There are 52 Community Planning Areas in San Diego, each comprising multiple neighborhoods. In total, there are more than 100 neighborhoods throughout the city. Downtown San Diego is right on the bay and is primarily a commercial area. Balboa Park, a popular neighborhood that includes several mesas and canyons, houses some of the oldest, most historic homes in the city. Neighborhoods south of the Marine Corps Air Station tend to have a high population of military personnel and include Navajo, Kearney Mesa, and Clairemont. Agricultural neighborhoods include Lake Hodges and San Pasqual Valley.
The tallest building in San Diego is One America Plaza, which stands exactly 500 feet. It’s not likely that a taller building will rise due to Federal Aviation Administration regulations capping building heights at 500 feet. The San Diego Airport is very close to Downtown and as a result the FAA has proclaimed that no super-tall skyscrapers can be built, as planes flying into San Diego pass over the city skyline.
San Diego has 201,814 single-family homes. Condo units number almost 100,000, there are 21,788 multi-family homes, 20 coop units, and another 6,301 residential buildings that don’t fit any of these classifications. Commercial buildings number 9,609 and there are 2,713 industrial buildings, another 1,651 mixed use buildings, and 1,734 vacant lots.
More than 80% of San Diego residents commute primarily by car, thanks in part to the numerous freeways and highways. Major freeways include I-5, I-8, I-15, and I-805. State Route 163, which goes through Balboa Park, is the oldest freeway in the city and has been referred to as one of the most beautiful parkways in the country. Public transportation includes the San Diego Trolley light rail system, SDMTS buses, and two commuter rail lines – the Coaster and Pacific Surfliner.
There are a number of independent public school districts in San Diego, though the majority of schools are operated by the San Diego Unified School District. It includes 11 schools for kindergarten through 8th grade, 107 elementary schools, 24 middle schools, 28 high schools, 45 charter schools, and 13 alternative schools. More than a dozen public and private colleges and universities are located in San Diego. They include San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, University of San Diego, and San Diego City College.
Dozens of hospitals and medical centers are located within San Diego. The top rated hospital is UC San Diego Medical Center, nationally ranked in eight specialties. Scripps La Jolla Hospitals and Clinics is nationally rated in seven specialties and Sharp Memorial Hospital is nationally ranked in one specialty. Due to the significant military presence, there are numerous VA and military hospitals here as well.
Ranked as one of the safest cities in the country, both violent and property crime rates have consistently been under the national average through the last decade. In 2015, the FBI reported 5,582 violent crimes and 29,158 property crimes.
San Diego is home to dozens of museums, many of which are located in Balboa Park. They include the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The San Diego Zoo is one of the most visited zoos in the country. Fans of military history have plenty of things to do as well, including a visit to the historic ship exhibits at the San Diego Maritime Museum or viewing the aircraft at the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.
Thanks to its close proximity to the border, authentic Mexican fair is popular with San Diegans of all walks of life. Popular spots include the world-famous Oscar’s Mexican Seafood and Old Town Mexican Café.
Fine dining options include Truluck’s Seafood, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, and American fare at Juniper and Ivy. Casual spots include American bar food at Hodad’s and diner food at Kono’s café.