Lifestyle

Does Your San Diego 'Hood Suck? An Investigation.

San Diego is one of the best places to live in the entire world, so no matter what 'hood you live in, it's probably pretty good.  That said, there are some lesser points to those neighborhoods, and some lesser, lesser points. Read on to find out what those are, and if you don't see your favorite 'hood, feel free to expound upon it in the comments.

Mira Mesa

Known for its Vietnamese/Filipino eateries and mind-numbing traffic... look, there will be a fair amount of negativity here, but this sprawling suburb is, arguably, one of the worst. Because even though more and more breweries -- including, as of recently, Ballast Point -- have opened in its Southern neighbor, Miramar (where the Navy air station is), there’s not much else to do here. It's like, "Hey, do you want to go to Mira Mesa?" "Sure, let's... get a boba and hit up the bowling alley, I guess?"  
 

La Jolla

Spanish for "The Jewel," this coastal community is picturesque, and practically perfect in every way -- like a Botox-injecting, Prada-wearing, tennis-playing, prenup-signing, Black Card-toting Mary Poppins (who perhaps has her own Mary Poppins to watch her kids during pilates). Visit this town scattered on cliffs... take a leisurely stroll on the sand... visit the seals... maybe pull out the barb of a stingray? Stingrays, like unbearable rich folk, REALLY like La Jolla.

Coronado

Home of one of the world's best beaches, and the Hotel del Coronado, which is Spanish for "I'm an f*%&$#^@ beautiful hotel." But then there's the bridge traffic... and, by the way, stop misleadingly calling the peninsula you live on an island, a falsehood you've even annoyingly extended to the high school mascot. Like, "Hey, where are you?" "Coronado." "Why? Are you at a bridal shower?" But, Coronado is like The Great Gatsby manifested itself as a California beach town. Mansion-lined streets, beach cruisers, gazebos in parks, etc. Too bad you can't afford it. 

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-576247p1.html?cr=00&amp;pl=edit-00">littleny</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&amp;pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Encinitas/Cardiff

A charming surf town where your barista cleanses your aura, while you pay for a coffee next to pro-surfer Rob Machado, trying not to be weird about it. The lifeguard tower looms above San Elijo Lagoon; wheatgrass juice is drunk in record amounts; and there are as many yoga pants as grains of sand on the beach (fancy ones, too). But the rent close to the beach here is namasteep. Kind of like the rent in...   
 

Ocean Beach  

If OB were a crayon in the Crayola box, it would the one with marijuana melted into it, and a homeless Jerry Garcia -- exclusively -- would color with it. A lot of your friends live in OB, and you’ve considered moving there, but you always remember the traffic you'd have to sit in getting in and out of OB, and invariably change your mind.   
 

El Cajon

It means "The Box" in Spanish, and like its fellow boxes, it's not terribly interesting.

Hillcrest  

Featuring nod-worthy restaurants, boutiques, bars, and heavily populated by San Diego's LGBT community, there’s a lot to like about -- and to do -- in this hip 'hood near Balboa Park.  Plus, at least the planes don’t start flying overhead until 6:30am, amiright?! 
 

Linda Vista

There's a "pretty view" of Downtown that was featured in Almost Famous; the University of San Diego; plus a few breweries. Besides that?  (Thinks.) (Still thinking...).
 

Mission Valley  

California's first mission is here -- Mission San Diego de Alcalá -- which was built 1769. This hilly ‘hood, heavy on the shopping malls, also has the Rivers. The San Diego River, basically runoff flowing next to graffiti-ed underpasses, and the human, who throws a football -- and also the hearts of San Diegans, around in our semi-despised stadium from time to time.  
 

North Park  

Whoever named it "North Park" should rename it "North Drive Around Forever Looking for a Parking Space." But its great bars and coffee shops are some of the best in town, the people are dynamic, there’s breweries... in sum, there’s culture, which is something you just don’t find quite as much of in...  
 

San Marcos 

Unless your idea of "culture" is bathroom art in one of the many home-goods stores lining the 78 freeway. Which, while we’re on the topic, is not the best freeway. In fact, it’s pretty close to last in the whole, "What is the Best Freeway?" contest. But the natural surroundings are pretty, and the Lost Abbey tasting room is a bonus.

Pacific Beach  

In PB, you may see a scantily-clad, 55-year-old woman smoking a cigarette while taking a beach shower. Later, you'll see a perfectly respectable couple pushing a stroller back to their two-bedroom with the kitchen reno. PB often acts like Miley Cyrus, but there's Hannah Montana in her, too.      
 

Bird Rock 

"I live in Bird Rock." "Where's that?" "Between PB and La Jolla." "Oh, cool. Why?" "I still live with my parents."
 

Rancho Santa Fe 

Residents play polo and, last we heard, Jenny Craig owned a mansion here. That's pretty much all you need to know about Rancho Santa Fe.  
 

Banker's Hill 

Pro: you're close to fun areas like Downtown. Con: see Hillcrest and early morning airplanes. 

East Village/Little Italy/Gaslamp  

Downtown neighborhoods where you’ll find heavy doses of great nightlife, tourists, HILLS, and homeless people. Featuring views of sailboats on a glittering harbor and planes flying into Lindbergh Field, our city center boasts some of the city's best shopping, restaurants, and Petco Park for the baseball games... if, you know, you’re still into that. 
 

Point Loma  

Close to the airport, it's like a charming fishing village with everything from strip clubs to breweries. Residents pick up lobsters and consume a lot of fresh, fresh mercury. Downsides: post-work Rosecrans steals bits and pieces of your soul away.  
 

Escondido  

The Wild Animal Park is great. Everything else? Questionable.  
 

Alpine 

It's highly possible you've never been here.  

Chula Vista  

The Mexican food here SUCKS! SO BAD (just kidding, it's ironic, see, because Chula Vista is close to the border...).  
 

Santee 

There's not much here, but there is a Sonic pretty close to a drive-in movie theater, and that is a beautiful thing, especially on a certain day in April.

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