Looking for popular places to live in California? From the bustling city of Los Angeles to the laid-back beach town of San Diego, California has something for everyone. Here are 10 of the most popular places to live in California, based on factors such as cost of living, job opportunities, schools, and amenities.
Home to stunning beaches, iconic landmarks, sprawling national parks, sunny weather, and abundant forests, California features lush natural beauty with diverse landscapes.
From bustling cities to picturesque coastal towns, the state has it all. Couple it with a vibrant entertainment scene, a robust job market, and a laid-back culture. No wonder it attracts so many people to settle down here.
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Are you planning to move to the Golden State too?
We’ve got you covered with our list of the most popular places to live in California: –
San Diego #1
With its sunny weather, stunning coastal views, and a hip social life, San Diego has plenty to boast of.
From enjoying a family outing at the San Diego Zoo, soaking up the sun at La Jolla Shores, and picnicking in Balboa Park to unleashing creativity at Legoland, there is no dearth of activities to enjoy in this lively place.
The city also features world-class dining options and vibrant nightlife.
There is a host of job opportunities here in industries such as tourism, biotechnology, and healthcare, making it a great place to live, work and play. Its distinct neighbourhoods foster strong community ties, where you won’t feel the isolation of living in a large metro city.
Excellent schools and a high median household income add to its desirability.
San Francisco #2
Looking for an exciting cosmopolitan vibe?
Head to San Francisco.
The Golden Gate city is the economic hotspot of northern California with many companies and start-ups calling it home. This leads to lucrative jobs and a high per capita income.
The city’s coastal location and hilly landscape elevate its natural beauty and offer a host of outdoor recreational activities.
Couple this with a plethora of cultural attractions such as Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, and Little Italy, adding to its lively entertainment scene.
There are also numerous highly-rated schools here, drawing many families to put down their roots. With so many offerings, it’s no wonder that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in California.
Los Angeles #3
Looking to enjoy the glitz and glamor of a vibrant metropolis?
Los Angeles may be a perfect choice.
The city of lights is the hub of Hollywood entertainment. It is home to stunning beaches, a lively art scene, world-class entertainment, and a host of outdoor recreational activities.
With its warm climate, hundreds of attractions, plenty of public parks, great schools, and libraries, the city comes with many incredible offerings.
Home to Disneyland, it is one of the most popular places to live in California.
Owing to its slightly high crime rate, you might have to splurge to find a house in some of the safest neighbourhoods but if budget isn’t a constraint, go for it.
San Jose #4
Only an hour away from San Francisco, San Jose is home to many tech giants the likes of Apple, Google, and Facebook, and describes itself as the ‘Capital of Silicon Valley’.
The area abounds in lucrative job opportunities, making it possible to manage the high living expenses.
Love an active lifestyle?
There is a plethora of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy here, from hiking in Castle Rock State Park, biking in Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve, and going for a picnic in San Jose Municipal Rose Garden amongst many others.
The city also features fascinating attractions such as the 160-room, maze-like Winchester Mystery House, a massive Monopoly board, and a 120-acre flea market complete with ponies and numerous historic neighbourhoods with exquisite architecture.
Santa Monica #5
Looking to enjoy a laid-back lifestyle?
Head to Santa Monica.
With its spectacular beaches and generally warm weather, the city is a beach lover’s paradise.
From playing arcade games at the Santa Monica Pier, buying fresh produce from its four weekly farmers’ markets, and picnicking in Palisades Park to enjoying the vibrant nightlife in Downtown Santa Monica, there is something here for everyone.
If you’re a book lover, you will love the peaceful quietude of the libraries here.
The city is home to a diverse business community where you can find plenty of jobs in industries such as entertainment, finance, education, healthcare, and tourism.
Although housing is expensive here, the offerings make it worth the splurge.
Just a few hours away from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, Sacramento is a scenic city with a host of unique offerings.
Its tree-lined streets, impressive art galleries, excellent breweries, farm-to-fork restaurants, and bars offer plenty of entertainment options.
If you love the outdoors, there are numerous activities to enjoy here with a 32-mile bike trail, beach sports options, and clubs.
The city offers great educational opportunities, a promising job market, and an affordable cost of living as compared to other popular cities, drawing young professionals and families alike to put down their roots here.
Santa Barbara #7
A picturesque coastal city, Santa Barbara offers the perfect combination of small-town charm with access to big-city amenities.
This Spanish-style coastal town has a rich surfing history and features epic surf breaks, making it a surfer’s paradise.
It is home to the University of California and a sizeable student population.
Some other notable attractions include East Beach, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Zoo, and exciting annual events such as Old Spanish Days (Fiesta) and the Summer Solstice Parade.
Planning to relocate with family?
There are numerous highly-rated schools in the city. Housing options are pricey here but if budget is not a constraint, go for it.
So, pick the one that ticks off all the boxes on your checklist and get ready to begin the next chapter of your life in this stunning state.
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FAQs: Most Popular Places to Live in California State
Q. What part of California is the most popular?
Los Angeles and San Jose are some of the most popular cities in California.
Q. Where do most people live in California?
Los Angeles is one of the most highly populated cities in California.
Q. What is the best county to live in California?
San Mateo County is considered the best county to live in California.