San Diego

San Diego is a city in Southern California and home to a large culturally diverse populatrion of over 1.43 million residents. This makes it the eighth largest urban area in the US. The city is renowned for its rich cultural and demographic diversity, pristine sandy beaches, pleasant sunny weather, and dozens of unique attractions. This area is one of the best places to live in the Golden State for a myriad of reasons.

A growing job market, reasonable housing costs, and plenty of entertainment options make the city an attractive destination for young professionals and families looking for a vibrant SoCa city to call home.

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Cost of Living

The cost of living in this city is higher than the national average. Compared to other cities in California such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, the city has reasonable housing costs and utility prices. The median per capita income is $41,112 while the median household income averages at $79,673.

The median home value in the area is $870,575, a value that is adjusted seasonally. Renting an apartment in San Diego will set you back on average $2,235 a month depending on factors such as location and size.


San Diego ranks highly in the quality of education offered both nationally and at the state level. The city is home to a number of highly-acclaimed school districts that include the San Diego Unified School District, San Dieguito Union High School District, San Marcos Unified School District, Vista Unified School District, the Poway Unified School District, and more.

The city is also home to some of the nation’s top universities, colleges, and vocational training schools. Most notably, the University of California San Diego,

University of San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego City College,

San Diego Miramar College Aviation Operations, Cuyamaca College, John Paul the Great Catholic University, MiraCosta College, and others.

Fun Things to Do

San Diego’s prime location along California’s Pacific coast makes it a popular tourist destination thanks to its sandy beaches and warm sunny days. There are a number of gardens and botanical parks open to the public. The Fig Tree Garden and Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden offer nature lovers an opportunity to explore lush green spaces and discover dozens of exotic plant species. San Diego boasts a lively restaurant scene and a diverse culinary culture.

Arguably, the heart and soul of the city’s food scene is the food truck. The cuisines here are as diverse as the local population with Mexican, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and British influences to mention a few.

The city’s downtown area is lined with endless world-class shops, performing arts venues, museums, and cultural attractions worth checking out. The city offers its residents a high quality of life making it one of the best places to live in California by a long shot.

Santa Monica

Fancy a taste of authentic Southern California living? Or perhaps a place to raise a family and grow a career? Well, Santa Monica might just be the place for you. So why is Santa Monica one of the best places to live in California? A steadily growing job market, affordable housing, and excellent schools notwithstanding, the city offers its residents plenty of entertainment options and more.

The city has a healthy, cultiurally diverse population of 88,991 composed of a mostly white majority (). The city has continued to experience growth since the late 80s, attributable to the revitalization of its downtown area. The city has recorded significant growth in the job market, improved tourist numbers, and a steady rise in the number of people moving here. There are stunning beach front homes along the Pacific Coast Highway but thats just a taste of what the city has to offer.

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Cost of Living in Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s cost of living is 146.6% higher than the national average and 119% higher than the California average. This places it in the company of expensive places to live in the Golden State.

Although figures may vary, other factors such as the cost of renting or buying a house, food, utilities, and transportation are important considerations. The median per capita income in Santa Monica is $58,252 while the median household income is $74,535 a year. According to U.S News, the average price of a house in this city is $1,240,474 while monthly rental costs for a 2 bedroom house will set you back $2,700.


Santa Monica boasts a number of top-ranked schools in terms of academic performance at state and national levels. The same school district serves the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu with many options for primary and secondary schools. Universities and colleges in the area include the like of Art Institute of California, Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Mount St. Mary’s College, Santa Monica College, University of California, University of Pheonix, Culver City Learning Center, University of Southern California, Rand Graduate School

Fun Things to Do

The city has plenty of exciting places you can visit with the most lively nightlife scene. There are a number of comedy clubs bars and nightclubs in the city. The downtown area hosts a number of world-class shops and hundreds of businesses devoted to serving your every need, from dining, entertainment and more. The Santa Monica Beach is another must see. The beach offers visitors and residents a range of fun activities such as surfing, swimming and of course beach volleyball.

The city has a number of bike paths meaning if you just moved here, you can explore the city without having to drive aaround. The Santa Monica pier houses an amusement park that is complete with bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, an entertaining arcade, and a solar-powered Ferris wheel.

Mountain View

Mountain View is a city located in California’s Silicon Valley and named so for its scenic views of the majestic Santa Cruz mountains. The city is home to the biggest names in tech including Google, Mozilla, Samsung Electronics, Microsoft, and more. The city is easily one of the best places to live in California and an attractive destination for young families and professionals dabbling in the tech industry. best places to live in california for families

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Cost of Living in Mountain View, CA

The median home price in this city is $1,979,694 while the average price of renting an apartment is $3,108. Living costs here are higher than both national and state averages. This however comes with a high quality of life, excellent housing options, plenty of exciting entertainment options, and more.

The median per capita income in this area is $79,840 while the median household income is $143,720. While utilities, food, and other consumables cost slightly higher than state and national averages, the higher per capita income makes up for this compared to other places such as San Jose, and Santa Rosa.


Mountain View School District oversees the management of education in ten elementary schools, two middle schools, and two learning centers.

There are a number of top-ranked institutions of higher learning in the area that include Carnegie Mellon University, California Science and Technology University, Stanford University, Palo Alto University, Santa Clara University, Menlo College, and San Jose State University to mention a few.

Fun Things to Do

Mountain view played a critical role in the rise of Silicon Valley to what it is today. The city is renowned for its beautiful views of the Santa Cruz mountains and borders Los Altos and the San Francisco Bay in the north.

The city has walkable downtown streets that are packed with loads of attractions and fun things to do. Popular tourist attractions include the Computer History Museum, the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, the Shoreline Amphitheatre, and the Mountain View Farmers Market.

The city also boasts loads of world-class fine dining establishments and popular restaurants serving up a selection of culturally-inspired and regional dishes. Mountain view also offers nature lovers green open spaces, hiking, and biking trails.

A number of the world’s largest names in tech are headquartered in this area and include Google, Intuit, Symantec, and the Mozilla Foundation. The area is no doubt a top contender for the best places to live in California.


Irvine is a South California city with a population of 316,860 comprised of a mostly white majority (47.8%), African American (2.4%), Asian (43.0%), and Hispanic (10.4%). The city boasts a rapidly expanding job market, and has an abundance of parks and green spaces. The city has been named among the happiest places to live and work in. It ranks highly in terms of mental and physical wellness, low crime rate and income growth metrics making it one of the best places to live in California.

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Living Costs

How does the copst of living in Irvine compare to other SoCa cities such as San Jose and Santa Rosa? Well, although Irvine, San Jose and Santa Rosa’s cost of living are slightly higher than the national and state averages, all three cities pale in comparison to similar sized metros in terms of housing costs, utilities and other miscellaneous costs.

The median house price in this city is $1,087,870 while monthly rental charges cost $2,600 for a decent-sized apartment. While the real estate market in most California cities is quite competitive and higher priced than most places, Irvine is relatively affordable to potential home owners. The median per capita income is $50,016 and the medianhousehold income is $105,130.

Education in Irvine

The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) has time and time agin ranked among the best public school districts in the state and nationally as well. The school district serves a diverse student population of 36,000, enrolled in 24 elementary schools, one early childhood learning center, four K-8 schools, six middle schools, five comprehensive high schools, and one alternative high school.

Universities and colleges in the area include a number of leading institutions of higher learning that include Concordia University, University of California Irvine, Irvine Valley College, and Chapman University to mention a few.

Places to Visit

Irvine has beautiful warm weather all year round making it the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast, and pet owner. Its coastal location along the Southern Califonia coastline allows it access to gorgeous sandy beaches.

The city boasts more than 16,000 acres of nature parks and dedicated green spaces with unlimited access to local ecosystems, hiking, and biking trails. The downtown area is popular for its abundance of shops and restaurants. The Irvine spectrum also offers the city’s residence access to world class shopping options.

The city also boats a number of historical attractions, museums and cultural centers. For the foodies, Irvine plays host to a number of colorful food festivals and numerous high-end restaurants. best places to live in california for families

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A U.S News report ranked Irvine as the 12th happiest city in America which makes it one of the best places to live in California. The city is a great place to raise a family and grow a career.

Los Angeles

Moving to L.A is for most people, what dreams are made of. The city of angels has enchanted many from as far back as the 1920s. The city has a solid foundation in the oil and gas, farming, tourism, and real estate industries. But arguably, what Los Angeles is most recognizable for is its world-famous motion picture industry. The city has a booming job market, plenty of gorgeous housing options spread out across its 88 cities, communities, and suburbs. Here’s why we think L.A is one of the best places to live in California.

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Cost of Living In Los Angeles

Living in L.A comes with its fair share of reasonably priced living costs which are influenced by factors such as choice of neighborhood, transport costs, utilities, and other overhead costs. Generally, the average cost of living in this city is higher than the national average and the California average as well. The median home value in L.A is $918,450 while monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment costs $2,520.

The average per capita income is $43,350 while the median household income levels at $68,045.


Los Angeles is home to some of the premier institutions of higher learning in the United States. Some of the biggest names that call L.A home includes several top-ranked colleges and universities, such as the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and the Pacific States University, among several others.

The city offers learners and parents numerous curriculum options spread out across a number of public, charter, magnet, private, international, and special needs schools.

Places to Visit

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Los Angeles is the second-biggest city in the United States by population and infrastructure. The city has for the longest time been revered for its warm Mediterranean climate, a culturally rich and ethnically diverse population whose influence on the local cuisine is undoubtedly visible.

Other than Hollywood and a sprawling metropolis, the area offers tons of fun activities and captivating attractions all year long. There are a number of theme parks and amusement parks, museums, historical and cultural attractions, and plenty of fun outdoor activities for kids and pet owners.

The food culture of L.A is heavily influenced by the local population makeup and is among the liveliest, most colorful displays of culinary excellence you’ll find anywhere in California. You can tour the various famous neighborhoods, landmarks of cultural significance, and botanical gardens in the city.

If the beach and soaking up a bit of sunshine sound like more of your thing, the city lies adjacent to the Pacific Ocean with some of the most picturesque views of sunset. L.A needs no introduction and is easily one of the best places to live in California.

San Francisco

The state capital of California is an unsurprising favorite for many who choose to call it home. The city is easily one of the best places to live in California for several reasons. The job market in this city has been on an upward trend for a while now and for a metro of its size, San Francisco assures its residents of their safety with a low crime rate.

The northern California city of 875,114 boasts a rich cultural diversity and is the forth largest metro by populatiuon in the state.

Cost of Living

Living costs in this city are above both state and national averages. The city has a median home price of $1,526,100 while monthly rental costs for a two bedroom apartment will cost you $3,102.

The median per capita income in this area is $68,883 while the median household income is $112,449.

Education in San Francisco

Education in this area is overseen by the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) that serves over 57000 students. The school district is the seventh largest school district in tue Golden State with 114 public schools.

San Francisco being at the heart of Silicon Valley, makes it arguably one of the leading destinations for higher learning with promise of exciting opportunities in the tech, e-commerce, aerospace and more. The city and the whole Bay Area is home to some of the best universities in the state such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco and more.

Fun Things to Do

The city is home to perhaps the most recognizable physical and historical attractions in California. You can visit the (in)famous Alcatraz Island, a popular historical attraction. The Golden Gate bridge is another of the city’s must-see sights as well as the San Francisco Museum of Mordern Art.

The city offers a wide selection of restaurants, acres of green spaces and an unforgettable experience at the Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront.

You can explore San Francisco and its various attractions spread out across 39 neighborhoods on the city’s cable car system. Simply put, San Francisco deserves its place among the best places to live in California.

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