I had heard a lot of things about San Diego before moving here seven months ago: the weather is pristine, the zoo is great, all the people who live there are beautiful, every beer is liquid gold. I thought that, truly, not every single one of these things could possibly be true in every single instance. Even Hawaii has thunderstorms, no? But seven months in, I can say with confidence that everything you've heard about San Diego -- for better or worse -- is absolutely true. Part of the reason for that is the fact that this city has a culture unlike anywhere else in the United States. And, while stereotypes are often cast in a negative light, a large portion of what makes this city run can be attributed to stereotypes that are 100% accreat. Here are just 10 of them:
Maybe you woke up this Saturday, ran a couple of miles instead of sitting around on the couch, and felt good about yourself for making this positive life choice. That’s cute -- meanwhile, the majority of the population of San Diego is running a half marathon while you’re patting yourself on the back for not having a heart attack on a 20 minute jog. The city was ranked as the third-fittest city in the US by the American Fitness Index for 2015.
The whole city is into craft beer
With all due respect to Portland, Denver, and Boston, San Diego is the best beer city in the country, and all its residents know it. There are more than 110 breweries in the city, and nearly every restaurant or bar you go to will have more than a dozen different taps -- and that’s being extremely conservative. Try to avoid showing up to parties with a 12-pack of shitty beer.
Half the city is hyper-liberal
From surf bums in Ocean Beach to the LGBT population of Hillcrest, you won’t have to struggle to spot Bernie Sanders bumper stickers on (hybrid) cars in the city.
... the other half is super-conservative
Head on out to Poway or Santee and you won’t have to struggle to spot Second Amendment or "Hillary for Prison 2016" bumper stickers on lifted pickups.
Yet everyone agrees on proper eating habits
San Diego is the only place I’ve ever lived where I’ve seen somebody rant about how they can’t stand "liberals" only to stroll into a Whole Foods shortly thereafter and begin extolling the (supposed) health value of not drinking milk.
The weather is the best in the country
San Diego has a reputation for being paradise because it is: a software engineer compiled historical data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to figure out the cities that had the most "pleasant" weather annually, with "pleasant" being defined as days when the temperature was between 55 and 75 degrees with no significant precipitation. San Diego was second in the country, with 182 "pleasant" days a year. Only LA had more, but they also have the worst traffic in America, so I’ll chalk this one up to SD.
There's a large homeless population
Unfortunately, not all city stereotypes are positive ones, and San Diego does have an insanely large homeless population. As of 2015, 8,742 people were homeless in the city, the fourth biggest number in the country.
Do you like white guys with dreads? If you do, head to a bar in Ocean Beach and look around.
Pacific Beach is all college kids
PB gets a bad rep for being like a giant frat house on the coast. While the town obviously isn’t all college-aged kids, the town has a significantly lower median age than the rest of the city. According to data compiled by Point2 Homes, the median age in San Diego is a little over 33, while the median age in PB is just 30.
Every other restaurant is a Mexican joint
Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Santa Fe can all stake their claims to being the best cities in the country for Mexican food, but as far as consistency goes, nowhere touches San Diego. We’re the largest border city in America, we have one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, and it might be the only major city in America where it’s consistently easier to find a taco joint than a burger stand. And even though it's not exactly "authentic," we also invented a burrito, so...
There’s a solid chance the person you just mean-mugged is in, or has been in, the military
San Diego is home to the largest naval fleet in the world, and roughly 22% of all jobs in the county are a result of defense-related contracts. If someone bumps into you at a bar, don’t try to act like a tough guy; there’s a solid chance they've served and can kick your ass.
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Rob Pursell likes to talk about beer and watch whatever Tom Hanks movie is playing on TNT. Follow him @robert_pursell