Check crime stats of area. Crime of late in San Diego has been on the increase.
Best value is Spring Valley! 10 minutes from the beach 20 minutes from the airport. Temperature is nice and stable with a good breeze if you are on the hills. National city and other places close to the beach have tiny lots small houses and is a little more crowded. Bullock street is a nice large safe street with light traffic, large houses, nice lots, views of the ocean and respectful people (Mostly Philippine neighbourhood). Best neighbours I have ever had! For 2-3k you could have it all and 5 k in the bank each month for your night life!
I agree with your choices but would add Mission Valley to the list. You will find that this location is close to everything - shopping, restaurants, movies, freeways, stadium, etc...La Jolla Village is another great area for you and your roommates. Lots of area activities and close to everything.
The Village area will not be too quiet. Most of these options would be for condos or townhouses which would allow pets.
Downtown is a great option. The night life is great, tons of restaurants and shopping and parks. Plus if you like baseball you will be near Petco park which is beautiful and across the street is the Convention Center - home of Comic Con. You won't be bored and it won't be too quiet.
I have a condo/townhouse that is only two blocks from the beach and is upgraded and move-in ready, 2 car garage plus an extra space. Parking will be a problem for any of the beach areas.
When will you be coming to San Diego?
Mission/Pacific Beach is also popular with old and young alike for those who want the beach lifestyle, enjoy the sand, sun, and surf. Best of all, these two locations are only 20 minutes apart.. These would be my top 2 suggestions.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Also will your move to SD be permanent? Will you be working here? If so in what area? Where you will be working could largely impact where you may want to live. The public transportation system works will in NC. I use the Coaster and Amtrak frequently when departing from SD Airport or going downtown to take in a Padre or Charger game or for a night or two on the town.
Personally having lived in the OB, PB and MB area for years before moving to NC I can tell you that the NC area is heaven. Parking, conjestion, excessive transiency, tourism, college life, partying, crowded beaches, etc. gets old in a hurry.
Sorry about all the questions but the more info we RE professionals have from you the better we can help you locate an ideal location for you. Given your ages and what little profile you've offerred up I might also suggest the Point Loma, Sunset Cliffs area.
It's a very upscale place to live and not as much of a party atmosphere yet close to it if you want to party occasionally. There's Shelter Island and Humphries which has some of the best entertainment in the Country.
My wife and I have been going to concerts there for years and love it. We've seen some of the best talent there that we've ever seen anywhere and we've traveled the globe following our favorite groups. Additionally, we frequent Anthology in Little Italy which would be an ideal choice to live, work and play.
BTW, we have a home in Vista and a beach home in Leucadia which is about 20 minutes from our Vista residence. Frankly we can get to downtown SD from Vista in about 40 to 45 minutes if we time traffic right and there's no accidents.
If we're staying in Leucadia we can be at the airport, Petco, Anthology, Humphries, the Gaslamp or Qualcom in about 20 to 25 minutes without traffic. BTW, I forgot to mention one of the best entertainment venues in SD is the Belly Up in the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach. We've seen lots a great entertainers there for decades.
I know that's a lot to absorb but without having a closer look at your profiles that's about all I can offer up. If you wish to discuss your personal information more privately please feel free ot call me on my cell: 760 815-6977 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to check out our very user friendly websites. Good luck.
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Del Mar, Solona Beach, Cardiff, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and some great places in Oceanside may really hit your hot button. Please feel free to give me a call at 760 815-6977 or email me at email@example.com if you're interested in venturing that far Northward.