Welcome to San Diego Blog | August 1, 2019

Best AirBNB Buildings in Downtown San Diego

If  you are looking for a property to do short term rentals in downtown San Diego, then you need to be aware that all buildings downtown do have restrictions on doing Air BNB rentals.  Most buildings have a 28 day restriction as the minimum lease term.  They do this because they don’t want nightly or weekly guests and they don’t want to compete with hotels where they have to collect and pay a hotel tax.  Rentals for less than 28 days cause more tax liability and more wear and tear on the building and association.  Most attorneys set this up when they are creating the CC&R’s for a new condo building in Downtown San Diego and other areas as well.

Many of the luxury towers have a minimum of 6 or 12 month lease term because they want more exclusivity and don’t want their high rise communities to be highly transient.  Most of these luxury towers have front desk attendance that can and to monitor guests that are coming and going so we highly recommend against trying to be sneaky.  In most cases, you will get caught and fined; I’ve seen fines up to $5000 so it’s just not worth it.

For the condo communities in downtown that do allow short term rentals or AirBNB rentals for 28+ days, this can be a lucrative investment opportunity.  If you are a novice investor and live in San Diego and can manage the property yourself, the returns are quite handsome.  If you don’t want to manage these yourself, then the management fees will run at about 10% because there is a fair amount of turnover.  So, you’ll certainly need to take this into account when running your numbers.  

Condos in Downtown can be a Great Investment Opportunity

For those of you that want to use the property as a vacation home for a number of months and rent it out for other months to cover property taxes, HOA dues and possibly a mortgage payment, then doing monthly rentals can be a great way to have a subsidized vacation property.  The months that generally pay out the highest rents in downtown San Diego are July and August.  In July, Comicon and 4th of July really bring a lot of guests out from Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Utah.  August is super popular for the warm, but not too hot, weather and Major League baseball events like the Home Run Derby and All Star game.  

Next, April and September have some good traffic with Spring break vacations as well as Memorial Day.  May and June have sometimes foggy weather or “May grey” and :June gloom”, but the demand is still good.  The months that have less demand tend to be November, December, January & February.  That doesn’t meant most properties sit vacant, but you may pull double the rent in July and August as November and January.  It really depends on location, price and events in town at the time of year.

The most popular neighborhoods in Downtown San Diego for AirBNB short term rentals are in order of most demand (pulled from AirDNA – a website that scrubs data from AirBnB).

  • Little Italy (so many great restaurants and cafes)
  • Gaslamp Quarter (entertainment central)
  • East Village (baseball crowd & lots of loft choices)
  • Marina District (central location & near convention center)
  • Columbia District (mostly luxury towers)
  • Cortez Hill (more bang for the buck)

Most popular  buildings for short term AirBNB rentals

These condo complexes allow rentals for periods of 28 days or more.

La Vita – ideal location in Little Italy, has great views over the San Diego bay, has great amenities and security, but lower monthly HOA dues.


Doma – right in the middle of Little Italy – mix of contemporary lofts and traditional condos, great style, lower HOA dues and decent amenities – spa, gym & rooftop deck with bay views


Breeza – front row at the Waterfront Park with great views of the Star of India, pool, spa, amenity room, BBQ areas, fitness center and moderate HOA dues.


Palermo -most economical choice in Little Italy for a building with super low HOA dues and good value on amenities.   A little off the beaten path though…


Treo – located just south of Little Italy in the Columbia District, it’s by far the best short term rental building in the neighborhood.  The building was completely renovated in 2018 and looks like a W-Hotel with nice lobby, front desk attendant, stylish common areas with pool, spa, pool room, recreation room, lush courtyard area with BBQ stations.  Low HOA dues and some good views of the bay.

Diamond Terrace – Located in East Village right at Petco Park, some condos in this building have home plate views!  Low HOA dues and common areas include small gym, small rec room and 14th floor terrace with BBQ that looks into the baseball diamond at Petco- home of the Padres.

Icon – Most stylish building in East Village that allows 28 day rentals.  Each floor has an icon – Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, etc – great amenities including 24 hr front desk, rec room, rooftop deck with views over the bay towards Coronado and into Petco Park.  Also includes large fitness center, theater room and tranquil courtyard area.

Park Terrace – Good value building – larger 1 bed condos and good sized 2 bed condos.  HOA dues moderate and amenities include rec room, fitness center, 2nd floor terrace with BBQ and lounging areas.


Alta – right on the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter.  Has pool, spa, fitness center, elegant lobby and very modern and fresh finishes.  Lively area and stylish building.


Trellis – location, location location – sits in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter between 5th & 6th Avenues on K Street.  This is a lively and hopping area that is super convenient for baseball games, conventions, dining, shopping and partying.  Higher HOA dues and less amenities – small gym and 2nd floor terrace with BBQ’s.

Gaslamp City Square- Great value – lower HOA dues, good location, descent amenities include pool, spa, sundeck, fitness center.  Location is super central – no car required.


Fore more information about the best short term rental properties in downtown San Diego, give us a call: 619-356-3099.


Written by: chad

Categories: Airbnb, Downtown San Diego, San Diego Real Estate

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