University City – San Diego, CA

University City lies nestled in the golden triangle area of San Diego County, approximately 16 miles north of downtown San Diego. Named for nearby University of California, San Diego, the area appeals to the student demographic due to its close proximity to the university as well as those who work at one of the many biotech and healthcare companies that pepper the area. The area has a reputation as being "San Diego's second downtown," as the city center acts as one of the main office hubs ringed by residential suburbia.

Schools in University City

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Eateries abound throughout University City. At least one unique restaurant can be found situated on each main thoroughfare and they tend to be located within easy reach of the freeways in the area. If you like Mediterranean food, you will love Amardeen on Towne Center Drive, which features outdoor dining and fresh Middle Eastern and Lebanese cuisine. Amardeen has become beloved by locals for its extensive menu and affordable prices. Try the moussaka for a Lebanese traditional favorite made of eggplant, onion, tomato and garbanzo beans all spiced up and baked to perfection in a stone oven. Round out your meal with beer, wine, or one of their specialty drinks, such as the tamar hindi (tamarind drink). Sushi fans have options aplenty in University City, but none compare to Ahi Sushi on Governor Drive. Ahi Sushi dishes up the freshest fish and other Japanese favorites for lunch and dinner, and it is open seven days a week. Try the dynamite roll for a crunchy treat or the crab nigiri for a more traditional approach to sushi, or try both -- the prices are such that it will not leave a huge hole in your wallet. If you have a craving for a lobster roll, residents can head on over to Bite of Boston at the corner of Governor Drive and Regents Road. Serving up soups, subs and seafood inspired by the east coast, Bite of Boston has a reputation as a lunch spot with hearty fare. Sample the clam chowder, served up in a bread bowl that you can eat once you've finished the soup. It's a big meal in a little package, so bring your appetite with you. The cheese steak sandwiches served at Bite of Boston have made them famous, so come on out and try one yourself to see what all the fuss is about. To get a taste of the nightlife, go north of Highway 52. The hotels along La Jolla Village Drive house great restaurants and lounges, including the Hyatt's Michael's Lounge. Michael's Lounge offers specialty cocktails served up in a classy yet modern atmosphere that fits in well with the University City vibe. For live music, locals head to The Loft at UCSD, where local bands and big acts play. The Loft also hosts arts shows, cultural events and more.

History & Culture

University City has its roots in prehistoric times, as the area houses the Rose Canyon, which was once home to a village of ancient people who settled near the coast along the fertile land that University City has been built upon. Times have changed but University City remains a desirable place to live and work, with its easy access to metropolitan amenities. Annual events and arts shows can often be found hosted by nearby UCSD, the university whence the neighborhood got its name. Museum lovers can get their fix in nearby La Jolla, where the Museum of Contemporary Art awaits them on Prospect Avenue.

Transportation

Most people who live or work in University City commute via car. Cycling has become a popular option, too, as the area contains an extensive network of bicycle lanes and the streets tend to be well-maintained and smoothly paved. Freeways surround the neighborhood, so you will never be far from where you need to be. Public parking can be difficult to find at times, but when you can snag up a parking space it will generally be free. Sidewalks are everywhere, so many of the students who reside in the area opt to walk to school -- though the area does have sprawl, so the walk may be quite lengthy. Public transit can be an option, though bus service to University City from central San Diego can be limited and best suited to commuters who work the day shift. [CDATA[University City living has a price tag that reflects its proximity to nearby affluent La Jolla. Generally, living in University City will be more expensive than living in the city of San Diego, with the average rental running around $2,100 per month, compared with San Diego's average of $1,600 per month. A beer at a local pub will run about $6 per pint, and gas prices here sit 11 percent higher than the national average. A day pass for public transportation can also be purchased for $5. [CDATA[The shopping gem of University City is its expansive mall, Westfield University Towne Center, usually referred to by locals as "UTC." Featuring hundreds of stores, including Anthropologie, Bebe, Foot Locker, Macy's, Nordstorm and more, as well as a movie theater and a food court with an ice-skating rink inside it, UTC has become a beloved shopping haven that people flock to from all over San Diego County. Because of the neighborhood's proximity to such a large shopping mall, few boutique and specialty stores exist within the neighborhood's boundaries. In neighboring La Jolla just west of Interstate 5, boutique shopping can be found with more ease. When it comes to groceries, locals tend to gravitate toward readily-available chain stores like the nearby Vons and Sprouts or Trader Joe's. However, savvy residents who prefer the freshest produce at the best prices head over to the UTC Certified Farmers' Market on Berino Court, on the grounds of Doyle Elementary School. The UTC Certified Farmers' Market opens each Thursday at 4 p.m., making it perfect for an on-the-way-home-from-work stop.

Cost

University City living has a price tag that reflects its proximity to nearby affluent La Jolla. Generally, living in University City will be more expensive than living in the city of San Diego, with the average rental running around $1,600 per month, compared with San Diego's average of $1,300 per month. A beer at a local pub will run about $6 per pint, and gas prices here sit 11 percent higher than the national average. A day pass for public transportation can also be purchased for $5.

Shopping

The shopping gem of University City is its expansive mall, Westfield University Towne Center, usually referred to by locals as "UTC." Featuring hundreds of stores, including Anthropologie, Bebe, Foot Locker, Macy's, Nordstorm and more, as well as a movie theater and a food court with an ice-skating rink inside it, UTC has become a beloved shopping haven that people flock to from all over San Diego County. Because of the neighborhood's proximity to such a large shopping mall, few boutique and specialty stores exist within the neighborhood's boundaries. In neighboring La Jolla just west of Interstate 5, boutique shopping can be found with more ease. When it comes to groceries, locals tend to gravitate toward readily-available chain stores like the nearby Vons and Sprouts or Trader Joe's. However, savvy residents who prefer the freshest produce at the best prices head over to the UTC Certified Farmers' Market on Berino Court, on the grounds of Doyle Elementary School. The UTC Certified Farmers' Market opens each Thursday at 4 p.m., making it perfect for an on-the-way-home-from-work stop.

Parks

University City houses a few parks, including open-space nature areas and neighborhood parks. Dog owners will be glad to hear about Doyle Community Dog Park on Regents Road, an off-leash park where you can bring your canine friend for a romp in the grass with its peers. All sizes of dogs can have fun at Doyle Community Dog Park, and owners need not pay out a penny for parking or admission. Marcy Park has what families' need: a playground for the little ones, a big grassy area for fun and games, and several picnic benches so you can have a nosh in the park. The playground equipment has been updated and deemed safe for kids of all ages, and the grass gets regular maintenance to keep it green and short all year long. Marian Bear Park appeals to nature and fitness enthusiasts with its hundreds of acres including hiking trails and beautifully preserved land. Marian Bear Park sits tucked away in San Clemente Canyon, and most trails are flat and lengthy, making them great for joggers and cyclists who want a leisurely journey through the canyon while taking in the lovely surroundings. Marian Bear Park costs nothing to visit, and opens its gates from sunrise to sundown.
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