Moving from Seattle to San Diego can be a great choice if you love a whole lot cheaper living cost, a warmer year-round climate, and an expansive beachfront on the Golden Coast.

Even though Seattle is constantly boasted as the tech center of the US as the home of Amazon and Starbucks, San Diego is also quickly becoming a center for technology and research, and makes for a great place to call home.

So, if you want to make your relocation from Seattle to San Diego as headache-free as possible, then this guide will help you with a few tips and tricks on the move.

What’s Involved in Moving From Seattle to San Diego?

How Far is Seattle from San Diego?

The distance between Seattle and San Diego is 1,255 miles. The driving time of this journey is approximately 21 hours and 13 minutes by car.

 It’s quite a long drive, so if you want to lessen the travel time, the quickest way is to take a plane, a travel time of 5 hours and the tickets hover in the range of $155.

What is the Average Cost to Move From Seattle to San Diego?

Moving long distances could sometimes be disturbing and costly. However, it would be easier and less of a hassle if you plan the move ahead of time. Seattle to San Diego route could cost an estimate of around $2899 to $8284, with an average cost of $5592.

Of course, there are factors to consider in moving; the distance of the move, the number of items to move, and additional services such as packing and unpacking.

Should I Move From Seattle to San Diego?

This move might bring a worrying change for some people, but there are many benefits to relocating to San Diego. Forget about the rain clouds and dreary haze that looms over Seattle, because San Diego boasts the most temperate weather in the entire country.

This is one of the main reasons it attracts so many residents. And there is no doubt that the San Diego food scene is one of the best in the country. If this sounds good to you, then you should move from Seattle to San Diego.

How Seattle and San Diego Stack Up

Living Costs

After moving from Seattle, one thing that you may notice is that things generally cost less in San Diego. 

San Diego’s housing market is slightly cheaper than Seattle’s. The median rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in Seattle city center is around $3,890 per month. While in San Diego, the median rent for a 3-bedroom apartment is about $3,700.

If you plan to buy real estate in San Diego, you will be happy to know that buying an apartment in the city center is around $673 per square foot. 

While the difference is a pretty narrow margin, this difference can add up over time.

Entertainment, transport, healthcare, and food cost cheaper in San Diego than they are in Seattle. So expect to have an overall general lower cost of living. For example, a 1-kg tomato would cost you $5.80 in Seattle but only $4.11 in San Diego. Great news for you tomato lovers out there!

Public Transportation

Though both cities have a bike-sharing system that makes a city eco-friendlier, San Diego’s standard form of public transport is the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus service which has a one-way ticket of $2.50, comparing to Seattle’s $2.75. 

They also have a trolley service that covers approximately 50+ miles of the city. 

In Seattle, a Regional Adult 30-Day Pass is $99. In San Diego, you can expect cheaper fares because a monthly pass for the MTS Bus service costs only $72.


San Diego has hotter summers than Seattle. Its ideal location provides the perfect coastal breeze that prevents San Diego from getting too hot. With year-round temperatures around 70 degrees and over 300 days of sunshine per year, you will feel like you have arrived in paradise.

So, if you love hot summer days, then Seattle is the place for you! We don’t imagine that you will be missing the cold and damp city of Seattle anytime soon after moving to San Diego.

Moving From Seattle to San Diego DMV Process

If you plan to move from Seattle to San Diego, please note that a new license for driving is needed. You must visit the DMV in person to obtain your initial driver’s license, title, and registration. You must do this within 20 days of establishing residency in Califronia in order to avoid late fees.

Buying a Home in San Diego

As we mentioned earlier, buying property in San Diego is undoubtedly cheaper than buying property in Seattle. If you are planning to purchase a home in San Diego, you might want to consider the following neighborhoods: 

La Jolla

Do you want to wake up in the morning, draw back the curtains and breathe in that fresh saltwater air? The neighborhood you’ve been looking for is here. 

You get to see the best palm trees in here, the majestic California ocean, and the best shops a Californian can ask for lining up on its streets. It’s, hands down, one of the best areas to live in San Diego.

San Marcos

Do you love the California parks? Then this is the best neighborhood for you. What La Jolla has in beach access, San Marcos has in park access. When you Google “where to live in San Diego,” San Marcos is going to come up over and over again.

You can walk, bike, and explore to your heart’s content here. You can bond with the whole family in the parks, picnic for hours, and never get tired of that lake view. So, if your ideals line up with this kind of lifestyle, then loving this place is not hard at all.


Are you a coffee lover? A foodie? If yes, then this neighborhood is a perfect fit. Considered as one of San Diego’s best urban spots, you can throw on your leather messenger bag and bike to your coffee dates in this temperate climate.

Plus, you won’t mind dropping the kids off at any of their schools because they give almost the best educational service.

Chula Vista

If you’re looking for an affordable neighborhood, you might want to consider living in Chula Vista. Here, median home values clock in at about half a million. And the rent is California cheap at $2,718! It is so far the lowest we’ve seen on the list and maybe the cheapest place to live in San Diego.

A lot is going on here for you and your loved ones. If you are into sports, this is the best spot for you. The city itself has its own athletics program. Aside from that, you’ll want to come for their music series called “Music in the Park” if COVID ever leaves us alone. 

All in all, this is easily one of the best neighborhoods to live in within San Diego.

Selling Your Property in Seattle

When you decide to transfer from Seattle, you need to consider selling your property there. The first step you must undertake in the selling process is finding a knowledgeable and experienced realtor.

If you want to sell it at the highest price, October is the best month of the year to put your house on the market in Seattle. From 2014-2017, Seattle homes listed in October sold for 4.28% more than the yearly average!

But before selling it, you should know the worth of your property. Your realtor should assist you with this through market assessment and market analysis draft. You can then confidently price your home once they are through assessing.

Finding a Job in Seattle… Before Moving There

We can never really tell how long it will take to land a job in San Diego. So get working on job prospects as soon as possible. 

The good news is that San Diego’s employment rate is growing while its unemployment rate is already well below the national average. It is no longer hard even for new movers to get a job considering its employment rate. The following places are what we suggest for you to look at when searching for a new job:

City of San Diego

The city of San Diego is constantly hiring people for a wide variety of positions. This is a great place to start searching for a job, especially for those without specialized education. You can see the current job listings here.


Another option in your job search is Indeed. It is easy to use and is famous globally as one of the best places to start the job search process. No matter where you are and no matter what industry you work in, this website would be of big help to you. You can also use Indeed to filter your search down to the neighbourhood that you are going to be living in.

As of July 2021, there are more than 44,000 job postings on Indeed in the San Diego area.

moving from seattle to san diego jobs

Word of Mouth

Do you have friends and families in San Diego? Did you spend time in this area? If yes, then you are on the right track. Try reaching out to them and ask them if they know anyone that’s looking to hire.

Another good idea is making a quick post on your social medias, especially LinkedIn if that is a platform that you use. Inform your network of your planned move and check to see if anyone has any prospects on jobs for you.

Checklist for Moving From Seattle to San Diego

Moving is stressful. However, if you have prepared for it weeks before you go, your stress levels will surely decelerate. Here’s the checklist that you might want to consider when moving:


Get organized. Put in one folder all your paperwork, work-related or not. If possible, make use of a notebook where you write all your notes related to moving.

Start sorting. If you’re moving to a smaller place, you need to think critically as far as what you will be bringing along with you. Think minimalistic. Decide what to keep, discard or donate. Besides, it’s a perfect time to lighten your load.

Research moving companies. Check online for moving companies with positive reviews. Or you can simply ask friends and family if they have any references for a good moving company. 

Get supplies. Since you will pack many things, make sure to buy boxes, tape, markers, and bubble wrap if necessary. 

Notify schools and landlords. If you have kids, tell the staff at their schools of your decision to move. Get copies of their records and research in advance on the schools near your new residence. And if you are renting, let your landlord know ahead of time. Don’t forget to get your security deposit. 

Medical records. Before moving, let your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers.

Start packing non-essentials: To minimize your things on the day of the move, begin boxing up those that you won’t need right away. And do not forget to label each box. 

Notify utilities: Start setting up utilities at your new residence and start processing the closure of these utilities at your current place. 

Change your address: It is imperative to change your address completely ahead of time. Notify your banks, credit cards, workplace, post office, families, and friends of your new address. If your current home is covered with insurance, check with your agent to transfer the policy to your new home.


Pack with a vengeance: Since you have two more weeks to stay in your current place, start boxing up most everything that’s left in your home. Again, make sure to put a label on all the boxes. If something requires a repair, do it in your last two weeks’ stay, and do not forget to clean, clean, and clean.

Coordinate your valuables: If you have valuable items like jewelry and heirlooms, make it a priority. For sure, you don’t want your valuable items mixed up with the kitchen utensils. As much as possible, try to keep them in your room so you can transport them yourself on the day of the move.

– Make a clean move: While you prepare for a clean place before leaving, a new clean place is equally important. 

– Call help: To be able to focus and get things done early, you might want to call for a babysitter for your kids and pets if necessary.

– Confirm and confirm again: From time to time, check-in with your mover. It is to update with the time and date of the move.

– Pack an essential kit: Your essentials must be in one bag. Prepare it ahead of time and take it with you. Don’t include it in the truckloads.


– General Clean-up: You’re almost leaving your current place, so clean it up thoroughly, double-check any cracks and fissures as much as possible.

– Print it out: To familiarize your new place, print out the floor plan and have enough for the movers as well.

Drop by an ATM: You will definitely need some cash for moving day, so hit the ATM before you move. You might not have enough time to withdraw on moving day.

– Inform the landlord/owner: Make sure that you’ll be able to get the keys to your new place when you arrive. Get in touch with the landlord or current owner of your new home.

– Defrost and clear: Even if your fridge is now empty, clean it out before leaving. If there are open food items, throw them properly. 

– Take proofs: Take pictures and videos of your old place before leaving to ensure that you have a clear view of its state. Your landlord might try to keep your deposit if there are unwanted things to happen.


– Turn over the key: Give your old home’s keys to the people concerned, such as landlord or building management.

– One final sweep: Before the movers go, do a quick run-through of your home to ensure that nothing gets left behind.

– Assemble and reassemble: Make sure that your moving company does the assemble-reassemble process of your furniture in the correct room. That is to avoid stressful and unnecessary work.

– Thank them enough: Be sure to thank everyone for helping you move, and don’t forget to leave them a tip!

You did it! Congratulations on your new home. Make precious memories in it!


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