California is the second most expensive state in the U.S., falling just below Hawaii. According to the California Association of Realtors, as of October 2020, California’s median home price was more than $710,000. Although California is known for notoriously high housing and transportation costs, people still choose to call California home for many reasons. Here are the top best places to live in California and why residents are willing to pay the cost to live there.
Best Places to Live in California
San Diego, CA
With over 70 miles of beautiful beaches and attractions that include the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego makes the list of best places to live in California. It is also home to several professional sports teams, with multiple large venues to host concerts and other entertainment. With all this and more, it’s hard to be bored in San Diego.
San Diego’s average home value is nearing $700,000 and is trending up 5.9 percent year over year, with a median household income of $80,000. Although it’s not the cheapest place to live in the Golden State, its beaches, parks, outdoor activities and warm climate are enough to make it one of the best places to live in California.
Santa Cruz, CA
Home of the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz is one of the best places to live in California. Santa Cruz offers a small-town feel with aspects of big city appeal, being just 75 miles south of San Francisco.
Santa Cruz’s average home value is $803,000 and is trending up at an astonishing rate. With a median household income of $70,000, most residents decide to rent their homes rather than buy. Others choose to commute and work in the Bay Area, taking advantage of higher-paying jobs so they can comfortably buy a house and live in beautiful Santa Cruz.
San Jose, CA
San Jose is recognized as the center of innovation. Nicknamed the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” San Jose is one of the best places to live in California. Home to tech giants such as Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard and Adobe, San Jose offers its residents high-paying jobs.
But it’s not all business in San Jose. The city is home to the San Jose Sharks, a National Hockey League team. During the hockey season, you will see fans parading up and down Santa Clara street downtown and enjoying all the San Pedro Square Market has to offer.
San Jose’s average home value is reaching $1 million and is trending up at nearly 10 percent. With a median household income of $113,000, San Jose residents have a fine balance between work and play.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA has one of the highest costs of living in the United States. The average home value is $1.4 million and the average median household income is $112,000. Because of these high prices, does that automatically disqualify it as one of the best places to live in California? You decide.
Despite the hefty price tag, San Francisco, aka “The Paris of the West,” has plenty to offer in terms of quality of life. Residents enjoy watching professional sports teams, easily taking a flight out of the San Francisco International Airport and indulging in world-class dining and shopping.
Although many people choose to live elsewhere because of the high price tag, San Francisco deserves at least a weekend of your time to discover the city’s hidden gems and the not-so-hidden ones like the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Despite being one of the most expensive states in the nation, California is home to some of the most beautiful, fun places to live. California boasts nine national parks––more than any other state––and offers residents endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, indoor entertainment and high quality of life. For those willing to pay the price, California is definitely a must-live destination.