Off-Campus Housing Guide

    University City

    La Regencia – Angela Chen

    When it comes to apartments in the UTC area, there’s far more similarities than differences between complexes such as La Regencia, Costa Verde and Archstone. La Regencia’s rent is comparable to the other options — around $400 for a double, $650 for a single — and the buildings all have pools and gyms.

    The rooms are decent, though shabbier than the Costa counterparts. At Costa, most apartments come with their own balcony, while Regencia’s version of a “balcony” is a partitioned-off portion of a courtyard. Both share the typical evils of UTC living: unreliable maintenance, slow elevators and nightmare parking.

    The truly unlucky have tandem parking (one car in front of the other, so the car on the inside is effectively trapped), and the rest of us do six-point turns to maneuver into tiny spaces set off by enormous columns.

    Depending on which side of La Regencia you live, you’re next to either the second or third Arriba shuttle stop. Aim to live on the Regents/Palmilla side: You’ll be two minutes from the second stop and will usually be able to get a spot (albeit, sometimes standing room only). If you’re on the third, prepare to be passed over time after time.

    Whichever side you end up on, you’ll be able to experience the greatest delight of La Regencia: living in the backyard of Vons. But caveat emptor: While the one-minute walk to the grocery store is wonderful for convenience, it’s awful for enabling access to every late-night Los Primos (open until 1 a.m.!) craving.

    Pines of La Jolla – Rachel Uda

    You will have to sacrifice access to water every other Tuesday from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., but Pines of La Jolla’s proximity to a UCSD shuttle stop is well worth it. The complex houses mostly two-bedroom units.

    La Jolla Village Park – Margaret Yau

    Living in an apartment is overrated. Let’s be honest, your slobby ways can’t feasibly fit into a cramped apartment with four other equally messy roommates. You need a house. You need Mahaila.

    The townhouse complex, officially known as La Jolla Village Park, is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Regents Drive. Each house is a short five-minute jaunt to either the MTS bus line or the Arriba campus shuttle, so don’t worry — you’ll never be too far away from your favorite lecture halls.

    Each house boasts a two-car garage and one additional parking permit, and the largest models have four rooms (one master bedroom, two singles and a converted den). You’ll have to pay for gas and electricity and cable, just like any normal apartment, but the water bill is paid for by the owners of the complex.

    The trick to landing a house in Mahaila is contacting the landlords, who act as independent contractors. Drive around the complex to see any “for rent” signs — they are usually up around April and May. But be sure to do your research before touring the house and meeting with the landlord — many landlords prey on unsuspecting college students, charging them $500 more a month than the average asking price for a broken apartment next to a loud, busy street.

    Nobel Court – Nicole Chan

    Nobel Court is a comfortable and convenient choice for students who don’t have a car in San Diego. The complex, which is accessible from campus via the Nobel shuttle, is located within walking distance to La Jolla Square Village and the Vons shopping center. Nobel Court is a newer apartment complex that offers an updated gym facility, secure entrance and comfortable digs. The complex is not the ideal place to throw a party — street parking can be hard to find and the complex’s residents are mostly composed of retired couples and small families. Nobel Court only has single and double apartments, and rent is slightly steep — a double runs about $1875 per month.

    International Gardens – Tiffany Chin

    Without compromising cost and convenience, La Jolla International Gardens provides reasonable living for the student on a budget. Advantageously placed alongside the Arriba shuttle — not to mention near Vons and Ralphs — it’s simply a hop, skip and a jump back to your ever-welcoming bed. With the price for a two-bedroom apartment starting at $1600, two guaranteed parking spots, and fairly quick maintenance, it’s no wonder why the majority of residents are students (though it’s still eerily quiet past 10 p.m.). 

    However, the winding stairs become a daunting challenge upon move-in, requiring you to use months of Tetris training in Physics lecture to lug your furniture up to your new home. But once you get past the hassle of dragging your bed frame and couch up the unbelievably narrow, winding stairs, it’s smooth sailing for the rest of your stay — as long as you don’t mind a cold shower once in a while.


    Pacific Beach – Arielle Sallai

    Maybe you’ve been looking for a boozier, bro-ier college experience. Maybe you’re just looking for cheaper rent in a nicer apartment than you’d get closer to campus. Either way, Pacific Beach is the obvious solution. Far enough away from the apartment towers of University City, yet close enough that the commute won’t kill your soul, PB sets the right balance between pleasure and practicality. 

    For one, you’ll have to pass about a dozen bars simply on your way to Trader Joes (in fact, you can even grab a beer at the bar right next door to the grocery store if you want to let drunchies do the buying later), making even the most basic of chores an adventure. At the same time, you can save gas by taking the 30 bus route to campus — a free, 40-minute trip with our bus stickers. The length might sound daunting, but it’s great study time and a beautiful, scenic route along the coast through La Jolla. Just throw on your headphones and zone out while you make your way back to this raucous beach town.

    You can easily find two-bedroom apartments for roughly $1250 a month (that’s just $625 for a single, and even cheaper if you double up), some within walking distance to the beach, bars and burritos — and, really, there’s nothing better than that.

    La Jolla – Arielle Sallai

    If you live in La Jolla proper, don’t expect lively neighbors. If you want to throw a rager, don’t — they’ll make you regret it. Basically, you’re expected to be seen and not heard, though they’d probably rather not see you either.

    But hey, that’s all moot when you live in paradise. With enough roommates you can make a La Jolla crib as affordable as anything up the hill in University City (expect at least $700 for a single). While most of the affordable apartments are disappearing in favor of luxury condos, if you lurk Craigslist enough there’s always a solid chance at finding some gem of a beach shack.

    Mira Mesa – Ayan Kusari

    A 15-minute drive from campus, the suburban homes and patchy lawns of Mira Mesa don’t look like much at first glance. But these are superficial flaws, especially when you look at the price tag: The rent can run as low as $450 a month, or $650 if you’re getting a single.

    Mira Mesa is just off the I-15, so getting places is a snap if you have a car. And the I-5’s traffic jams are not a problem for the commuting student, since Miramar Road cuts straight across the freeway. Bus rides are long, but the MTS Route 921 to campus runs every thirty minutes.

    But the best thing about Mira Mesa is the food. There are Thai and Vietnamese restaurants galore, but cheap, authentic Indian, Persian, Moroccan and Italian restaurants — none of which can be found in La Jolla — are ubiquitous in Mira Mesa as well. There’s In-n-Out, Souplantation and a selection of Chinese buffets. Ethnic groceries l
    ike 99 Ranch, Seafood City and Vien Dong offer hard-to-find Asian ingredients and some of the freshest seafood you’ll find in San Diego County.

    Hillcrest – Ayan Kusari

    Vibrant, diverse and progressive, Hillcrest is everything a college town should be. It’s known for its locally-owned coffee shops and trendy thrift stores, like Frock You and Flashbacks. Unlike UCSD, Hillcrest is always bustling — it’s one of the most densely-populated neighborhoods in San Diego.

    Well-known for its large and active LGBT community, Hillcrest boasts over a dozen gay bars. Try the Inn At The Park for its great food, Flicks for its wild karaoke and the Brass Rail for its affordable drinks.

    Hillcrest is pedestrian- and bike-friendly: Sidewalks and bike lanes are extrawide and well-maintained. Premeds should note that the UCSD Medical Center is located in Hillcrest, where a free shuttle picks up students and staff every 30 minutes. The only real downside to Hillcrest is its priciness: Cheap spaces are nearly impossible to find, and rooms can cost over $700 per month.

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