The Guardian 2010 Housing Guide

    University City

    La Jolla Colony

    Adouble-layered circle on the edges of the world’s most manicured dog park, La Jolla Colony offers options from high-rise hives (La Regencia) to makeshift villas (Pines of La Jolla) to condos the color of baby food (Verona).

    Its biggest perks are a five- to 10-minute proximity to the first and second stops on the Arriba Shuttle, along with slightly lower rent than complexes closer to the first stop (the Venetian, Trieste, La Scala). Of course, living next to Vons and half of UCSD’s off-campus population doesn’t hurt either.

    -Edwin Gonzalez

    Focus Editor


    Convenience is clutch when being weaned from the rose-colored teat of on-campus housing. In fact, many students will sacrifice a small slice of their souls in an icy Costa Verde compartment just so they can minimize the commute, but the Playmor apartments prove you need not commit to a year of prison-like banality just to save gas money. Tucked into a bright suburban side-street, the ’70s-era dwellings are just a 15-minute walk (or a five-minute bike ride) from the always-speedy Regents Parking Lot shuttle. Each apartment in the cluster is owned separately, so — depending on how well you can charm your landlord — rent (and decorating liberties) will vary. By paying around $650 a month for a single, you earn the right to poke tack-holes into almost every wall; my four male roommates broke the screen door and spilled beer/blood on the floor, and all they ever got were warnings.

    — Alyssa Bereznak

    Managing Editor


    Take the La Jolla Village Drive exit off the Interstate 805 and you’ll enter the shadow of a colony of white-and-beige high-rises. This is La Jolla Crossroads: home of three sparkling pools, a stacked gym, a home theater and private tanning booth.

    First, and least importantly, the elevators are possessed. If they’re not opening and closing their doors for no reason, they’re beeping incessantly on the ground level. Then there’s the fact that the walls separating each apartment from the next are paper-thin- meaning you’ve got an all-access auditory pass to your neighbors’ shout matches, porn-star sex moans and deafening surround sound. Lastly, Crossroads is policed by Summit Patrol — a bunch of bored-looking Carl Winslow types, ready to write you up for using your dishwasher past 10 p.m.

    Bottom line: If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks (around $550 to share a room and $1,100 for a single) to wake up to a gorgeously lit, devastatingly modern apartment, Crossroads is probably the place for you — just be prepared to invest in a solid pair of earplugs. And, by all means, take the stairs.

    — Kelsey Marrujo

    Copy Editor

    La Regencia at Colony

    La Regencia is an ongoing set of compromises perfectly suited for college students. Rooms are decent enough and rent is low- around $425 to share a room and $650 for a single-, though 3 a.m. fire-alarm wakeups every month or two can be a hefty price to pay. Its location alongside the Arriba Shuttle and Vons means it’ll only take a quick two-minute stroll to catch the bus or pick up whatever amenities you may desire — including the Raid you’ll need to fend off the armies of ants that will parade through your home every time it rains. But did I mention rent? Cheap as dirt.

    — Jake Blanc

    Senior Staff Writer

    Verano at Colony

    Verano is the assembly-line version of some ambitious turn-of-the-century city planner’s vision for the ideal suburban living space: a mazelike series of two-story earth-tone condos arranged in lopsided concentric circles, lined with papery white trees and dotted at random with patches of fenced-off lawn that miraculously stay green all year.

    Like most near-identical complexes that consume the surrounding area, a single room at this sub-ritzy prefab villa runs anywhere from $900 to $1,100. Or you can cut that in half by bunking up with another brave soul unwilling to conquer condoland. Nightlife in the University City neighborhood is nonexistent, but consider that motivation to get creative for Facebook invitations to all those Popov-fueled dance parties you’ve been waiting to throw. And, with the Arriba Shuttle rolling by your window every 12 minutes, a quick trip to Porter’s is just a 30-second flight down the Verano stairwell.

    — Reza Farazmand

    Managing Editor

    Pines of La Jolla

    Dwarfed by newer, expansive complexes like The Venetian Apartments and Regents Court, the diminutive Pines of La Jolla complex is easy to miss. In a gated cluster of vine-covered three-story buildings, Pines offers mostly two-bedroom units. Its tree-lined paths are accented by the pleasant sound of running water — courtesy of several fountains sprinkled throughout the complex’s lawns. There’s also a sweet pool and a private Jacuzzi. Its close proximity to the first Arriba Shuttle stop makes the modest complex one of the more comfortable living situations in the area, though a large population of young professionals and senior citizens also inhabit this serene zen garden, and don’t take kindly to bitchin’ ragers. That, and parking sucks.

    — Vishal Natarajan

    Sports Editor

    Costa Verde

    If you’re thinking of renting at Costa Verde, you have only one logical reason: location. There isn’t a single residence in this monstrous complex that requires more than a 30-second walk to a UCSD Arriba Shuttle stop or a diminutive 10-minute stroll to campus itself. When residents are asked to pay $1,700 for a two-bedroom apartment, it’s no wonder the vast majority of residents are classmates.

    Unfortunately, the best way to take advantage of the shuttle stops is to bypass morning shuttles and sleep until noon — anything before 11 a.m. is packed. Once you take away the short trek to campus, you’ve got a management office that doesn’t care whether you have to sell a kidney to pay off your all your neighborhood parking tickets, the slowest elevators since the Titanic and a water bill that’s determined by how many cold showers the creeper down the hall takes per day. There’s also a McDonald’s next door for the occasional late-night study snack, but after seeing one too many public-service fliers on the latest runaway groper, an evening out might not be worth the fries.

    — Jenna Brogan

    Hiatus Editor

    Regents Court

    Asandy five-rise conveniently located across the street from the Arriba Shuttle’s first stop, Regents Court is the only complex in the area that likewise understands your parking needs. Offering more spots than its residents’ cars can fill — via multi-level parking — Regents Court makes the last leg of the trek home as relaxing as it could be.

    This aesthetically sharp, gated community plays host to more bachelor businessmen and small families than the average student, so if you’re searching for the next party to crash, your best bet is to show up at Tapioca Express around 9 p.m. Other than that, four shopping centers (UTC, Costa Verde, Arriba and La Jolla Village Square) are only a block away, and the MTS Bus Route 201 bus will drop you right at your doorstep.

    — Emily Ku

    Design Editor

    Villa La Jolla

    Located a mere 15-minute walk from campus off Gilman Drive — or a five-minute ride on the MTS Bus Route 202, if you’re feeling exceptionally lazy — the Villa La Jolla apartments are prime for those who prioritize an unencumbered way to get to school and easy access to Ralphs. Villa La Jolla may also be the cheapest place to live within spitting distance of campus. Seriously, this complex is absolutely empty—the landlords desperately need residents, so make sure to ask for $200 minimum off your rent.

    Otherwise, Villa La Jolla is pretty run-of-the-mill. It’s got the standard pool, spa, laundry room and easily pilfered internet. There is, however, one issue — the walls are so thin, your neighbors might as well be in the same room.

    — Erik Jepsen

    Photo Editor

    Eastgate Mall

    However you like your townhome, Eastgate Mall has something to offer. Because the units are privately owned, can choose from a variety of models — some have three bedrooms, others have two, several are furnished with a brand new kitchen and hardwood floors while others rock ’60s-throwback orange carpeting. Noise is minimal: Even the sorority girls next door can’t throw a rager loud enough to pierce through the thick walls. Located less than a mile from the Regents parking lot, Eastgate mall is in a position to let you to bike, walk or shuttle to campus. But while campus may be close, you will probably need a car or bike to get to La Jolla Village Square or Vons.

    — Matt Croskey

    Associate Sports Editor


    Nestled between a luxury retirement home and several quaint condos, it’s no surprise that Trieste — in all its gray-beige glory — doesn’t exactly stand out. The nondescript complex is uncomfortably reminiscent of Warren College apartments, frequently subject to parking-space stealers and maintenance crews who take weeks to fix a broken gate. It’s also a challenge to decorate the rooms due to their odd polygonal walls. But, despite all its faults, Trieste is fairly pricey, running upwards of $1,700 for a one bedroom/one loft apartment.

    On the up side, if you plan on cooking a lot, the furnished kitchen is a paradise of granite countertops and electric stoves. Campus proximity is also ideal: you won’t spend more than 10 minutes on the UCSD Arriba or Nobel Shuttles. Even better, Vons and Ralphs are a quick ride away — just catch an MTS bus on either Nobel Drive or La Jolla Village Drive.

    — Regina Ip

    Associate News Editor

    La Jolla


    Scoring a spot on La Jolla’s prime stretch of paradise is no small feat, especially as the city continues to demolish the few shabby apartments left to make room for luxury condos. Unless you shit money, you either have to work as a live-in catsitter for some hospitalized billionaire or convince the landlord your behavior mimics that of a nun to snatch a room that’s upward of $750.

    Whatever the forces you’re working against, if you can find a way to live walking distance from the prettiest beach in San Diego, you will be a happier person. On the weekends, you can whet your whistle at The Shack then stumble across the street for a burrito at Rigoberto’s, the neighborhood’s infamous 24-hour Mexican eatery. The tipsy walk home against the smelly sea air will get you wondering: Why ever leave?

    But if you really need to, like, go to school or something, you can catch a bus at one of the MTS Route 30 stops along La Jolla Boulevard for a 25-minute trip back to reality. Just be sure to hurry home before sunset — each one is something out of a dream.

    — Alyssa Bereznak

    Managing Editor

    La Jolla Shores

    Living in downtown La Jolla is the piece of paradise you might expect: the ocean breeze in your backyard, a hot bevy of scantily clad beach babes strolling by and a lifetime supply of frozen yogurt. But don’t make the mistake of believing the neighborhood was made for the young and reckless — they’re mostly the rich and the retired. If a meaning-of-life monologue from old Auntie Em across the street doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then don’t even bother making friends with the neighbors.

    Apartment complexes in the area ask for a minimum of $700 per month, but assuming you’re up for the challenge (and who isn’t, for a place near the fucking beach?), then welcome to heaven. The MTS Bus Route 30 stop is right around the corner, and from there, it’s a scenic 15-minute hop to campus. The way back is even better: No amount of stress can overcome the satisfaction of arriving home. Life is good.

    — Philip Rhie

    Art Editor

    Sorrento Valley

    One exit north of Genessee sits the sleepy commercial town of Sorrento Valley, a business district with polar virtues and vices when it comes to housing. If you’ve got plans to move here, be prepared to sacrifice everything glorious about being young and unemployed.

    Sorrento Valley is mainly inhabited by corporate tycoon-headquarters like Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, as well as small-timers like University Readers. But in between the office buildings, you might spot some livable apartments complexes like Wateridge or Archstone Torrey Hill (offering around $700 for a single) — most of which are a five-minute drive from the nearest grocery stores and late-night drive-thrus. It’ll be a little longer to drive to campus though.

    Needless to say, it’s all about your priorities. If you’re looking to land a larger apartment and focus on your studies next year, then Sorrento Valley’s got you covered.

    — Edwin Gonzalez

    Focus Editor


    When it comes time to unwind in the nighttime, Clairemont has little more to offer than late night runs to Cotixan. Just south of University City, the quiet, child- and meth-den-friendly neighborhood is kind of a downer for the college crowd. But as long as you have a car, you can escape the labyrinth of shoddy little boxes for a trip downtown in 15 minutes or to Pacific Beach in 10, with no RSOs, gridlock traffic or drunk bitches puking on your doorstep.

    Rent in Clairemont is more than reasonable: You can score your own room in a spacious house for about $600. The quiet neighborhood is also home to a few restaurants — although most of them are grocery chains and generic franchises like Target. If you’re skimping on a parking pass to save some cash (or the planet), city buses can get you to campus — but unless you’ve got the foresight to catch it an hour in advance, the bumbling MTS Bus 41 will likely result in an awkwardly late arrival.

    — Janani Sridharan

    Senior Staff Writer

    John Hanacek/Guardian

    University Heights

    Asunny patch of adorable cafes and authentically sketchy dive bars about 15 miles southeast of campus, University Heights is the ideal incubator for UCSD’s fringe population of hipster hopefuls. Sure, getting there is annoying as all hell — either braving the everlasting traffic on Interstate 5 or biking your trendy ass to the Hillcrest Medical Center shuttle stop — but that’s half the appeal.

    See, living in University Heights will test your commitment to an anti-UCSD subculture lifestyle of decorating a quaint ’50s home, frequenting cramped, seedy drinking holes and living such an unreasonable distance from campus that only your closest (and coolest) friends will visit.

    Upsides include cheap rent, delicious eats (try El Zarape and Pomegranate) and local hangouts within biking distance. (Hit up Twiggs for quiet reading and Lancers for cheap drinks). The closer you live to Park Boulevard, the better. Yours truly tore herself from the Heights after a two-month summer holiday because she couldn’t handle the commute, but who knows — maybe you’re indie enough to last the entire year.

    — Alyssa Bereznak

    Managing Editor

    Pacific Beach

    While the picturesque hills of La Jolla cater to a slightly more geriatric demographic, Pacific Beach is a bar-packed alternative for San Diego’s beach bums and twentysomethings. If you don’t want to be woken in the wee hours by Jäger-fueled frat boys and blacked-out skinny bitches, you should find a place at least three blocks from the main Garnet Street drag (for around $750 a month). Don’t worry. Everything cool in PB is a quick walk or bike ride away.

    Hit up Henry’s for the best deal on produce this side of the border, and Trader Joe’s for cheese, tea and wine. Nighttime hotspots range from dingy dives like the Nite Owl to classy cocktail bars like Bar West. Shopping on the strip is good, too. Lodged between liquor stores, smoke shops and tattoo parlors are thrift stores of the $3 rummage-bin sort, alongside pricier consignment varieties like Buffalo Exchange.

    PB is the best place in town to satiate your rowdiest urges to rage once I-House parties have lost their charm. The only requirement: a car, or at least a friend who won’t mind trekking back and forth along the I-5 for the next nine months.

    — Sari Thayer

    Web Editor

    Ocean Beach

    If you’re looking for an easy trip to campus, Ocean Beach isn’t for you. Public transportation can only take you downtown — very slowly — and your Free Bus Zone sticker is worthless on OB routes. But a bumper-to-bumper commute down Interstate 5 is easily offset by OB’s tight-knit community of boho surf bums and bar-fly semi-babes with an eye for your engineering degree.

    The housing scene is a quick remedy for commuter remorse: Singles go for $600 to $800 in a two-bedroom apartment, just blocks from the beach. The OB People’s Co-op and a weekly Wednesday farmers’ market are the neighborhood’s alternatives to Ralphs. But beware: if you stay in OB too long, it’s easy to forget about the rest of San Diego, especially now that OB is undergoing a nightlife overhaul. South Beach Bar and Grill, home of San Diego’s best fish tacos, is adding a second floor to it’s beachside location, Pizza Port just opened a microbrewery. However, not everyone in town has evolved from the “Footloose” era: Pac Shores’ bar bouncers will still boot even the cutest of whiskey-eyed Guardian editors for dancing.

    — David harvey

    Senior Staff Writer


    Across-hatch of hipsters, grad students and the occasional professor, Hillcrest is a slice of what college should be — filled with more trendy coffee shops (Cafe Bassam) and thrift stores (Frock You, Flashbacks) than University City has highrises.

    As for nightlife, Hillcrest is home to a few quaint dive bars, but the real party’s always at one of the area’s many crackin’ gay clubs. Try the Brass Rail for cheap drinks, and the Gossip Grill for ladies of every persuasion.

    Not as crowded or bourgie as downtown, Hillcrest is small enough to navigate on bicycle or foot. If you’re looking to go green and save gas, the commute is made simple by a UCSD Shuttle that stops at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, where staff and students can hop on for a free ride every 30 minutes. However, affordable housing can be hard to find; be prepared to scour Craigslist for weeks, and save your money in the meantime — rooms can cost upward of $700 a month.

    — Janani Sridharan

    Senior Staff Writer

    Carmel Valley—Camino Del Sur

    Carmel Valley is one of the cushiest communities north of the La Jolla complex colony — just make sure Daddy’s prepared to break out his checkbook once you find a place. In addition, any royal abode you find in the valley will be located 20 minutes from campus off Highway 56, so you’ll have to find an equally baller car to bring you to and from school every day and fortunately, there is some pretty cheap gas nearby. Once you’re there, though, a multi-bedroom home that will take you one step closer to living out that Animal House fantasy with a few of your closest buddies, and the nearby Torrey Highlands Village Center is ideal for nursing a next-day hangover, fully equipped with banks, subway and pizza shops.

    One of Carmel Valley’s biggest buzzkills will be the neighbors, more often than not a “Brady Bunch” family frowning on your 4 a.m. frat party. It’s a small price to pay to live the good life, right?

    ­—Matt Croskey

    Associate Sports Editor

    Mira Mesa

    Mira Mesa’s neglected lawns and 1960s-era tract houses don’t necessarily make for the most glamorous digs. Also known as “Manila Mesa” for its large concentration of Filipino-American families, there’s no other way to describe this northern nook of San Diego than suburban as hell, or, more often than not, suburban hell.

    However, there is one glaring upside to calling Mira Mesa home: affordability. If you round up a few friends to split the rent you’ll have the luxury of shelling out a lot less dough than your friends living in the La Jolla bubble — around $450 to share, or $650 for a single.

    Located right off of Interstate 15, Mira Mesa is only about a 15-to-20 minute drive from campus, as well as downtown or the beach. If the freeways are packed and you’re late for class, just hop onto Miramar Road, which turns into La Jolla Village Drive. Better yet, save some gas money and shed your suburban smog guilt: MTS Bus Route 921, runs approximately every half hour.

    Smack in the middle of fast food heaven, Mira Mesa has every popular chain within its confines, including In-N-Out. And, although it isn’t the best consolation for the long commute to campus, Mira Mesa’s international grocery stores have every ethnic cooking ingredient you ever wanted.

    -Aprille Muscara

    Associate Focus Editor

    Mission Beach

    Can you really say the beach didn’t edge out your second runner-up in that final decision for UCSD? Now that you’re here, you’d best be looking to take advantage of the fact that UCSD — in contrast to its satellite UTC prison cells — is bordered by California’s finest strip of sand and sea.

    In the search for a coastal perch, you’ll quickly learn that La Jolla has a stick up its ass, Pacific Beach is a pukey Cancun ripoff, and all parts of North County will launch you one trafficky hour from campus.

    You’re in luck: Just between PB and OB lies a heartbreakingly cute row of motley two-stories. Welcome to Mission Beach, the lesser-known of San Diego’s beach towns, where front yards are rose-filled and every window gets an eyeful of both the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. It even floats a Bahia Hotel bar that will haul your drunk ass out to sea, and rare tuna jerky at Sportsmen’s Seafood that just might cure your drunk munchies for life.

    Rent isn’t ideal, but squeeze three friends into a cozy two-bedroom and you’ll be able to keep it under $700. The commute is also a bitch: Public transportation is a no-go, while the drive will suck up about 15 minutes on the freeway. But hey, get a load of the view. Did I mention there’s a rollercoaster?

    -Simone Wilson

    Editor in Chief

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