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Old 06-18-2011, 05:37 PM
 
24 posts, read 93,887 times
Reputation: 70

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I realize that many of you will disagree with this post, and I'm not looking really to convince you. I'm writing from the perspective of a single, early 30s educated professional.

I moved to San Diego about 19 months ago. I can't argue that the weather isn't spectacular or that there aren't plenty of very pretty views. In fact, when people ask me how I like living here, I always reply that San Diego is lovely. It really is.

But almost 2 years into living here, I am ready to leave. Culturally San Diego is a world apart even from Los Angeles and Orange County. Though there are islands of professional communities mostly in and around La Jolla, and plenty of idle rich in Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe, most of San Diego is decidedly lower middle class. You can see it in the proliferation of Ford F150s, the very strong military element (as a % of the population, no U.S. urban area has more military connected people than San Diego-- and that's including D.C. Metro), the local obsession with dive bars, and the general lack of sophistication. You will find few people here who are interested in the world and who emphasize the values of education and hard work. They call this "laid back", which I thought meant relaxed, but really means uninterested. You will not find much in the way of cultural organizations around politics, art and culture and when you do you will find they cater to a much, much older crowd. You will meet a lot of locals who've rarely left California. For those coming from bigger cities, this will be a big culture shock.

Not to put too fine a point on it: San Diego totally lacks the sophistication of Los Angeles and other larger cities, but its prices are just as high. Take restaurants for example. I continue to be very surprised at the consistency with which San Diego restaurants offer below average food, below average service and high prices. In all sincerity, I am floored that so many San Diego restaurants can charge $30-40 for entrees-- in San Francisco and New York this means you're probably getting an excellent meal and being treated like a valued guest. With just a few exceptions, in San Diego it means average food and indifferent service. It's not that I need to be eating fancy meals all the time, but when I spend $140 for dinner for 2, I really hate feeling like I've been ripped off. I travel frequently for work-- East Coast, Chicago, Atlanta, SF, Nashville, Seattle-- and I've never experienced so many servers who feel that they are entitled to 20% gratuities or better just for showing up and restaurants that really don't give a damn whether you liked your meal or not.

Nightlife is a huge weakness if you're single. The under 25 set will find Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp to be all they hoped and dreamed, full of drunk, barely clothed hardbodies. There is about a 90% chance of witnessing a bar fight on a weekend night in either of these neighborhoods and I am not exaggerating. People here call it the "bro" element. I'm sure you can find bar fights in almost any city, but frankly I am stunned how often I see it here. There really aren't any good after work bars or lounges. Forget entirely about the self-consciously trendy places that are playing out fads that bigger cities found and digested 4-5 years ago (i.e. the speakeasy craze... hello San Diego, you're 5 years late to the party, so you can't be all that cool.) Because the human geography here is not very urban-- lots of 6 lane arterials, condominiums and strip malls-- it's not like you're meeting people on the street, either.

I'm not asking for anyone to agree with me. I'm writing this maybe to help out some others who might be on the fence about coming here from the East, L.A. or Northern California. I wish I had been able to know all of this; I would not have come here in the first place.

Last edited by onechase; 06-18-2011 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,115 posts, read 7,589,366 times
Reputation: 3677
Every city has a different vibe - and San Diego is laid back, and casual, and fun. If that's what you're looking for, then you'll love it here. If you want the sophistication of other big cities, then you probably will be disappointed. And THAT is fine! It's good that San Diego is different from LA, and San Francisco and Chicago, and all the others you name. It means there is choice! Something for everyone...

I'm a fifth generation Californian - my great-great-grandparents owned a home bordering Balboa Park where I was born, and I lived most of my life in San Diego - so I love the city! But I also spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, and I currently live in Riverside. Three very different cities - and I'm glad I get to experience them all!
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,732 posts, read 35,335,175 times
Reputation: 17205
Quote:
Originally Posted by onechase View Post
I'm not asking for anyone to agree with me. I'm writing this maybe to help out some others who might be on the fence about coming here from the East, L.A. or Northern California. I wish I had been able to know all of this; I would not have come here in the first place.
No one can "know all of this" without personally experiencing any given area. If you would have allowed some forum posts to determine where you moved... well, pathetic comes to mind.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:00 PM
 
788 posts, read 1,680,544 times
Reputation: 692
i can see where you are coming from......


but i think your lower-middle class generalization is completely inaccurate.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:11 PM
 
490 posts, read 1,428,645 times
Reputation: 217
Have to respond to this- -
* Over 40% of adults in the metro area have at least a bachelor's degree, making it one of the top ten most educated cities.
* We have over 40 theater companies in the county, more than LA and SF.
* The New York Times did a 2-page spread on SD, talking about the opera, symphony, museums, galleries and called SD a "fine arts powerhouse".
* Downtown has been a model for other cities, as city councils from Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Columbus have visited and looked at the redevelopment.
* There are lots of fun neighborhoods with bars, restaurants, shops. Each has its own newspaper/ website.
You're Welcome
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:25 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
69 posts, read 212,075 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by onechase View Post
I'm writing this maybe to help out some others who might be on the fence about coming here from the East, L.A. or Northern California.
I am from Northern California. I have been here about a month looking for housing. Your post is well written, but I disagree.

In fact when you mentioned art and culture I had to comment. I lived in SF for a time. Plenty of art and culture and I enjoyed much of it. But many times I would ask people to go enjoy this "art and culture" with me and they did -sometimes. But most often people were so worn out from working 70 hours a week, they really didn't want to go wait in line at a museum or deal with parking somewhere. Getting outside and being active, sure (plus it's free). I found that most often people went to dinner and just chilled.

Another thing I have noticed about SD is that I enjoy the variation of people (when you mention lower middle class). A good friend of mine was a bartender in SF and he commented to me that people would often question why. Like they thought it was beneath him. I was at an upscale gym in Walnut Creek and overheard a couple mocking someones profession in the restaurant industry. It was very insensitive and elitist. Sure you can find this attitude in SD, but in all the times I have been here it is less prevalent. But then again I don't hang out in La Jolla - ever.

I think San Diego is TOTALLY underrated and I love it.

As I have said in previous posts, San Diego feels to me like San Francisco and the general Bay Area did in the late 1990's, before the dotcom era really took hold and changed the landscape.

I have traveled extensively around the world, love the arts, and exercise daily outdoors if I can. I am here in San Diego by choice because I like what it has to offer. I am in my late 30's and single. I find the women here to be INCREDIBLY friendly. Much more so than SF. I am not a beer guzzling meathead in PB so maybe I come across different.

I read the Hawaii forum a lot also. This post resonates with me because it sounds very similar. "Laid back" means exactly that. "Laid back" doesn't mean disinterested, and if it does your associating with aloof people. I consider myself "laid back" yet can't wait to fit as much outdoor actives as I can into my day. This is a very hard concept to describe with text but I have been around plenty of uptight people - they are everywhere!

I almost don't want to post how much I LOVE San Diego because I don't want it to become even more flooded with people than it already is. But I realize that the lackluster job market and cost (compared to the midwest or other locales) deters people.

There is no perfect place, but for right now, for this time of my life, San Diego comes close.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:30 PM
hsw
 
2,144 posts, read 6,548,109 times
Reputation: 1535
Hilarious stuff from an "educated East Coaster"

Any 8yo kid w/common sense and Net access can figure out in <5mins online that SD is all about QCOM, which has more mkt cap and smarter engineers than any tech co. in Bos; is far behind IBM in exurban Armonk (not in Manhattan interestingly) in mkt cap but likely superior in engineering talent...and what other tech mkt cap exists in Eastern US (or Austin or Boulder or Chic) again???

And same 8yo kid can figure out that, aside from a few 1000 ultra-wealthy engineers in PaloAlto area and a few 1000 ultra-wealthy hedge fund execs in Manhattan, not a lot of economic/intellectual accomplishments of note exist among the other ~6MM in SF region or ~18MM in NYC region...all regions become "lower middle class" or slums real fast outside a few elite, rather circumscribed epicenters even in the wealthiest urban regions in world...real mystery is why overeducated Bos and MIT have produced so little tech wealth or innovation for Bos region, despite the crappy weather and food

And interesting that entire PaloAlto region, which has world's smartest engineers, is classic suburban sprawl, not unlike N County or Irvine/NwptBch....and PaloAlto (like suburban NYC or Bos or Chic) arguably has inferior grub vs Newport/LagunaBch or BH/SM...but food nuts simply reside in SF and drive the ~35mis/35mins daily to offices in Cupertino/MV/PA/MP, etc

Reality is most of world's smartest and wealthiest today (in CA or Seattle or anywhere else) are engineers who rarely ever wear a tie (only Luddites in NYC, Chic, Bos, etc wear ties)....many are college dropouts and look down upon lib arts/non-quants and quants w/multiple degrees...and others are (ghast) libertarians who drive to their suburban offices in some Mercedes V12; have never ridden a train (and have no interest in such commie transport modalities)...and fly around in a gas-guzzling private plane as nearly anyone with money hates flying commercial (incl any commie politician)
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Encinitas
2,160 posts, read 5,263,052 times
Reputation: 1265
Quote:
Originally Posted by onechase View Post
I realize that many of you will disagree with this post, and I'm not looking really to convince you. I'm writing from the perspective of a single, early 30s educated professional.

I moved to San Diego about 19 months ago. I can't argue that the weather isn't spectacular or that there aren't plenty of very pretty views. In fact, when people ask me how I like living here, I always reply that San Diego is lovely. It really is.

But almost 2 years into living here, I am ready to leave. Culturally San Diego is a world apart even from Los Angeles and Orange County. Though there are islands of professional communities mostly in and around La Jolla, and plenty of idle rich in Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe, most of San Diego is decidedly lower middle class. You can see it in the proliferation of Ford F150s, the very strong military element (as a % of the population, no U.S. urban area has more military connected people than San Diego-- and that's including D.C. Metro), the local obsession with dive bars, and the general lack of sophistication. You will find few people here who are interested in the world and who emphasize the values of education and hard work. They call this "laid back", which I thought meant relaxed, but really means uninterested. You will not find much in the way of cultural organizations around politics, art and culture and when you do you will find they cater to a much, much older crowd. You will meet a lot of locals who've rarely left California. For those coming from bigger cities, this will be a big culture shock.

Not to put too fine a point on it: San Diego totally lacks the sophistication of Los Angeles and other larger cities, but its prices are just as high. Take restaurants for example. I continue to be very surprised at the consistency with which San Diego restaurants offer below average food, below average service and high prices. In all sincerity, I am floored that so many San Diego restaurants can charge $30-40 for entrees-- in San Francisco and New York this means you're probably getting an excellent meal and being treated like a valued guest. With just a few exceptions, in San Diego it means average food and indifferent service. It's not that I need to be eating fancy meals all the time, but when I spend $140 for dinner for 2, I really hate feeling like I've been ripped off. I travel frequently for work-- East Coast, Chicago, Atlanta, SF, Nashville, Seattle-- and I've never experienced so many servers who feel that they are entitled to 20% gratuities or better just for showing up and restaurants that really don't give a damn whether you liked your meal or not.

Nightlife is a huge weakness if you're single. The under 25 set will find Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp to be all they hoped and dreamed, full of drunk, barely clothed hardbodies. There is about a 90% chance of witnessing a bar fight on a weekend night in either of these neighborhoods and I am not exaggerating. People here call it the "bro" element. I'm sure you can find bar fights in almost any city, but frankly I am stunned how often I see it here. There really aren't any good after work bars or lounges. Forget entirely about the self-consciously trendy places that are playing out fads that bigger cities found and digested 4-5 years ago (i.e. the speakeasy craze... hello San Diego, you're 5 years late to the party, so you can't be all that cool.) Because the human geography here is not very urban-- lots of 6 lane arterials, condominiums and strip malls-- it's not like you're meeting people on the street, either.

I'm not asking for anyone to agree with me. I'm writing this maybe to help out some others who might be on the fence about coming here from the East, L.A. or Northern California. I wish I had been able to know all of this; I would not have come here in the first place.
How long did it take you to write this little novel? You wasted a lot of time. No one cares that one person came to San Diego and didn't like it. Just move somewhere where you'll be happy (if such a place exists) and move on. It happens. Sorry you didn't like San Diego.
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:19 AM
 
124 posts, read 298,423 times
Reputation: 112
and laugh (can't find the smiley face for this)

I rarely want to comment negatively on other people's posts... but I can't help but say that what I got from this post is: "educated" = snooty pompous elitist.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:00 AM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
5,461 posts, read 8,389,616 times
Reputation: 10563
Well I hope it didn't require an expensive east coast education for you to develop this ability to discern that this city is included among those that possess yahoos and anti-intellectuals.

If you had also been paying attention to life's lessons along the way you might also now possess enough gumption and curiosity to foster and maintain relationships with some of the 1000s of quality individuals and institutions in this city available to stimulate your copious intellectual needs.
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