Have you seen the commercial with Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Beckham, Vanessa Williams, Phil Mickelson, and Rob Lowe telling you why you should visit California? They’re right; you should visit California! And after a visit or two, you may even consider making the move to the Golden State. That’s not a bad idea, but California is a BIG state. No worries; we’ll help you figure out where to call home.
Where should you live in California?
Everyone’s idea of the California lifestyle is different. What are you looking for? A great place to raise a family? Nightlife and entertainment? Surf and sun? Cali has it all!
What it’s known for: Beautiful beaches, year-round sunny weather, Mexican food, the U.S. Navy (largest naval fleet in the world), proximity to Tijuana, major attractions (San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Legoland, Balboa Park), Comic-Con, craft beer, the Gaslamp District, Coronado, and healthy values.
Who should move there: Beach goers, young families, college students, and health nuts
You’ll find locals outside. The weather is always perfect for outdoor recreation.
Fun fact: San Diego is the birthplace of California!
What it’s known for: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, ethnic diversity (more than 140 ethnicities make up the city), fashion, business, manufacturing, mild temps, Santa Monica Pier, museums (more museums per capita than any other city in the world), and pro sports teams (Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, Kings).
Who should move there: Creatives, singles, fashionistas, and sports nuts
You’ll find locals at the Los Angeles Farmer’s market. You can bargain shop, people watch, and maybe run into a celebrity or two. Plus it’s usually tourist-free.
Fun fact: The city’s original name was “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels on of the River Porciúncula.” As the population grew, the city name shrunk to what we now refer to as “L.A.”
What it’s known for: The San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Lombard Street, pro sports (49ers and Giants), coffee, fog, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Chocolate, progressive attitude, theater, finance/banking, cool weather, and steep hills.
Who should move there: Techies, fitness fanatics, nature lovers, and dog people
You’ll find locals at the parks (there are more than 200 parks in the city). Going to the park is the best way to avoid touristy spots. Dolores Park and Golden Gate Park are local faves.
Fun fact: The city was built on 43 hills.
What it’s known for: University of California at Berkeley, diversity, progressive government, more locally-owned shops than big box stores and chains, San Francisco Bay views, hub for the arts, Berkeley Rose Garden, and Tilden Regional Park.
Who should move there: college students, liberals, bicyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts
You’ll find locals at the festivals. Berkeley hosts many festivals throughout the year, such as the Arts Festival, Kite Festival, Juggling and Unicycling Festival, and How Berkeley Can You Be Festival!
Fun fact: The city has gained more than 4,470 street and park trees since 2000. It’s all part of the city’s goal to improve air quality and reduce local air temps.
What it’s known for: Good public schools, notable company headquarters (Taco Bell, In-N-Out Burger, Kia Motors, Toshiba), community and neighborhood parks, Irvine Spectrum Center, the University of California at Irvine, filming, bike trails, and the Irvine Museum.
Who should move there: families, skilled workers, bicyclists, actors, college students
You’ll find locals at the parks, on the beach, or on the trails. It’s an active community.
Fun fact: There are more than 44 miles of bike trails and 20,000 acres of park and preserves for outdoor sports and recreation.
What it’s known for: the Capital of Silicon Valley, The Tech Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santana Row, warm weather, diversity, festivals, low crime rate, educated workforce, not very touristy, parks, San Jose State University.
Who should move there: Tech whizzes, college students, people who don’t like to be around lots of tourists, families
You’ll find locals cheering on the Sharks (NHL), the Giants (minor league baseball), the Earthquakes (minor league soccer), and the Spartans (San Jose State athletics).
Fun fact: The city was the state’s capital before Sacramento.
What it’s known for: Proximity to Yosemite National Park, lower cost of living, California State University at Fresno, raisins (it’s the Raisin Capital of the World), fine arts, agriculture, nice weather, and community parks.
Who should move there: Outdoor explorers, budget-conscious people, agricultures, and people who really love raisins
You’ll find locals in the Tower District. It’s the spot in Fresno for dining, arts, and entertainment. Most restaurants and retail shops are locally-owned, too.
Fun fact: Fresno is the Spanish name for Ash tree.
What it’s known for: Beautiful scenery, Spanish architecture, wine, healthy way of life, sunny weather, guacamole, home of Jack Johnson and Katy Perry, The Channel Islands National Park, hiking, University of California at Santa Barbara, and State Street.
Who should move there: People who love community, college students, shopaholics, hikers, and wine connoisseurs
You’ll find locals exploring the outdoors. With about 300 days of sunshine per year, the hardest part of living in Santa Barbara will be having to go indoors.
Fun fact: The city is often referred to as the “American Riviera” because its climate feels Mediterranean.
San Mateo County, CA
(Includes the cities of San Mateo, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Half Moon Bay…just to name a few!)
What it’s known for: proximity to San Francisco and San Jose, friendly people, Coyote Point Park, Pillar Point Harbor, low unemployment rate, technology, slower pace, Stanford University, healthiness, cleanliness, cooler weather, education, diversity, and the Filoli Gardens.
Who should move there: job seekers, students, and those who crave a short commute to the city
You’ll find locals on the golf course. The county is located on a 60-mile peninsula, providing great ocean/bay views and breezy weather – perfect for golfing!
Fun fact: YouTube was a startup company that originated in the city of San Mateo.
What it’s known for: trees, capital of California, California State University at Sacramento, The UC Davis Medical Center, festivals, bike-friendly, Crocker Art Museum, locally-grown food, NBA (the Kings), parkland, lower cost of living, peace and quiet, proximity to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, and Yosemite.
Who should move there: bicyclists, outdoor adventurers, families, and college students
You’ll find locals at one of the many restaurants. There are more than 1,200 restaurants in the city, so you could possibly never eat at the same place twice – unless one becomes your favorite!
Fun fact: Sacramento is known as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” since many restaurants get their food directly from local farms surrounding the city.
Do you live in California?
Tell us what you love about your city or add to our list and let us know more Californian cities you think people would love to call home!