Why is San Diego so Boring?

Though I often feel the same way, as soon as someone says to me, “Sami, SD is boring,” I want to reply, “You’re boring. There’s tons of things to do here.” I think, as a tourist town, we want to protect our city from the ignorant criticism of visitors.

Still, maybe it’s just the softly trickling rain keeping me apartment-bound, but I am bored. Actually I’ve been carrying around a boredom monkey for awhile now. There’s sort of an ennui in happiness and stability, and this is not the best town in which to forage for chaos. In this heaven, we’re a bit oblivious to evil and all the fun it brings.

That's the evilest thing I can imagine.

One time I was so bored I photoshopped pictures of a goat into my parents backyard and texted them to my brother, who lives in Berkeley.

I guess that’s part of why I got so wasted at Flick’s last night that the “kicky boots” and “bear arm” came out. Did I make out with Xanadu again? I didn’t wake up with her lipstick smeared on my face, so I’m guessing not.

This is a beach town, not a gritty cosmopolitan city with heated philosophical discussions in coffee shops. People flock here to relax, and the rest of us have to fight for our right to party. I am so lame. Sorry. The closest I’ve had to a political conversation with someone in the past 2 months was a fight I picked with a constitutionalist about minority rights.

I’m a bleeding-heart liberal (except when Ron Swanson talks about pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food and I want to be him) in a conservative, military town.  The young hippies here drive me just as nuts with their pseudo-spiritualities and adherence to the astrological calendar.  I don’t have time to care when the moon is in capricorn and uranus is over my hammy.

Here’s what San Diegans think we do when we’re bored:

  • Surf
  • Go to Julian
  • Suntan regardless of season
  • Tourist it up at Seaworld, Balboa Park, etc.
  • Other outdoorsy stuff that sounds impressive on a dating profile.

This is what we actually do. Well, I do:

  • This is Avatar. She is fat.Drink alcohol. Beer is amazing here. Liquor is abundant and varied. Check out KnBs in Del Cerro.
  • Browse OkCupid. Mostly I use it to get new friends and you should too.
  • Paint my nails.
  • Thrift Shopping. If the sun is out and I have the day off, this is pretty much the only thing that will get me out in public. Because…
  • Backyard / front-yard day drinking with my parents. They have 3 parrots and we have screaming contests.
  • Arts and crafts. San Diego is one of the top 3 creative cities according to this bloke I discovered today named Richard Florida. I can always find a friend to do a photoshoot or collaborative paint, or make tutus.
  • Find a band practice. I don’t play music, but I like to doodle while other people abuse guitars for 3 hours.
  • Okayyyyyy I do enjoy nature crap. Sometimes. A night hike on Cowles will draw out good conversation with a friend.
  • Video games with friends.
Here's a video of me playing Dead Space 2. Warning, I suck.

Here’s a video of me playing Dead Space 2. Warning, I suck.

Do you agree that SD is boring and what do you do to stay entertained? Comment below.  You don’t need an account or anything; it’s easy to leave a comment.

Sorry about the short post! My friend made me start over from scratch because my first draft was yet another lesbian rant…

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53 thoughts on “Why is San Diego so Boring?

  1. I came to San Diego for a week, for a little holiday. I’ve been living in NY for 3 years now and aside from that have lived in several small and large cities around North America. I think that San Diego is in a lovely location, has some cute/quaint areas, has some fun tours and activities, great restaurants, etc… But my main question is… Where are all of the people in the daytime? I was staying in the Gaslamp district and was expecting your average hustle and bustle of morning traffic, both walking and driving. Both tourists and locals. But when I left the hotel that first morning, at approximately 830-9ish, not only was it like pulling teeth to find a restaurant that actually served breakfast, but there was barely a soul on the streets or sidewalks! It was surreal. The one day where there seemed to be some kind of action was a Saturday and there was music playing in the street. I thought, ok, finally, maybe this is a weekend place, but I came to find out that it was a wedding. I found myself fantasizing about crashing the wedding just so that I could remember what it was like to have more than one person within arms length. Do they make soylent green in San Diego, is there an influx of Vampires? What’s the dillyo yo? Any input would be much appreciated!

    • I wanted to wait until I was back in SD to reply. All I can really do is concur. Where, where are all the people? They can’t really be at the beach every day, can they?

      Of course, you can’t really compare us to a city with the population density of New York.

      But part of what you’re experiencing is good-weather confirmation-bias. The sun makes you expect to see more people. I was in San Francisco last week for what turns was an unbelievably flawless bout of weather for them. I went to Dolores park in the middle of a Tuesday and it was packed — everyone wanted to enjoy the sunshine while it lasted.

      In San Diego this would just be another Tuesday and we’d either be at work or sitting at home watching TV. There might be one jogger and one family at the local park.

      For a better midday public experience, you might try getting out of the Gaslamp (which is only packed at night) and heading for North Park or Hilcrest. Of course, you’ll need a cab. And it will cost a bunch of money. Yeah, there’s a reason we call San Diego a “town” — you can’t expect it to act like a “city.”

      • The only hustle and bustle going on in Sorrento Valley is people going to work. I’ve worked there for 20 years. Once work’s over, the place turns into a ghost town.

      • Are you fucking kidding me? Sorrento Valley is a failed attempt of Silicon Valley. East San Diego doesn’t even compare to L.A or S.F. Try living in California for at least 5 years before commenting next time. lol! San Diego as a whole attracts mid western and southern fat asses who look like they can barely afford a vacation. Not to mention, the up tight east coast transplants who get completely bent out of shape when we put them in their place on a daily basis.

  2. I think a big problem here is how difficult it is to get to know people as a transplant. I moved here from Denver and noticed that people are very introverted; in contrast. It is a gorgeous city, but eventually, after you’ve been living here for a year and a half and you still don’t have anyone to go to the beach with, it can get boring. Also, I notice people look at you like your crazy if you try to introduce yourself. This definitely isn’t the entire city, but a good chunk of people that I met here. And coming from a city like Denver, where people absolutely love having “deep” discussions about anything “out there,” I noticed its hard to find people with similar interests in SD. This really would be the most amazing city if the locals weren’t so socially challenged and would step outside of their shells more often.

    • Arthur, you are absolutely right. Your average SD local is not interested in having “deep” discussions with strangers (or even at all). The social climate is very surface-level, with an emphasis on keeping things non-controversial and fluffy. I find it easy to strike up a conversation with anyone at a bar, but it is often one-sided (they’re just amused by my antics) and I don’t obtain lasting friendships that way. San Diegans are permissive of most things but receptive to few.

      Some people join the SD Reddit group and find friends there, you could try hanging out in college areas (if that’s your age group), or attempt to make friends through OkCupid. I’ve detailed the last strategy in this post: https://sdsurvivalguide.com/2013/08/29/okcupid-for-friends-and-lovers-sd-survival-guide-critical-strategy-and-expose/

        • FYI, boring and robotic people aren’t anti-social! Instead, they’re asocial. So don’t confuse those two synonyms that start with the letter A.

          But how can southern California have those characteristics? They don’t seem that way due to all the stereotypical blondes who are native to it.

      • Yeah, wtf? I’ve managed to find community but only after dating one of the most socially connected people in SD (and she’s only that way after some serious binge okcupid dating). Super boring except with considerable effort

  3. I’ve lived in SD for about 7 years and I’m glad to be back home in LA!!! Jesus Christ how boring that city is I swear on everything I love! If you like tourist spots, golf courses, and wannabe bangers then yes SD must be a paradise for u. For me however it was a living hell.

    • Haha most San Diegans I know say they hate LA but I think they’re just covering up insecurities. I’ve enjoyed my visits to your home town except this sneaking suspicion I totally am not prepared for it.

    • It’s refreshing to hear these opinions about San Diego. I come from a small rust belt town and,l as horrible as that town was/is, there is more of a sense of community. S.D. is smoke, mirrors, and a surface-level endless summer vibe. L.A. does not live up to its bad reputation in my opinion. I love the neighborhoods there and the vibe is just more real. Haha golf. I hate golf so much.

  4. What an interesting post. I was glad to find it. I’m from Georgia, which is WAY more boring than SD, but I’ve been out here 2 years now and I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole country is a bore, really…I’ve lived in Asia for years, and you can’t say that about where I was staying, but anyway…

    I agree with you. Definitely a beach town, definitely a military town, and I personally find SD very sterile. The police run the show here like the rest of the country, but there’s good and bad to it.

    The good is that there is order here. Of course with order comes ‘boredom’, but it’s better than too much chaos I guess. I’m a little older so my wild days are behind me.

    I don’t know…I was trying to figure out why it’s so boring here, but your article helped me figure it out. And I love the comments people left.

    I play music to keep life interesting. It’s a very unmusical town and yet that’s not entirely true cuz I’ve seen the hipsters going to their indie rock shows….I even dated one of them.

    What keeps me in San Diego is the good healthcare, my bands, and my buddies. Plus I looked at a map of the country and I can’t figure out a better place to go.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. A great post. Helped me figure some things out.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful post! I think “sterile” is a very apt description. Anyway keep digging into the music scene – there’s definitely something there. We do have the casbah, after all. What’s your genre?

  5. You are right san diego is a boring town the clubs suck, the people suck, and there is no culture. Oh well San Diegans are dumb. You want fun, culture, and great club scenes LA county is just up the road. Thank God for that.

  6. Is San Diego expensive, boring, cold, and conservative? | SDvsALL.com

  7. Is San Diego expensive, boring, cold, and conservative? - SD vs ALL

  8. After living in bigger cities……yeah, it is not only boring but it has another very serious problem.There are no jobs or ways to make money.Unless you are military or molecular biologist, in SD you can either be a waiter or a barmen or a taxi driver…….that’s it.No people to run into, no caffees where they hang out…simply quite empty looking for millions that reside here.

    • you hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. there’s no industry there other than military or tech. everybody can’t be in the craft beer scene, and there’s only so much “small business” that can thrive. it’s sad because sd is a physically beautiful place but is economically dead for the majority of its residents. and yes– it is overly-policed as well. very scary to go down there and see all those huge police vans seemingly EVERYWHERE.

      • Like what you have to say californiaqueen. An interesting perspective. I am in Atlanta, GA now and all I can say is I think it’s cheaper to live in SD when you factor in cost of health care. Public transit is cheaper in SD than here for disabled passengers if you can believe it. Georgia is almost the worst in the nation for health care, being a racist, redneck, Republican, poor people hating state. That’s the one thing that SD offers is better social services. Look I know it’s boring in SD, ok? Look, if you’re poor out there, there ain’t really anything to do but go to the beach and visit your friends. I also go to the Library a lot, and that’s free. And as for the police…..they run the show in SD. Yes they are too heavily armed. Yes they are scary. And No, I don’t go anywhere near them. I hate cops. They have WAY too much power in this country. The only way to make San Diego, CA NOT suck is to reach out to people and make friendships. Those bonds are the vessels that will help us navigate the water of this boring, sterile, and yes, physically beautiful city….except for the lack of trees and grass. I wish it were greener, but I chose the coastal desert. Can’t blame anyone else for that. Maybe I’ll check out Oregon. I don’t hear too much bad about Portland or Eugene.

    • If they knew how to utilize the port there would be great jobs for so many. But it’s a hotel port not a real port

    • This isn’t exactly true. SD is not a town for the uneducated or the unskilled. If you have the right skill set, you will find good jobs. It’s like that all over the country now. Especially with manufacturing jobs leaving the USA. Now, our current president has promised to bring those back, but we’ll see. The days of making a living with “on the job training” jobs have been gone for a very long time.

  9. This town sucks more ass than the plumbing at Starbucks. There is so much to hate here, that you will just scream after two weeks of living here. I got out, then moved back in January, and now I just hate life more than ever. There are way too many people here, and not enough infrastructure to handle it. This place is growing so fast that I can not imagine how traffic could get worse, but it does by the day. Just praying for another economic meltdown so the tourists STOP COMING HERE! I hate this place more than anywhere in the US, except for anywhere in the Midwest – Yeee-ikes, scary.

    • Hi!
      I found your comment on this blog post very interesting. Was wondering if, a year and some later, you still feel the same way? Are you still in San Diego, or have you moved on? I live in San Francisco (have done for a little over 13 years), but am sick of the perpetually cold weather, and have been thinking about moving south to San Diego. I’ve had friends tell me that, as a bit of a City Slicker, I might find San Diego a bit boring, mainstream or sterile. Do you still feel the same as you did in your comment?

      • If I didn’t have an army of amazing friends, I’m pretty sure I’d find this town boring. Change your location on okcupid to San Diego and make some like minded friends (yeah it’s a dating site but you can make friends there too) before moving!

  10. There’s very little late night life here, and I’m not just talking about clubs. Restaurants are closed by 9 or 10 PM. Drug stores close by 10 PM. Gas stations are closed by midnight. Even the movie theaters are done by 11PM. Grocery stores are open a little later…midnight – 1AM, but that’s recent. I’m from Minneapolis, and there was much more open 24 hours culture up there. UTC area has four places that are open 24 hours, but that is not representative of the rest of the city.
    The few events that are available aren’t affordable. You have to have at least a master’s degree in a STEM field to make decent money in San Diego.

    • Interesting post. Another angle on San Diego’s unique and bizarre situation, where you have such coastal beauty and yet so much lacking in community. I didn’t know that about the Master’s. I live on Social Security and it’s amazing that I survive out here, but there are plenty of homeless people surviving on a lot less than I have. Thanks for Sharing.

  11. I totally agree, San Diego is so boring. I came here for New Years weekend and I’m cutting my trip short one day because I’m so over it. There are way too many flannel shirts and ratchet bars in this city. I love my books and brought some for the ride back home but I found myself finishing one just now and was so bored I legit googled “Why is San Diego boring?” and “Is San Diego boring?”. Your blog came up and I found comfort to my neurosis. I came here to help a friend settle into her new apartment so she wouldn’t be alone but i found myself being her wing man to her Online dating meet up for her next free meal and drink ticket. There are good places to eat, and hike so I’ll give San Diego that much street cred but all the people I’ve met so far have hardly anything to conversate about other than your typical hippie things and what restaurant or bar to hit up next. Not that I have any thing against hippies, I can totally hold my own in astrological and “live in the moment” talks but I crave and miss my hyper intelligent snobs who drink Expressos and can school me in politics or enlighten in a philosophical convo. Anyways, I’m sorry for this lesbian rant but my friend is POD (passed out drunk) and snoring and now I can’t sleep or wait to get back to my city. I wish I had more chill but I do not.

  12. It’s a boring town, run by a boring, conservative business elite that is scared that anything resembling grassroots culture will shift voting demographics. In response house parties and art shows are squeezed out until the people at the heart of any sort of culture movement eventually pack up for LA. If you follow the people that run this town, you know how milquetoast they are.

  13. I live in Chicago. Born and raised and I have always wanted to live someplace warmer. Los Angeles was always my dream but after my visit there in 2009 I changed my mind because I didn’t like some things about the town and it just wasn’t what I expected. So flash forward to 2016 and I still have the desire to move elsewhere. The housing market in Chicago sucks and I cannot see ever buying a place here unless I want to live in the ghetto or burbs which I do not lol. Its also very segregated here but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is racist though there have been discriminatory incidents. But anyway, I just want to leave mostly because of the weather and I’m just bored in general and need something new. I was considering San Diego but as I read an article about reasons to move here something prompted me to search for ‘is San Diego boring” because it kind of seemed that way as you never hear anything about the city. And that is how I came across this post. Though this is a small number of the populace confirming the city’s boredom, there has to be something to it if the consensus is the same right? I am an introvertish person but since I’ve lived in the city all my life I think I might miss the hustle and bustle and I do enjoy interacting with others. Plus I’m not married and don’t have any kids so I’d need friends to have a life. Oh well, back to the drawing board :-(

  14. Thanks, Sami, glad I wasn’t the only one to notice. I often feel like a negative person because I feel San Diego might be sucking the life out of me. I feel negative because if you describe San Diego it is close to describing paradise, but for some reason the reality is completely otherwise. Hope that made sense. Hard to put my finger on why it’s boring. I keep coming back to the people

    • I refer to San Diego as Bland Diego…bland people, bland restaurants, bland nightlife…the second I stop talking, the conversation ends. This is a Midwest beach town with military that borders a third world country. The people are shallow and hypersensitive–God forbid you say anything negative about San Diego you get an infantile “if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave”.

      I have had thin skinned people eavesdropping on my conversations who get offended by comments I make. Then when I call them on it and tell them to mind their business, they move on like the pussies they are.

      Even the weather and ocean is overrated. December through March is chilly and you cannot even go into the ocean without a wetsuit 10 months out of the year. I get a kick out of watching people freezing their ass off in February when they wear shorts and flip flops when it is 57 degrees–these must be the same schmucks who wear ski caps when it is 90 in September.

      It seems as though bartender and waiter is the number one profession in San Diego with a 40 year old hoping to aspire to be the head bartender at Fluxx or open up a tattoo shop by his 45th birthday.

      I have never run into as many 9th year juniors still in college (reminiscent of Animal House) or the GED wannabe crowd that fills the Gaslamp on weekends….on the other end of the spectrum, Del Mar is exciting at 7PM but turns into Dull Mar by 9:30PM.

      I have never seen such feminine and soft guys in my life as I have in San Diego and so many non feminine women as in San Diego.

      • I should add, SD would make the perfect witness protection city–if you do not initiate a conversation all the time nobody will talk to you or ask anything of substance. If you want to be left completely alone or bleed to death in the street with nobody coming to your aid, SD is your town.

        I moved from Orange County because I found the people snooty (especially Newport Beach); however, I have come to the realization that at least they have their act together–unlike here….with the exception of some wealrhy beach cities and Rancho a Santa Fe/Poway, most of SD reminds me of a glorified Whittier or Long Beach.

        Do people from SD escape their bubble?…seems for many, their vast worldly travels consist of here, Scottsdale, Cabo and Hawaii…such a diversified life you live.

        Of course, there is a benefit…I find the people so dumb and lame here I get by using 5% of my brain and am still smarter than 95% of the population. Every time my boss threatens to fire me I tell him to take a look at the talent pool here. He reconsiders, tells me I make a great point, I’m coming up on 30 years with one of the leading bellwether tech firms in the world, and I am retiring early in less than 2 years.

        • Your comments are very useful information. I live in San Francisco, and am sick of the perpetual cold up here (it’s almost ALWAYS 55 degrees), and have been thinking about moving to San Diego, for the better weather. Your comments offer some valuable insight. Perhaps I need to consider some other places (LA, perhaps)…

  15. Bottom line folks: SAN DIEGO IS BORING UNLESS: You love the Padres, drink lots of beer, golf, surf, like to admire your plastic surgery face in the mirror, have fake boobs, have lots of money so u can buy a an expensive flashy car, you like to be tan all the time, you have half a brain, you like to listen to bubble gum music, you are a cultureless nit wit & much more!.

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