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10 min read

July 16, 2021

OnJuno Picks: The Five Best Places to Live in California

Planning a move to California? Check out our guide to the best places to live in the Golden State.

Also known as the Golden State, California has an alluring mix of pristine beaches, exotic wilderness, charismatic cities, and a myriad of outdoor activities to take part in.

Of course, it also boasts the tech powerhouse of Silicon Valley, where some of the largest high-tech companies are headquartered. 

Anyone who's been to the state can agree it is, indeed, a wonderful place to call home. So, if you're looking for the best places to live in California, we've got you covered.

Best for Families: Irvine 

Irvine California

Combine the warm weather, perfect location, and low crime rates, and you're left with a place that provides an exceptional quality of life: Irvine. Situated in the heart of Orange County, this city is recognized as one of the happiest American cities and one of the best US cities for raising a family. 

Though Irvine might not be as popular as other US cities, it provides a mix of a lively urban and relaxed suburban feel, which makes it an idyllic place to make your own. Irvine offers everything you can ask for in a city, as it's clean, safe, stunning, and offers plenty for families to be excited for. 

The city is home to a diverse range of restaurants and coffee shops, and you can fill your days with shopping, museum-hopping, or relaxing at a beach with your family in the evening. Or, spend time at one of Irvine's parks, which are chock-full of exciting activities for both parents and children. Besides, Irvine Spectrum Center is a one-stop shopping and entertainment destination.

Irvine also boasts a remarkable education system. If you're worried about sending your children to the right school, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) might be the right place for you to start. It comprises a diverse range of elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, year round schools, and others. Some of these include Culverdale Elementary, Jeffrey Trail Middle School, Northwood HS, Westpark Elementary, and many more. 

IUSD schools have several educational and extracurricular activities, athletics, and more. They also hold academic competitions that encourage students to develop their science, math, coding, and language skills.  

Median home price: $995,107

Median monthly apartment rental price: $2,424

Best for College Students: Los Angeles 

Los Angeles California

Next on our list of the best places to live in California is the United States' second-largest city, Los Angeles. With a population of nearly 4 million, the City of Angels is famous for its entertainment industry, but there's a lot more to living in LA that you should know. 

Los Angeles is known for many things — the vibrant nightlife, excellent culinary scene, eclectic neighborhoods, and incredible shopping spots. And if you want to be surrounded by the brightest and most creative students, then there’s no better place than Los Angeles. 

Boasting the famous University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Pepperdine University, LA attracts ambitious students across the globe. Not only this, the epic house parties, extracurricular activities, and clubs all contribute to a fantastic college experience. And don't forget about the campuses flooded with international students, making it possible for you to understand a wide range of different cultures better. 

While Los Angeles is fairly expensive compared to other US cities, there are lots of affordable options for students when it comes to accommodation and food. Many student-friendly accommodations are not only located near the campuses but are also full of wonderful restaurants, pubs, and cafes.

For families, Disneyland and Universal Studios are key destinations that guarantee repeat visits. Sports fans can rejoice too, as there are a high number of sports teams in the city, including the Dodgers, Lakers, and USC. Plus, the prominent attractions like the Hollywood Sign, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Rodeo Drive, and Natural History Museum makes this the spectacular city that it is. 

Median home price: $863,957

Median monthly apartment rental price: $2,376

Best for Safety: San Diego 

San Diego

If you're searching for the safest place to live in California, look no further than San Diego. Located in the Southern California region, San Diego is one of the finest American cities, with a pleasant year-round climate, stunning attractions, white sandy beaches, and unrivaled food spots that won't let you down. 

With a crime rate as low as 15 per cent, it is also among the safest big cities in California. In fact, it has ranked within the twenty safest cities in the US since 2010. 

As for recreation, San Diego is home to a fair share of destinations that both tourists and locals can enjoy. Its world-famous museums and zoos, bustling parks, and Spanish colonial-style architecture are enough to keep you engaged throughout your day. Some attractions include Balboa Park, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, and Cabrillo National Monument. 

In a nutshell, the relaxed neighborhoods, a wide range of outdoor activities, and Pacific Ocean views make San Diego one of the best places to live in California. 

Median home price: $825,000

Median monthly apartment rental price: $2,267

Best for Jobs: San Francisco

San Francisco California

From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the rolling hills, San Francisco is, undoubtedly, one of the best places to live in California. Nestled next to the ocean, living in this beautiful American city is an absolute delight. However, the cost of living is as steep as its hills. 

San Francisco is known as the technology and innovation hub of the US. It is home to some tech giants — like Google, Facebook, Slack, Oracle and Uber — and over 38,000 startups that are working hard to make a lasting impression worldwide. With such endless career opportunities, it's no wonder professionals across the globe are flocking to the Bay Area every year, thus fulfilling the need for high-skilled employees across all industries. 

Working in San Francisco might be wonderful, but mild weather, numerous food options, stunning beaches, and diverse neighborhoods make the city a joy to live in, too. It also has many lush parks, a bustling nightlife, and popular tourist attractions, such as Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and Ocean Beach (to name just a few).

Median home price: $1,463,979

Median monthly apartment rental price: $2,913

Best for Those on a Budget: Sacramento 

Sacramento California

With a reputation for being one of the most expensive states in the US, finding an affordable place to live in California might seem challenging. But it's possible — only if you know where to look. 

With a lower cost of living — 14% lower than the state average — Sacramento is among one of the most budget-friendly and, therefore, best places to live in California.

California's capital is a laid-back city located along the American and Sacramento rivers. It is home to almost half a million residents and is buzzing with a plethora of things to see, taste, and experience. From funky streets and riverfront restaurants to historic buildings and lively parks, Sacramento has a lot on offer.

And if all this isn't impressive enough, the city gives you access to various events at the Golden 1 Center. Music lovers can attend concerts featuring some of the best artists in the world, such as Kanye West, Blake Shelton, and more. Or, if you're a basketball fan, join the crazy fan base at Sacramento Kings games.  

Median home price: $430,000

Median monthly apartment rental price: $1,584

Thanks to its picturesque vineyards, rugged mountains, sun-kissed beaches and Mediterranean climate, California is a beautiful state to call your home. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, foodie, wanderer, nature lover, or quiet soul — it has something for everyone. 

So, if you want to make California your new home, we hope our list helps you narrow down your choices. But remember, whichever place you choose, we’re sure you’re going to love it. 

Good luck and happy moving!


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Aishwarya Aggarwal
Aishwarya Aggarwal is a content writer passionate about helping brands create value-packed content that connects and converts. When not writing, she finds solace in dabbling with the beauty of colors on a white canvas.

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