Deciding on the best place to live in California can be a daunting task because it can be tough to choose just one location! The state offers incredible weather, picture-perfect scenery, and a plethora of outdoor activities to keep you busy.
Every city has a unique flavor as well. Whether you’re looking to sculpt your perfect beach body or have a world-class cocktail at a trendy nightclub, we guarantee at least a few of our most sought-after locales will catch your interest.
We chose not to rank these locations from best to lesser, because it ultimately depends on your preferences – and they’re ALL equally wonderful places!
Let’s explore our picks for the best places to live in California with a quick breakdown of what makes each place amazing.
Even though it’s away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica has an enjoyable urban feel.
It’s become an iconic area throughout California as a whole. You’ve no doubt seen some of its stellar attractions, such as the Santa Monica Pier and the Original Muscle Beach in a few TV shows or films.
The Santa Monica real estate market offers plenty of choices. 91% of polled residents state that there is a good variety of homes available.
The local school system offers great choices for students of any age, such as Franklin Elementary School and Santa Monica High School.
Downtown Manhattan Beach offers over 150 retailers for shopaholics, fantastic dining options featuring ocean views, a weekly farmers market with over 50 vendors, and tons of cultural events.
As compared to Santa Monica, it has a more laid-back suburban feel, with a population of 35,500.
If a good school system is top of mind, Manhattan Beach might be the best place to live in California.
Schools in Manhattan Beach are fantastic. They consistently rank as some of the best in the country according to the education quality index.
The incredible homes in the area have an average sale price of $3,331,091 and are on an upward trend of 11.4% per year!
If you’re looking for the perfect mix between urban and suburban living, Hermosa Beach might be the best place to live in LA for you.
Residents love to stay active through outdoor activities like skateboarding, hiking, volleyball, and surfing. You can strap on your running shoes and tackle the paved beach path spanning up and down the Santa Monica Bay Coastline.
The city has a reputation for a great music scene. Fans of live rock, blues, and jazz music will feel at home here.
There are currently 8,956 homes and apartments in Hermosa Beach’s real estate market. Homes have a median value of $1,900,000.
Marina Del Rey
Fans of boating and other water sports don’t need to look any further than Marina Del Rey.
This unincorporated LA neighborhood places such an emphasis on connecting with the ocean that parasailing and paddleboard yoga have become favorite activities for the locals.
Many of the local restaurants on housing options boast some of the best waterfront views you’ll find anywhere. It also ranks as one of the safest places to live in Los Angeles.
Marina Del Rey has a comparatively small population of 9,852. You can find your waterfront dream home here for $791,700 on average.
The buildings in Santa Barbara have a distinct Mediterranean flair. Located on California’s central coast, Santa Baraba offers a multitude of upscale dining and shopping options.
Oenophiles will want to check out Santa Barbara’s many local wineries.
Santa Barbara’s location ensures that the weather never gets exceptionally hot.
Homes in Santa Barbara have a median value of $1,508,149.
The coastal peninsula of Rancho Palos Verdes sits off the beaten path compared to other cities in Los Angeles.
Hiking destinations such as Bluff Cove offer calm, breathtaking ocean views. If you’re a fan of Spanish-style architecture, you’ll adore the shopping center and library located at Malaga Cove.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy has worked diligently to preserve the beautiful landscapes in the Portuguese Bend area.
Homes in the area have an average selling price of $1,728,002.
Redondo Beach boasts a prime location within LA County. It’s 20 miles south of downtown LA and only 7 miles south of LAX.
Points of interest include the horseshoe-shaped Redondo Beach Pier and Seaside Lagoon.
The South Bay Galleria has some of the best shopping options in the area, with over 135 restaurants and stores to choose from. If you’re more interested in boutiques, the Riveria Boutique is your best bet. You’ll also have delightful views of nearby beach coves.
The average home in Redondo beach sells for $1,352,041.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Sacramento, the capital of our beautiful state. If you’re a fan of U.S. history, you’ll find a treasure trove of gold-rush era museums in Old Sacramento.
It’s replete with incredible fine dining options. In fact, Sacramento stands as America’s farm-to-fork capital because of its access to quality local ingredients.
Other must-visit locations include the Sacramento Zoo and California State Railroad Museum.
The median home price is $468,036, making it one of California’s more affordable cities.
Known for its famous boardwalk, Venice offers something for anyone looking to tap into the bohemian spirit. It’s one of the best cities in California for anyone artistically inclined.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be right at home on Abbot Kinnie Boulevard. Afterward, feel free to go burn off your meal at the outdoor gym in Muscle Beach!
Venice offers some truly unique architectural designs. As its name suggests, a network of canals runs through the area’s beautiful modern homes.
The average value of a home in this vibrant community is $2,117,385.
Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose has become an impressive mecca for the arts and culture.
Things to do in the area include visiting one of their many breweries, wineries, golf courses, and museums.
It’s one of the larger metro regions in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of 1,013,616.
Its beautiful weather combined with an emphasis on an active lifestyle has made San Jose one of the healthiest cities in America.
Recent statistics show that San Jose homes cost around $1,480,000 and stay on the market for roughly 11 days.
We hope our list of the best places to live in California has you ready to find your dream home in Southern California.
Reach out to us today to get the ball rolling! We’ll leverage our years of industry experience to find you the best properties on the market.