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daria Mar 15th, 2012 08:46 PM

Where to Rent a House in San Diego?

We will be traveling to San Diego for a week (after staying for a week-and-a-half in LA) with our 5 year old twins in August. We want to rent a house or apartment so we can cook meals and save money. We will want to visit Sea World and Balboa Park and possibly the Wild Animal Park and Legoland (we've been to the zoo - this is not our first trip to S.D.).

So, I am wondering where to look for a house/ apartment. It does not need to be a touristy area, and we can't afford anything expensive. We will have our car and will try to eat in a fair amount. But, it would be nice if it wasn't too far from the attractions we plan to visit, and if it was near a good beach. I am not that familiar with San Diego outside of the downtown area, so any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you!


daria Mar 16th, 2012 08:27 AM

any ideas?

Cosmia Mar 16th, 2012 10:39 AM

I glanced at a map of rentals on to see what pops up. My suggestions are based on my own preferences: Hillcrest, Mission Hills, and the areas adjacent to the west and north of Balboa park. I live in SD, but have never lived in these areas though.

daria Mar 16th, 2012 12:23 PM

Oh, thank you. I will check those out. Can you tell me what those areas are like? Thanks again!

Cosmia Mar 16th, 2012 04:36 PM

Hillcrest and Mission Hills are “Uptown” and older. I just like the way they feel. Houses look pretty nice and many are historic, like Craftsman and Spanish style. They’re prettier, denser, walkable (for San Diego), and feel busier with people. There’s lots of local businesses and grocery stores for you. You could easily go over to North Park for restaurants too. (There’s supposed to be good eating there.)

I looked at the rental map again, and looks like there’s way more rentals for beach areas. Those are nice too, but I didn’t want to suggest the usual PB and La Jolla. I'm just not a beach person!

1JAR Mar 16th, 2012 10:47 PM

If you want beach then Ocean Beach perhaps most affordable...

If you want to be on the coast near the Ocean then in comparing to the places you want to visit, Point Loma over the hill toward the city from OB.(Animal park is a long drive from anyplace located centrally to the other 3 places you want to visit.)

In comparing prices, consider too Homewood Suites at Liberty Station (the water is an estuary not teh BAy or Ocean: still nice park like setting with a Vons nearby and great take out restaurants: try Tender Greens.

Also Shelter Island is in Point Loma kind of a yachting/marina park like area..very safe with path on the Bay, grassy picnic areas, jungle jim and Dr Suess charater the kids just love. on the Bay.

Best Western had a Family apartment suite with kitchen, I thought was affordable. The other hotels might too: again some nice restaurants and very clsoe to Liberty Station too..

Tomsd Mar 17th, 2012 03:53 AM

Why not stay near the beach? Not a huge fan of Hillcrest - too dense, urban feel. Mission Hills is much nicer - but probably also more expensive - and again - not near the beach.

Liberty Station would be great - as would anything in Pt. Loma, etc. La Jolla is georgeous - but also probably morfe expensive as Del Mar would also be. Ocean Beach is fine - but more hip/youngeredgy, and Pacific Beach is similiar, except if you get on the bay side.

Tomsd Mar 17th, 2012 03:56 AM

And Carlsbad - 30 miles north of San Diego - is also super - and that's where Legoland is and Wild Animal Park (now called Safari Park) - and to me - even more interesting than the zoo) is a straight shot inland to Escondido - along freeeway 78.

Other than rush hours - especially in the morning - heading into SD and than at night - heading north back to Carlsbad - it's an easy shot into SD - and the Zoo and Seaworld.

lizypatrick32 Mar 17th, 2012 04:02 AM

Well there are lots of companies and websites which can help you to rent a house, or you can surf through which provides you to find the house as per your needs.

Tomsd Mar 17th, 2012 04:05 AM

BTW - in addition to traditional condos/homes for rent - there are a number os suite hotels you might consider. Hotel Circle isn't a neighborhood feel - but a great location for getting anywhere in SD (near several freeways - you can find some fairly inexpensive deals there - perhaps a 1 BR suite?

Here is a starting point for various suite hotels.

Nearby Old Town is also a great place to walk around if you can find something that meets your needs.

And Coronado would also be great - but not sure about the prices over there.

Just Google away. :)

daria Mar 17th, 2012 01:45 PM

Thank you all so much! This is a plethora of wonderful information. I will check it all out and let you know what we decide!

SandyBrit Mar 17th, 2012 04:55 PM


We have stayed at the Homewood Suites, Liberty Station and I can tell you it is great value for the cost. You get a full breakfast each day and Monday thru Thursday a light evening meal. Coffee and tea available all day. Your twins would enjoy the lovely little pool and only a short walk to a nice outdoor playground. Plenty of free parking. Hotel has laundry facilities.

You may want to consider The Inn at Sunset Cliffs located in Ocean Beach htpp:// - some of the units have kitchens and a large pool right on the ocean. Free parking. Do walk out on the pier at Ocean Beach.

Discount coupons at htpp://


SandyBrit Mar 17th, 2012 05:00 PM

Try htpp://

LSky Mar 17th, 2012 08:24 PM

daria, take a look at some of the houses that would be in your price range and you feel would be suitable. Come back and post. You may find a nice little neighborhood that isn't far from the beach. San Diego is easy to get around in.

Give us links to what is in your price range. A few of us know this city really well and we'd be happy to tell you about the area.

Tomsd Mar 18th, 2012 04:04 PM

There is not a better Oceanfront setting than the Inn at Sunset Beach - at least IMO. It's a fairly basic 2 star place - but you are literally - right on the cliffs above the Ocean - and can watch the surfers, sealife, the nearby pier - and enjoy fun/funky Ocean Beach along Newport Ave.


LSky Mar 18th, 2012 04:27 PM

I thought she wanted to rent a house?

I agree with you Tomsd, that Ocean Beach is an oft overlooked part of the city by many tourist. It just seems like ppl there might like it that way.

People's is one of my favorite markets.

daria Mar 18th, 2012 05:57 PM

Thank you all so much.

I have been looking and it has been a bit challenging to find something at the right price point. We definitely need to get something under $200, and I was actually hoping for something in the $125 range, but that is looking practically impossible. I looked at the Best Western with the family apartment and it looks like a really good deal ($161 with a full kitchen, pool, parking, and breakfast), but it is pretty far away from the activities we will want to do - this is the Best Western Lamplighter Inn & Suites. I will look again at the Homewood Suites Liberty Station, but I think it is around $195.

I've also been looking at houses/apartments/condos in the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach areas, and the cheapest that aren't booked seem to be in the in $180 range. They, of course, don't have a pool, which I am now thinking would be really fun for the kids. We will be spending 10 days in LA in Venice right at the beach before arriving in San Diego, so I am now thinking we don't necessarily need to stay at the beach and, instead, it would be fun for the kids to have a pool.

I'll let you all know how I progress. And, thank you again. I have always loved fodors. Everyone here is SO helpful!

LSky Mar 18th, 2012 06:58 PM

daria, San Diego is an easy city to get around in via car. Mission & Pacific Beach are going to be out of your price range. I've lived here most of my life and think those areas are over rated, traffic in and out is difficult.

I know nothing about this place except the location would be one I would pick. It's close to the beaches and downtown. It's in a quiet neighborhood so your chances of being woken up by ppl partying is nil.

Look for a neighborhood like this one or similar. Come back with a few choices and I will be happy to tell you something about the nieghborhood.

daria Mar 18th, 2012 07:07 PM

I am seriously considering the Best Western Lamplighter as it has a pool, breakfast and free parking and is only $161 with a AAA discount. I looked at the map and it does not appear to be that far off the freeway. Here is the address: 6474 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

How hard will it be to get to Seaworld and Balboa Park from this location? (I know it will be a long drive to get to the animal park from anywhere we stay.) Any other comments about this location? I looked again at the Homewood Suites Liberty Station and booked a room there for the time being, but this Best Western would save us over $30/night, which would be appreciated on our budget.

Thank you!

LSky Mar 18th, 2012 07:20 PM

It wouldn't take long but that wouldn't be a neighborhood that I'd want to stay in, it's a bit run down. You can do better.

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