Pacific Beach

Close to the beach, close to the bars
Price: 600 - 900 USD
If you're are after the party-friendly, college-town atmosphere, the closest you're going to get near UCSD is Pacific Beach. During the day, the sun beats down on ocean-bound surfboards, while at night, 20-somethings stream towards Garnet Avenue (if you like to study on Friday nights, buy earplugs). On sunny afternoons, residents crowd the sand and beachfront bars - good news if you pick a place within walking distance of the drink specials (of course, there is plenty of alcohol available a few blocks inland as well). Newbies can start at the meat market that is PB Bar and Grill - it's one you saw on the "Real World San Diego" every week. From there, you're free to find your own favorite hole in the wall.

To commute, you can take the bus to campus (be prepared for a long, slow ride) or drive, although traffic is a significant complaint about living in PB in our Guardian housing survey. Route 30 picks up on Garnet Avenue and Mission Boulevard. Check transportation and Parking Services online for the free Bus Zone map. Parking in PB can also be challenging if you don't have a designated parking spot.

Small beach houses (many converted to multiple apartments) and new condos mean that you can scrape it together on your own or spend some of you're parents' cash, but think more Isla Vista than Laguna Beach as far as affordable digs go. The southern and eastern parts of the community tend to be a little bit less expensive. Hunt around for cheap places by cruising the streets focusing on "for rent" signs, as many landlords don't bother putting their places up online, and you might find a great deal. Generally, the standard beachfront breakdown applies: the closer you get to the beach, the more you should expect to pay. Moving closer to a grocery store (Henry's is the local fave) and further from the surf may save you a few bucks and make you less likely to chow down on peanut butter and jelly every night now that dining halls are a (not so) fond memory. Bring a bike and the whole neighborhood is accessible, but make sure you keep it secure - PB is a high property-crime area.

Your UTC-dwelling friends will make the trip to visit you once they realize Chipotle is the most happening place near campus after 9 p.m., so squeeze in an extra couch (they'll thank you when they come to the next day).

For killer fare, visit Rocky's - it's a dive, but the burgers are world-class. Head to Moondoggies if you like a loud atmosphere for Monday Night Football. Lahaina Beach Club as an unmatched old-school vibe, and you can grab a cheap shoreside morning (or afternoon) meal at Kono's or omelets and mimosas at the Broken Yolk, PB's classic breakfast spot.

From Heather Welles, UCSD - The Guardian, Monday, April 30th 2007 -

You can also check the Pacific Beach page in the Places section to discover more about Pacific Beach.

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