Living in Poway Right

Poway, California is a city with a small town vibe but also some big city problems.

You may have heard good things about Poway's safe streets, top schools, and family-friendly activities.

But does Poway fit your lifestyle and budget? Despite looking nice, residents deal with cons that we’ll discuss later that affect how happy they are. The most important things for you and your family will help you decide.

To get you started, find out if living in Poway is right for you. Contact us today for unbiased information on homes for sale and community amenities.

Pros and Cons of Living in Poway

Pros Cons
Things to Do Poway is Expensive
Dining Options Traffic Congestion
Public Schools in Poway  
Employment Opportunities  
Crime and Safety  

Pros of Living in Poway

Outdoor Fun

Folks in Poway have tons of access to outdoor activities compared to other places in California. This is because Poway has more than 80 parks and 100 miles of trails, according to the City of Poway Parks and Recreation Department.

Here's some of what you can do:

  • Hike or bike the six miles of trails near Lake Poway, a popular spot to kayak, paddleboard, and fish.
  • Walk over 40 miles of trails in the 1,700-acre Blue Sky Ecological Reserve.
  • Horseback riders can use 50 acres at the Poway Equestrian Centre, where the annual Poway Rodeo is held on July 4th weekend.
  • With almost 12,000 feet of elevation change, there are great hikes from the Laguna Mountains to Mission Trails Regional Park.

Families, outdoor aficionados, and people looking for small town fun will enjoy Poway's expansive outdoor spaces. Now, moving on to places to eat in Poway.

Good Places to Eat

Foodies have lots of choices thanks to Poway's many dining options. The availability of fancy pub food and farm-to-table venues means there is something for everyone.

Here are some top spots:

  • El Ranchito: This popular Mexican restaurant is known for cheap but "authentic" food.
  • The Hop Stop: For over 15 years, folks have gathered at this busy gastropub for drinks and pub food with over 75 craft beers on tap.
  • Kings Estate Winery: Enjoy live music on weekends and award-winning wines at this charming winery with amazing mountain views.

Poway's varied food choices help create a strong foodie community. In addition to restaurants, Poway residents have excellent public schools.

Poway Unified School District

The Poway Unified School District, with over 36,000 students at 39 schools, is a source of pride. This includes 27 elementary, 8 middle, and 7 high schools. Three things show the excellent performance:

  • 96% of schools got an 8 or 9 out of 10.
  • About 85% of seniors go to 4-year colleges.
  • SAT scores are often 100 points above state and national averages.

There are many program choices too:

  • 17 STEAM magnet programs
  • 12 career academies
  • Dual-language immersion

The school facilities are impressive with high-tech classrooms, performing art facilities, sports fields, and more.

Job Market in Poway

To live in Poway, reliable employment and a solid income are important to afford the costs of living. Poway's low unemployment rate of 2.7% in Feb 2023 is low compared to 3.8% nationally. This is good news for people seeking employment.

Major employers include:

  • Kearny Mesa businesses
  • Poway Unified School District
  • City of Poway
  • Scripps Health

With an average salary of $85,000, jobs span industries such as healthcare, education, technology, logistics, and engineering.

Poway is Safe

In addition to the amenities already discussed, safety is also a consideration for those looking to move to Poway. Poway scores a C+ for crime, meaning crime is average. FBI data shows Poway has 0.7 violent crimes per 1,000 people.

The national average is 2.5 per 1,000. Poway's property crime rate is under half of San Diego's total average. Even though the crime score is low, Poway parents are more concerned with who their children may irritate than with their safety.

The Cons of Living in Poway

While Poway offers many perks, there are also some cons to consider.

High Cost of Living

While Poway offers many perks, there are also some cons to consider:

  • Housing: The median home value of $875,000 is over 4x the national median of $220,000. Even starter homes typically cost over $600,000.
  • Rent: At $2,335 per month, Poway's median rent is 61% higher than the US median of $1,450. Finding an affordable rental can be hard.
  • Groceries: Food expenses in Poway are 13% higher than the national average, based on a study.
  • Utilities: Poway's average utility costs for gas, electricity, water, and waste are 32% higher than nationally.
  • Taxes: With an average effective property tax rate of 1.1%, property taxes in Poway are among the highest in the country.

Cost of living in other major cities in the US:

City Compared to National Average
Poway, CA +40%
San Francisco, CA +86.5%
Boston, MA +53.1%
Washington, DC                               +45.2%
Dallas, TX                            +7.0%

Note: The table provides a general comparison using the latest available data.

In summary, though Poway offers an ideal lifestyle, high living expenses are a drawback.

Traffic Congestion

Besides the high costs, traffic is another major con to living in Poway. Commutes can be annoying for Poway residents since major roads run through mostly residential areas.

The issues:

  • I-15 sees 340,000 vehicles daily in Poway, causing 10+ miles of extreme traffic during rush hour, according to the state transportation department.
  • Traffic on I-15 has risen 21% over the last decade and is expected to keep increasing.
  • There's congestion on local roads like Poway Road during rush hour.
  • Fewer alternatives when I-15 is busy.
  • During rush hour, it takes 52 minutes to get from north Poway to San Diego instead of 27 minutes at non-rush hour times.
  • Without traffic, a trip to Lindbergh Field Airport in San Diego takes 30 to 45 minutes but may take an hour during rush hour.

Though living in the suburbs means dealing with traffic, planning ahead and being flexible can help minimize frustration for Poway commuters.

Living in Poway - The Verdict

In summary of the pros and cons discussed, Poway comes with a high price tag even though it provides an awesome lifestyle with tons of outdoor activities, great schools, and safe neighborhoods.

For most folks living there, the high costs, long commutes, and traffic are challenging. But that just comes with part of living in Poway. In the end, what matters most to you will determine if Poway's way of life is right for you.

If Poway's amazing lifestyle appeals to you, this East County oasis could work if you've got the cash. So what are you waiting for? To set up a private tour of available Poway homes for sale, get in touch with the pros at VIP Realty! They'll show you the real deal—good, bad, and ugly—without all the hype.

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