Why You Need To Move To San Diego

why move to san diego

In my previous post, I laid out the how to portion of my “moving to San Diego” series.  The following will serve as the “why”. The previous post also included a sense of humility and an understanding that San Diego is not a one-size-fit-all city.  This post will be having none of that.

If forced to describe the Good Badger in 3 words, the general consensus would undoubtedly arrive at: noble, nimble, and ninjitsu (click that).  I bring this up simply to point out that “embellishing” is not one of those terms.  I pride myself in being a fact-spewing truthbot. So, when I make a claim such as, “San Diego makes every other city in the Universe look like Detroit”, you know that it’s as good as encyclopedic.

Likely you’re already aware that San Diego has great weather, nice beaches, good looking people, etc.  I’m not here to restate the obvious.  Instead the below will serve as 3 (and a half)  “outside the box” reasons

Why You Need To Move To San Diego

Reason # 1 – Cost of Living

Yes, I just used cost of living as the top reason in selling you on San Diego.  No, I do not smoke crack (very often).

Everything you know about Southern California says that the cost of living is just short of being a wallet vacuum.  Gas is an extra 20%, and mass transit leaves a lot to be desired.  A beach-side shack will likely do more damage to your bank account than a house with two car garage in many Midwestern suburbs.  Paying $6 for a Miller Lite for most is nauseating, to San Diegons, it’s the norm.

And this is all absolutely true.  Commodities cost more out here than most of the country.

What many don’t consider, however, is what you aren’t paying for.

In 1995, more than 600 people died in Chicago due to extreme heat conditions.  Nearly all of these victims were either very poor, very old, or even more likely, both.  Most people in the area, however, were largely unaffected thanks to air conditioning, a luxury found in nearly every home.

A San Diegon is likely dumbfounded by two of the above facts: 1) the concept of “extreme heat” and 2) air conditioning inside of a house.

A home with A.C. in Southern California is the exception, not the rule.  Money, as you may have guessed, is not the issue.  Instead it’s a lack of necessity.  Three hundred and fifty five days out of the year, a gentle ocean breeze provides all the conditioned air anyone would require.  That leaves 10 afternoons where it’s legitimately uncomfortable during the day.  That’s when the beach instinct kicks in.

Not surprisingly the same situation occurs at the other end of the year as well.  More houses have heat than air conditioning, but its use is on par with that of a VCR in Silicon Valley.

Now, do me a favor…take a look at your wardrobe and tell me how many winter jackets, fur coats, gloves, hats, scarves, thermals, rain-proof anything, and snuggies you possess.  When you’re done ignoring this request, consider that these items (for the most part) aren’t even sold out here.  Not only only are you shopping for a total of 1.5 seasons (semi-summer & summer), but you’re eliminating the most expensive (not to mention crappiest) seasons altogether.

Next, tell me if you fit this description….You pay $40 a month for your gym membership and spend 80% of the time sweating bullets on a stationary machine between an anorexic mom and some guy whose aroma can only be compared to a dead man’s fart.  Believe it or not, but San Diego includes a complimentary gym membership.  It’s open 24 hours a day and comes with free tanning.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it – Outside. A flat screen TV and 360 degrees of mirrors  simply can’t compete with the Pacific Ocean and a palm tree studded park.  Not only will you avoid the dead man’s fart but your free membership also includes a lifetime’s supply of serenity.  Act now!

Lastly, for those of you living in an urban setting, estimate how much you spend on transportation simply to avoid exposure to sub-optimal conditions.  Whether it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, too hail-y, too lightning-y, too (insert angry act of nature), etc.,  taking a cab even 6 blocks away becomes easy to justify.  Nature will very seldomly force you into a cab out here.

The list could go on, but for the sake of excess, it won’t.   The point is not that San Diego is a place to live frugally.  The point is that the price of gas doesn’t always paint the whole picture.

Reason # 1.5 – Cost of Happiness

I’ve lived through 20+ Midwest winters, I know firsthand that there’s only so many hours in a day that you can be cooped up in the same household before you start to go a little Gary Busey.

Gary Busey is Crazy

"Who wants to play another game of Scrabble?"

Separate from the cost of living, although still related, is the “cost of happiness”.  The cost of happiness factor is the amount of cash you spend in order to maintain a minimum threshold of joy in life.  It’s the money spent at the movie theater, sushi restaurant, vacation to San Diego, trips to the mall, season tickets to the Pacers, etc.

Of course people out here still go to the movies and eat sushi (fresher/cheaper sushi), but, there are a plethora of free options to replace each of these.  If money is an issue, the cost of happiness in San Diego is dirt cheap.

What’s your alternative to a day at the beach in September, a beach-side fire in January, frisbee golf in November, or the reduced urge to vacation year-round?  (I recently helped a guy at work who was on vacation…his home…Maui.)

The best things in life are free, you just have to head Southwest to find them…

Reason # 2 – So Social SoCal

Social activity: San Diego , Vuvuzelas: World Cup 2010

There is no city more socially active than San Diego, California.

And keep in mind, this is coming from someone whose previous residence was considered a top 3 party school by Playboy.  The major difference between Madison, Wisconsin and San Diego is that Madisonians consider consumption to be their higher calling.  A byproduct of binging, however, is mandatory periods of downtime (typically Sunday & non-football Mondays).

Granted, San Diego doesn’t attack the bottle with the same tenacity as Badger Nation, but their frequency cannot be bested.  Most of the country uses Sunday as a time to do chores, read the newspaper, go to church, or whatever avenue leads to relaxation. Not here.  San Diego has invented the “Sunday Funday”, which basically amounts to afternoon drinking complimented with sports.  It’s justified because it rhymes (reason enough for me).  Using the local watering hole as your basis of measurement, you’d be clueless as to what day of the week it was.  Unlike baseball, San Diego takes no off-days (but participates in many double headers).

Also, the approachability of a San Diegon is uncanny.  This goes for non-native Southern California’ers as well as the indigenous.  Several times I’ve been in the situation where someone went from total stranger to revealing intimate details of their existence within minutes (not just the transients).  The only viable theory I can arrive at is that the sun cooks one’s brain into a permanent state of holistic comfort .  I’m confident science will confirm this soon.

And all of this is coming from someone who requires regular intervals of isolation.  Too much social activity causes the Good Badger to break out in involuntary fist flailing, crying, and rashes.  With that said, it’s nice not to let the calendar determine your social activity.  Whenever you want it, it’s available to you.

Reason # 3 – From Restless to Stressless

In all reality reasons 2 and 3 are two sides of the same coin (only this is invaluable).

A characteristic inherent to human beings is the ability to lose perspective.  We tend to stress ourselves out because our smart phones take too long to stream a video of a cat playing with an iPad.  We’ll sabotage our night because our boss used a less than favorable tone toward us at work (a manifestation of their own stress).  Then when the BBC runs a story about genocide in Africa, we quickly change the channel because we’d prefer to think that getting mustard on our pants is a bad day.

I’m not pointing any fingers here.  I am guilty of this to the greatest extreme.  I sweat the small stuff so often I own stock in Under Armour.

That is until I step outside.

A palm tree and ocean horizon have the ability to evaporate stress in such a way that cannot be properly placed into words.  When my work starts to feel like a chore instead of a passion, I relocate my office.

Outdoor office

Skin cancer + writing = multitasking

San Diego’s culture is widely regarded as being slow paced or laid-back.  To a Type-A, this is a cause for perpetual unease.  These are the very people who need to adopt some San Diego into their lives the most.  Ocean and sunshine are cheaper than Prozac and have none of its side effects, aside from being habit forming.


I hope that I was able to shed some new light on the brightest city in America.  Come sample a Costco size portion of San Diego, you’ll leave with a lifetime’s supply.

why move to san diego

  • Kelly

    I like my seasons, thank you! San Diego is beautiful but certainly does not make every other city look like Detroit.

  • zachrd99

    Even a truthbot can embellish 😉

  • jim

    ok, San Diego’s nice, but it’s no Woodstock.

  • Tyson
  • Red

    So you’re saying moving from San Diego to Virginia was a bad idea?

  • zachrd99

    As a fellow ginger, I can empathize with your desire to leave a place that receives so much sunlight. My touting SD is no more than me over-compensating for how much time I spend indoors.

  • Lauren

    My city is all of those things minus the expensive part, with the ocean substituted by a reservoir, plus some beautiful, fun snow occasionally = I win 🙂

  • zachrd99

    I’ve never played a game with you where you didn’t come out victorious.

    When (not if) you visit, I will campaign extra hard. Find some babies, I will kiss them, bring extra hands, I will shake them.

  • i never even thought about some of those reasons zatch! you make me love this place even more!

    seasons are good to visit…not live. southern california wins!

  • As a current Chicago resident who is moving to San Diego in a couple weeks, this post makes me very happy 🙂

  • zachrd99


    The current unseasonable gloominess aside, I think you’ll really like what is about to happen to you…

  • San Diego is a pretentious, over priced/rip off, jobless, immigrant infested shit hole. Don’t come here with out 1) A million bucks 2) A San Diego house/mansion/condo your family established and bought in the 1990’s, or 3) A JOB with a salary lined up. You will be piss poor and hating it. There is NO foot in the door and every idiot in every other state that drops everything and says “I want to move to California” chooses San Diego first! WHY? Stupid! There are way better places than this overrated migrant infested shithole. Think about it 🙂

  • Dunhamlkwd

    My family & I are planning to move to SD in a few years. My wife’s family is there and she grew up there. I’m a native Washingtonian and I’ve had about all I can take of the “seasons”. With my landscaping job u have to deal with the weather ALOT. And with a house full of girls and depression running its course, the move will be very good for my family. We will sell everything we own, wife will retire from her job, & make the move. I look forward to spending my next 32 years in SD!

  • Skeeterflea

    I might be a little late to the party but hopefully I will be enroute to SoCal soon. Great post!

  • AW Wells

    I am planning a move to San Diego next year… though I will have a job… I have been a Lil turned off by house hunting. I am a black male intirely tired of racisim and looking unsettled down and just enjoy people and life…. any advice for me…

  • Ricardo

    Love it 🙂

  • Helina

    Hey Zach, I’m so glad I found your post. My husband and I and our three children, ranging from 13-20yrs, visited Solana Beach a few weeks ago. None of us wanted to come back home to North Webster, Indiana. We were actually considering moving to Florida, near Clearwater. Now were trying to figure out if we’d be able to afford to come yo San Diego. You’ve confirmed all our thoughts when it comes to weighing out what we wouldn’t be paying for. Thanks for your input!

  • Kalkoala

    I love living in San Diego but let’s be honest about somethings. First this notion of perfect weather is a fallacy – from two fronts. First the sun doesn’t always shine. In fact many colder cities in the country with so called lousier weather see more days of sunshine. Now it might be freezing when the sun does shine in those places but San Diego is not the sunniest place in the country. That being said the temperature is very nice and temperate. Here is the next fallacy and one you need to be corrected on. If you have the money and the resources to live near the coast, then your suggestion you don’t need air conditioning is true. However most people in San Diego County live away from the coast and if you are a poorer struggling young person from another part of the country you may just end up living in places like El Cajon, Santee, or Escondido; all these places have summer temperatures similar to hotter places in the Southwest.

  • D-Mert

    Said Dank Weed . . . We all value your opinion greatly

  • Anthony Pascale

    Anybody from this post have an update on their San Diego dreams or reality?

    We Came to experience SD County & Downtown from soup to nuts and overall, feel it’s the best county in the US to spend the next 20 years of our (my wife and three young daughters) lives. May NOT be for everybody, but it sure seems like it’s for US. NJ has been great to us, but 41 years of the same state is enough for me and overall California seems to be a better state then N.J. ( feel guilty admitting that)

    Money is not an issue. Were not rich, but are well established and have paid our dues for decades and will continue to work hard, but less. Especially to live in what We and Zach Davis find to be paradise.
    WE WILL ARRIVE by 08/2014

  • Joeeee

    What are the other places in your opinion are better than this “shithole” aka San Diego? Lol

  • Steve Cardinalli

    When you are ready to make the move, call me and I will be happy to help you find a new home. Steve Cardinalli (760) 814-0248

  • Decillion

    Crazy … August 2014 is our drop dead date for arriving in SD too. (Minneapolis currently … the -60º polar vortex wind chills felt a bit like MN giving us the finger on our way out.) Good luck – see you on the other side.

  • evanmulvihill

    Said a racist asshole.

  • Paul

    Are you still in San Diego?

  • Bill Haldeman

    My family (Wife & 2 Kids) and I are planning to move to San Diego next year from Southern NJ. We have visited twice and it was really hard to leave the second time. We are planning another trip in October to do some house/condo hunting. We really liked the Little Italy area but its hard to find a 3 bedroom. We don’t want to be in the suburbs, so if anyone could offer some advice or tips on where to look we would appreciate it. We loved the downtown vibe there. I understand the schools in San Diego aren’t the best in SoCal but it’s not a huge concern, just want them safe.

  • MaximusArtilius

    Good luck Anthony & Family! I’m right behind you.

  • Bob
  • Steven L.

    If anyone needs any MORE reason to move here, check out these reasons that these apartments in southern California wrote! All true…

  • FrequentFlier Anon

    Listen to this guy please! Don’t move to San Diego, property is already too expensive. In fact, people should leave, so cost of living goes down and I can afford to move there!

  • FrequentFlier Anon

    Don’t encourage people to move to San Diego. It’s already too expensive for me to live there, though I want to very badly, and you are making the problem worse.

  • A

    Lol racism in SD? You must be off your rocker…

  • Nate

    I read this article 1 year and 5 months ago today and it’s safe to say that it was a huge factor in my decision to move here. I had 4 years experience working in IT and a fair number of certifications but was extremely depressed dealing with the cold, dark winters of the East every year. I had no job lined up, packed my bags, put in my notice and drove cross country. I now have an extremely well paying job and live in the mountains with a view of the ocean. Lots of people thought I was crazy but if you have confidence in yourself and your skills, a move to SD is more than possible and things always seem to fall into place. It’s amazing how far a positive attitude will take you. Many thanks to the author!

  • This made my year.

  • Hey there Dank Weed,

    Thanks for the thoughtful advice. Here’s what a fellow commenter recently posted about their experience:

    “I read this article 1 year and 5 months ago today and it’s safe to say that it was a huge factor in my decision to move here. I had 4 years experience working in IT and a fair number of certifications but was extremely depressed dealing with the cold, dark winters of the East every year. I had no job lined up, packed my bags, put in my notice and drove cross country. I now have an extremely well paying job and live in the mountains with a view of the ocean. Lots of people thought I was crazy but if you have confidence in yourself and your skills, a move to SD is more than possible and things always seem to fall into place. It’s amazing how far a positive attitude will take you. Many thanks to the author!”

    Keep on doing your thing.


  • Colt

    It is fast paced, rat race. Maybe at one time it was laid back, but not anymore. People are stressed trying to pay bills.

  • Madelaine Aviles

    I am planning to move to San Diego from Minne-SNOW-tah and this post made me smile. I am a graphic designer with 4+ years of experience and the way you say “if you have confidence in yourself and your skills, a move to SD is more than possible and things always seem to fall into place” has..literally gave me more positive thoughts. THANK YOU!

  • Ryan

    Are u the one who posted where u packed up and just moved there

  • Ryan

    I’m a disabled fireman paramedic I am good to go just have vertigo I’m going to do the same wlfe of 23 years is throwing me out so I’m packing and moving there can u offer help to where to look for apartments so forth.

  • agog

    As a Richmonder of 54 years…I think you’ve made a horrible miscalculation by moving here…Its too damn hot and humid in most of the month June, all of July-August-September, as in 90 to 100+ degree days, as a norm, for weeks on end….and….in the winter, cold as the North Pole, in most of the month of December-January-February and as well, for most of the month of March, with temperatures ranging with highs of 45 degrees during the day and at night, as cold as 0 (Not simply 32 Degrees at which point waters freezes, NO ! but 32 degree-points below where water freezes solid…0 ! ) By watching the weather closely in Richmond Virginia for the last 35 years, I can gladly say I wont miss a thing when I get divorced from this hellish unbearable sweat inducing sub-tropical humid nasty summers / and its disease inducing snot / cold /disease infested winters…..its a divorce long overdue by 54 years…but hey….welcome to the East Coast ?