Moving to Downtown San Diego, California

Did you grow up hearing that San Diego, California is the perfect place to live in the United States? People often say, “Best weather in the US, it’s 70 degrees year-round, and the sun is always shining!” San Diego sounds like perfection. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype!

The area today known as Downtown San Diego, California was first established in 1850 by Lt. Andrew B. Gray. He was a surveyor for the US Government helping establish the California state lines. After seeing the San Diego Bay’s potential as a hub for maritime trade, he solicited William Heath Davis, who then recruited four other investors. They all went to work bringing 160 acres of prime real estate to life. Necessary items? A fisherman’s wharf, a warehouse, a city grid, and, of course, a town newspaper! Soon, Downtown San Diego was born and nicknamed New City. Paralleling the Old City located just about 10 miles north. Unfortunately, without a freshwater source, the growing population of New City struggled.

It wasn’t until the 1860’s that an entrepreneur from upstate New York by the name of Alonzo Horton came to town and revitalized the struggling community by purchasing 800 acres of Pueblo lands, as well as Davis’ 160 acres. Horton was a man of vision, who had enormous accomplishments already credited to him. Earlier in his life, Horton established the town of Hortonville, WI, and launched a large ice business in the Gold Rush area of El Dorado County, California. He later moved to 6th and Market Street in San Francisco to sell furniture and household goods. A man of many talents, Horton would make San Diego his life’s greatest work.

By the 1880s, this little slice of heaven was booming thanks to Horton giving away land to promote the city’s development! By the 19th Century, steam engines made their way to San Diego via the Santa Fe Railway and streetcars shuttled people to the local theatre under the soft glow of new electric street lights.

The 1960s ushered in suburbia and Downtown became less of an attraction and more of an eyesore. It wasn’t until 1975-1985 that redevelopment plans were enacted, including the completion of Horton Plaza, the San Diego Convention Center, and Petco Park

Entertainment & Exploration

Major league baseball is still one of the most popular activities going on in Downtown San Diego. Petco Park plays host to the San Diego Padres, where you can catch a game April-September. Horton Plaza remains to this day a popular five-story outdoor mall and tourist destination. The architecture and colors alone are reason enough to visit these buildings. There are many districts within the Downtown area worth visiting! There is the western district of Columbia. It includes the Horton District (Horton Plaza) and the Core District (central business district of downtown). Cortez Hill (this northeast district is one of the oldest areas of San Diego and offers spectacular views of old Victorian-era homes), East Village (home to Petco Park) and the Gaslamp Quarter are some of the richest historical sights in the city. Gaslamp is also known for its nightlife. Little Italy (in the northwest portion of Downtown) happens to be home to A-1 Self Storage, but it also will bring your romantic side out with great Italian cuisine, little secrets, and romantic folklore to keep you on your toes. Marina, in the south-west district, is where the famous Seaport Village is located. Each one of these diverse districts offers a history and experience all of their own! Remember, this coastal city has more than brick and mortar to brag about, San Diego Beaches must be trending on Instagram at least once a year! The beauty of a place like Mission Beach will take your breath away. What’s remarkable is that it took so long for the area to become popular.

Cost of Living

Invest in real estate today, reap the rewards tomorrow! That’s the mindset when residents look to move into Downtown San Diego. However, affording that investment is where the rubber meets the road. In a March 2018 report, “Data Shows How Much San Diego Families Need to Budget”, ABC-KGTV San Diego suggested a family of four needed to bring in nearly $97,000/year just to break even. Before you get too down-trodden, keep in mind you have options!

Purchasing a house may be a favorable goal, but if you rent for a while and place some of your items in storage (such as in A-1 Self Storage’s location in Downtown San Diego), you could save up for a larger down payment on a purchase. Avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance and still being able to put food on the table for your family may work out in your favor. Hourly wages in this part of the country can vary from $11-18/hr for office managers, medical assistants, and entry-level marketing staff. Salaries for engineers can start in the 3-figure range. Jobs are plentiful here.

So what kind of expenses are we to budget for?

Real estate is a smart investment, but you also want to find something within your budget. Downtown, the median price for a home on the Pacific Coast Highway is $900,000-1M. With household incomes able to support such a rare lifestyle, Downtown can feel like a stretch for many. The high-end Luma apartments will run about $5,000-6,000/mo for a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 500-1000/sqft. space or you could save by bringing only your essentials (and leasing a storage unit).

Trying out a studio apartment for $1500/mo could be an option. Don’t forget to consider transportation costs, housing, groceries, and family entertainment. Always remember, a family needs to enjoy their time together while in Downtown San Diego! There are many great job opportunities available in industries ranging from real estate and international trade to defense and the military, so it may be smart to try and find a job in the area before buying property.

Time to move Downtown?

Downtown is a great location and has something to offer just about everyone. If you love having wonderful weather and fun things to do all year round, you may have discovered the perfect place to live. While the cost of living can be a factor in choosing exactly where to live, there are many benefits and job opportunities that outweigh the negatives. Regardless of if you move into an apartment or buy a home, A-1 Self Storage can help you.

Our facilities have retail areas that offer packing and moving supplies for purchase. Our friendly self storage professionals are here to help whenever you need them. They can help you find storage solutions for any size or budget. It doesn’t matter if you are moving locally or across the country, we can help you in to your new home. Come see us today at A-1 Self Storage in Downtown San Diego and see how we can make your move the easiest ever! Call us now or visit our website anytime to rent today.

A-1 Self Storage

(619) 450-2417

2235 Pacific Hwy San Diego, CA 92101

Office Hours


8:00am - 6:00pm
8:00am - 5:00pm

Closed all major holidays

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7 Days A Week
6:00 am - 10:00 pm

Extended Phone Support Hours
Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 7:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am - 5:00pm