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The Newcomer's Guide to San Diego

Welcome to America’s Finest City! Here’s everything you need to know to feel like a local




Welcome to San Diego. Whether you’re here temporarily or for the long haul, we know you’re going to love this city. From some of the best craft beer in the world, to miles of beautiful coastline, to a vibrant food and cocktail scene, to a growing startup and innovation community—San Diego has something for everyone.

Moving to a new city can be exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming—but it’s also exciting! This guide is written by a mix of native San Diegans and people who moved here from somewhere else. Those of us who weren’t lucky enough to grow up in San Diego thought back on what we wish people would’ve told us when we first moved here. So here it is: Your guide to living the best life possible in the (arguably) best city in the world. 

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In This Feature:

Moving to San Diego? Here’s What You Need to Know

Need-to-know admin stuff, from when to update your driver’s license to where to register to vote

A Quick and Easy Guide to 17 San Diego Neighborhoods

San Diego’s most buzzy neighborhoods, from beach communities to urban enclaves, listed north to south

12 of San Diego’s Best Beaches

With miles of perfect beaches to choose from, here’s a quick guide to help you narrow down which one is right for you

How to Find a Good School in San Diego

It’s easier said than done, but here’s some helpful info to get you started

San Diego Commutes to Avoid

Knowing which direction traffic is going and locating the choke points can help you decide where to live and work

The Native’s Guide to Pronouncing and Abbreviating San Diego Place Names

How to speak, name-drop, and navigate your way through San Diego

The Local's Guide to Crossing the Border

Heading south for the day? Here's how to minimize your border wait on the way back

The Sports Lover’s Guide to San Diego

Chargers who? We might not have a pro football team anymore, but you can still be a sports fan in San Diego

The College Student’s Guide to San Diego

Where to use student discounts, how to get around, where to study, and more
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More in the Newcomer's Guide:

The Best of San Diego 2017

Tacos, pasta, cocktails, spa treatments, and cool craft workshops—we’ve got 99 of the top picks in food, drink, fitness, beauty, and more

San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017

The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more

Your 2017 Guide to San Diego's Best Craft Beer

The best new breweries, a staff taste-test, the beer pros' go-to drinks, and the stories behind beer can designs

89 Things to Do With Your Kids in San Diego

Camps, classes, and activities for San Diego’s youngest—and perhaps busiest—residents

103 Dishes to Eat in San Diego before You Die

Here's Made, our little black book of San Diego's best food

The Dog Lover's Guide to San Diego

Here are 52 ways to experience San Diego with your four-legged friend

The Ultimate San Diego Wine Guide

Move over, beer, there's a new craft in town

Secret San Diego

Here are some of the city’s most hush-hush spots, from hidden ocean caves to off-menu, must-try bites

San Diego's Top 50 Trails

From hiking the foothills to biking the beach, this is a city made for exploring outdoors. Here’s our latest, greatest checklist of trails we love—some in your own backyard
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Neighborhood Guides:

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Gaslamp Quarter

This historic downtown neighborhood celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and with it a slate of new and revamped spots

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Carlsbad

The upscale coastal city is holding its surfer reputation tight, but Carlsbad is now also showing off a buzzy food and drink scene

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Coronado

The boutiques, restaurants, and happy hours spots make this coastal city across the bay a well-rounded "island" destination

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: East Village

Slick high-rises, spacious restaurants, craft beer hubs, and cool boutiques are filling this quickly changing neighborhood

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Point Loma

Historic landmarks, seafood eateries, and hip boutiques are at the heart of this coastal community

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Ramona

Where to eat, drink, and play in rural town east of Escondido

Neighborhood Guide: Hillcrest

Where to eat, drink, and play in the diverse 'hood

Neighborhood Guide: Ocean Beach

Where to eat, drink, and play in the beach enclave

Neighborhood Guide: Core-Columbia

Where to eat, drink, and play in the stretch of downtown between Little Italy and the Gaslamp

Neighborhood Guide: Liberty Station

The revamped Naval Training Center is San Diego's new nucleus for dining, shopping, and holiday festivities.

Neighborhood Guide: Del Mar

Here’s where to wine, dine, and play in the area

Neighborhood Guide: North Park

The area is overflowing with a thriving beer scene, cool eateries, and seriously hip boutiques

Neighborhood Guide: Rancho Bernardo

This neighborhood is home to fine and fast-casual dining, golf, and more.

Neighborhood Guide: Kensington

Amid the nabe’s charming Spanish-style homes and friendly residents is a hip avenue of great food, art, and more

Neighborhood Guide: Mission Beach

Life’s a beach in this laid-back neighborhood, where the dining, drinking, and activities revolve around its namesake

Neighborhood Guide: Bird Rock

The tight-knit coastal community is home to some of San Diego’s best small businesses in one pedestrian-friendly nook

Neighborhood Guide: Golden Hill

Situated south of Balboa Park, this low-key neighborhood earns major bragging rights for its dining, design, and cocktails

Neighborhood Guide: Oceanside

The quintessential SoCal beach town is welcoming an influx of cool

Neighborhood Guide: South Park

The tight-knit community showcases an impressive variety of restaurants, boutiques, and brews

Neighborhood Guide: National City

The South Bay city has restaurants with decades of history and green space for the whole family
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