San Diego FAQ

FAQ about San Diego

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San Diego FAQ Page 1 here.

How Much Does it Cost to live in San Diego?
Can I Afford to Buy a House?
What are the Prospects of Finding a Job in San Diego?
Is it a Good Place to Raise a Family?
What Colleges & Universities are in San Diego?
Do I Need a Car or Can I Rely on Public Transportation?
Where Can a 20 Year Old go to Find Some Fun?
What's the Art Scene Like in San Diego?
What's the Ethnic Mix in San Diego?
I'm Asian, Where can I Find Other Asian People?

Do I Need a Car or Can I Rely on the Bus?

Unless you live right outside the university grounds (or right beside your office), you will most likely need a car.

San Diego has an extensive public transportation system which includes bus, trolley, ferry, and train. The bus system itself has 95 routes and you can pretty much get to all major attractions via city bus.

But having said that, you should know that some routes run once per hour and some routes do not run at all on the week ends. Thus, even though you can get around town by bus, it is also inconvenient (imagine missing your bus and having to wait one hour for the next one).

The other problem is geographical. The city of San Diego is quite spread out with many of the districts on a mesa (top of a small hill). To get from one place to another, you need to get on the highway: the city is interconnected with an extensive highway systems. The layout of the land makes it challenging to get around by walking or bicycling.

You can walk and bike locally, but it would be challenging to move around the city by bike. In this matter, the city has provided bike racks on buses so you can bike half way to work/school and then take the bus the rest of the way. you can also bring your bike onto the ferry and the trolley.

Again, as mentioned above, if you are a university student and you live on campus or just outside of the campus grounds, then bus service is fine. Similarly, if you happen to on the bus route which takes you to work, then you are fine. For everybody else, you either have to get a car, or you have to be very organized and be at the right place at the right time to catch all your bus transfers.


Where Can a 20 Year Old go to Find Some Fun?

It depends on what you consider fun. If you are looking for dancing and night clubs, then try the Gaslamp Quarter. Back in the 1870's (that's 1870's not 1970's), this area was considered "New Town" and it was filled with brothels, gambling halls, opium dens, and saloons: this was where the action was! Fast forward 140 years and you have a renovated historic site which some call the heart of San Diego nightlife.

If you are looking for something more casual, try Pacific Beach. Many college students hang out here; soak up some sun, catch a few waves; play volley ball, toss a frisbee around, roller blade up & down the boardwalk, browse the street side shops, grab a bite to eat, and watch people while being watched. Basically, just hanging out.

If you like shopping, then Fashion Valley is where the rich and beautiful people hang out. There's an AMC movie theater and the Cheesecake Factory here too. Horton Plaza is also popular because it is in near downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter.

What's the Ethnic Mix in San Diego?

According the the US Census Bureau, in 2010, there are over 3 million people in San Diego. In 2009, most of the population (89.6%) are under 65 years of age and about half the population (49.8%) are female.

In terms of racial mix, in 2010, 64% of San Diegans are white: this is slightly higher than the national average of 57.6%. Compare the racial mix of people in San Diego and that of USA:

Hispanic, Latino
Mixed, Other
Native American
Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
in San Diego
in USA
So, although there is a higher percentage of white people in San Diego, there's still a comparable mix of ethnicities in this fine city.

What's the Art Scene Like in San Diego?

Honestly, most people know San Diego as a great tourist attraction with the theme parks (Legoland, Zoo, SeaWorld) and natural beauty (great weather and beaches). However, San Diego also has a lot of potential for the fine arts; opera, symphony, theater, film, and art.

For Art, there is:
  - Museum of SD History )
  - San Diego Air & Space Museum
  - San Diego Museum of Art
  - Photographic Arts Museum
  - Timken Museum of Art
  - San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  - San Diego Museum of Man
  - San Diego Automotive Museum
  - Mingei Int'l Museum
  - Natural History Museum
  - Reuben H fleet Science Center
  - Veterans Museum & Memorial Center
  - San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum
  - San Diego Art Institute: Museum of the Living Artist
  - Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD)
  - San Diego's New Children's Museum
  - San Diego Maritime Museum
  - Museum of Making Music
  - San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum(USS Midway)

For Music, there is:
  - San Diego Symphony
  - San Diego Opera
  - San Diego Master Chorale
  - La Jolla Symphony and Chorus
  - Orchestra Nova San Diego
  - Spreckels Organ Pavilion

For Theatre, there is:
  - Old Globe Theatre
  - La Jolla Playhouse
  - Joan B. Kroc Theatre
  - The San Diego Repertory Theatre at the Lyceum Theatres
  - California Center for the Arts in Escondido
  - Lyric Opera San Diego
  - the Starlight Musical Theatre
  - the Cygnet Theatre
  - Christian Community Theater
  - Vanguard Theater
  - Lamb's Players Theater
  - Diversionary Theater
  - San Diego Junior Theatre

San Diego is not like Los Angeles with Hollywood, and it is not New York with Broadway. San Diego is San Diego: it has a rather new and young art scene, but there's a lot of potential which may or may not be realized.

I'm Asian, Where can I Find Other Asian People?

According to the US Census Bureau, 10% of the population are of Asian descent. San Diego has 3 million people so that makes 300,000 Asians (this includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and more), where are they all hiding?

Well, there is no formal "Chinatown" or "Little Tokyo" in San Diego so most Asians are spread out all over the place. There are some pockets where certain nationalities congregate. Not an official list, but here's a starting point where you can go and find more information:
  • Ranch 99 Market, a Chinese grocery store.
  • Chinese Restaurants
  • Chinese New Year celebration.
  • Barnard Elementary offers Mandarin Chinese Magnet Program
  • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  • Chinese Community Church

  • Japanese:
  • Mitsuwa Marketplace: Japanese grocery store
  • Japanese Restaurants
  • San Diego Japanese MeetUp: informal group
  • Bon Odori: Festival of Joy in Buddhist Temple of SD
  • Tsumiki Japanese Preschool
  • San Diego Japanese School: classes for children & adults
  • San Diego Yu-Yu: Japanese publication
  • Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park
  • Japan Society of San Diego
  • San Diego Japanese Christian Church

  • Korean:
  • Zion Market: Korean grocery store
  • San Diego Korean Language Exchange: informal group

  • Vietnamese:        
  • Taste of Tet: Lunar New Year celebration
  • Vietnamese American Youth Alliance: non-profit, community-based organization
  • no formal "Little Saigon" but there are some Vietnamese businesses on Mira Mesa Blvd. (North San Diego), El Cajon Blvd. (East San Diego), and Convoy Street/Linda Vista Road (Central San Diego).

  • Filipino:
  • Filipino American Association of San Diego North County:non-profit, non-political organization of Filipino, Filipino-American and American residents in San Diego, North County, California
  • Filipino Press, San Diego: non-profit, community-based organization
  • high population of Filipinos live in Mira Mesa (US census: 20% Filipinos in Mira Mesa) and Southeast San Diego (Alta Vista, Bay Terraces, Paradise Hills, Skyline Hills, and Valencia Park; approx 35% Filipino).