The area surrounding San Diego State University is everything a college town should be. College Area features an assortment of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and a host of specialty and retail shops for all to enjoy. Since the university’s inception, the school has been an active partner with the San Diego community. Today, the school administers more than 75 programs in the areas of art and culture, business and economic development, community-based learning, health, public safety and technology. The coalition between the school, its student body, its surrounding neighborhoods and the residents who reside here has a long and rich tradition of unity.
The university opened its door in 1897 and was originally named San Diego Normal School. In 1935, the school moved to its present location and changed its name to San Diego State College. Prior to its move, the area surrounding the school was referred to as Normal Heights. Preserving that tradition, the new neighborhoods surrounding the school became knows as College Area. In the 1970s the college became a university, but the College Area name continues to define the neighborhoods. The major shopping and retail district in College Area is located along El Cajon Boulevard.
In recent years, the boulevard has undergone tremendous refurbishment and redevelopment in which storefronts and facades were overhauled. Additionally, many new businesses, restaurants and small shops were introduced. To complete the entire beautification project, the College Avenue median was completely landscaped with new plants and stamped concrete. A Farmer’s Market now takes place every Tuesday and other special events occur throughout the seasonal calendar that serves to bring the community together.
Seven days a week the many cafes, coffeehouses, restaurants and stores are filled with people from all walks of life enjoying the fine eateries and sweet treats while taking in the Southern California sunshine. It is on these sidewalks where homeowners and locals integrate with the campus population. The school’s athletic department competes at the highest collegiate levels, which further unites locals with the school in that most are supporters of the university’s various teams. SDSU has always had a strong football team with a large following but the resurgence in the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the baseball team has returned the Aztecs to a prominent level in the three major Division I sports.
Many of the school’s students reside in College Area. They comprise the majority of renters in the neighborhoods, which makes College Area a great place for investors to purchase property. Many homeowners own multiple properties in which they utilize as second income homes. The neighborhoods around campus remain a hotbed for owners and one major reason is because both the school and the neighborhood association understand the importance in ensuring the safety of those residing here. Together, they formed the AS Good Neighbor Program. The program’s purpose is to increase awareness among SDSU students of the relationship between student behavior and the quality of life on campus and in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. The program features patrols that consist of an SDSU Community Service Officer and two Good Neighbor student volunteers per unit who patrol the College Area city streets and residential communities between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Additionally, the program has established a Good Neighbor Hotline for residents to call to report incidents and get assistance. The Good Neighbor Program has been an instant success and is now expanding to include the adoption of community service programs such as keeping streets clean and implementing “Go Green” initiatives for neighborhood residents.
The College Area neighborhoods are a wonderful place to live. In 2005, the San Diego Trolley system extended its reach to this part of town. The trolley system offers easy access to all of San Diego’s world-famous attractions including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Coronado Island, Mission Bay, Old Town San Diego, Mexico and miles and miles of pristine Pacific beaches. Most people living throughout College Area walk to many of the area’s amenities and now with the trolley system in place, they now have yet another reason to leave their car in the garage when they’re planning a day or night out in this exciting region of Southern California.
College Area is a vibrant community filled with attractive and affordable housing, and a plethora of social and recreational opportunities. It’s proximity to SDSU, downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean makes it a place of choice for those looking to buy property in a continually evolving area. If you are seeking a move to San Diego and are looking to live in an area that offers a college-town feel, then there’s no place better than College Area.
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