San Diego is a Fantastic Place to Live – 10 Reasons Why

This weekend I saw a query on Twitter from Farhad Manjoo, a technology farhad querywriter for the New York Times.

So I decided to put together a rough list of 10 great things about San Diego.  Here it is.  Have other reasons why San Diego is a great place to live? Shout it out in the comments.  #SDlove

1. San Diego is a beautiful place.  There are beaches, ocean cliffs, mountains, deserts, and hiking trails throughout the city and county.  Per the USDA, which used criteria like “mild, sunny winters, temperate summers, low humidity, topographic variation, and access to a body of water” to evaluate the natural beauty of every county in the continental U.S. San Diego County ranked 8th.  The only other county with a major city in the top 10 was Los Angeles, at 7th.

natural beauty counties map

Pretty map.

2. San Diego-Tijuana is the biggest border metro area in the United States.  The border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana is the busiest land crossing in the world, with an estimated 300,000 crossings per day – over 100 million per year.  Tijuana has a population of about 2 million, creating a cross-border metro area of 5 million.  The impact of Mexican influence be be found strongly throughout San Diego, from the population and family ties to food and language influences.

3. Traffic is very easy and so is parking.  A recent study put San Diego last among the 15 biggest U.S. metro areas for traffic congestion, as measured by hours spent in traffic.  If you’re looking for a spot to park your car the parking spots are likely to be ample and free, whether you’re going to the beach, Balboa Park, one of the many great neighborhoods, or pretty much anywhere.  With the gorgeous weather you should really be biking or walking, but if you are in a car you needn’t worry about traffic.

4. You probably won’t get murdered.  San Diego has the lowest murder rate of the 10 largest U.S. cities, for the fourth consecutive year.  Compared to the most murderous U.S. large city, Philadelphia, San Diego has 15% the rate of murders.

top 10 murder rate

San Diego Union-Tribune graphic (click for link)

5. San Diego has great weather.  You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, and it’s true.  Not much else to say about the weather other than temperate days with light breezes do not get old over time.  Kelly Norton’s sweet map breaks down weather in the U.S. by mean temperature and precipitation and SD is slightly edged out by LA for the top spot.  We’ll take it.

6. The best beer scene in the world. There are currently 115 breweries in San Diego County putting out award-winning beers.  Among them are standouts like Lost Abbey, Stone, Alpine, Modern Times, Port Brewing, Alesmith and many others.  At last week’s Great American Beer Festival San Diego brewers took home 19 medals, about 7% of the total awarded.  There’s a lot of personal opinion involved in naming a “best” city for beer – Portland, Munich, Seattle, and many others could lay claim to the name also.  We don’t want to argue and will happily raise a pint and share the title with other great beer cities. San Diego is certainly in the conversation for the top spot and it’s fun to check out the great stuff on tap around town.

sanders tap keg
Former Mayor Jerry Sanders taps a keg of Karl Strauss beer. #rawk

7. Excellent surfing.  The entire coastline of San Diego is free and open to the public (as it is in the whole of California).  You’ll find a wide range of surfing breaks and good swell exposure.

ocean experience surfing

Ocean Experience offers surfing lessons in Ocean Beach

8. San Diego is sexy.  According to Victoria’s Secret polling, San Diego is the sexiest city in the U.S.  Doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

9. There are an amazing amounts of plants and animals in San Diego.  Per the Nature Conservancy, San Diego is “the most biologically rich county in the continental U.S.”  The county also is home to “approximately 200 imperiled plants and animals—more than in any other county in the nation”.

Enjoy the hike, enjoy the view, preserve it for the future. (

Don’t buy it? No problem.  Just don’t say you weren’t informed that San Diego is a great place to live.

[Where’s number 10? I’m leaving that up to everyone else.  Drop suggestions in comments and I’ll add the best one to the post in the final spot.]

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John P Anderson

Living in San Diego. I enjoy learning about environmental issues and connecting with good people that want to make the world a better place. Cheers!

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