1 Year in O'side...like all places, plusses and mi - 7/21/2012
Background: I grew up/lived for over 30 years in the burbs 30 miles east of L.A.; lived the past 26 years in the burbs of SF East Bay. Relocated to O’side a year ago due to aging family member.
O’side and SD County is a significant change in many many respects compared to the more populous SF Bay area and Los Angeles. I’m a college educated professional worker and when I lived in NorCal I resided in a pretty upscale area – O’side and actually most all of SD County is different scene. North County in particular is the land of ‘flip-flops’ and shorts, not a lot of ‘professional’ types here, but for good reason: with the large Pendleton Marine base in town and a good proportion of Hispanic’s this is really ‘working class’ type of town. As you head South things change a bit..more corporate biz near San Diego.
Climate: if you like sunshine and MILD weather, well, this is the place. But you already know that. If you miss the change of seasons you may find the weather as I do, tends to be on the boring side.
People: interesting ‘mix’ in O’side of military, many young Marines and families, many retired military too. Lots of Hispanics too. People are people and what you make of them, I’ve found them friendly here but have everywhere I’ve lived. Politics are conservative through SD County – lot’s of military, it’s very ‘Red’ here.
Culture: The locals say they make up for the lack thereof with the sunshine, true, enough said – this is NOT San Francisco by means. Less of a base of highly educated people, makes sense as there is only one large University (UCSD) and it’s near 30 miles to the South.
Things to do: Great if you like to surf (but beaches get crowded, Carlsbad and South of here is nicer beaches), you can get to the desert, mountains nearby, but IMO they don’t compare to what one finds up North (Sierras).
Overall Impression: cheapest SoCal ‘coastal’ city for housing in SD County, but not dirt cheap – all things are relative. Probably pretty suitable for families with kids, though I’m not knowledgeable of the school scene. If you want nightlife and the arts/entertainment you need to head to downtown SD and still slim pickings compared to a major metro area like SF or LA.
Will I say here? Unlikely. I need to work for another few years and the professional jobs are down in SD, it’s heavy traffic on I-5 for 30+ miles. Due to the relatively large amount of military (Navy, Marines, etc.) in the country a lot of work/employment is defense related (niche), some biotech but even that is not huge….there is simply not a lot of diversity in ‘businesses’ here aside from the vacation/resort/spa related stuff. Wages are a LOT less than up North, this surprised me – overall I’d say SD county wages compared to SF Bay area are 20% lower, maybe even a tad bit more. I want to experience some change of seasons, personally the weather is a bit too ‘bland’ for me.