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California: Best Places to Live

San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles are among the top places to live in California.

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California is the most populated state in the US, and it's easy to see why. The state has great weather, gorgeous beaches, and friendly people. It also has the largest economy in the country. Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world, is located there. These cities offer some of the best quality of life in the Golden State

10. San Luis Obispo

#10 San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Founded in 1772 as a mission station, the city quickly grew and became a popular stop on Route 101 and opened the first motel in the world in 1925. SLO enjoys 300 days of sunshine in a year and has stunning natural beauty, making it an obvious choice for a place to live. The city is also home to some of the top-ranked schools such as the California Polytechnic State University. SLO has an excellent culture and entertainment scenes with incredibly big theaters. The unique lifestyle makes it one of the best places to live in California.

9. Santa Barbara

#9 Santa Barbara

The coastal city of Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County. It is located between the Pacific Ocean and the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara one of the most popular destinations for tourist in the state. Its economy consists of a large service sector, healthcare, technology, education, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance. The cost of living is generally high in with rental homes costing an average of $1,400 per month. The city is served by Santa Barbara Airport and several train services.

8. Los Angeles

#8 Los Angeles

Southern California’s sprawling metropolis has a lot to offer for both its visitors and residents. From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to a number of iconic Hollywood production studios, the city is the capital of the country’s booming film industry. Los Angeles also ranks highly for its numerous modern amenities and a stable housing market. The city is also perfect for outdoor activities. With a population of about 4 million people, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California. Owning a home there costs an average of $825,000.

7. Irvine

#7 Irvine

Irvine is a small city in California, located in Orange County. It is one of the safest and wealthiest cities in the US, boasting of a booming job market, safe environment, and amazing weather. Irvine has constantly featured among the “Best Places to Live,” with the AreaVibe claiming that it is “exceptionally livable.” Irvine has numerous amenities and companies including over 200 Fortune 500 companies. The quality of education is top-notch with notable universities such as the University of California and the Irvine Valley College. Irvine also happens to be the 3rd happiest places to live in the US according to WalletHub.

6. San Francisco

#6 San Francisco

From the iconic cable cars to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is among the most beloved cities in America. The city is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Northern California. With a population of approximately 883,300 residents, San Francisco is California’s 4th most populous and the US’ 13th most populous city. The city is known for its bustling urban environment, thriving job market, and high-class restaurants. It was named the 4th happiest place to live and 34th best city for job seekers in the US. San Francisco has a stable housing market, cool weather, high income per capita, and numerous high-class amenities.

5. San Diego

#5 San Diego

San Diego is the state’s second-largest city with a population of approximately 1.4 million residents. San Diego is considered one of the best places to live in the world because of several factors including the warm climate, magnificent beaches, and outstanding amenities. This global tourist center has an amazing nightlife, especially in the Gaslamp Quarter. The city offers a wide range of outdoor activities, healthy job market, and high-quality life.

4. San Jose

#4 San Jose

San Jose has a population of approximately 1 million residents. According to the latest study by WalletHub, the city is the US’ second happiest place to live in. San Jose has a strong job market with endless opportunities for its population. The sunny weather makes it even more attractive, especially for tourists. The city boasts of a stable housing market with a median listing price for a home being $788,000.

3. Santa Rosa

#3 Santa Rosa

With a population of 175,000 residents, Santa Rosa is the largest city in the Redwood Empire and the 5th most populous in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located north of San Francisco, the city boasts of sunny weather, fabulous shopping centers, and amazing restaurants. It also has high-end amenities such as schools, healthcare, and entertainment joints. Santa Rosa is ranked the 9th happiest place to live in the US because of the physical and healthy emotional well-being of its residents.

2. Los Altos

#2 Los Altos

Los Altos is a city in northern Silicon Valley with a population of approximately 29,000 people. It was originally an agricultural city with a number of summer cottages and apricot orchards. However, Los Altos is now an affluent town with commercial zones, office park, and shopping area. The median household income in the city was $208,300 (2013-2017). In 2018, it was ranked the 5th wealthiest city in the US by the American Community Survey. Los Altos has a strong job market with top employers including the Los Altos School District and Whole Foods Market.

1. Piedmont

#1 Piedmont

Piedmont, located in Alameda County, has a population of approximately 12,000 residents and is considered one of the best places to live in California. The city offers its residents an urban feel and most of the residents own their homes. Piedmont has plenty of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. Public schools and health care centers are highly rated and offer world-class services. The residents tend to be liberal and are always ready to assist strangers. The median cost of owning a home is $1.7 million while the median rent is $2,930.

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