my how things change!
I originally lived in SD from April 2014 to November 2016, moved from Denver. For what I paid in mortgage payments in Denver I was able to afford a tiny studio downtown in Cortez Hill, in a complex that looked like it used to be an old hotel that they transformed into apartments. During that time it was super fun, in a sketchy kind of way. I made friends easily by joining sports leagues, gyms, and social events. Most of it revolved heavily around alcohol, and later legal/illegal narcotics. There was a big cocaine problem in the young adult social scene. Lots of my friends would party for entire weekends with no sleep. Even so, I did many fun events and moved to Golden Hill where I rented a Studio apt built in 1910 for $950 per month. Again, very novel! Cheap rent, close beaches, cool bars, people to hang out with, and lots of young attractive women everywhere! I just moved back here a month ago to see if I could pick up from where I left off and man is it disappointing. The $950 studio in Golden Hill has doubled in price, and it was barely worth it's original price. Horton Plaza is a disaster. What used to be a lively and upbeat mall turned into amphitheater has become a construction eyesore and dead zone in the heart of downtown SD. This has cost the city tons of time and taxpayer money, I don't know if they'll be able to reinstate it. Many long time places downtown didn't survive the pandemic. Ocean Beach has turned from my favorite local beach town with a cool burnout type of vibe to rude vacationers. It has become so expensive. Paying $950 in today's money means you'll be living in somebody's spare bedroom, maybe even with another person. $2,000 get's you a 1BR (2BR if you're lucky) in La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon...so pretty much the trashy blue collar neighborhoods where not one house has respectable landscaping. It's all dead grass and brown dirt with bricks and concrete. Buying a $700K house is out of the question for me even with $100K+ salary. The waitlist to get one of these apartments is usually 2-3 months out and once there's a vacancy, it's filled instantly. Like, within 15 minutes of being posted on Craigslist. Read some reviews of some of these apartments online, they are awful! Roach infestations, crime, loud neighborhoods... I am currently in Lemon Grove and it's terrible. Overcrowded, dirty, and trashy. I didn't have this much exposure to east SD when I lived here previously but it sure is bad! I moved back to SD from San Francisco and I will say people here are friendlier than SF, but that's only because people in SF are straight up rude. All the extremely attractive women I used to see all over are not nearly as plentiful back in 2015. There has been a huge increase in the gay population, even outside of Hillcrest. This place is well on it's way to becoming the next LA or SF in the next few years. Back in 2015 it was fun renting a cheap shack and partying with friends every night, now that's no longer possible. You'll need a high paying job with different demands to be able to make it here. If you want to grind hard for below average amenities and top notch weather, this is the place for you. Personally I'm looking for something easier, and that's not SD or California in general.
Mark | San Diego, CA