Welcome to our annual guide to communities from the beaches to the backcountry that offers facts, figures and a slice of life in the oldest and newest places that more than 3 million people call home.
The region’s history is diverse. The first inhabitants arrived at least 12,000 years ago. Explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo encountered the bay and called it “closed and a very good port.” Alonzo Horton likened the setting to a “Heaven on Earth” — “It seemed to me the best spot for building a city I ever saw.”
“This mountainous region is full of charming valleys, and hidden among the hills are fruitful nooks capable of sustaining thriving communities,” essayist Charles Dudley Warner wrote in 1890.
The county’s 4,526 square miles make up one of the richest habitats in the nation, with multiple climate zones and an array of plants and animals, including about 200 endangered and threatened species.
Learn about the best theaters, museums, restaurants, music venues, casinos and craft beer in San Diego County.
Moving to a new city can be stressful, so we’ve compiled a list of things to do as you settle into your new home.
San Diego County communities
The region’s 18 cities and numerous neighborhoods are nestled among the many mesas and valleys, divided by freeways, forests and (often dry) river and creek beds. Sometimes it’s just a community sign that divides one place from another.
Our almanac categorizes the county into nine geographic regions. Use the links below see all the communities within each region.
Enjoy this glimpse, and then go out and explore for yourself.
An eclectic array of cities and neighborhoods with unique identities and stories to tell
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