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Ok I agree maybe it's a bit of a stretch to try to compare San Diego to NYC or London but you can find plenty of other cities of San Diego's size and still they have far more to do and more of a culture. Boston, for example.
Great, Boston excels in universities (what city tops Boston in this category?) and culture, but how is the surfing, hiking or mountain biking there? And how often can you do those things throughout the year?
It depends on what people are looking for? I go on cultural excursions every year to NYC or SF to take in the museums and theater, but I prefer going on beach hikes and bike rides regularly, instead of going to the Met every weekend.
Last edited by sdurbanite; 05-28-2009 at 01:44 PM..
My kids are about half a generation older than you so maybe Poway has changed. They grew up there and did tell me there were drugs available but didn't seem to feel it was a big drug culture. I enjoy the moderate climate in SD but I know what you mean about the drama of the four seasons (I was born in Ohio). None the less, as I age, I just appreciate the fact that it doesn't get too cold here in winter and I definitely appreciate the fact that it doesn't get too hot in summer (I live in AZ for a few years). I agree the beaches are more user friendly in other areas of the world, but I enjoy seeing the ocean and walking along the beach anyway. My sis, who was an ex-pat for most of her life, living throughout Europe, Asia and Mexico, doesn't care much for San Diego's brown hillsides, but has retired in Redding and loves it there. Go figure. So no, I don't think it is the most overrated place in the world. I think it's a nice city with a great Mediterranean climate that some people love, some like and some don't care for. Me? I'm happy here. I've lived on a farm and in a small town in Ohio, Mesa, Phoenix, Yuma and Flagstaff AZ, Tustin, Sacramento and San Diego CA and I am happy that San Diego is where I am now and plan to stay for the remainder of my life. Though each community I lived in had something to offer, there are three I would never ever want to live in again, Phoenix, Mesa and Yuma AZ. Just not a fan of AZ type desert and that summer heat.
First of all, I've never been a fan of the beaches here. Unless they have turquoise water like in the Carribean, I don't like swimming in cold, rough waters where there's no visibility. Secondly, I was never into skating, and I found kids grew up here really, really fast. I mean kids coming stoned to class in 7th grade. The public schools were terrible here, especially in La Jolla (with exception of the HS) and it just seemed like everyone was so into drugs and being *******s to one another. In Poway all the sports guys take steroids and kids generally are into hard, hard drugs. It's very unsettling how fast kids grow up in SoCal compared to other parts of the country.
Regarding the coldness of the water, it is what it is. And it's a lot colder in San Francisco. And I really can't comment on the behavior of teenagers. The teenagers you are describing seems a lot like the behavior of the teenagers I grew up with in the 70s - a lot of bad teenage attitudes accompanied by drug use. So nothing out of the norm there.
I never cared for the overly consistent weather. Having lived now in more varied climates, I look forward to the 4 seasons and sometimes I think it's nice having a rainy day where you can sit inside and just be cosy. In San Diego rainy days were always so scarce it was something almost exciting when it happened.
Like you, I miss the rain, and look forward to a chance to cozy up inside and listen to the sound of the drizzle, and stare out the window. But again, that doesn't make the weather of San Diego overrated. It still is some of the best weather in the world. And I don't mean that in the easily given compliment sort of way, I mean it is truly some of the BEST WEATHER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Objectively, San Diego's weather can't be overrated. It may become tiresome, and you may desire change, but it isn't overrated.
Regarding San Diego's urbanity and cosmopolitanism in comparison to London, San Francisco, and Copenhagen, you are correct they have more of it. But these are world class cities, some with millenia of history. No one has ever claimed San Diego is an Alpha or Beta class world city. But given it's size and history it's pretty darn nice. As for the suburban sprawl of San Diego, if you travel around the Bay Area, to Vallejo, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Sunnyvale, Redwood City, Gilroy, you will find plenty of suburban sprawl to equal that of Clairemont or El Cajon. You can't compare the suburbs of San Diego with the city center of San Francisco. It's an unfair comparison.
As for the brown landscapes, well, since you grew up here, those first few years when you experience summer as a green season rather than a brown season are pretty amazing, and will make an impression. But on the flip side, when people from London and Copenhagen come here in January and see green lawns and flowering plants they are equally impressed. Some of this is an appreciation for the newness of the experience. San Diego is old hat to you now, while these other places are still new to you. Live in these other places and they will eventually grow old and stale. And that's not to bash these cities, but to illustrate that you need to separate that which you appreciate because it's new and different to you, and that which you are appreciating because it's truly superlative.
I love North Park, Hillcrest, La Jolla, PB, OB, ect., and I recognize that San Diego is one of the best cities to live in within the US. There's a great restaurant scene and it's safe and clean, I really like the Gaslamp and taking walks near the ocean and Coronado Island. I guess I feel SD has a lot more potential which is frustrating to see a lot of it go to waste to just suburban sprawl, and instead of spreading out so much they should try to densify the city and make it a little bit more urban, it doesn't have to be like SF but it'd be nice if it felt more cohesive and, well, like a "city". Imagine how amazing SD would be had it boomed in the early 1900's instead of the 50's, 60's when the automobile was in it's glory!
Actually, I have to say that I agree with you. It would have been nice if San Diego had been a larger city earlier on, so that the size and number of it's older neighborhoods were greater. As for a desire to densify the city, well, that actually is part of the city's plan. That is exactly what is happening in Downtown, Little Italy, and Park West. It is also part of the plan for "The Corridor" which is the area between University Avenue and El Cajon Blvd. For those who aren't familiar with the area, it was originally small bungalow homes, that got blown apart with tacky Huffman Hovels that turned the area into an Apartment Cluster **** zone in the 60s, 70s & 80s, and is now slated for greater densification so that those abominable apartments can be replaced with a better class of building.
Am I the only one who thinks this way?
I agree with some of your particulars, but disagree with your belief that San Diego is overrated. I suspect that in a few years, your appreciation for the city will grow as the places to which you are comparing it, will have lost their "newness" luster. Will your love for San Diego match your love for London, San Francisco, and Copenhagen, or Vienna, Prague, and Milan? Probably not. But San Diego is pretty darn nice in some respects and superlative in others, and it has a vision to become even better.
It's funny because everyone's obsessed with how fantastic SD is but I always felt alone in my views.
Actually, I've seen a lot of people say this on this board.
So many of your complaints are based on aesthetics of some sort, and those are completely people's opinion. No one should bash you for that - - if I like vanilla and you like chocolate, we're just going to have to agree to disagree.
I've gone over the intellectual part of San Diego a ton here - - I feel like it is a third of my posts! San Diego is ranked 9th in the United States of cities with more than 250,000 people when it comes to percentage of people with bachelor degrees or higher. San Francisco is ranked second, but it is tied with Raleigh - - and I'm sure you would put San Francisco as being more intellectual. The stats and the perception are often off. The percentage of people with BAs/BSs in Boston is 40.9%; San Diego is 40.4% (more people in Pittsburgh have college degrees than in New York City). San Diego is ranked 10th in people with Master's Degrees - - ahead of New York City (18th), Denver (22nd), and Chicago (24th), but behind Albuquerque (5th), Lexington, KY (8th), and Pittsburgh (9th).
You can tell it's a pet peeve of mine when people say that San Diego is just "bro's and bro's ho's". That's a you thing. I would never say that San Diego is more cosmopolitan than San Francisco or New York, but if you're not finding intellectual people to talk to, that's your fault because they are out there. It's a stupid generality, like saying everyone from San Francisco is a stinking hippie, everyone from Seattle is an unbathed tech geek, or everyone in New York City is my cousin Vinny.
You put a premium on the cosmopolitan nature of places - - once again, that's your likes. San Diego isn't for you. It doesn't say anything negative (or positive) about your character in not liking it - - just that you value different qualities than people who defend San Diego have. And at the same time, there are those people who would never want to live in San Francisco, London, or Copenhagen, who find intellectual stimulation in what is here (along with books and other pieces of culture that can be found anywhere), and value other parts of life more highly than plays, operas, or whatever you find to be cultural.
Hard to say that it's overrated. Residents have a high opinion of the city. It's natural setting and some of it's built environment is world-class. Weather is weather, it really can't be judged by man. You like it or you don't.
San Diego is what it is. It doesn't want to be Rome. It wasn't built in the 18th century. It's not going to become something that it isn't. You can either adjust to that or you can move on.
It's not right for everyone. Some people love it and it's perfect. I am not one of them. Some people say it's terrible. I am not one of those people either. If I could afford to live in the parts of San Diego I really would want to live in for the rest of my life, I would stay. But I can't, so I accept it for what it is and plan accordingly.
You can either be part of creating the "San Diego that could be" or you can complain about what others create around you. And you can always move on, that is one of the great freedoms we have. You always have the choice to let the people who think it's great have it, overrated or not.
My experience is that "overrated" is a synonym for "overpriced", which is a synonym for "I can't afford what I want". Both of those terms reflect more on the person saying them than on the place they are speaking about. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you want something you can't afford, even though some people on this forum might say you "want too much" or you should clip coupons or that you aren't working hard enough. There is no shame in wanting a bigger house or better neighborhood or better schools for your kids... or better restaurants, museums... whatever. And people have every right to sacrifice whatever they want to live in a great climate or the city they love. We all get to make that choice. But expecting everything around you to change so that you can get what you want... is fantasy.
For some it can be paradise ... for others, it's boring.
If your main interest is culture and the arts, then maybe San Diego isn't right for you.
San Diego does have it's share of cultural activities (museums, annual outdoor events, exhibits, theatre, opera, etc) but not as many as a large city like NYC.
But does NYC offer year-round great weather? Canyons and Mountains? Palm Trees? Beautiful Beaches? Surfing?
So no need to knock San Diego. It has lots of great points, and then a few not so great points.
It all depends on what you want out of a city.
No city has everything ... but San Diego does have a lot of great reasons for people to want to live here.
And regarding your negative comment about Clairemont Mesa ... I completely disagree. Clairemont has lots of different sections, some better than others, some worse. But it's still a very good area to live. I won't compare it to a Poway or La Jolla, since they have many more wealthy residents, with very expensive homes. But for a middle-class family, Clairemont can be a great place to live. Maybe middle-class suburban areas aren't your thing?
I think you suffer a typical European syndrome, once you have visited all the cool places in Europe, all cities in the US suffer the comparison. But you have to admit that San Diego contrary to Boston or Philly is unique as it does not try to imitate a European city and offers a real American signature. You should compare it with a Spanish sea side town such as Alicante, and trust me San Diego is much better...
yes i agree. why should anybody care whether there is winter or not. i think holding onto a rope to avoid being dragged down the street by a 50 mph wind at 40 below on state st in the chicago loop is kind of sexy. im with you 100% --jes let me go check on my tomatoes-- be right back.
On a more serious note I don't think the OP has actually taken the time to really explore all that San Diego has to offer. For instance, there is much more to the county's landscape then just the coastal chaparral; try heading up to mount Palomar, Julian, or Mount Laguna to see some more varied climates and ecological zones. The reality is San Diego County has a greater number of different climate types then any other county in the US and it has the greatest amount of ecological diversity of any county in the US. There is a whole lot out there so explore.
My experiences with students doing drugs just was not the same as yours so I suspect you either ran with a bad crowd or you focus to much on the negative, which would explain the rest of your post. It is true that San Diego does not have the same amount of cultural experiences as cities 4-8 times its size but for its size it actually has a hell of a lot to offer if a person bothers to go look for it. Seek and you shall find. Lastly, it sounds like you're just lonely and that means you need to go make some new friends. It's easy. Just get yourself out there and don't be afraid to introduce yourself.
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