The 10 Best Neighborhoods In San Diego For 2021


We used science and data to determine which neighborhoods in San Diego are the best of the best.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego.
Best Neighborhoods In San Diego

What do 1.5 million San Diegan residents know that the rest of the country does not? Well, for one, this city has some of the best neighborhoods to establish some Southern California roots. And, trusty HomeSnacks readers, today is your lucky day because we've created a list of the best neighborhoods in San Diego for 2021.

But, before you head down to our coveted list of the best neighborhoods in San Diego, you need to know how we calculated our list. First, we looked at the latest FBI data, Census report, and BLS for San Diego's 85 neighborhoods. We then created our own index based on factors that most people find important when looking for their forever neighborhood: low crime, affordable housing, educated neighbors, convenience, and amenities.

Our super scientific formula led us to a bunch of fun San Diego neighborhood facts. For one, if you want to live in most of San Diego's best neighborhoods, you're going to have to make at least $69,683/year. And while this is a pretty sizable requirement, it does usually mean that your neighbors are educated and that they value safety and cleanliness. If top notch schools for your kiddos is a requirement, San Diego's neighborhood, Torrey Pines has that market cornered. And if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck with average home prices around $500,000 than you should definitely give Carmel Mountain a second glance.

However, if you want to see our list of the best neighborhoods in San Diego, you're going to have to keep reading.

We were not at all surprised to find that San Diego is one of the better cities in America. The 85 neighborhoods that make up America's Finest City could be the poster neighborhoods for the rest of the country. In layman's terms, if you want that beach life with five star restaurants and posh shopping, La Jolla should be at the top of your list. And if you're looking for a neighborhood close to an airport, Wooded Area is it.

So, what's the best neighborhood in San Diego? Well, according to the latest data and our SnackAbility index, that would be Del Mar Heights.

If you want to see a list of the rest of the latest and greatest neighborhoods in San Diego, take a look below. And if you don't find what you're looking for there, head on down to the bottom of the page.

For more California reading, check out:

The 10 Best Neighborhoods To Live In San Diego

Population: 6,860
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,102,320 (Third best)
Median Income: $125,086 (Third best)
More on Del Mar Heights: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 12,743
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,111,200 (Second best)
Median Income: $146,445 (best)
More on North City: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 29,356
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,326,057 (best)
Median Income: $124,573 (Fourth best)
More on La Jolla: Homes For Sale | Data

Carmel Mountain San Diego, CA

Population: 9,581
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $548,400 (19th best)
Median Income: $109,735 (Eighth best)
More on Carmel Mountain: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 39,559
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $800,133 (Fifth best)
Median Income: $146,086 (Second best)
More on Carmel Valley: Homes For Sale | Data

Scripps Ranch San Diego, CA

Population: 36,364
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $619,742 (Ninth best)
Median Income: $115,865 (Sixth best)
More on Scripps Ranch: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 7,369
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $751,067 (Sixth best)
Median Income: $109,591 (Ninth best)
More on Wooded Area: Homes For Sale | Data

Sabre Springs San Diego, CA

Population: 14,559
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $551,371 (17th best)
Median Income: $112,046 (Seventh best)
More on Sabre Springs: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 63,341
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $602,482 (12th best)
Median Income: $119,880 (Fifth best)
More on Rancho Penasquitos: Homes For Sale | Data

Population: 44,185
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $553,456 (16th best)
Median Income: $95,093 (14th best)
More on Rancho Bernadino: Homes For Sale | Data

How We Determined The Best San Diego, CA Neighborhoods In 2021

In order to rank the best neighborhoods in San Diego, we had to determine what criteria defines a "best".

Using crime, census, and extrapolated BLS data, we arrived at the following set of criteria:

  • High incomes
  • Low unemployment rates
  • Low crime
  • High home prices
  • High population densities (A proxy for things to do)

We then ranked each neighborhood with scores from 1 to 85 in each category, where 1 was the best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each neighborhood to create a best neighborhood index.

And finally, we crowned the neighborhood with the lowest best neighborhood index the "Best City Neighborhood In San Diego." We're lookin' at you, Del Mar Heights.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best places San Diego, California has to offer. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the neighborhoods in the city from best to worst.

Putting A Bow On Our Analysis Of The Best Neighborhoods In San Diego

If you're measuring the neighborhoods in San Diego where crime is low and everyone wants to live, this is an accurate list.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in San Diego aren't all good. San Ysidro takes the title of the worst neighborhood to live in San Diego.

We ranked the neighborhoods from best to worst in the chart below.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Neighborhoods To Live In San Diego For 2021

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Del Mar Heights 6,860 $1,102,320 $125,086
2 North City 12,743 $1,111,200 $146,445
3 La Jolla 29,356 $1,326,057 $124,573
4 Carmel Mountain 9,581 $548,400 $109,735
5 Carmel Valley 39,559 $800,133 $146,086
6 Scripps Ranch 36,364 $619,742 $115,865
7 Wooded Area 7,369 $751,067 $109,591
8 Sabre Springs 14,559 $551,371 $112,046
9 Rancho Penasquitos 63,341 $602,482 $119,880
10 Rancho Bernadino 44,185 $553,456 $95,093
11 La Jolla Village 6,108 $385,857 $68,178
12 San Carlos 14,460 $542,578 $98,573
13 Roseville 6,705 $737,410 $97,826
14 University City 50,132 $496,437 $79,076
15 Lake Murray 20,476 $448,128 $78,711
16 South Park 4,717 $513,357 $70,529
17 Bay Park 16,187 $561,693 $72,934
18 Pacific Beach 31,770 $612,228 $84,251
19 Clairemont Mesa 38,765 $447,570 $70,301
20 Marina 4,435 $527,383 $81,068
21 Tierrasanta 20,893 $420,812 $92,814
22 Del Cerro 6,238 $576,086 $90,103
23 Ocean Beach 11,549 $671,220 $80,033
24 Sorrento Valley 9,484 $424,675 $101,333
25 Bay Terrace 22,838 $310,253 $73,018
26 Loma Portal 22,946 $537,748 $70,881
27 Alta Vista 9,210 $339,814 $80,027
28 Mira Mesa 71,228 $401,867 $92,480
29 North Clairemont 15,282 $472,486 $67,023
30 Torrey Pines 2,072 $869,850 $107,456
31 Little Italy 3,171 $429,400 $68,278
32 Old Town 11,380 $513,255 $82,190
33 Bay Ho 12,154 $542,400 $76,991
34 West University Heights 9,608 $469,970 $66,574
35 Park West 5,168 $604,117 $48,800
36 Columbia 1,641 $440,800 $82,797
37 Darnall 9,347 $312,383 $61,064
38 Gateway 2,657 $345,800 $66,000
39 Paradise Hills 23,426 $284,980 $61,827
40 Kensington 6,412 $551,271 $82,283
41 North Hills 43,221 $440,667 $63,468
42 Linda Vista 24,344 $384,435 $58,325
43 Serra Mesa 29,095 $358,640 $71,467
44 Midtown 19,847 $462,358 $69,895
45 Talmadge 9,733 $371,944 $55,951
46 Allied Gardens 8,906 $294,836 $72,258
47 College Area 21,712 $432,218 $58,577
48 Chollas View 9,025 $257,280 $43,595
49 Jomacha-Lomita 8,868 $304,180 $63,285
50 Horton Plaza 659 $442,800 $40,484
51 Grant Hill 12,403 $309,392 $35,511
52 Moreno Mission 9,691 $362,560 $58,425
53 Bird Land 5,136 $358,240 $72,367
54 Sky Line 10,572 $301,957 $58,462
55 Balboa Park 11,904 $382,159 $63,344
56 Rolando 8,526 $400,450 $48,682
57 Webster 10,383 $309,071 $57,071
58 Core 3,770 $96,950 $33,240
59 Grantville 14,104 $304,923 $67,889
60 Egger Highlands 9,877 $264,320 $47,002
61 El Cerritos 6,157 $313,775 $54,388
62 Normal Heights 15,186 $353,318 $52,797
63 Cortez Hill 2,825 $205,400 $33,282
64 Encanto 15,111 $329,310 $61,759
65 Tijuana River Valley 3,380 $584,700 $60,506
66 Mission Bay 62,292 $383,500 $65,071
67 City Heights West 31,588 $256,556 $36,560
68 Bario Logan 10,422 $194,600 $30,625
69 Southcrest 9,681 $256,967 $39,730
70 Emerald Hills 7,735 $321,520 $53,032
71 Valencia Park 6,293 $303,550 $53,292
72 Gaslamp Quarter 1,083 $189,600 $46,313
73 Lincoln Park 5,717 $325,633 $31,797
74 Nestor 16,126 $181,400 $57,292
75 City Heights East 38,743 $156,600 $32,300
76 Mountain View 12,582 $198,900 $30,582
77 Kearny Mesa 3,664 $328,900 $79,000
78 East Village 13,053 $370,033 $59,134
79 Mission Valley 7,490 $279,720 $74,473
80 Midtown District 10,962 $274,430 $53,556
81 Oak Park 9,873 $244,475 $50,064
82 Mount Hope 8,997 $288,200 $37,060
83 Memorial 14,637 $299,864 $30,176
84 Palm City 7,132 $216,300 $56,621
85 San Ysidro 28,456 $252,665 $46,562

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.