How Safe Is San Diego for Travel?

San Diego, United States
Safety Index:

A very pleasant coastal city, San Diego is large and sitting right on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, just north of the Mexican border, across from Tijuana.

It is the second-largest city in the state with many important educational and historic facilities.

But there’s some extra fun in it, too! It’s also home to several good swimming beaches.

And what good would they be, without some pleasant climate and vibrant nightlife?

The city is practically a perfect combo for everyone looking for a laid back and fun vacation.

It has everything, from outdoor culture, through ethnic diversity to fun beach life.

And though all of this may seem like it’s a vibrant melting pot that never sleeps, San Diego has a slower-paced atmosphere and many tourists love it because it makes them feel like they’re resting and gives them a soothing break from their everyday lives.

Warnings & Dangers in San Diego

Overall Risk


San Diego is overall very safe to travel to. Even though it's sometimes dangerous, the criminal activities that occur only apply to dangerous parts of the city, which are rarely frequented by tourists.

Transport & Taxis Risk


San Diego has safe and convenient public transport, though you shouldn't let your guard down. Be extremely vigilant while on public transport and don't linger around the bus, railway and metro stations.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpockets and purse snatching can be an issue in public transport and locations frequented by tourists, though the rate of petty crime is on a major decline for the past couple of years. Still, it is wise to watch your belongings while on public transport or in crowded places.

Natural Disasters Risk


Occasional natural threats exist in some areas of San Diego, like wildfires, landslides, and earthquakes.

Mugging Risk


You're not in danger in San Diego, when it comes to chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Violent street crime is not a common occurrence but only if you avoid dangerous areas of San Diego that even locals rarely dare to walk around.

Terrorism Risk


Excluding isolated shootings, San Diego hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in San Diego, too. Homeless people can turn aggressive if you refuse to give them money. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk


San Diego is very safe for female solo travelers. Following basic precaution measures should completely minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

So... How Safe Is San Diego Really?

Don’t worry your mind – San Diego is considered to be one of the safest cities in California.

Violent crime isn’t that much of an issue since it’s been on a decrease lately, but there’s a lot of property crime.

All tourists should take the usual precaution measures, just as they would in any other city or their hometown.

This means avoiding dark alleyways any communication with unknown people.

You should, by all means, stay informed on which neighborhoods should be avoided due to heightened criminal activities and avoid those neighborhoods.

For example, you should avoid Southeast San Diego or Barrio Logan at night.

Bear in mind that due to California’s proximity to the International Boundary with Mexico, you should be cautious around or near the border.

Bear in mind that criminal activities related to cars are very often, like car thefts or car break-ins.

Never leave anything of value in your car and always lock your vehicle.

It would also probably be smart to avoid any hiking or camping in areas of major border activity and visiting parks after dark.

How Does San Diego Compare?

CitySafety Index
San Diego67
New York City67
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in San Diego. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - The climate in San Diego can be described with one word - perfect. The San Diego area can be incredibly pleasant to visit almost any time of the year, with its mild Mediterranean climate. Coastal temperatures are somewhere around 24°C most of the time, and there is very low to none humidity.
  • Airports - San Diego International Airport formerly referred to as Lindbergh Field, is an international airport in San Diego. It is located about 4.8 km northwest of Downtown San Diego, California, United States.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to San Diego, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

San Diego Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 15° C
Feb 15° C
Mar 16° C
Apr 17° C
May 18° C
Jun 20° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 22° C
Oct 20° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 15° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

10 Reviews on San Diego

  1. Not safe in Mexico

    The city of San Diego is safe. The beaches are safe. The only area where we questioned our safety was near the Mexico Border. There were a few unsavory characters near the border. We will not go back to Mexico.

    1. I am never going back!

      San Diego is a DUMP that is overrun by crime and poverty. The only place that I would say is worse in the state is San Fran or LA. All these city areas are loaded with homeless people. I went here to visit a friend last month and holy crap, I am never going back. I told her she has to get out of there. Even the safest parts of San Diego have high rates of crime. She said she has witnessed people walking into the stores this past year and just walking out, not paying for anything on a weekly basis. The last day I had a homeless man following me around the corner when I was walking to get coffee and he was grabbing himself! It was disgusting and no one did ANYTHING!!

      1. I’m sorry you had a negative experience in San Diego, Carly. I’m visiting from Michigan currently and have experienced only positive interactions with the people who live here. I had a conversation about the homeless with a police officer just yesterday. He was telling me about the difficulty of helping these unfortunate people.

        Like any city, there are missions, hotels, and government agencies that reach out with offers of help. However, in America, we have the freedom of choice and that applies to the homeless. They cannot be forced by local, state, or federal governments to seek assistance, nor can they be forced to work, go to school, or live in ways they do not choose. Additionally, they cannot be arrested nor incarcerated unless they are caught breaking the law.

        While San Diego has its share of the homeless, I have found it comparable to the cities of Florida, Illinois, and Texas.

        I’ve been to San Diego & several cities in California and have been overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the state and the friendliness of residents and visitors, alike. I hope you’ll give it another chance, and keep an open mind about the plight of the homeless & the difficulties they, & those who are trying to help, face.

  2. I
    I live in San Diego says:

    San Diego is AWESOME!

    San Diego is AWESOME!
    I am a bit biased because I live here, but seriously, it’s a good city to live in. Quality of life here is superb and there many things to do.

    Many people come here and travel to Mexico and to theme parks as well such as Disney.

    There are bad areas but every place does, most of it is clean and people are doing ok.

    Come visit, it’s safe to travel to San Diego!

  3. SD was a great adventure for us

    The vibrant nightlife, wonderful beaches or the laid back attitude of most people living here makes San Diego a great place to visit. It’s generally safe here but you do have to take precautions during the night and also not leave your goods unguarded.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Hey sorry but I’ve been looking for an apartment relentlessly.. pet friendly. My bf and I r moving there next month and I kinda wanna have a place before we get there…. do u have any suggestions of anywhere in a decent neighborhood for under 2 grand?

  4. M
    Mission Valley resident says:

    In general, the neighborhoods and areas north of Interstate 8 are good, and the areas south of Interstate 8 are bad.

    There are many homeless in San Diego.

    Overall, San Diego is safer than Los Angeles, but that’s not saying much.


    Horrible! Homeless everywhere. Felt unsafe.

  6. Safe and a great family destination

    I’ve been to San Diego for a lot of business trips only to fall in love with the place and book a two-week getaway there. I would rate it safer than LA IMHO.

    So yes, it’s safe but this doesn’t mean that you should explore it alone at night, even more so if you’re a tourist. Have common sense, don’t explore areas you’re unfamiliar with and make sure to let someone know where you’re going.

    Some of the areas you must check:

    The all-so-popular La Jolla, which is San Diego’s tourist Hotspot with 5 star hotels and fine dining. Its gorgeous coastline will provide lots of activities and if you’re big on hiking this is a must visit spot.

    Black Mountain Ranch is your classic suburb with a high diversity rating and the place you would book if you’re like me and tend to avoid crowds when you’re on holiday. It’s more secluded and quiet despite it being a famous family destination.

    East Village, Horton Plaza and The Marina. These places have higher crime rates and in general don’t offer enough rewards to add them to your list. I would also add Downtown SD to these three, just the same as with any other big cities. Pickpockets or scammers are attracted to tourist hotspots as usual so beware of any elbow rubbing or deals that sound too good to be true.

    My own concern would be regarding hate crimes, which are less and less frequent but still present. No, I’m not referring to people attacking you in crowds but isolated events do happen.

    Homeless people are a problem but if you’re from the US you might have gotten used to them by now, unfortunately. Don’t engage, if you see a fight and want to help, just call the police, it’s best not to get involved.

    1. S
      San Diego resident says:

      Smaller version of L.A.

      “Will’s” posting is a disservice to this forum. Downtown San Diego is downright dangerous, with drug addicts, criminals, and thugs preying on unsuspecting tourists. Balboa Park is nice during the day, but I avoid it at night, again because of the criminal elements. San Diego zoo is pleasant to visit, although most of the locals consider it overpriced if one doesn’t get a season pass.

      You’ve really got to be careful going into the ocean, as Tijuana sends it sewage into the San Diego River, which empties into the Pacific.

      Also try to avoid east San Diego (such as the areas of City Heights). That area is very dangerous, as the gangs run that part of town.

      We used to in the city limits of San Diego, but moved into a nearby inland mountain town to avoid the gangs, predators, and drug dealers.

Rated 3.3 / 5 based on 10 user reviews.

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