I'm one of the few native San Diegans left, it seems. When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, this place was very laid back and had a very genial, friendly demeanor. People were courteous to strangers, and the freeways were a joy to travel on. But "Quirky" above is right that a fair number of people here now are duplicitous -- I'm sorry, but I strongly believe this is due to all the multitudes of people who have moved here from other places. And even among the non-shady people, it can take a while to forge new friendships here, although if you're sociable you can at least strike up some pleasant and fun acquaintances that might just grow into true friendships. I heartily recommend Frish's answer above -- he's offered a ton of great information. Give him the ten points for best answer. :-) I'd like to add just a few things to his excellent list. His comment about "the Shakespeare theatre" likely refers to the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park; it's one of the top professional regional theatres in the U.S., and they do more repertoire than just Shakespeare [they've sent several shows to Broadway, as has the La Jolla Playhouse ten miles north]. There's also a symphony that generally plays very well, and San Diego Opera often does outstanding work [they're one of the top ten opera companies in North America]. He touched on the weather, but a more fuller description is that it can get quite chilly November-February, our wettest months are January-April, and our hottest months are August-September [in September it can get horribly humid]. Finally, if you're not prone to sea-sickness, whale watching in February is a fun and magnificent experience. Besides being far enough out to experience some nice wave action [great fun if you enjoy roller coasters], the migrating whales will sometimes come very close to the boats and look up at the passengers -- they're obviously curious about encountering new life forms. Oh, I just fully realized you wanted to hear from people who've lived both here and in DC, but I've only been in DC once for a two week music project. Well, the only thing I can offer is that you WILL obviously find SD a different place, so as with any relocation, you'll just need to have some resilience and flexibility. From what I've heard about DC's crime statistics, you'll be safer here.