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The Top 10 Best Things About Living in La Mesa, CA
La Mesa, CA has a rich history with prominent culture, great transportation, and cost of living. Learn all the great things about living here in this guide.
There is a place known as 'The Jewel of the Hills' near San Diego, which could be the perfect location for you to live. La Mesa, CA, has a population of over 59,000 and growing, thanks to its many benefits.
Moving to La Mesa means you are only nine miles east of downtown San Diego. However, even though it is a suburb of San Diego, La Mesa, CA, culture and amenities give it a unique charm. So, you get the best of both worlds.
La Mesa means 'the table' and 'the plateau' in Spanish, which refers to its geography. However, it is not only a gem because of its location in the hills of San Diego county. It also has a lot to offer.
Here is the ultimate guide for moving to La Mesa, CA.
All About La Mesa History
La Mesa, CA, has a long history. The Kumeyaay people lived around the San Diego River and the surrounding areas for thousands of years. After Spanish colonization in 1769, La Mesa was part of the Mission San Diego de Alcala lands. This was the origin of Christianity in the west of America.
After Mexico became independent from Spain, they took over La Mesa's land. Then, the commandant of Presidio San Diego, Santiago Arguello, was granted 58,000 acres of land in the 1840s.
La Mesa, CA was known initially as Allison Springs due to the natural springs that attracted stockman Robert Alison in the 1860s, who purchased 4,000 acres of land from Santiago Arguello's heirs. He used the land for grazing cattle and sheep.
It was then renamed La Mesa Springs and started growing in 1889 once the San Diego and Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad arrived.
In 1912 the La Mesa community of around 700 incorporated to become the city of La Mesa. The population continued to grow, especially post World War II, thanks to its involvement in the Hollywood movie-making business.
San Diego had become a bustling metropolis, and La Mesa attracted many to its area. It still does today!
La Mesa Community and Schools
If you want a local community close to San Diego city, La Mesa, CA is for you. Despite La Mesa, Ca, having a larger population, it has a great local community. There is also a fantastic selection of educational facilities, which is why many families are moving to La Mesa.
La Mesa has a community of all ages. There are more senior residents in La Mesa than in a lot of the San Diego County jurisdictions. So, it is a good location for families, professionals who want to be close to San Diego, and retirees.
A Community Services Department oversees the Community Services Commission, Community Relations and Veterans Commission, and the Youth Advisory Commission. The aim is to ensure the La Mesa community has the services to help maintain all residents' health, safety, and wellbeing.
You can also live stream council meetings and check the community calendar for upcoming events. Community projects include Livable La Mesa, which aims to support the wellbeing of all residents, especially senior residents.
Schools in La Mesa
La Mesa has a variety of high-ranking schools that make it appealing to families. The local school district is La Mesa-Spring Valley and Grossmont Union High School District. Some of the top-rated schools in La Mesa include:
- La Mesa Arts Academy
- Murdock Elementary
- La Mesa Dale Elementary
- Lemon Avenue Elementary
- Helix High School
- Grossmont High
There are also around ten private schools in La Mesa, CA. Some are religiously affiliated. Top-ranked private schools include Christ Lutheran School and St. Martin of Tours Academy.
La Mesa Parks and Recreation
Moving to La Mesa also means you will have a lot of access to green space. There is a Park and Recreation Foundation that aims to preserve green space, create recreational experiences, and enhance the community in La Mesa. It also aims to bring pride to La Mesa and its parks.
Parks in La Mesa
There are at least 14 parks in La Mesa, including Harry Griffen Regional Park, Vista La Mesa Park, Collier Park, and La Mesita Park.
One of the top sights in La Mesa is Mount Helix Park too. The name comes from the fact the helix snail was found there, which was rare at the time but is actually the common garden snail. Mount Helix Park has walking trails, an amphitheater that hosts events, and incredible views, including views of San Diego.
La Mesa Recreational Activities
La Mesa has a variety of recreational activities. There is a community garden in MacArthur Park, where you can reserve a garden bed. Other events include La Mesa Park Appreciation Day, with park clean-ups, workshops, and educational materials.
There are also park playgrounds for children, sports fields, and recreation classes. For example, there is a municipal pool, walks through La Mesa, gymnastic classes, and more. You can also volunteer with the city of La Mesa on a range of different activities.
La Mesa Arts, Music, and Entertainment
The good news is that you will not get bored living in La Mesa, Ca. There is also a strong entertainment scene to suit all tastes. And you are close to San Diego, should you want to access its more extensive arts, music, and entertainment scene.
Plus, there are arts academies and different activities for children.
The Arts in La Mesa
The La Mesa Arts Alliance organizes a variety of events to promote art in the area. For example, they made a Walking Art Trail for the downtown area of La Mesa for local art attractions and specific artwork.
There is also the La Mesa Walkway of the Stars, which is a pedestrian parkway. The city has made it a unique attraction that showcases La Mesa, CA's culture and art.
It also honors the volunteers of La Mesa who have provided 10,000 or more hours of service. There are decorated stars and murals to admire.
La Mesa Music
Different bars and breweries host live music events in La Mesa, such as Pete's Place. Public Square Coffee hosts open mic nights and other events such as Soul Sunday. The Riviera Supper club and Sheldon's Service Station host live music.
La Mesa Entertainment
There are Reading Cinemas to get your movie fix in La Mesa. The Lamplights Community theater also produces quality shows throughout the year, including comedies and dramas. The theatre has been around since 1937.
There are also different festivals throughout the year to enjoy. A popular event in La Mesa is Oktoberfest, which has been running for over 45 years. There are various events during the festival, which also include family activities.
Other events include the La Mesa Classic Car Show, a Children's Book Festival, and Holiday in the Village. Holiday in the Village is a free festive event to get into the holiday spirit, with photo stations, music, a food court, kid's activities, and craft vendors. The La Mesa Classic Car Show is free and includes live music.
La Mesa Wineries and Breweries
Visit the San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room and Gallery for various wines made in San Diego county. It is a great spot to enjoy wine-tasting. Be sure to try flavored wines such as passion fruit wine.
There are also great breweries, including Helix Brewing, Little Miss Brewing, and Bolt Brewery.
La Mesa Dining
The La Mesa dining scene is also impressive. Whatever your taste, you will find an option in La Mesa, CA. Some popular restaurants include:
- Farmer's Table La Mesa
- Craft Kitchen
- Antica Trattoria
- Signature Thai Cuisine
- The Pioneer
- Himalayan Cuisine
- Carnitas Uruapan Mexican Food
- La Mesa Bistro and Bakery
- Terra American Bistro
- BO-beau kitchen + garden
- Surfrider Pizza Co.
Enjoy Vietnamese food, Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Himalayan cuisine. There is also fusion food, Californian fare, and traditional American eateries. Whether you want an upscale restaurant, breakfast, or a casual, family-friendly option, you can find it.
La Mesa Transportation
La Mesa has good transport links to connect you to parts of the city and the rest of San Diego county. There are five trolley stations for connections to places such as Mission Valley. There are also seven bus routes connecting you to areas such as Downtown San Diego, Torrey Pines, and the airport.
There is also the RIDES4NEIGHBORS scheme, which helps adults over 60 or those with disabilities who cannot drive. Volunteer drivers offer door-to-door transport to help people regain independence.
It is also a pedestrian and bike-friendly location. The central area is walkable, and there are bike lanes around La Mesa. La Mesa, Ca, is also well-connected to the beaches around San Diego county.
La Mesa Traffic
La Mesa, CA, has a traffic management program to implement calming traffic measures. They aim to manage any high-traffic volumes, speeding, and cut-through traffic. They offer tools to reduce traffic, which neighborhoods can request.
During events such as Oktoberfest, La Mesa promotes public transport use to reduce traffic issues. There can be traffic along the I-8 into the San Diego city center, especially during rush hour. The California State Highways of 94 and 125 are also thoroughfares to the city.
There are parking options in La Mesa that usually have a limit of two hours and are metered. During holidays meters are not enforced. There are some spaces with longer parking times of around five hours.
La Mesa Weather
Temperatures remain pleasant year-round in La Mesa. San Diego area gets over 180 sunny days annually, so you can enjoy living on the southern California coast every month.
Winters tend to be mild with partially cloudy or cloudy days. The coldest month is usually December, with an average low temperature of around 50°F and average high temperatures of around 65°F.
The hottest month in La Mesa is usually August, with average high temperatures of 77°F and average low temperatures of 68°F. Enjoy clear blue skies and long summer days.
There are around 12 inches of rainfall a year, which is way below the US average of 38 inches per year. It does not usually snow unless there is an extreme weather event. La Mesa can be drier than San Diego because it is slightly further inland and higher than the city.
Working in La Mesa
The job market continues to grow in La Mesa, and there are opportunities in many different sectors. The median household income is over $66,000.
The main employment sectors in La Mesa are education, health care, and retail. And some of the highest paying jobs are in management, architecture, and finance.
The commute to San Diego is around twenty minutes by car, so La Mesa is also a great place for professionals who work in the city. You can access the major corporations in San Diego, such as Sony Electronics, Qualcomm, and BAE systems. A small percentage of people in La Mesa also work from home.
La Mesa Cost of Living
The cost of living in La Mesa is around 30% higher than the national US average, with housing, utilities, and groceries more expensive. The main difference in cost is the median house price. Many people also rent La Mesa real estate, with the average rent being over $2,000 a month.
However, La Mesa real estate is upscale and high quality. And once you visit the area of La Mesa, you will understand why the cost of living is higher. For people moving to La Mesa, there are many benefits to reap.
La Mesa Outdoor Recreation
Moving to La Mesa also gives you access to outdoor recreation activities. Along with the parks and sports fields, there are city walks and urban trails to explore. Routes include 'the Challenge' and the 'stride,' but more are being added to the urban trails mobility plan.
The Pathway of Public Stairs, also known as the 'secret stairs,' offers steep stairs if you want to include them in your walking or fitness routine.
Just outside La Mesa is the Mission Trails park, which is full of hikes to explore. It is over 8,000 acres and has 65 miles of trails.
It offers views over San Diego and the chance to enjoy the Californian wilderness, surrounded by mountains, vegetation, and valley. There is also the opportunity to rock-climb.
You can also enjoy Lake Murray in the Mission Trails regional park, which is one of the top recreation sites in San Diego. It is open for shore fishing, and there is a variety of fish, including trout and channel catfish.
You can take one of the paved walking trails, have a barbecue, hire a kayak, or a small boat. It is also open for private boats when the water level allows.
Other nearby outdoor recreation activities include Sweetwater Summit Regional Park. Beaches, reserves also surround San Diego, and there are many other national parks to explore.
La Mesa Shopping
A lot of the shopping in La Mesa is in the historic center, which still has buildings from 1912, when the city was first incorporated.
There are plenty of unique shops, boutiques, and antique shops to enjoy. Some notable mentions include the Fusionglass company, which offers classes in jewelry design, stained glass, and other arts. Also, check out the staple La Mesa Antique Mall for unique finds from the 50s and Re-Animated records for vintage finds.
Every week there is the La Mesa Certified Farmers' Market, which offers local fruits, vegetables, snacks, sauces, and other delights on offer. There are also non-food items such as artwork, clothing, and crafts.
There are also two shopping malls, the La Mesa Springs Shopping Center and the Grossmont Center. They have everything you need. However, if you want more options, you are a quick ride away from San Diego for a more extensive shopping scene.
La Mesa Sports
There are only youth and adult minor leagues for baseball, football, and soccer. However, being so close to San Diego gives you access to professional sports. Most La Mesa residents root for the local sports teams.
For example, you have the soccer teams San Diego Loyal SC and San Diego 1904 FC. And in 2022, women's professional soccer will start in San Diego. There is also the major league baseball team, the San Diego Gulls, and other professional sports to check out.
La Mesa Social and Membership Clubs
You can follow the La Mesa social club for events in the area to connect with your new neighbors and the community. There is also the La Mesa women's club, the Rotary Club of La Mesa, La Mesa Lions Club, senior clubs, and more, depending on your interests. All the clubs are actively involved in the community and help out in different ways.
Nearby is the Carlton Oaks country club if you like golf courses. It is an 18-hole championship course. There is also the Mission Trails golf course.
La Mesa Real Estate
Similar to the rest of San Diego, La Mesa real estate continues to be in demand. The median house price in La Mesa is $639,359.
There are a variety of different housing options in La Mesa. There are some incredible homes overlooking San Diego and the pacific ocean. Enjoy vistas of the surrounding rolling hills and the city.
Although La Mesa is relatively small, it is worth researching to find the best La Mesa real estate for you. Consider whether you want a gated property or if you want to be in proximity to a particular school or transport hub.
Also, take your time to explore the different neighborhoods to find the best option for you. Some popular and well-established neighborhoods include:
- Fletcher Hills
- La Mesa Village
- Rolando Knolls
- Windsor Hills
- La Mesa Highlands
Fletcher Hills has a lot of family homes. Windsor Hills has a mix of different size homes. La Mesa Highlands has a lot of large houses of high value and has been a neighborhood since 1940.
La Mesa Estates and Homes
La Mesa offers a variety of estates and homes for all tastes. For example, you can find homes with land and private driveways. Neighborhoods have tree-lined streets and are peaceful.
There are some modern homes with open-plan designs. There are others with the Spanish-style design. There are also luxury housing developments with condos and other units.
Many homes also have pools and balconies to enjoy. The climate and location mean La Mesa real estate also offers luscious landscaping. There is a mix of suburban and urban style areas.
Notable La Mesa Residents
There are many notable famous La Mesans of past and present. There have been several astronauts, including Bill Anders, Rick Sturkow, and Ella Ochoa.
Other notable residents include:
- Alex Smith (NFL quarterback)
- Mark Grace (MLB)
- Dennis Hopper (Actor)
- Dave Mustaine (Metallica guitarist)
- Bill Walton (Sports announcer/ NBA champion Player)
- Barry Zito (MLB pitcher)
- James D. Sinegal (CEO and founder of Costco)
- James Tank Porter (sculptor)
La Mesa continues to produce and attract successful people. Some people can give credit to La Mesa as a place where their success began, whereas others now reside in La Mesa. It is another reason why La Mesa is a great place to live!
Fun Facts About La Mesa
If you are moving to La Mesa, it is also nice to know some fun facts to get to know it better. There are several interesting facts about La Mesa:
- The city tree is the plum tree
- It is only around 9 square miles in size
- La Mesa has three fire stations
- The city flower is the Bougainvillea (Barbara Karst Red)
- The Oktoberfest is one of the biggest in Southern California
- La Mesa had 25 antique shops in its heyday
You will also discover your own fun facts about La Mesa, CA's culture. It is a unique location with so much to offer and many surprises. Whatever your reason for moving to La Mesa, you will find many more reasons to stay!
Moving to La Mesa, CA
La Mesa is the perfect location for all ages, with a close-knit community, plenty of amenities, and different homes available. It is a quiet haven, close to San Diego, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding areas. So, what are you waiting for?
If you are thinking of moving to La Mesa, CA, you need guidance from experts. LuxurySoCalRealty is San Diego's premium real estate agency. Contact us today so we can help you find your dream La Mesa real estate.