Welcome to College West, a small residential community in the midwest portion of San Diego, California. College West is technically a sub-neighborhood of the overarching College Area, aptly named for the presence of San Diego State University in the northern portion of this area. Located approximately eight miles northeast of Downtown San Diego, College West is bordered by College Avenue on the east, El Cajon Boulevard on the south, Fairmount Avenue on the west, and Mission Valley Freeway on the north. The overarching College Area neighborhood was developed around the university when it moved from its original location in University Heights to its current location on Montezuma Mesa in 1931. Known at the time as San Diego State College, the university’s new 125-acre campus site was a gift from Alphonzo E. Bell, the Los Angeles oil tycoon and developer probably best known for his posh Bel Air suburb. Much of College West was plotted around this time and began to be developed in the midst of the Great Depression and despite Bell’s plan to turn this area into an exclusive golf course community similar to Bel Air. Other neighborhoods in the College Area started being developed as soldiers returned home from World War II looking to start families. Single-family homes and residential structures in College West were built in similar Mission Revival architectural styles that San Diego State University is known for today. The growth of College West coincided with the overall success and acclaim the university received starting as early as 1941 when the college’s basketball team won its first national title. Development in College Area continued well into the 1970s as enrollment steadily increased and the college became a state university.
With a population of over 30,000 people, College Area ranks as one of the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego. Being a neighborhood with a large population of college students and faculty members, College West today is a highly diverse community with a family-friendly atmosphere that is comforting to those that may be living abroad. College West offers housing that is less expensive than other San Diego neighborhoods, making it attractive not only to students but to an eclectic demographic of artists, families, and single professionals. Bordered by Interstate 8 on the north, College West is an ideal neighborhood for daily commuters and visitors from nearby neighborhoods like Kensington and Talmadge. It takes approximately 20 minutes by car to get to Downtown San Diego. College West is served by one trolley station on the Green Line of the San Diego Trolley light rail system and numerous MTS bus routes, making it an easily accessible neighborhood for those that prefer to utilize public transportation. Considered a walker’s paradise, College West is a pedestrian and bike-friendly area with small but lively commercial districts along the avenues of El Cajon and College. College West offers an exciting nightlife scene with a plethora of bars, cafes, and restaurants, many of which you can find along El Cajon Boulevard.