Hello and happy Thanksgiving! What are the pros and cons of living in San Diego vs San Francisco? I’m from NY and looking to move to one of those locations. I’m hoping to get more info on rent, dating, entertainment, taxes, and job stability.

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I think I’m qualified for this having lived in both places for extended periods of time.

They are completely different.

First, some similarities though: both are very laid back and chill. Both cities are liberal (SF obviously more so, and there conservative pockets in SD). Both are — IMO — two of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Major differences: the weather in SD is 100x better. Both cities are expensive, but SF is significantly more expensive — your money will go farther in SD. SF can have a true “city” feel — SD is very much a beach town (for better or for
Worse — I think better).

The things you mentioned:

1. Rent will be cheaper in SD, and your money will go a lot further.

2. Dating. Both cities have very active and young communities. SF will be dominated by big tech people. SD is one of the most physically fit cities in the country. Night life is great, and it’s really easy to meet people in both cities.

3. Entertainment: SF has more to do on average: more restaurants/bars, more prestigious restaurants/bars, cultural sights, wine country is close, outdoors, etc. SD also has one of the best bars/restaurants scenes in the country. The beach is obviously a huge draw if you’re into that. SD will be more “sleepy,” but has just as much — if not more— stuff to do if you’re into the outdoors.

4. Taxes: will be similar in both cities (it’s CA!), but prob a tad higher in SF.

5. job security: in the current market, I’d say SD is safer. SF is obviously very reliant on big tech, which we all know is having a layoff spree. SD is a much more “middle Market” city, and a lot of its industry is focused on biotech/pharma/defense contractors.

I love both cities, but I think SD is heaven on earth.

Hope this helps!


This is really insightful, thank you! @associateattorney

Pros of SD (they might be cons to other people, so ymmv): much warmer weather, usable ocean, more laid back vibe, less woke, cheaper (still very HCOL), a lot less traffic, a lot less densely populated, no metro, no toll roads.


I come from Europe so I really try to stay away from public transportation. You can easily get around by car in SD.


Well, nothing against San Francisco, but the weather in San Diego is unbeatable, better traffic, no giant hills so walking around town is a breeze, the food and atmosphere here are incredible and this is just a laidback city to live in and it has all of the benefits one would want from living in a big city.


San Francisco has more of a big city vibe. I don't know what industry you're in but of course, SF has the best job market with all the opportunities in tech.


I agree, I live in SD and Job market sucks. You probably gonna get stuck in the same company forever as compensation wise there are not many good companies where you can switch jobs. If career is your priority, go to SF. If laid back culture, work life balance, affordable housing around near by suburb (SD house market had made a big jump recently) is your priority come to SD.

In my opinion, you get a better quality of living in San Diego vs San Fran. San Diego is also more laid back and chill. As far a dating, both have pretty active dating scenes .


I agree with this. I have lived both places and I really prefer San Fran. It gives off the vibes that I really click with.

Our posers aren’t as annoying as SF posers.


I moved from SF to SD and discovered what “casual glamour” means!

Really just depends what you want…big city vs big beach town. SF is definitely more liberal, SD I’d say is split between liberal and conservative. Probably more Karens in SD but more tech douches in SF. Better food, dating and nightlife in SF. Better daytime activities in SD if you like the beach. Though SF is surrounded by incredible hiking.

If I was single and ambitious I’d choose SF.

If in a relationship and want a laid back lifestyle, SD.


Both San Diego and San Francisco are great places to live, with their own unique pros and cons. Some people might prefer the warmer weather and beaches of San Diego, while others might prefer the more urban environment and cultural opportunities of San Francisco. Ultimately, it comes down to what is most important to each individual.


San Diego is a much more relaxed city than San Francisco. The weather is nicer and there is more to do outdoors. San Francisco is more expensive and has colder weather.


Cost of living in San Diego is ridiculously high right now. Traffic is also ridiculous here. Not worth the good weather IMO.


It depends in which area you stay whether SF or SD. The only thing I hate is not enough job opportunities in Tech and very rare startups except BioTech.


Don’t come to San Diego, we don’t need anymore ppl here


Locals only?

San Diego and San Francisco are two very different cities. San Diego is a much more laid-back city with great weather and a lot of beaches, while San Francisco is a more expensive and congested city with great food and nightlife.

Thanks all for your inputs!

The cost of living in San Diego is lower than San Fransisco and has a lower crime rate. But if you want a lot of action in terms of entertainment, San Fransisco will definitely give it to you. But be prepared to pay more for rent and food, though.

The vibe is so much mellower in SD, which is great if you like to chill. At the same time, the laidback nature of SD can get exasperating if, like me, you’re used to the Bay Area culture of overdelivering at work and being super reliable. It took me some time to unwind my
SF tendencies like impatience when I moved here. Also, I find there’s more cultural activities by far in SF than SD and I drive up to LA for lectures and stuff like that. It’s also fun to cross the border to Tijuana and explore, and TIJ airport has lower priced fares to destinations in Mexico compared to flying out of LAX or SF.

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