Moving to California: The Golden State's 20 Best Cities

Shifting to California: The Golden State’s 20 Greatest Cities

Is West Coast sunshine calling your identify? You is likely to be one of many many who’re transferring to California. With a inhabitants of near 40 million, California is probably the most populous state within the nation. From the rolling hills of Northern California’s wine nation to the sandy seashores of Southern California’s oceanfront, the Golden State’s pure magnificence and vary of outside actions and climates are merely unmatched.

How Do You Determine The place to Dwell in California?

We checked out many cities primarily based on public faculty scores, value of residing, job alternatives, and native facilities utilizing the U.S. Census, Bureau of Financial Evaluation, (our companion web site), and different trusted sources. The entire cities listed are extremely rated for his or her public colleges, family-friendliness, nightlife, range, and extra. For those who’re California dreamin’, right here’s a take a look at the 20 greatest cities to name house.

The 20 Greatest Locations To Dwell in California

  1. Berkeley
  2. Irvine
  3. San Francisco
  4. Sunnyvale
  5. Torrance
  6. Santa Clara
  7. Carlsbad
  8. Pasadena
  9. Thousand Oaks
  10. San Diego
  11. Burbank
  12. Costa Mesa
  13. Roseville
  14. San Jose
  15. Glendale
  16. Temecula
  17. Lengthy Seashore
  18. Orange
  19. Sacramento
  20. Oakland

1. Berkeley

Positioned within the northern a part of the state on the east aspect of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is our first metropolis to contemplate should you’re transferring to California. It’s identified the world over for being house to the College of California, Berkeley and because the birthplace of the Sixties Free Speech Motion. Individuals from around the globe come to Berkeley searching for acclaimed eating places, museums, retailers, and humanities. Since it’s within the coronary heart of the San Francisco Bay Space, it’s additionally a transportation hub with extremely practical infrastructure.

Socially numerous and culturally progressive with a vibrant mixture of neighborhoods, Berkeley provides its residents each wealthy historical past and deep authenticity. Wonderful cultural and academic alternatives earn Berkeley a stable worldwide repute. All in all, it’s an excellent place to name house. In reality, Area of ranks it because the #1 “Healthiest Metropolis in America” and “Healthiest Locations to Dwell” and the #8 “Greatest Metropolis to Dwell in America.”

Inhabitants: 117,145
Median family earnings: $91,259
Median itemizing house worth: $1,220,000
Median hire: $3,200
Price of residing index: 192 (92 p.c larger than the nationwide common of 100. Observe: The price of residing index in California is 140.)

2. Irvine

Smack dab in the course of California’s perpetually sunny Orange County, the prosperous metropolis of Irvine is thought for its booming job market, family-friendly environment, secure surroundings, and exquisite climate. A lot about Irvine is spectacular, together with its being one of many wealthiest cities within the nation. It is because Irvine’s financial system is robust, with loads of high-paying jobs thanks partially to dozens of Fortune 500 firms being in Irvine.

Simply as nicely, as housing in Irvine is a sizzling commodity and really costly. Schooling is top-notch, particularly contemplating that the highly-rated College of California, Concordia College, and Irvine Valley School are all positioned in Irvine. The town can be nationally famend for being one of the vital environmentally aware within the U.S. and stays dedicated to sustainability and inexperienced residing.

Inhabitants: 309,031
Median family earnings: $108,318
Median itemizing house worth: $1,480,000
Median hire: $5,000
Price of residing index: 178 (78 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

3. San Francisco

From the Golden Gate Bridge to the enduring cable vehicles, San Francisco is certainly one of America’s most beloved cities. These on the lookout for a bustling city surroundings, top-notch eating places, and a thriving job market will discover it in San Francisco. San Francisco repeatedly makes “better of” lists, notably for being such a cultural, culinary, and inventive hub. It has a wonderful training system, a high-functioning transportation infrastructure, a steady housing market, and nice climate.

San Francisco additionally will get excessive marks for its vibrant, traditionally important neighborhoods, bohemian and trendsetting way of life, and world-changing know-how. Regardless of the sky-high actual property costs, San Francisco is beloved by its residents and revered internationally for its world-class museums, family-friendly actions, award-winning eating places, and impactful strides within the LGBTQ+ rights motion.

Inhabitants: 815, 201
Median family earnings: $119,136
Median itemizing house worth: $1,300,000
Median hire: $4,050
Price of residing index: 203 (103 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

4. Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale is positioned within the Santa Clara Valley, alongside the historic El Camino Actual and Freeway 101. The cities of San Jose, Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, and Santa Clara are all neighbors of it. And regardless of its suburban really feel, town has glorious eating places, energetic nightlife, and plenty of out of doors actions.

Since Sunnyvale is a giant a part of Silicon Valley, many respected know-how firms are headquartered there. The town is taken into account the birthplace of the online game business, too. Excessive-paying jobs abound. LinkedIn, Yahoo, Amazon, Goal, Deloitte, Apple, Microsoft, Comcast, and Google are just some of the family names which have workplaces in Sunnyvale. So, should you like laid-back, tech-forward tradition, Sunnyvale is for you!

Inhabitants: 152,258
Median family earnings: $150,464
Median itemizing house worth: $1,650,000
Median hire: $3,700
Price of residing index: 204 (104 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

5. Torrance

Torrance’s coastal neighborhood covers roughly 21 sq. miles within the Los Angeles metropolitan space. Torrance has lots going for it: 30 parks, 1.5 miles of seashore on the Pacific Ocean, over 400 eateries, and roughly 212 acres of inexperienced house. Plus, LAX is barely quarter-hour away. And Torrance’s Del Amo Trend Middle is without doubt one of the 5 largest malls in the US at 2.5 million sq. ft.

Torrance can be house to the U.S. headquarters of Japanese automaker, American Honda Motor Firm, and its luxurious car division, Acura. Robinson Helicopters, Honeywell, and King’s Hawaiian Bread Firm are different giant employers in Torrance. The sustainable and enriching surroundings assures a top quality of life for many who name it house.

Inhabitants: 143,600
Median family earnings: $94,781
Median itemizing house worth: $999,000
Median hire: $3,750
Price of residing index: 169 (69 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

6. Santa Clara

Santa Clara, or “The Mission Metropolis,” is positioned 45 miles south of San Francisco. Santa Clara was first a Spanish mission that was established in 1977 and devoted to Saint Clare de Asis. Santa Clara is within the coronary heart of Silicon Valley. Subsequently, many high-tech firms make their house there, together with Utilized Supplies, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Oracle, and Ericsson. It’s good for many who desire a profession in tech, younger households, and out of doors lovers.

Furthermore, town can be house to Santa Clara College, Mission School, California’s Nice America Theme Park, and Levi’s Stadium. Different notable points of interest are the Triton Museum of Artwork, Central Park, and the Ulistac Pure Space which is devoted to the preservation of native Californian vegetation and wildlife. The character protect has a number of distinct pure habitats, together with grassland, coastal scrub, savannah, riparian woodland, and wetlands.

Inhabitants: 127,159
Median family earnings: $136,870
Median itemizing house worth: $1,410,000
Median hire: $3,610
Price of residing index: 190 (90 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

7. Carlsbad

Carlsbad is a coastal metropolis within the scenic North County area. It’s 87 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles and 35 miles north of Downtown San Diego. Sometimes called “The Village by the Sea,” Carlsbad was named after a well-known spa in Karlsbad, the place the water was discovered to have comparable mineral content material.

The Californian metropolis is house to a number of famend seashores, like Tamarack Surf Seashore and South Carlsbad State Seashore. It additionally homes a number of breweries, world-class resorts, buying malls, golf programs, eating locations, and extra. LEGOLAND and the adjoining SEA LIFE Aquarium are additionally positioned in Carlsbad. Outside actions embody The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, which is in a canyon and options free-roaming peacocks, and The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, with its 50 acres of blooming flowers each spring.

Inhabitants: 115,302
Median family earnings: $112,933
Median itemizing house worth: $1,500,000
Median hire: $5,500
Price of residing index: 175 (75 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

8. Pasadena

Based in 1886, Pasadena is the second-oldest metropolis within the Los Angeles space. As of late, it’s house to many scientific, academic, and cultural establishments, together with Caltech, Pasadena Metropolis School, and ArtCenter School of Design. You’ll additionally discover the Pasadena Playhouse, Ambassador Auditorium, Norton Simon Museum, and USC Pacific Asia Museum within the space. When it’s time to work, residents look to Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Know-how, Huntington Memorial Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente.

Trying to find a enjoyable afternoon? Previous City Pasadena spans 21 blocks downtown. It boasts many retailers and all kinds of eating places, nightclubs, and out of doors cafes. There’s additionally a plethora of occasions within the metropolis, just like the Event of Roses Parade and The Rose Bowl, which is one of many first and most well-known post-season faculty soccer video games.

Inhabitants: 135,732
Median family earnings: $85,129
Median itemizing house worth: $1,200,000
Median hire: $3,800
Price of residing index: 168 (68 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

9. Thousand Oaks

Named after its hundreds of oak timber, Thousand Oaks is positioned within the northwestern a part of Larger Los Angeles, roughly 15 miles from town of Los Angeles. It’s not an extension of LA, although. It’s its personal metropolis a quiet, upscale neighborhood with a number of inexperienced house and two lakes. Thousand Oaks’ location within the Conejo Valley additionally provides residents easy accessibility to Malibu Springs, Level Mugu State Park, and Satwiwa Native American Indian Pure Space.

Agriculture was the dominant business in Thousand Oaks, however quite a few tech firms have since dominated the employment statistics. Because of this, there are many jobs within the biotech, electronics, automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, healthcare, and financing industries. Amgen, Teledyne Applied sciences, and Skyworks Options have headquarters in Thousand Oaks. To not point out, Financial institution of America, Verizon, Volkswagen, Audi, Normal Motors, BMW, and Anthem Blue Cross have regional workplaces within the metropolis.

Inhabitants: 125, 754
Median family earnings: $108,377
Median itemizing house worth: $1,100,000
Median hire: $4,900
Price of residing index: 171 (71 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

10. San Diego

With its heat local weather, excellent eating places, and surfable seashores, San Diego is indubitably among the finest coastal cities to name house in California. It is usually the second largest metropolis, proper after Los Angeles. Since San Diego has a variety of outside actions, distinct neighborhoods, and a wholesome job market, town can be one of many happiest in America. Add to {that a} steady housing market, and also you’ve acquired a slice of paradise.

There’s extra to this Southern California seashore metropolis than its sandy shores. One of the distinctive options of San Diego is that it seamlessly combines seashore, city, and suburban environments into one lovely place that’s filled with journey. And don’t neglect to take a look at Balboa Park and its a number of museums, the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, the Gaslamp Quarter, and Previous City all of that are big attracts to town yearly.

Inhabitants: 1,381, 611
Median family earnings: $83,454
Median itemizing house worth: $939,900
Median hire: $4,400
Price of residing index: 150 (50 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

11. Burbank

Burbank is positioned on the southeastern finish of the San Fernando Valley. Located about 12 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles, it’s also known as the “Media Capital of the World” due to its shut proximity to Hollywood. Plus, tons of main media and leisure firms are headquartered in or have important manufacturing services in Burbank. These embody Warner Bros. Leisure, The Walt Disney Firm, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, and extra.

It’s the excellent vacation spot to expertise the sunny, laid-back way of life Southern California is thought for. Although, it does include a excessive price ticket. But, it is likely to be price it for the seemingly limitless buying alternatives, eating choices, and nature adventures that await each inside and outdoors of Burbank. You’ll be able to hike, bike, journey a horse, or golf in a scenic setting. Or, you may go for film excursions, present tapings, and Hollywood-related theme parks. See what we imply? Burbank is as numerous as it’s distinctive!

Inhabitants: 105,401
Median family earnings: $79,212
Median itemizing house worth: $1,180,000
Median hire: $3,890
Price of residing index: 163 (63 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

12. Costa Mesa

The 16-square-mile Costa Mesa is named the “Metropolis of the Arts,” incomes its nickname by being a premier cultural and enterprise heart within the coronary heart of Orange County. Procuring, eating, and leisure choices are in all places, with Michelin-star eating places, the posh buying mecca of the South Coast Plaza, and quite a few leisure choices within the metropolis’s inexperienced areas.

You may as well catch Broadway productions and concert events on the well-known Segerstrom Middle for the Arts, the Orange County Performing Arts Cente, or the South Coast Repertory Theater. One other large draw of Costa Mesa is that a number of top-rated seashores are minutes away. Each Los Angeles and San Diego aren’t far, both. When contemplating a transfer to Costa Mesa, consider an eco-friendly, luxurious, and fitness-based way of life with entry to internationally acclaimed facilities.

Inhabitants: 110,750
Median family earnings: $90,370
Median itemizing house worth: $1,230,000
Median hire: $4,600
Price of residing index: 165 (65 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

13. Roseville

Roseville, the most important metropolis in Placer County, is positioned inside the Sacramento Metropolitan Space. The price of residing in Roseville is even eight p.c decrease than the price of residing in California. Whenever you dwell in Roseville, you may take pleasure in its gentle Mediterranean local weather, which is right for year-round out of doors actions. Good factor that Roseville has greater than 80 parks and leisure services! Higher but, Yosemite is barely 4 hours away, and San Francisco and Lake Tahoe are enjoyable and fast journeys for a lot of.

Different perks of Roseville embody its inexpensive, community-owned utilities, city-run municipal companies (e.g., police and fireplace departments, transit, parks, and libraries), and pro-business mentality. Roseville ranks on many greatest lists for startups and dealing remotely. Regionally, the most important employers are Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Sutter Roseville Medical Middle, and Union Pacific Railroad.

Inhabitants: 151,901
Median family earnings: $95,519
Median itemizing house worth: $698,000
Median hire: $2,900
Price of residing index: 132 (32 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

14. San Jose

Usually referred to as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is thought for its sprawling tech campuses. Similar to the close by Mountain View and Cupertino, San Jose has a stable infrastructure to help this tech hub and is full of suburban neighborhoods. When it’s time to play, Santana Row in West San Jose is a vacation spot for boutique buying, whereas the SAP Middle and PayPal Park host hockey and soccer video games for the native groups.

San Jose additionally lucked out when it comes to its location. The foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Vary encompass it, and the Sierra Nevada is shut by. The Santa Cruz seashores are a 45-minute drive. And Yosemite Nationwide Park and Lake Tahoe are solely a number of hours away. Sadly, the price of residing in San Jose is without doubt one of the highest within the nation. Not simply housing however on a regular basis requirements additionally value extra. However should you can afford it, San Jose is unquestionably one of many high cities to dwell in California.

Inhabitants: 983, 489
Median family earnings: $117,324
Median itemizing house worth: $1,300,000
Median hire: $3,800
Price of residing index: 179 (79 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

15. Glendale

Glendale is a really desired locale within the San Fernando Valley and Verdugo Mountain areas of Los Angeles County. It’s a suburb within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Space that really sits 10 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles. The town can be identified for its huge quantities of workplace house  — over six million, to be precise  — and is house to such giants as Walt Disney Imagineering, ServiceTitan, IHOP/Applebee’s, DreamWorks, LegalZoom, and Public Storage.

Residents love Glendale’s well-maintained streets and number of transportation companies, as nicely. It’s simple to commute to and out of due to the shut proximity of LAX and 4 main freeways. What’s extra, Glendale has excellent colleges, state-of-the-art healthcare services, and rising restaurant and leisure choices.

Inhabitants: 192,366
Median family earnings: $70,596
Median itemizing house worth: $1,100,000
Median hire: $4,000
Price of residing index: 166 (66 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

16. Temecula

Temecula is a vacationer and resort vacation spot in Riverside County. Though Temecula is geographically nearer to Downtown San Diego, it’s thought-about a part of the Larger Los Angeles Space. The principle points of interest are the Temecula Valley Wine Nation, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Competition, the Temecula Valley Worldwide Movie Competition, and Previous City Temecula. Due to these standard actions, folks in Temecula expertise the very best in life and luxuriate in wine tasting, climbing, hot-air ballooning, and sampling hyper-local delicacies.

Furthermore, the Wine Nation options greater than 2,460 acres of manufacturing vineyards and practically 50 wineries. Golf is large right here, too, with a golf course being a part of each resort. Apart from tourism, the tutorial, leisure, skilled, finance, and retail sectors contribute to town’s financial system. In a nutshell, Temecula has a few of the greatest options California has to supply, like an excellent local weather, good colleges, and shut proximity to leisure and tech hubs.

Inhabitants: 110,846
Median family earnings: $98,631
Median itemizing house worth: $753,450
Median hire: $3,350
Price of residing index: 133 (33 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

17. Lengthy Seashore 

Lengthy Seashore (often known as the “LBC” by the locals) is a enjoyable waterfront city positioned roughly 20 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles. The Port of Lengthy Seashore is among the many world’s largest delivery ports, however the metropolis itself has a small-town really feel with bike-friendly streets, family-friendly points of interest, and funky shops. Lengthy Seashore additionally hosts the Grand Prix of Lengthy Seashore and an IndyCar race. Plus, town’s largest waterfront points of interest are the completely docked RMS Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Similar to with many waterfront cities, recreation is tied to water and leisure. Lengthy Seashore is not any exception with its whale watching, crusing, family-friendly seashores, busy marinas, and beach-town vibe. So, in case your thought of good residing consists of pleasure and leisure on the seashore with all of the facilities of a affluent waterfront metropolis, Lengthy Seashore is it!

Inhabitants: 456,062
Median family earnings: $66,410
Median itemizing house worth: $799,000
Median hire: $2,810
Price of residing index: 139 (39 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

18. Orange

Orange, which is positioned roughly 32 miles southeast of Los Angeles, is a superb place to dwell and work. Its historic attraction and small-town really feel additionally include top-rated hospitals, good colleges, and over 20 parks.

Curiously sufficient, Orange’s historical past dates again to 1869. It began as a one-square-mile city with a 10-acre farm full of orange groves, therefore its identify. The middle of the city turned often known as Plaza. Consider it or not, it’s nonetheless nicely preserved and serves as a gathering place for each locals and guests. Equally, Previous Towne Orange accommodates the most important Nationally Registered Historic District in California and is full of vintage shops, specialty retailers, artwork galleries, and eating places.

Inhabitants: 137,264
Median family earnings: $96,605
Median itemizing house worth: $992,500
Median hire: $3,800
Price of residing index: 156 (56 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

19. Sacramento

The California capital is extra inexpensive than most California metro areas, but it nonetheless supplies a top quality of residing. It additionally doesn’t harm that it’s positioned only some hours away from Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma. Sacramento’s relative affordability, strong job market, and a wide selection of outside recreation have led to its important inhabitants development, helmed by younger professionals and households. Due to this passionate inhabitants, there’s a robust sense of neighborhood, plethora of annual occasions, top-notch breweries and wineries, and an abundance of farm-to-table eating places.

Regardless of being an inland metropolis, Sacramento is brimming with out of doors recreation alternatives. There are 223 parks and parkways, totaling practically 4,255.5 acres of land. Then, there are rivers and foothills to discover. Take Folsom Lake, as an example. It’s nice for swimming and waterskiing. So, if a lot of the locations on this record appear too expensive, take into account Sacramento’s affordability compared to our different choices.

Inhabitants: 525,041
Median family earnings: $65,847
Median itemizing house worth: $499,000
Median hire: $2,000
Price of residing index: 118 (18 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

20. Oakland

Oakland could provide much less when it comes to pleasure and fewer facilities than close by San Francisco, nevertheless it’s far more inexpensive than a lot of the Bay Space. It’s additionally environmentally aware, could be navigated with no automotive (stroll, bike, or use dependable public transit as a substitute), and is extremely numerous and family-friendly.

Positioned on the east aspect of San Francisco Bay, Oakland options such points of interest because the Previous Oakland space with restored Victorian structure, in addition to Chinatown, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Fox and Paramount theaters. And there are a ton of eating places, bars, and galleries to discover. Briefly, Oakland is a superb place to dwell for a lot of causes, together with its relative affordability, range, and extra.

Inhabitants: 433,823
Median family earnings: $80,143
Median itemizing house worth: $789,000
Median hire: $2,400
Price of residing index: 156 (56 p.c larger than the nationwide common)

Able to Transfer to Certainly one of These Cities?

To be taught extra about these U.S. cities, take a look at’s Metropolis Profile Report characteristic. Our stories embody metropolis demographics, actual property info, high quality of life elements, and extra. Merely enter the zip code or the state and metropolis of your potential transfer to get a free report on the click on of a button.

For those who determine to maneuver, you might also want knowledgeable transferring firm to help with the heavy lifting and transportation. Luckily, we’ve got you coated. To seek out the proper transferring firm for you, take a look at’s intensive community of respected and dependable movers – all licensed and insured. Better of luck and joyful transferring!

Shifting Sources

Shifting throughout state traces can really feel overwhelming. Listed below are our guides and transferring ideas to assist make your interstate transfer much less traumatic and extra streamlined.

Useful Checklists, Calculators, and Different Sources

Shifting Firm Listing
Shifting Price Calculator
Packing Calculator
Shifting Guidelines
A Guidelines for Shifting Out of State – Shifting to One other State
Shifting With Children Guidelines
Shifting With Pets Guidelines
College Scores from GreatSchools
Metropolis Profile Report

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