Moving to San Diego

Getting to San Diego and moving into your residence hall can be a stressful experience if you don't plan ahead. Below are some helpful hints and suggestions which we hope will facilitate a smooth and pain-free moving experience for our students from beyond California!

Students moving in on campus

OLÉ! Weekend

OLÉ! Weekend is USD's on-campus orientation for first-year students entering USD in the fall semester. This five-day program allows you to move in, meet your fellow classmates, connect with your faculty advisor, and begin experiencing your Living Learning Community (LLC). This year's OLÉ! Weekend will be held from Friday, August 31 through Tuesday, September 4. Students from beyond California are highly encouraged to schedule their travel plans around OLÉ! Weekend.

Students with dietary restrictions are encouraged to fill out the OLÉ! Weekend Dietary Restrictions Form prior to arrival.

To find more information and to see the schedule for OLÉ! Weekend, please visit the Orientation website.

Campus Housing Move-In

Move-in for First-Year residential students will take place during OLÉ! Weekend on Friday, August 31. Incoming transfer students will move into their residence halls on Saturday, September 1. All returning residential students will be able to move in beginning on Monday, September 3.

For more information about the move-in process or housing, please visit the Residential Life website.

What to Pack


Here are some of the essential items recommended by our Out-of-State Ambassadors!

  • Something to remind you from home
  • A fan
  • Beachwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks or foods from home
  • Sports gear for your favorite team
  • Re-usable shopping bags

Important Documents

When packing for your move to San Diego, don't forget to bring the things that you might not use as often, but are still essential such as driver's license, passport, social security card, medical insurance information, financial aid forms, or other important documents. As an out-of-state student, it could take longer to get these documents depending on how far away your parent or guardian lives, so we encourage you to consider bringing them.

Many students from beyond California choose to apply for a California driver's license or ID card. This is especially important for students who either wish to establish residency or who do not possess a REAL ID compliant form of identification. More information about what documentation will be needed to apply for a California ID or driver's license can be found on the California DMV website.

Other Things to Pack

For more ideas of what to pack, check out the Residential Life packing checklist!

Hotels and Temporary Housing

Hotel Partnership

Bartell Hotels, owned and operated by USD alumnus Richard Bartell, offers discounted room rates to friends and visitors of USD and donates 10% of all total room costs back to the University in support of student scholarships. All eight Bartell Hotels are conveniently located near campus as well as other major San Diego attractions, with many being situated on the water's edge. 

Other Temporary Housing

If you would rather search elsewhere for housing accommodations for yourself or your family, the City of San Diego's website offers a list of various types of temporary housing such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, vacation rentals, and Inns. 

Moving and Storage Partnerships

USD also has partnerships with Cort for furniture rentals as well as A-1 Self Storage for storage and moving assistance!

Travel Options

To find information about traveling to and around San Diego, please visit the Getting Around section of our Campus Life page!

Getting Acquainted with the City

Restaurants Recommended by Out-of-State Ambassadors

  • Nico's Taco Shop in Ocean Beach (cash only)
  • Northside Shack
  • Food Truck Fridays in Balboa Park
  • Rose's Donuts (cash only)
  • Fig Tree Cafe
  • Breakfast Republic
  • Communal Coffee
  • Surf Side Deli
  • Baked Bear
  • George's in La Jolla
  • Snooze
  • Better Buzz Coffee
  • In & Out


While San Diego is renowned for its amazing weather, it can still be something to adjust to. The sun can be stronger here than in some other parts of the country, and seasons are less visible, so prepare accordingly!

Getting to Know Our Part of Linda Vista

San Diego is a fantastic city, but it can sometimes be easy to feel overwhelmed. We suggest starting close to campus and exploring our part of Linda Vista. Just down the street from campus, there are a variety of restaurants, laundromats and dry cleaners, stores, and more!