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Located about 20 miles east of the city of San Diego, Santee lies nestled in eastern San Diego county, with El Cajon and Lakeside to the south and Scripps Ranch and Poway to the north. Santee has made a name for itself as a sprawling suburb with a nice mixture of residential neighborhoods and downtown commercial areas where shopping and entertainment can be found.
As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in Santee, CA is $1,163 for a studio, $1,318 for one bedroom, $1,679 for two bedrooms, and $1,853 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Santee has increased by 2.9% in the past year.
Most restaurants and night spots in Santee sit along roads adjacent to Highway 52, making them easily accessible.
One such location, In-N-Out Burger on Mission Gorge Road, is a clean and simplistic burger joint that people from all over San Diego County flock to. Although technically a chain restaurant, In-N-Out franchises are sparse and can only be found in select areas. Its menu contains nothing other than burgers, fries, soft drinks and shakes, yet In-N-Out has remained in business since 1948, because it does one thing and does it better than everyone else: the burger meal.
Known for its mammoth portion sizes, Janet's Cafe and Deli serves up breakfast and lunch in a cozy, small-town family diner atmosphere. Bring the family out for breakfast, and dine on the signature chicken-fried steak, featuring a slab of cubed beef dredged in batter, fried to a crispy golden brown, topped with homemade gravy, and served with a side of hash browns and toast. If you decide to dine at Janet's, bring your patience along with you, as its popularity can be measured by the long lines. However, locals endure the wait with a smile, knowing that generous portions of top-quality food can be hard to find.
If you crave the flavors of the Far East, head over to Chai Waii Chinese Food on Carlton Hills Boulevard near the intersection with Carlton Oaks Drive. Offering daily lunch specials and fast service, this place gets rave reviews from locals who love Chinese food. Start your meal with egg flower soup, and nosh on vegetable egg rolls with kung pao chicken or a sizzling plate of walnut shrimp. Many items on the menu appeal to the vegetarian palate, as well, such as the honey spicy tofu, featuring cubes of tofu glazed in sticky sweet honey and piled high on a bed of broccoli.
Mexican restaurants and taco shops abound in Santee, but one stands out above the rest. Ferny's Mexican Grill on Mission Gorge Road dishes up both traditional favorites and fusion items that keep locals coming back for more. Two unique, must-try meals are the buffalo chicken fries and the Philly burrito. Featuring a plate of French fries topped with tender chicken smothered in zesty, spicy buffalo sauce, the buffalo chicken fries make a perfect snack to split between two or three people. The Philly burrito consists of a gigantic flour tortilla wrapped around everything you would find in a Philly cheesesteak sandwich: juicy steak, melted cheese, and grilled onions and peppers.
If you have your heart set on a night on the town, Santee has a few options for enjoying the nightlife. For a tasty IPA, a flavorful lager and a range of microbrews, check out Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Company. This restaurant serves handcrafted pizza and pasta alongside its brews, and it hosts a great patio for dining al fresco. Legends Comedy Club on Inwood Drive makes a great place to get in some laughs while enjoying a few cocktails. Featuring live stand-up comedy each week, Legends is sure to have you cackling from the beginning and leave you re-telling jokes for weeks. Tickets may be purchased in advance at a discount or at the door.
If live music makes your heart sing, go to Second Wind on North Magnolia Avenue. A full bar featuring live music acts from locals and big names alike, Second Wind serves up the good times on a daily basis. If you like strong drinks and loud music, give Second Wind a shot — but bring ear plugs.
The Santee area has some history under its belt, as it houses the Old Mission Dam, which was put in place during southern California's initial colonization by the Spanish during the late 18th century. From there, Santee has only expanded, going through various shifts as ranch land, a training ground for the military and finally becoming an incarnation of San Diego suburbia.
The Santee Historical Society has more information on the history of the area and hosts regular museum hours with a free price tag and free parking. The society also holds a variety of special events celebrating the background of Santee. As the Santee Historical Society stands as the neighborhood's sole museum, Santee cannot claim to have much of an arts scene. Art aficionados should head westward to the city of San Diego if they wish to get their fill of creativity at a gallery or museum.
Getting around in Santee can be a piece of cake, whether you walk, ride, bike or drive. Several buses serve the area, and the San Diego Trolley has several stations within the boundaries of the neighborhood, so getting virtually anywhere in San Diego county can be done starting in Santee.
The roads feature an extensive system of bicycle lanes, and the sidewalks tend to be well-maintained, making the town walkable. However, Santee is expansive, so bring comfortable shoes and plenty of spare time if you choose to walk around town.
Uber does not serve Santee, but several taxi cab companies do, so feel free to call ahead for a ride if you need one. Drivers love Santee's easy freeway access via Highway 52 and its smoothly-paved roads, as well as the free street parking, which can be found all over town.
The cost of living in Santee, like much of the rest of California, is quite high when compared with the rest of the country. However, on average, living here remains a cheaper alternative to living in the city of San Diego.
The average rental runs about $1,250 per month, which compares favorably with San Diego's average of $1,300. The price of gas in Santee runs about 11 percent higher than the national average, and a pint of beer at a bar costs around $4. Locals looking to make a quick trip downtown can expect to pay $6 using public transit — the cost of a day pass, which covers both your trip out and your trip home.
Santee has a lot to offer its residents and visitors in the way of mall shopping and chain stores, all located conveniently in the heart of Santee's downtown area. Locals hit the Costco in Santee Town Center for their bulk-buying needs, and then head across the parking lot to the eponymous mall for a day of shopping at such stores as DSW, Target and TJ Maxx.
For groceries, many prefer the fresh, local produce that can be found at the weekly farmers' market on Carlton Hills Boulevard. Each Wednesday, vendors set up shop in stalls outside and sell fresh fruit, vegetables, and even live herb plants and crafts at the Santee Certified Farmers' Market.
Santee does provide a few options for niche shopping. Al's Sport Shop on Mission Gorge Road remains a local favorite for acquisition of sporting goods and team gear for youth and adult sports. Get everything you need for a Little League game there, and expect to be greeted with a smile from the friendly staff when you enter. Conceptions Children's Resale on Cuyamaca Street near Mission Creek Drive has a reputation for furnishing great gently used children's clothing and accessories at bargain-basement prices. Conceptions also boasts discount days on a regular basis, such as a "buy two, get two" special that brings the already-low prices down to nearly nothing.
Santee has several neighborhood parks for residents to spend a bit of leisure time in, as well as being home to a portion of Mission Trails Regional Park, a system of hiking trails within a large nature preserve that extends over thousands of acres of beautiful land dotted by native chaparral. Fitness enthusiasts love hiking and biking at Mission Trails, where you can get in a workout without having to forsake nature's loveliness to confine yourself to a gym. Mission Trails provides parking free of charge.
The area also contains two off-leash dog parks: Woodglen Vista Park on Woodglen Vista Drive and a portion of Mast Park on Carlton Hills Boulevard near the intersection with Mast Avenue. Parking can be found for free, and watering facilities are provided. Each park features a fenced area where your canine friend can get some exercise with its doggy peers on the grass. Bring your own dog waste bags, though, because the ones provided by these parks tend to run out fast.
Both of these parks do double duty as neighborhood parks for people without dogs, too. Featuring such amenities as basketball courts, playgrounds, restrooms and picnic areas, both Woodglen Vista Park and Mast Park are family friendly places to spend a day at play or to just kick back and relax in the sun. All Santee parks open at dawn and close at dusk.
Apartments for Rent in Santee, CA
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