San Diego versus Seattle

Shot from the Cabrillo National Monument, this shows downtown San Diego and the San Diego Navy Base.

A couple of years ago I was blessed to meet and love and earn the love of a woman who calls San Diego, CA her home town. In the nearly two years since we started seeing each other my girlfriend, Maria Elena, has told me repeatedly of her love for California’s most southern major city. She has repeatedly expressed her desire for us to travel there for a visit and to consider it as a future home when the day comes and should we ever marry.

Many happenings in my life have prevented us from making that trip, including the saving for and recent purchase of my new home in Federal Way, WA. While I always wanted to accommodate Maria Elena’s wish to visit San Diego and meet her family that lives there. I just couldn’t make the time or spend the money; until finally buying my house 2 months ago. We almost immediately scheduled our trip to her home town. And last week we spent a wonderful 6 days there.

Given where I am in life and my circumstances the possibility of moving away from my home state and city, Seattle, is a consideration I’ve long given thought to. As such making some comparison is interesting for me.

First, the most obvious, the weather. While Seattle and the Puget Sound has just endured the worst rainy season in its recorded history San Diego weather is much as advertised. It’s SUNNY! And being right on the ocean its comfortably warm nearly all year-long. Temperatures were in the mid 70s the whole time we were there…and for those reading this at some later time…we were there in late June 2017. Compared to Seattle’s typically dreary June San Diego was a much-needed bit of Wx relief. However, go only a few miles inland from the coast and the heat hits hard. Temperatures were in the mid-90s when we made such a trip our last day visiting and we were only 15-20 miles from the airport in downtown San Diego. Inland from San Diego is desert heat. And it can be oppressive.

The beach at Coronado was beautiful and right across the bay from downtown, a mere 15 minute drive.

The other most noticeable characteristic of San Diego was the lack of traffic congestion. Despite being in and around town all through a busy week during all times of day the closest we came to a traffic jam was nothing more than a traffic slow down…and it was short and brief. We never stopped moving, and very seldom stopped driving at the legal speed limit. This in spite of the fact that 2014 census data shows San Diego with an in-city population more than double that of Seattle. In Seattle, I-5, I-90, and especially I-405 can be clogged to a stand still at nearly any time of the day or night or day of the week. You are literally not certain of a full speed trip unless you’re on the road at 3am. And even then…things happen. I’m telling you it was heaven.

Lastly, like Seattle and all major U.S. cities San Diego has a homeless problem. But unlike Seattle the trash and the filth left by those who CHOOSE to live on the streets is nowhere to be seen in the downtown core. The comparatively minimum amount of street living was only on the downtown’s outer limits. Again, its remarkable given the huge difference in total in-city population.

Whether San Diego, or some other sunny locale will be my future home remains a BIG question. But from my one visit I can say confidently that San Diego’s placing high in nearly all the “Most Livable City” rankings is easy to understand. It’s easy to see why. I shall return.

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