Top Five Worst Places in San Diego


As an optimist living in a great city, it's not natural to view any of San Diego's character-rich corners in a negative light. That said, the beauty of anything lies in its imperfection, and not even America's Finest City is devoid of basic flaws. With reasons varying from pot holes to neglect, we take a moment to judge the five worst areas in San Diego.

Harbor Drive near National City
This major road that runs along the edge of downtown and National City receives a well-earned spot on the list of the worst places in San Diego. If you were driving through the area about to ask why it was on the list, it would only take seconds before you were interrupted by a large bump due to hitting a pot hole at 30-40 miles per hour. Due to the placement of destructive potholes and poor quality of the road, the traffic on Harbor Drive often resembles a street race with cars weaving in and out of lanes to avoid damage. Combine this with a constant supply of traffic coming in and out of the base and enough dirt to coat your car in a single trip, and you have a road that most people avoid like the plague.

University Avenue
Aside from any personal judgement, University Avenue has good reason to be on the list of the worst places: It's the deadliest stretch of road in San Diego. With a local Fox news affiliate confirming that this six-mile stretch had 10% of the fatalities in the entire city, there's good reason to avoid University Avenue, especially when on foot. The fact that University Avenue is ripe with neglected buildings, bars on the windows, and shady characters lurking on many of City Heights' corners are all secondary to its reputation as a dangerous street. Ultimately, University Avenue leads the city in pedestrian deaths, so it's among the least safe areas to walk around San Diego.

Barrio Logan
A stranger touring Barrio Logan might see the graffiti, run-down buildings, and mixture of closely-packed industrial and residential buildings and find it hard to believe that it was a thriving recreational area for locals in the early 1900's. The downward spiral was set in motion when demand rapidly rose for industrial businesses near the sea port, causing factories and industrial buildings to be constructed directly next to houses, and causing most citizens to move. A second blow was struck when the I-5 highway was built, dividing Logan Heights into a new half that included Barrio Logan. While efforts to redeem the area have been hopeful, the pollution and neglect make Barrio Logan one of the worst areas in San Diego.

Sidewalks of the Gaslamp Quarter
There is perhaps nowhere as bittersweet in San Diego as the sidewalks of the Gaslamp Quarter. While the majority of people are locals or tourists visiting some of the many interesting restaurants, shops, and other establishments, it's nearly-impossible to walk two blocks without being reminded of the significant wealth-gap by a group of poor souls camping alongside the buildings, or more likely, begging for cash. This can manifest itself in the form of a creepy drunk stumbling a little too close to your girlfriend, or a simple surge of guilt when you're telling the third person you don't have cash because you gave it to the beggar a few streets back. While no reasonable citizen of any tax bracket can stop and give money to all of the beggars that line the streets, it's impossible to not feel the emotional toll, especially as the faces of these beggars appear continually younger and greater in numbers. It's with heavy heart and mind that the Gaslamp Quarter simultaneously ranks as one of the most impressive and worst places in San Diego. Fortunately, there are groups who are constantly striving to assist and decrease the homeless population, and you can find out more info here.

For Retirees: San Diego is the Worst Place to Retire
For those planning a fruitful retirement, San Diego is considered among the worst cities to retire in, at least according to US News and World Report. Primarily due to exceptionally high housing costs, San Diego joined other ultra-expensive cities like Washington D.C., San Francisco, and New York City as one of the most difficult cities to spend your twilight years. This massive gap between rich and poor is evident throughout San Diego, and is a primary reason why retirees can expect an easier life elsewhere.

After a seven year career in the US Navy, Nicholas Napier completed his MBA and settled in California. He's published over 40 articles as the San Diego Fitness Trends Examiner, and regularly contributes blogs and articles to various companies.