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I am a single female in my upper 20s who relocated from DC to San Diego earlier this year. I was so excited about moving to CA. I grew up on the east coast my entire life and was ready for a change. I wanted warm and sunny weather, more outdoor activities, laid back, friendly, and down to earth people, and beaches. I thought San Diego would be a good fit because I was able keep my job and maintain my DC salary.
Now I'm starting to wish I had considered other cities along the west coast. San Diego seems to really lack in diversity, liberalism and open-mindedness, culture, and educated/young professionals (or educated people period). When I say diverse, I am referring to diverse, educated, liberal people, regardless of race, color of skin, ethnic background, etc.
The city feels very blue-collared. I've come across a lot of grungy people covered in tattoos, homies and thugs (especially near the beaches), some racist/rednecks. Donít get me wrong, I welcome country western types and African Americans. It's the racist or uneducated meat-headed people (pb, mission beach, and east county are great examples of the types that I am referring to).
San Diego has very little diversity. The only diversity that's worth mentioning here is the Hispanic culture. But that's it. And unfortunately, a lot of the Hispanics in San Diego are also make up the poor and uneducated population. You don't see different races from different parts of the world who are all educated and intelligent. The one positive is that mostly anyone can fit in socially in San Diego because people are so carefree, so you might find the "appreciating cultural diversity" aspect. But it's almost a too carefree attitude, if that makes any sense.
People in San Diego seem to be really into illegal drug use or drinking their faces off. Many people are into smoking lots of pot. I know you can fine people who use drugs anywhere, but it seems to be much more prevalent here than in DC.
The quantity of good job opportunities seem to be lacking. Even the university/school options aren't that great (the only good school IMO is UCSD).
San Diego is just not what I thought it would be :-( Don't get me wrong, I love the weather, the scenery is beautiful, there is tons to do outdoors, and traffic is a breeze compared to back east. But what's up with the people and lack of opportunity?
I guess I'm wondering if San Francisco would be a better fit for the things that I am looking for. I really don't want to deal with cold and rainy weather and rat races but guess I can make the trade off if other benefits out way these things.
This is what I am really after: Cosmopolitan, culture, liberal minded educated people, diversity, urban environment (I don't want to move to a small town) that I found in DC but with the great weather, outdoor/active/healthy lifestyle that California has to offer. A place with good job/career or advanced education opportunities without the rat race, work your butt off mentality that exists back east. Does this environment exist in the San Francisco bay area? If so, what part of the area?
One of world's two most powerful, high-IQ economies (only rival is Manhattan and Greenwich's hedge fund industry)
PA weather is rather similar to that of LA's Westside and coastal SD
City of SF has very little economy based in City, aside from a few hedge funds and private equity shops...all of serious tech and most of financial industry in region is based in SV
Suburbs nr PA are great for families, but many/most singles who work in SV choose to live in SF and drive to offices in SV....a fairly easy, fast drive....prob world's fastest, most elegant 40-60mi urban commute...
SF-SV have a confused socialist ethos/hypocrisy that often annoys many of the capitalists in region...those who've made a few bucks usually get wkend places on LA's Westside, to be in a setting that's more openly capitalist and hedonistic
The SF area is definitely your place. HSW mentioned PaloAlto and SiliconValley. This is a lot like the Northern Virginia areas that are very close to DC. Tysons, Mclean, Vienna, Falls Church reminds me kind of like Paloalto/silicon valley, but with a west coast flare. It's also kind of similar to Bethesda in Maryland, but not really as urban as Bethesda.
The SF area does have a lot of diversity, but the asian feel has a much stronger feel in the Bay Area than the DC area. The DC area has a wide variety of races, but no race really dominates. The DC area is a mix of all kinds of people from all over the world. The SF bay area does have a wide range of races, but as I said earlier, the Asian feel is much more prominent in SF than compared to DC.
From what you've said, SF is by far a better match for what you're looking for. Just keep in mind that if the urban feel is what you desire (like DC), then you have to go for SF proper, and not the SF suburbs. Just keep in mind that SF summers feel cold to an east coaster. But if you go more east from SF, the summers can get hot - so that's an option if you're looking for hot summers.
All those things you said about San Diego is why I now live in the Bay Area. I lived in San Diego for 2 years and decided its just not for me. You should come and visit SF for a few days and decide for yourself. Sounds like it has exactly what you need. Good Luck.
I do think SF is a better fit for you but I think you're perceptions of SD are a little off and you need to get to know other places of the county better. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived in SD for over 7 years now.
If MB, PB, and OB are the only beaches you are hanging out at then no wonder you have the perception that you do about "homies and thugs", you should really try beach cities from La Jolla north if you don't want that type of crowd, they are much nicer, more upscale, and a more refined, educated crowd.
SD ranks in the Top 10 Most Educated cities in the US, so I'm not sure why you can't find educated people b/c they are there, they just don't have that psuedo-intellectual attitude that is more prevalent in the Bay Area.
Also if everyone is liberal how is that "diverse"? That is one thing that annoys me about the Bay Area, it not very diverse when it comes to values, thoughts, ideas, and it's overall electorate yet people somehow equate to being liberal as "diversity". Sd has a much more even split and diverse electorate than the Bay Area. The Bay Area is the probably the MOST liberal region in the country so you'll definitately get liberalism here, just maybe too much IMO.
While the rat race mentality isn't as bad as back east probably it is still very prevalent in the Bay Area, especially compared to San Diego. That kind of goes along with all of the job opportunities and high cost of living found here. So realize you're trading that laid back down to earth/blue collar vibe for a more rat race pretentious/white collar vibe. I find my friends in the Bay Area tend to be workaholics more so than my friends down here.
Also realize that San Francisco has the highest illegal drug use of any city in America. If you think people in SD smoke a lot of weed and do a lot of drugs then be prepared for even more of it in the BAy Area, especially the pot. Weed is much bigger and a significant part of the Bay Area culture, most people I know, including my parents and friends parents, smoke weed. So just be prepared for that aspect.
But overall I do think the Bay Area is a better fit but you're not going to get everything you're looking for, but most of it.
I can't imagine it be any worse than Seattle, the midwest, or the east coast...Is it really that cloudy, cold, or rainy?
Great feedback, keep it coming!
It's cool, windy, and foggy often but not cloudy and rainy like Seattle or anything. It rains mainly in winter but not TOO much. I say its similar to coastal San Diego except about 5-10 degrees cooler on average throughout the year with more fog but it doesn't get down to freezing or anything, it's not too bad but doesn't get warm that often. If you want warmer sunnier weather then go farther inland. Oakland and Berkeley have warmer and sunnier weather than SF and are urban too. If you want even warmer and sunnier then try inland valleys like Walnut Creek.
the weather in SF is much better than people tend to imply. It was 80 degrees this weekend.
Edit: in fact, i'd say SF has the best weather in the entire United States for most people. It is absolutely fantastic unless you live in the foggy west-side of town (which someone like you would clearly not choose to do). The weather is so good here than when you think about moving *anywhere* else you realize the weather will be a negative factor in that move. This includes places like LA where it's going to be too sunny and hot for most of the year.
otherwise, your criticisms of San Diego are spot-on. You'll much prefer SF and frankly I think SF could use more people like you who are willing to see things how they are rather than live out some fantasy of what it should be.
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