now. I was thinking somewhere north or east of La Jolla? I just dont know where though?

frankm
07-20-2010, 4:49 PM
On that income you won't be in La Jolla. Ocean Beach, PB, etc. are not that great. Maybe Mira Mesa or Santee. Santee is East County but it's a straight shot down the 52 to La Jolla.

Chester
07-20-2010, 4:57 PM
Yeah I figured a 15 - 20 mile commute is ok since I already do that now. I was thinking somewhere north or east of La Jolla? I just dont know where though?

You'll probably (definitely) not be north of La Jolla, but most likely east. And Frank's right about Santee being a straight shot down the 52. It's a real easy drive from there (my dad lives out that way) and you shouldn't have to look too hard to find an apartment either.

jshoebot
07-20-2010, 5:02 PM
You'd be able to rent an apartment or house in Clairemont for 900-1500 a month, and then it's just a straight shot on westbound 52 to hit La Jolla.

Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 6:09 PM
Thanks guys. Santee and Clairemont. I'll start doing some homework, looking around in those areas for apts and homes.

I used to be more of a NorCal guy (I love Tahoe) but now that I have kids, all the activities available in between LA and San Diego seems pretty awesome.

Where is this Burrow Canyon I see youtube videos of?

snobord99
07-20-2010, 6:11 PM
I'd 2nd Clairemont. That's definitely be my first pick. I'd also consider the Tierra Santa area.

mike100
07-20-2010, 6:33 PM
Some areas are very nice and exclusive, but each region/neighborhood has it's good and bad side, but in general, you want to stay north of I-8 and south of CA-78.

I-15 commutes seem rougher than I-5 commutes, but living closer to the beach costs extra.

sevensix2x51
07-20-2010, 6:37 PM
you cant live in tierrasanta on 50k w/kids. i had a 2br apt there before i bought my house, $1450/mo... pretty steep.

santee is great, lakeside is even better! la jolla traffic suuuucks, but sd isnt the town to live in if you dont like traffic. this town is packed like a sardine can. its a lot different than it was ten or twenty years ago...

Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 7:12 PM
Lol, the other job offer was in Fan Fransisco and they are packed like sardines there too. Except you have to pay $6 bridge tolls on top of the crappy traffic jam commutes.

If I can find an apt for less than $1000/mo less than 45 minutes away from LaJolla... I'd be relatively happy.

sevensix2x51
07-20-2010, 7:16 PM
you can do it, but if its the difference between $999 in santee and $450 in el cajon, go to santee. trust me. ;) remember, north of the 8!!!

Chester
07-20-2010, 8:17 PM
you can do it, but if its the difference between $999 in santee and $450 in el cajon, go to santee. trust me. ;) remember, north of the 8!!!

The man speaks the truth here. North of the 8, my friend. Of course, the closer you can get to the ocean the better too, but that probably goes without saying.

And San Diego is so NOT packed in like sardines. Traffic sucks alright, but this city is about as spread out as you can get... which is why it takes a half hour to drive to anywhere.

sevensix2x51
07-20-2010, 9:05 PM
The man speaks the truth here. North of the 8, my friend. Of course, the closer you can get to the ocean the better too, but that probably goes without saying.

And San Diego is so NOT packed in like sardines. Traffic sucks alright, but this city is about as spread out as you can get... which is why it takes a half hour to drive to anywhere.

i dunno, its a lot more crowded than it used to be. i get claustrophobic with all these people nowadays. but ive never lived anywhere else, so i guess thats a bad analogy? oh well. its a nice place to live, but i wouldnt want to visit. :p

mike100
07-20-2010, 9:09 PM
you can do it, but if its the difference between $999 in santee and $450 in el cajon, go to santee. trust me. ;) remember, north of the 8!!!

Yeah, the $990 places in the barrio in Vista or Oceanside have murders, assaults, theft, and all kinds of trouble, but raise the rent about $50-$100 and all that goes away. It's amazing what a cover charge will do.

The cheapest places north of the 8 are going to be Escondido and various East County areas. Mira Mesa or Clairmont Mesa areas will be the somewhat affordable areas closest to La Jolla. I find Mira Mesa to be extremely crowded. I lived there from 1990 to 2000, but it's a different place now. Everybody had kids that could never afford to get a place of their own and they are packing up the streets with cars- it's strange to go to MM and not be able to park easily.

Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 9:15 PM
What about living in Poway?

sevensix2x51
07-20-2010, 9:17 PM
i think michael jordan has a house in poway... not the cheapest part of town, but i think there are reasonable parts... im east county born and raised, so imho, lakeside is the best dadgum town in these united states :patriot:

Irv
07-20-2010, 9:32 PM
I think some of the mentioned area are good. Tierra Santa, Santee (has indoor range). You may also check around UTC area ( University Town Center Mall). My son lived up north of La Jolla around Torrey Pines and his commute on the I5 was horrible for such a short distance.
He moves to Santee area and it's a straight shot across the Hwy 52 to his work. Other areas are Poway, Rancho Penasquitos and next township up Rancho Bernardo. These are further north county and you would have to take the Hwy 56 across to I5 south.

xXBigJoeXx
07-20-2010, 10:57 PM
I would suggest North County if your thinking of moving to the San Diego area as you can find some good deals on rentals and homes for sale in the Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos area. Super close to the beach and a quick drive down the coast to La Jolla! If your interested in some help feel free to send me a PM as I run a local real estate and mortgage company here. You can pick up a 2-3 Bedroom foreclosure for between $100k - $250k and end up paying less then rent!

AK_Guy
07-20-2010, 11:18 PM
I'd 2nd Clairemont. That's definitely be my first pick. I'd also consider the Tierra Santa area.

I'll 3rd Clairemont...been living here 10+ years (25 total in the San Diego-area)...best bang for your buck, try to look at the western-most side (Bay Park/Bay Ho) as you get the weather of La Jolla without the early morning fog...east-side can get a little hotter in the summer, but still good value (around the "Mount" streets)...plus you are 10 minutes from everything, and if you are working in La Jolla/UTC, you don't even need to get on a freeway (straight shot up Genessee Ave.)...house prices range from the mid-$200's for an older 3BR/1BA fixer, to the $500-$600K range if you are on the west-side with partial bay-view...

The price to rent is dropping as well, so you might want to go that route for a year or so as I doubt housing prices are rising anytime soon...with the end of the fed tax credit, a lot of starter homes that shot up in price will be dropping back down over the next 6 months...

xXBigJoeXx
07-20-2010, 11:35 PM
Even though the Federal Tax Credit has Expired you can still qualify for the California State Home Buyers Tax Credit up to $10,000!! :D

Average Joe American
07-20-2010, 11:52 PM
Wow, great resource here. I would love to buy a house if it was indeed cheaper than renting. Also would love to be in the Clairemont/UTC area since it looked really close to the VA hospital in La Jolla where the job is.

I think I will take the family out there on a my next 3 day weekend. It would be great to just look around the next time we go and visit the family in Newport Beach.

rod
07-21-2010, 4:34 AM
I have a house in Rancho San Diego. Nice area and reasonably priced houses. Might be putting mine on the market soon.

xibunkrlilkidsx
07-21-2010, 8:02 AM
Thanks guys. Santee and Clairemont. I'll start doing some homework, looking around in those areas for apts and homes.

I used to be more of a NorCal guy (I love Tahoe) but now that I have kids, all the activities available in between LA and San Diego seems pretty awesome.

Where is this Burrow Canyon I see youtube videos of?

Burro canyon is a little more than an hour(close to 1 1/2) drive north from my house, North County Escondido.


Oh and are you a beer drinker? plenty of breweries in the area.

frankm
07-21-2010, 9:07 AM
Clairemont is looking pretty good, especially the parts of it mentioned above. Santee gets hot in the summer. On the flip side, Santee has the 2nd lowest crime rate in the county, after Coronado, which none of us can afford!

xXBigJoeXx
07-21-2010, 10:06 AM
I have a house in Rancho San Diego. Nice area and reasonably priced houses. Might be putting mine on the market soon.

Shoot me a pm if you are thinking about listing your property. I would be happy to send you some info on the current market and help out a fellow CGF member to save some $$$$! :D

rod
07-21-2010, 10:39 AM
Shoot me a pm if you are thinking about listing your property. I would be happy to send you some info on the current market and help out a fellow CGF member to save some $$$$! :D

Thanks. I'll PM you when I get ready to list. I have tennants in it now and have a couple more months left on the lease.

Czechsix
07-21-2010, 10:44 AM
well, if I were you I'd definitely be looking at communities down the 52 corridor. I'd stay off the damned 5 and 15 as much as possible.

So - Clairemont and UC (University City), Tierrasanta (it's one word folks lol), then on to Santee/lakeside/etc. PB, OB, MB all have their issues, IB way too far south, la jolla way too expensive and crowded.

If nothing along the 52 works, then best bet for reasonable prices are other communities in North County, but your commute is going to suck.

Personally, I'd vote Santee. I've done my time in Clairemont and quite a few other communities, Santee is closer to the hills, and the park in Mission Gorge isn't too bad. Nice place to walk or ride.

trob
07-21-2010, 11:14 AM
Some areas are very nice and exclusive, but each region/neighborhood has it's good and bad side, but in general, you want to stay north of I-8 and south of CA-78.

I-15 commutes seem rougher than I-5 commutes, but living closer to the beach costs extra.

The 15 has WAY less traffic at all times of the day (Especially the morning commute). the 5 is horrible.

Ive lived here my whole life, and I would tell you to consider Poway, university city(if you can get it cheap enough), and certain parts of santee on that budget and considering that you are working in LJ.

as far as family stuff, theres tons to do, but the tourist stuff (zoo, sea world, etc) gets really old after you have done it once. you'll find more interesting things to do.

xXBigJoeXx
07-21-2010, 11:19 AM
Thanks. I'll PM you when I get ready to list. I have tennants in it now and have a couple more months left on the lease.

Sounds great!

Rivers
07-21-2010, 11:43 AM
OK, knowing that the job is at the LJ VA hospital, I'd start looking off Gilman Drive (just down the street, lots of townhouses, etc.), University City (within 10 minutes on surface streets, houses and apartments), then Clairemont Mesa (again, surface streets, within 10-15 minutes, avoid the apartments), then Bay View (on the east side of I-5, opposite Mission Bay, about 10-20 minutes up I-5 depending on the time of day).

In downtown La Jolla, we're overcast far more than Clairemont or UC or other places north, south and east. Since we're on the coast, all the marine layer (known as fog to inland dwellers) parks itself overhead throughout the summer. Honestly, I think that Clairemont has better weather year round than coastal LJ does. Even Pac. Beach is better but I would avoid living there. Too many bars and clubs. Think of Melrose in Los Angeles...

Search well and you'll find the right deal. SD has been hit pretty hard but not nearly like most of the country. In fact, La Jolla is one of the top nationwide locales for maintaining its real estate value. Traffic sucks going into downtown LJ because the roads were designed pre-WWII. By the time anyone figured out they needed to handle more traffic (like summertime AZ "Zonies"), the real estate was prohibitively expensive. So we just deal with it and learn the shortcuts winding through the hillside.

PM me if you need any specific La Jolla / SD help.

Average Joe American
07-21-2010, 12:08 PM
Will do. Now I just have to get the job! I think life in the San Diego area will be fun. Then again, anything beats the desert.
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i182/mixflip/CIMG6485.jpg
114 degrees sucks!

Dingotech
07-21-2010, 1:19 PM
[QUOTE=Average Joe American;4651132]Wow, great resource here. I would love to buy a house if it was indeed cheaper than renting. Also would love to be in the Clairemont/UTC area since it looked really close to the VA hospital in La Jolla where the job is.[QUOTE]

It's University City (UTC is the name of the major mall in the area). It's an OK place to live, but it is very crowded and the traffic can be terrible. But you can walk or ride bike to the VA fairly easily. Lot's of UCSD (and Salk and Scripps and Burnham and biotech) people live there. A lot of foreigners, too, giving the area an interesting (and welcome) cultural aspect.

I lived in UC for a few years while in grad school and later Clairemont. I prefered living in Clairemont- much more relaxed and if you know the right route, easily to bike to the VA.

Best of luck with the move.

snobord99
07-21-2010, 6:31 PM
[QUOTE=Average Joe American;4651132]Wow, great resource here. I would love to buy a house if it was indeed cheaper than renting. Also would love to be in the Clairemont/UTC area since it looked really close to the VA hospital in La Jolla where the job is.[QUOTE]

It's University City (UTC is the name of the major mall in the area). It's an OK place to live, but it is very crowded and the traffic can be terrible. But you can walk or ride bike to the VA fairly easily. Lot's of UCSD (and Salk and Scripps and Burnham and biotech) people live there. A lot of foreigners, too, giving the area an interesting (and welcome) cultural aspect.

I lived in UC for a few years while in grad school and later Clairemont. I prefered living in Clairemont- much more relaxed and if you know the right route, easily to bike to the VA.

Best of luck with the move.

It's University City, but let's face it, everyone calls it UTC :D

Czechsix
07-21-2010, 6:42 PM
Nah, UTC is the flippin' mall. University City has been round lots longer than that mall.

MAC USMC
07-21-2010, 7:46 PM
I have resided in Clairemont since 1965, the ocean breeze comes right up San Clemente Canyon and is very refreshing. Winter temp is shirtsleeve stuff. Clairemont is a great place to raise a family, lots of schools nearby, lots of park space, hiking trails, recreation center, plenty of places to shop, and good restaurants in the area. I suggest you rent for a while and then make decisions on a more permanent arrangements.

Like any where else apartments/housing prices vary according to newness, locale and the amenities included. You are minutes away from the beaches, and the Laguna Mnts. are just about one and half hours away. Just for the heck of it I once went hiking in the mountains, then drove to the beach for a swim. San Diego county still has drive-in theatres and farmers' markets. This is a clean city with good police and fire departments. You are gonna like it a lot. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

MAC USMC
07-21-2010, 7:48 PM
Hey, I forgot to mention gun shops, ranges and gun enthusiasts. We have all that plus friendly people.

damon1272
07-21-2010, 10:08 PM
you can do it, but if its the difference between $999 in santee and $450 in el cajon, go to santee. trust me. ;) remember, north of the 8!!!

I am glad to see someone lives by the same rule I do!

Average Joe American
07-22-2010, 12:06 AM
Clairemont really sounds like a good fit for me and the family. Breezes, less fog, relatively close to everything, gun shops, shooting ranges, malls, movie theaters...If there is a superwalmart I'll be in redneck heaven? lol.

We are going to drive out there next month when we are in the area. (Newport Beach/Irvine)

Corbin Dallas
07-22-2010, 8:35 AM
It's University City, but let's face it, everyone calls it UTC :D

Because they are stupid and uninformed.

UTC = University Towne Centre.

UC = University City (subarb of San Diego)

And for those of you who have grown up in the San Diego area, it is known as "The Golden Triangle" (5/805/52)

RideTimeless
07-22-2010, 10:42 AM
You guys wanna make me move back to SD. It has definitely changed since I lived there in the '90s. Nor-Cal is not walk in the park compared to So-Cal - gimme the opportunity and income we'd move to SD in a flash. Pace of living is much slower there than Norcal. One thing for sure, in regards to recs for and with your kids, the beaches are so close and wet-suits not required. I've taken my family up and down the coast here and the waters are so friggin' cold - it ruins the trip that my kids can't swim. We love the ocean and are frequent visitors (every other weekend) and I always recall my previous life in SD and LaJolla. Sure, spend the money at the amusement parks but the beaches are great entertainment too (for my kids, best there is!). Bring some towels, pack a lunch and sunscreen, and hit the sand for a fraction of 1 entry to the amusement parks. Listen to these current SD residents - they are the experts. If my job moves to Portland OR, I'll be sure to hit up this topic again. I'll buy the house I grew up in Bonita. But then again, my sister and brother-in-law will be stationed in SD soon, any CGN to show us around again? :)

Average Joe American
07-22-2010, 12:08 PM
On craigslist, UTC is used as an actual location description when looking for an apt. Its labeled "UTC/LaJolla"

Either way it all sounds great to me since I am not from San Diego lol.

Czechsix
07-22-2010, 2:48 PM
Because they are stupid and uninformed.

UTC = University Towne Centre.

UC = University City (subarb of San Diego)

And for those of you who have grown up in the San Diego area, it is known as "The Golden Triangle" (5/805/52)


actually, for those of you that have grown up in the San Diego area, it is known as 'that place they put those damned towers up and that stupid mall that used to be good rabbit hunting and a good place to ride dirt bikes'

there. I fixed it for ya.

Some of us have been around a while. I remember riding my old dirt bikes up to the main runway at Miramar nas and watching f4's take off until we'd get chased away. Used to ride all the time in rose canyon up to kearny mesa and the base. Back when the dump was were the 52 is now lol.

Chester
07-22-2010, 2:58 PM
actually, for those of you that have grown up in the San Diego area, it is known as 'that place they put those damned towers up and that stupid mall that used to be good rabbit hunting and a good place to ride dirt bikes'

there. I fixed it for ya.

Some of us have been around a while. I remember riding my old dirt bikes up to the main runway at Miramar nas and watching f4's take off until we'd get chased away. Used to ride all the time in rose canyon up to kearny mesa and the base. Back when the dump was were the 52 is now lol.

Born here and lived here all my life, but too young to remember rabbit hunting at UTC. I do remember that area being the perfect place to launch model rockets though.

Heh, I sure do remember the dump being on the 52 though. I actually rode my mountain bike up to the summit on Mission Gorge before they opened it, stood in the middle of the fast lane, and took a piss on it because I could.

And towers? You must be talking about that god damn Fantasy Land castle they built along side the 5.

You must've been around for awhile though. Back in my day, they were already flying F-14's out of NAS.

ireload
07-22-2010, 7:23 PM
Born here and lived here all my life, but too young to remember rabbit hunting at UTC. I do remember that area being the perfect place to launch model rockets though.

Heh, I sure do remember the dump being on the 52 though. I actually rode my mountain bike up to the summit on Mission Gorge before they opened it, stood in the middle of the fast lane, and took a piss on it because I could.

And towers? You must be talking about that god damn Fantasy Land castle they built along side the 5.

You must've been around for awhile though. Back in my day, they were already flying F-14's out of NAS.


The area I'm living (east Chula Vista) use to be able to hunt deer. Just a short drive to 905 use to have farm lands where you can buy fresh produce. But like any other parts of San Diego it has it's share of urban sprawl.

TKM
07-22-2010, 7:46 PM
I used to live on Genesee right across from UCSD. http://www.trulia.com/homes/California/San_Diego/sold/813001-9837-Genesee-Avenue-San-Diego-CA-92121

Also on Streseman at the west end of Governor Dr. http://www.trulia.com/homes/California/San_Diego/sold/1188497-5841-Stresemann-Street-San-Diego-CA-92122

Nice neighborhood, highly recommended. Nice neighborhood, highly priced.

And I zapped rabbits where they built UTC Rode the number 5 bus that they used in "Speed" too.

DVLDOC
07-22-2010, 8:02 PM
PM sent...

Rivers
07-23-2010, 8:11 AM
The UTC/La Jolla issue came up this way: La Jolla VILLAGE or DOWNTOWN La Jolla was entirely west of I-5. Actually, there wasn't even I-5 at that time. LJ has the 92037 zip code and that number garnered a lot of prestige, much like Beverly Hills 90210. Developers started building out the real estate between La Jolla and Miramar NAS. That was call University Town Center (UTC) because UCSD was on its western edge. I-5 came to be around then, just east of UCSD campus but west of UCSD Medical Center. UTC developers realized that their real estate would be worth more if it was included in 92037 so they pushed hard and got that. So technically UTC area is in La Jolla despite the natural geography suggesting otherwise. La Jolla stops on the east at I-805 now. University City is south of the UTC area but north of Highway 52. Clairemont starts just south of 52.

BTW, La Jolla does not have any alleys. They are called "Lanes". :D

I remember when we could ride motorcycles at La Jolla Shores and where 52 now goes through Rose Canyon. I used to spend all day walking around town with my BB gun. We didn't have traffic congestion. And you could actually afford to rent commercial space on Prospect Street. I'm feeling very old right now.

Chester
07-23-2010, 10:18 AM
... BTW, La Jolla does not have any alleys. They are called "Lanes". :D...

lol, anyone here remember when they had that McDonalds on Prospect, but it was called "McSnack" instead?

I wouldn't eat at McDonalds if you paid me to do it, but sometimes San Diego can get full of itself when it's really not all that. Sometimes I feel like I need to remind my fellow residents that this isn't LA and to maybe tone down the pretentiousness a little bit.