San Diego, California, USA

Quintessential SoCal

Iyna Bort Caruso

San Diego’s pristine beaches and year-round sunshine make it the perfect place to ditch your winter wardrobe. 

The city of San Diego is a metropolis of professionals with a population that ranks among the most educated in the nation. Some 41 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to city figures. The economy is fueled by tourism, technology and defense. And while San Diego is California’s second largest city, it still retains a small-town feel. 

Retirees have been relocating here since the end of World War II. Universities, museums and public gardens provide plenty of year-round cultural stimulation. The neighborhood of Balboa Park alone has some 15 museums, along with the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Downtown San Diego is energetic and eclectic with architecture that spans from historic to ultra modern. Shopping, entertainment and top dining options are all within walking distance. The Gaslamp Quarter, once the city’s red light district and now on the National Register of Historic Places, is a major entertainment destination.   

Areas of the city as well as Greater San Diego County are home to some of the United States' wealthiest communities. 

Outside city limits, the North County region is one of affluence, where amenity filled developments draw those seeking a lifestyle of luxe leisure. Upscale coastal communities like Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carlsbad and La Jolla embody the quintessential SoCal sand-and-surf lifestyle. Beautiful La Jolla, Spanish for “the jewel” is aptly named. It’s been called Beverly Hills on the Beach. Cliffside mansions with killer ocean views are some of the most expensive properties in the region. That syncs with a 2013 Luxury Real Estate Consumer Survey by the California Association of Realtors that reports buyers of luxury homes priced at $1 million and up prefer hilltop homes. 

Rancho Santa Fe, four miles from the ocean, is a bedroom community of golf clubs, tennis clubs and 50 miles of horse-riding trails. Another jewel, it is ranked among the top 100 richest neighborhoods in the United States.